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We think of our clients as family. Our staff members are passionate about making a difference and fulfilling our mission. Our staff embodies our core values while meeting the individual needs of each of our clients on a daily basis.
I joined the staff of Echoing Hills February 1, 2002. I was hired as Dietary Director for Echoing Meadows in Athens. I transferred to echoingCONNECTIONS in March of 2015 as Director of Adult Services. I remained over Dietary until Echoing Meadows downsized into smaller group homes in 2017. I also take care of some administrative functions when the administrative assistant is out of office, payroll being the main one.
I have lived in Athens County all of my life, graduated from Ohio University with a BS in Human and Consumer Sciences, with my major being Food Service Management, and a minor in business. When I first applied for the position at the end of 2001 when I saw it in the paper, I had no idea what Echoing Hills was, or the impact it would have on my life. I had never really been around anyone with a disability until I was employed by EHVI. At first I was nervous, like most new employees would be, but I soon felt welcomed into a family of 36 AMAZING people. Every day I learned more about the individuals and what they could do and could accomplish, but I have also learned so much about myself over the years. I have never considered what I do on a daily basis as “work” or a “job”. I love going to work each day as it is never the same…I am always greeted with a smile, “I missed you”, just genuine love and appreciation. I am amazed daily by the accomplishments, the generosity, the simplicity and purity. The love and trust that is given to us by those that we serve is exciting to experience, yet very hard to find the right word to explain.
I have four children, three daughters and a son. Michala, my oldest (21), is a FT DSP at our Harner Group home. She loves her horses and dogs and photography. Hannah, who is 17, is my athletic enthusiast. She started out volunteering for us at echoingCONNECTIONS on her breaks from school and is now a PT DSP at our Altamonte and University Estates group homes. Chloe, who is almost 13, has spent her last summer break volunteering as well. Chloe enjoys drawing, painting and most recently joined the drama program at school. My son, Zachary, is 6 and loves Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Lightening McQueen and Minecraft. The kids and their variety of interests keep my husband, Greg and I very busy.
In my free time, I bake and decorate cakes for friends and family. During one of my internships I worked in a retail deli/bakery setting and taught myself to decorate. I am probably my own toughest critic, but I have several families who keep returning and recommending me, and I have only had to refuse one person’s request since 1997, a wedding very near my son’s due date, that was a risk I was not willing to take on such a huge life event for a couple. I enjoy all types of music and can turn just about any car ride into a concert. I also enjoy catching a movie date and sharing popcorn with my husband if time allows. Our favorite vacation spots are Sandbridge Beach in Virginia, or Gatlinburg, TN area for some time in the mountains. We have hopes of traveling out west one day when time allows us to take all of that in.
When I walked into Echoing Meadows 17 years ago, I never dreamed that my life would have been impacted as it has been. The relationships that I have made over the years, not only with the individuals we serve, but their family members, has been rewarding beyond measure. I am so proud of my girls and the paths that they have taken in their lives. I am honored that those that I work with have opened up their hearts and trusted me and my family to be a part of their lives. And most importantly, my experiences have shown me that nothing is impossible! One of my favorite passages, Matthew 17:20 “For truly, I say to you, If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there.’ And it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
Linda has worked for Echoing Hills for 7 years. She was originally hired by John Swanson to work part-time for the Business Office, but it didn’t take long for us to see the value in Linda as a very good employee, so when the opportunity presented itself, we asked her to take on some part-time hours in Human Resources along with her part-time hours working for the Business Office, making Linda a full-time employee! Along the way, another opportunity became available and Linda was offered the full-time position of Corporate Human Resources Coordinator, and that’s where she’s been since then.
Linda’s loves in life are her husband David, whom she has been married to for 35 years, and her two daughters Lauren and Dana. David is a US Army Veteran who served 27 years for his country. The apples didn’t fall too far from the tree with their daughters. Dana is in the US Air Force and is a Nuclear Missile Officer, currently stationed in Wyoming. Lauren lives with her husband Alex, who is also serving in the US Air Force and is stationed in North Dakota. Linda is quite familiar with Skype and Facetime…technology ties her family together no matter the distance!
After Linda finishes her busy days at Echoing Hills in Central Ohio, she gardens, bakes, sews and crochets. She is also an avid reader and has two dogs that keep her extra busy!
David and Linda attend the Newark Nazarene Church where Linda is active in the Woven Ministry serving young girls in third world countries.
Linda is one of those employees that we would clone if given the opportunity. She is always helpful, has an outgoing personality and is kind and friendly.
Ric Brown has been working at Echoing Hills since December 2013. During this time he has served as Adult Services Director and CARF Implementation Director, Strategic Development Director for Community Employment, as the Regional Director of Adult Day Services for NE Ohio and currently as the Regional Director of Marketing & Development, Northeast Region. He is responsible for developing and managing marketing and fund development strategies, practices relative to grant writing, public relations/marketing, business development, and developing and managing community relationships/partnerships.
His work experience in the field of developmental disabilities includes working from 1993 – 2010 at the Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Inc., with his last position there as the Chief Operations Officer of Programs and Services. Ric also held the position as President/CEO of St. John’s Villa in Carrollton, Ohio from 2010 – 2013, and has taught Economics at Stark State College of Technology. His role in the field of developmental disabilities has also included translation/interpretation services as a Spanish speaker to the Latino community.
A graduate of Leadership Stark County, he has served and continues to serve on numerous boards and committees locally, regionally and state-wide and has held membership in numerous organizations within the Stark, Summit and Carroll County communities. Ric says he feels that divine intervention has called him into in a servant leadership role in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities and it has changed his perspective on the world around him. He feels God has led his stewardship to increase awareness, and to seek and provide support wherever he can for people with special needs and when situations appear to be impossible, our work is to hope in God.
Ric attended Stark State College of Technology, Kent State University, Malone College, & the University of Akron. He holds an Associate’s degree, a Bachelor’s degree and Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Akron.
Outside of work, Ric enjoys spending time with his wife, traveling, working out, working in the yard and church. Ric enjoys collecting antique cast iron/metal dog door stops, book ends and statues that began as a child when his uncle gave him his first dog figurine. Ric has been married to his wife Vicki for 33 years. They have one daughter, Taelor, a son-in-law, Jamison, (who is active in the U.S. Army) and 2 grandsons, Noah and Connor.
Ron Hammond has been working at Echoing Hills since January 2008. In his position as the Vice President of Human Resources, he is responsible for overseeing and directing all human resource functions for Echoing Hills. This includes recruitment and retention of employees, employee relations, administering benefits and wages, training and development of staff, and HR compliance. He has five direct reports who help him manage the different Echoing Hills campuses all over the State of Ohio.
The future of human resources at Echoing Hills is looking bright, Ron reports. Improvements in the recruitment and on-boarding processes and trainings for staff and management are on the horizon, waiting to be implemented. As we look toward the future, there are some challenges including increased legislation and compliance, escalating benefit costs and staffing shortages in direct care positions.
But it’s not the bright future or the challenges that are waiting to be overcome that makes Ron come to work every day. It’s the Ministry and the people we serve. Ron says that he comes to work to help this ministry in any way he can. He wants to make sure that the people God has entrusted us with are served in the best way possible. He enjoys getting out of the building when he can, visiting our regions to see employees and the individuals we serve. He wishes he could do it more often.
When he’s not working at Echoing Hills, Ron stays busy. In addition to sitting on 3 statewide committees, HR Committee of the Ohio Provider Resource Association (OPRA) and 2 Ohio of Chamber Committees, He and his wife own a bed and breakfast in Dresden, Ohio called The Village Victorian Scrapbook Retreat. He has also been volunteering at his church, Newark Nazarene, for over 9 years, serving in the nursery. Ron enjoys collecting sports memorabilia like his signed jersey from hockey Hall of Fame recipient Gilbert Perreault. Even though he has been focusing recently on hockey memorabilia, his most prized find is an autographed Nick Saban football jersey.
Ron’s been married to his wife Yvonne for 31 years. They have two boys, Ryan and Tyler.
Tim Neville, the Regional Vice President for Northern Ohio has worked for Echoing Hills twice. His first time at Echoing Hills was during two summers prior to college. His brother encouraged him to work at Camp Echoing Hills as a counselor.
Then again in 2011, Tim had the opportunity to interview with Echoing Hills for the position of Director of Adult and Waiver Services in Canal Fulton, Ohio. Since then, Tim has not only served Echoing Hills and the individuals and families in that capacity, but also as Regional Director of NE Ohio – Echoing Lake Group Homes. In 2014, Buddy Busch, CEO / President, asked Tim to serve as Regional Vice President – Northern Ohio and oversee the operations of Echoing Lake Group Homes and Stark / Summit County services. It has truly been a blessing for Tim to be back and a part of the Ministry, Business, Organization where his calling all began over 25 years ago.
Tim’s compassion for individuals with disabilities grew out of a friendship back in kindergarten. His best friend, Rick, had a learning disability, but Tim never realized this until later in life. During his two summers at Camp Echoing Hills, Tim realized that his calling in life was to serve individuals with disabilities. He purposefully went to college to major in Business Administration – Management so that he could learn how to manage and lead an organization that served individuals with disabilities and their families.
To know Tim better – Tim enjoys working out in the yard and mowing grass (it’s a stress reliever). He also plays piano. Tim enjoys spending time with family and is proud of his five nieces and two nephews, all of whom are adopted either internationally or nationally. Tim enjoys vacationing at historical spots throughout the U.S. and Canada, as long as they are near an amusement park. Tim attends Living Water Church in Dalton, Ohio. He also recently completed his Masters of Science in Business and Strategic Leadership from Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, New York.
Rev. Donnis Meek, the IT/Outreach Coordinator started working for Echoing Hills in 1998. As an ordained minister with a small church, he had worked with some of the Echoing Hills residents before and was seeking additional opportunities to minister. He was working at Echoing Hills doing contract work for his father’s construction business when Rev. Cordell Brown approached him. Cordell was creating a Chaplain position and asked Donnis if he would be interested in coming to Echoing Hills. In October, when his construction work was done, Donnis came to Echoing Hills and has been here ever since.
While at Echoing Hills, Donnis has held many positions. He’s been a Chaplain, a Nursing Home Administrator, a Camp Administrator, Campus Maintenance Director, and finally the IT/Outreach Coordinator. He also works directly with our campus in Ghana and has had the opportunity to lead several short-term trips overseas.
When asked about his favorite part of his work, Donnis says that he enjoys making things better for people. This works well with both his Chaplain duties and his IT duties. If he can make something better for someone, whether it’s in their spiritual life or on their computers, he’s had a good day.
Donnis is very busy. He says he doesn’t collect much dust. If he’s not criss-crossing the state for his work with Echoing Hills, he can be found at his church, the Century 21 office where he also works, or at home.
Donnis will be celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary with his beautiful wife Jodie Lynn. He has two sons, Nathan and Caleb, one daughter, JaeLynn, and a granddaughter, Alexis. He also has a new puppy named Piper.
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