There is fresh wind in the sails of ADEC’s ongoing mission to proudly advocate for and serve individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities so they can live lives full of informed choice and possibilities. Fiscal year ’23 (FY23) at ADEC was a year of growth, transition, and re-emergence. It was a year of re-energizing visions after a suffocating pandemic and for me personally, it was a year of deep fulfillment. I started as ADEC’s CEO in January of this year, succeeding the accomplished tenure of retiring CEO, Donna Belusar. But January did not mark the beginning of my story with ADEC.
ADEC has been in my blood for as long as I can remember, as I grew up feeling like a part of the ADEC family. My dad, Karl, worked a 40-year career at ADEC. I visited him often at ADEC Industries in Elkhart. I proceeded to work there one summer in high school and again in the summer after my second year of college. These experiences, along with close friendships with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities growing up, left a big impression on me.
Having the opportunity to serve as a leader and steward of this esteemed, community-driven, and mission-focused organization is humbling and deeply meaningful. ADEC has truly been a community gem and an agency of excellence over its 71 years of service to our friends and neighbors with disabilities. I am fortunate to inherit an operation and mission that has been well-stewarded by previous leaders, board members, and an excellent team of staff.
Beyond leadership transition, FY23 was a year of re-emergence from the ravages of a pandemic that disproportionately impacted people with disabilities. ADEC is again active in the community in ways that were simply not possible since March 2020. Silver Bullets basketball returned to its glory, involvement in community events ramped up, and with them the morale of our staff and the people we serve.