Meet Our Staff
Ken McKenzie, PT, MPT, DPT
Ken has been a physical therapist since 1997, treating a wide variety of patients. He co-owned and managed an outpatient physical therapy clinic for the last 12 years in Pineville, Louisiana, but had always dreamed of living in beautiful Colorado. So July 2014, he and his family moved to Arvada, and he opened his own outpatient clinic, Premier Physical Therapy, in Westminster.
Ken attended Florida State University 1991-1995 where he was an All American tennis player. He then received his Master of Physical Therapy from University of St. Augustine in 1997 and his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree in 2007. Ken is a member of the APTA and the private practice section of APTA.
Eric Pankey, PT, DPT, MTC
Growing up in the state of Colorado, Eric attended Colorado State University where he received his Bachelor of Science in Health and Exercise Science in 2012. Wanting to pursue a career in physical therapy from a young age, Eric went on to achieve his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in December of 2015. Eric received his manual therapy certification in 2016. He is also a member of the APTA as well as the AAOMPT.
When not treating patients in the clinic, Eric finds joy in a multitude of outdoor activities including hiking the Rocky Mountains and playing a variety of sports such as basketball, volleyball, and snowboarding. Along with helping others achieve their rehabilitative and personal fitness goals, living an active lifestyle is just one of Eric's many passions in life.
Kim Cavanagh, PT, MSPT
Kim has been a physical therapist for 25 years. She moved to Colorado in 1996 and worked for several years before taking time off to stay home with her 2 kids.
Kim attended Drake University 1983 - 1988 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Biology. She then attended Des Moines University from 1988-1990 where she received her Master of Science degree in Physical Therapy. Kim is certified in equestrian fitness and rehabilitation and is also interested in golf biomechanics and rehabilitation. Kim enjoys spending time with her husband, 2 kids, 1 horse and 2 dogs. Kim is a member of the APTA.
Blake Giles, PT, DPT
Blake knew he wanted to be a Physical Therapist after spending time in a clinic in high school and personally experiencing the benefits of therapy after suffering his own injury. He pursued his passion for the field in college, graduating with a degree in Exercise Science from the University of Southern Mississippi and a Doctorate degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Mississippi in 2015. He then began his career as a physical therapist working with Therapy Management Corporation until relocating to Colorado. Blake began traveling to Colorado as a child, where his love of the mountains began. Recently married in September 2015, he and his wife share a passion for the outdoors and colorful Colorado, ultimately leading to their relocation. Blake is a member of the APTA.
Sydni Sansom, PT, DPT
Sydni was raised in Arkansas where she studied at Harding University to earn her Bachelor of Science in athletic training then went on to earn her Doctorate in Physical Therapy. During PT school Sydni used her clinical rotations to travel around the US and discovered her love for Colorado while completing her first rotation at Premier. She is passionate about tailoring her treatments to fit patients goals and working hard to get them back to what they love.
She also enjoys spending her time hiking, playing tennis, skiing, doing yoga, photography, and raising peacocks on her free time.
James Heighway, PT, DPT
After graduating from Indiana University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise Science, James returned to graduate with his Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy in 2010 and soon transplanted to Colorado to start his career. Since moving out to the Centennial state he has worked in orthopedics and sports medicine.
James treats patients ranging from athletes to non-athletes. He enjoys helping people from all walks of life in achieving their goals and getting them back to doing what they love. His treatment philosophy is to do the basics very well and thorough education with the patient. When needed James is certified in blood flow restriction training, has experience with treating sports concussions, and utilizes video analysis for runners and sport-specific movements.
Aside from work, James loves spending time with his wife, two children, and two dogs, enjoying the great outdoors that Colorado has to offer. He also enjoys camping, trail running, CrossFit, snowboarding, and biking.
Erik Runion, PTA
Born in California and raised in Pennsylvania and (mostly) New Mexico, Erik moved to Colorado in 2016 to pursue a career as a Physical Therapist Assistant. After earning a Bachelor's degree with a double-major in English and Philosophy and spending some time working for the nation's largest complex rehab technology supplier, he decided to go back to school to become a PTA. A true extrovert, Erik loves getting to know people and is passionate about helping others reach their full potential and live their lives to the fullest.
As an avid skateboarder, snowboarder, and DJ, Erik feels at home in Colorado and embraces the nightlife and outdoor activities this wonderful state has to offer. He lives in Denver with his wife, sister-in-law, their two dogs Twiggy and Noodle, and their cat Izzy.
Nicole Smith, PTA
Originally from Pennsylvania, Nicole attended the University of Colorado in Boulder and received her bachelors degree in kinesiology in 1994. Then she attended Denver Technical College and earned her degree as a Physical Therapist Assistant in 1998. Nicole worked several years as a PTA before having a family. During this time she stayed home as a mom and worked as a substitute teacher for eight years in the Boulder Valley School District. Nicole enjoys most of all being a mom! She loves spending time outside hiking, biking, snowboarding, XCC skiing, equestrian riding and yoga. She also enjoys time in the mountains with her husband and her two daughters.
Jennifer Andress, PTA
Born in Detroit, MI and raised in South Florida, Jennifer has been an ACE certified personal trainer for 15 years. After being out of school for 30 years, Jennifer decided to go back to school to become a Physical Therapy Assistant and graduated in December of 2017 from South University in Royal Palm Beach Florida. Jennifer's passion is people and to help them reach their safest, highest level of function so they may do the activities in life that matters most to them.
Jennifer enjoys working out, white water rafting, hiking with her dog, biking, skiing and going to concerts, plays and museum exhibitions.
Case Carnes, Physical Therapy Tech
A Texas native from Tyler, Texas, Case played soccer at University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and graduated in May of 2018. He plans on going to PT school next year in the fall. He loves the Colorado weather and activities and is looking forward to snowboarding more than just once a year. He is on a continual search for good bbq and Mexican food. We are thrilled to have Case join our Premier family!
Emily Chavez, Physical Therapy Tech
Emily was born and raised in Colorado but has family in California and Florida so her love for the ocean and warm weather is just as deep. She developed an interest in fitness at a young age, which led her to get a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition. Emily plans on applying to Physician Assistant school in the next couple of years while gaining more patient care experience in the meantime. Her hobbies include running, cooking, and reading articles and biographies of all kinds!
Kaitlyn Figueroa, Physical Therapy Tech
Michelle McKenzie, Office/Marketing Manager
Born in Louisiana and raised in San Antonio, Texas, Michelle attended the Florida State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1994. After getting married, starting a family and moving around the southern states, she and her husband decided to make the move out west in 2014 and have never looked back! After opening Premier Physical Therapy in 2015, Michelle stopped nursing to help run the business with Ken. She loves the Premier family atmosphere that has been created over the years and is grateful every day for the amazing staff and patients. Her daughter is a CSU Ram and her son is a future Ram. Michelle loves to play tennis and ski, and enjoys taking her dogs Lucy and Charlie to the dog park. She loves the beauty and fun Colorado offers!
Kiara Santiago, Front Office Manager
This sassy Puerto Rican native started her career at Premier Physical Therapy several years ago as a physical therapy tech and was quickly promoted to receptionist. After a short move back to Miami with her dog Taco, she returned to Denver as our front office manager. Don't let her tiny stature fool you...Kiara is a black belt in Taekwondo. Her heart is as big as her punch and we are so fortunate to have her leading the front office!
Carmen Figueroa, Receptionist
Puerto Rico born and Chicago raised, Carmen moved to Colorado a few months ago from El Paso, Texas where she lived for 6 years. While in El Paso she decided to make a career change, and in 2016 and after being out of school for 30 years, she graduated from Allen School of Health Science with a certificate in Medical Insurance Billing and Coding.
Carmen is looking forward to exploring the mountains with her daughter and grand dog and is also very excited to be part of the Premier family.
Isabella Frank, Receptionist
Isabella lived most of her life in Miami, FL with a quick 2 year stay in Colombia in 2007. These two diverse places made her very interested in learning about people and the overall world. Aside from that she loves Music and was in her school choir all through high school and college. She also majored in Music Performance/ Theatre for a year before recently moving to Colorado. She is interested in also earning a degree somewhere in the Medical field and plans on starting University again in 2019.
Richelle Breedlove, Receptionist
Born and raised in Colorado, Richelle enjoys nature and being outdoors in her free time. She also enjoys being a mom to her beautiful daughter and taking her on adventures. She has worked in healthcare for 12 years and looks forward to her journey with Premier Physical Therapy.