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State Approving Agency

Raymond Baker, State Approving Agency Director   rbaker@dva.in.gov

Ray is a veteran of the U.S. Army. Prior to his position as the director of the State Approving Agency, he worked in human resources for the Deparment of Corrections and in asset protection for Target stores. Ray and his wife of 28 years moved to Indianapolis from Michigan in 2001 and he enjoys fishing, golf and playing poker. He is very excited about the work SAA is doing ensuring veterans and their eligible dependents receive their benefits.

Amber Mertens, State Approving Agency Assistant Director   amertens@dva.in.gov

Amber is the daughter of two U.S. Navy veterans. She was born at the Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, Va., and grew up in Central Indiana. She joined the U.S. Navy in 2002 and served as an Arabic linguist specializing in Iraqi dialect. She was assigned to the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center on the Presidio of Monterey and the Navy Information Operations Command Georgia at Fort Gordon. From 2005 to 2006, Amber deployed to the Persian Gulf, where she served on three U.S. Navy ships and two Royal Navy ships in support of the Global War on Terrorism. She received her AA in Arabic Studies from the Defense Language Institute and her BA in Sociology from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Amber joined the State Approving Agency in 2011.

Summer Tacy, Program Director    stacy@dva.in.gov

Summer born and raised in Indianapolis, Ind.  She entered the U.S. Air Force at age 19 and served in the law enforcement career field.  While in the Air Force, Summer served at Anderson Air Base, Guam and Vance AFB, Okla.  During her assignment at Anderson she met her husband, Tim.  Summer separated from the Air Force in 1994 after three years of active duty service.  After departing the service, she began attending the University of Maryland, European Division and upon returning State-side, she continued her education at Minot State University, N.D., where she completed her degree in Elementary Education in 2001.  Teaching eventually brought her back to Indiana, she worked as a kindergarten teacher and special needs aid and teacher in Franklin Township.  Summer is very involved with the Out Of Darkness Walks, for suicide prevention.  

Tara Eggen, Program Coordinator    teggen1@dva.in.gov

Tara is the proud daughter of a U.S. Air Force veteran. She attended Indiana University, where she earned a BA in Psychology and Criminal Justice. Tara started working for the State of Indiana in 2008 and joined the State Approving Agency in 2015. She lives in southern Indiana with her family on their no kill farm.

Fredrick Hudson, Program Director    fhudson@dva.in.gov

Fred joins the IDVA team from the State Approving Agency as a program director. He is a retired U.S. Army veteran, with more than 20 years of military service. Fred graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University with a Master's degree in Business Administratio, with a focus on Health Care. He is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Business Administration. Fred loves working on classic cars and enjoys volunteering his time at Grace Church's Care Center.

Deborah Way,  Outreach Coordinator  dway1@dva.in.gov 

Deborah comes from a long family history of military service: her great grandfather served in World War I and was followed by two grandfathers who served in both World War II and the Korean War. Two uncles then stepped into service during the Vietnam War. She’s a child of the Midwest, born in Southern Indiana and living in both the Chicago and Indianapolis areas most of her adult life. She has a BS in Education from Southern Illinois University and has served as both an educator and an outreach coordinator over the years. Deborah joined the State Approving Agency in 2020. Currently, she and her sons live in a northeastern suburb of Indianapolis.