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Meet Our Speakers

Ted Hartwell
Desert Research Institute
Las Vegas, NV

Mr. Hartwell has a Masters degree in Anthropology from Texas Tech University, with an emphasis in archaeology, and has served on the research faculty of the Desert Research Institute in Las Vegas since 1991. Mr. Hartwell is also a professional cellist with the Las Vegas Philharmonic. He is a disordered gambler in long-term recovery, and in his spare time, he volunteers as an advocate for promoting awareness, prevention, and treatment of problem gambling. He has served on the State Advisory Committee on Problem Gambling since November 2012, and in  2014, Mr. Hartwell was the recipient of the prestigious Shannon L. Bybee Award, presented by the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling for dedication to education, research, and advocacy.

Topics: Research, gambling addiction & recovery, youth gambling


Bea Aikens
Lanie's Hope
Boulder City, NV

Founder of the national advocacy group Lanie’s Hope, Bea Aikens passionately serves as a catalyst for social change in problem gambling. Lanie’s Hope’s mission, to humanize and illuminate the disease of compulsive gambling, is advanced by her dedication to educating professionals and the public about gambling disorder.

Bea’s personal experience with the tragic impact of problem gambling and the hope of recovery, makes her a dynamic and much sought after speaker, with the ability to adapt her message to any audience. Bea has served as the Keynote Speaker for local, state and national organizations including the Nevada State Conference on Problem Gambling, the Nevada Association of Family Practitioners, the Arizona Council on Problem Gambling, and the Vermont Problem Gambling Summit.

Ms. Aikens is a member of the National Problem Gambling Awareness Month planning committee and the Pennsylvania Coalition on Problem Gambling. She serves on the Peer Leadership Team for the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling, is a CCAR-certified Recovery Coach and Trainer, and chairs the National “Jails, Institutions and Prisons Committee” for Gambling Addiction Recovery groups.

In 2012 Bea Aikens received the prestigious Shannon L. Bybee Award, the highest award presented by the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling for personal dedication to community service and advocacy.

Topics: Advocacy, Problem gambling & suicide, Peer support, Pathways to recovery, family impact


Denise Quirk, MA, MFT, LADC, CPGC-S, NCGC-BACC
Reno Problem Gambling Center
Reno, NV

Denise F. Quirk has been an addictions counselor and Marriage and Family Therapist in Reno, Nevada since graduating with her Master’s Degree in Counseling and Educational Psychology from UNR in 1992. Her therapeutic focus is to help families affected by addictions, specifically gambling, alcohol, drugs, pornography, financial issues and parenting and anger problems. She began specializing in treating problem gamblers and their families in 1999, and is presently the CEO and Clinical Director of the Reno Problem Gambling Center, a non-profit outpatient treatment center for problem gambling clients and their families.

Denise wrote and teaches the online course, “Exploring Gambling Behaviors” for the University of Nevada, Reno and is the co-author of the clinical handbook, “Gambling Patient Placement Criteria”. She also supervises gambling counseling interns around the state.

Ms. Quirk is a past member of the Nevadad Board of Examiners for Alcohol, Drug and Gambling Counselors, and in 2004, she received the prestigious Shannon L. Bybee Award, the highest award presented by the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling, recognizing her personal and professional dedication to the field of problem gambling.  Since 2005, Ms. Quirk has served as a member,  and currently serves as Chairperson of the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Problem Gambling.

Topics: Counselor Ethics & Supervision; Court ordered assessments & treatment diversion; Gambling Patient Placement Criteria (GPPC)