After more than 34 years of dedicated service, Ohio Valley Goodwill’s Vice President of Rehabilitation Services, Steve Koons, is retiring at the end of the month of March. Steve came to Goodwill after graduating from college when the organization was initially expanding its programs and services for individuals with Developmental Disabilities as well as its Veteran Services. Starting his career as a Program Manager working with a small caseload of individuals served by the organization’s long-time referral partners, local County Boards of Developmental Disabilities, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (formally known as the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation), and the Veterans Administration, Steve found very quickly a passion for supporting individuals to achieve their rehabilitation goals.
Steve was promoted to a Manager position after a few years and was largely responsible for leading the growth of the programs and services specifically designed for individuals with disabilities. As Steve’s career progressed, his professional responsibilities increased dramatically with a charge to develop new programs and services tailored to the needs of the individuals being referred by County Board partners. This included a Recreation and Leisure program; an Employment/Career Development program as well as a Home Living Skills program all as a result of requests of individuals served, families and County Board partners. At the start of his career, Ohio Valley Goodwill was serving less than 100 individuals in its limited programs at the time. Under Steve’s guidance, the number of individuals served through its many partnerships, increased to almost 800 individuals each day in a variety of service options which were designed to more holistically meet the needs of every referred person. The goal of all of these many programs and services was to assist individuals in achieving their own personal goals of success. Steve was recognized by a primary referral partner, Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities Services, for his leadership and management skills and many of the programs he helped to develop have received numerous award recognitions over the years including the Community Inclusion Award from Butler DD for its Employment Services program following the impact of the pandemic.
As the Vice President of Rehabilitation Services and throughout his career, Steve has mentored and helped to develop many of his team members to assume leadership and management positions. As a result, Ohio Valley Goodwill is able to boast of many senior tenure employees who have made the mission of the organization their chosen careers. During Steve’s tenure, Ohio Valley Goodwill earned 6 consecutive perfect survey outcomes through the CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) accreditation process. This outcome placed the organization in the top 3% of similar non-profits nationally. In its most recent survey in 2022, the CARF survey team noted: “Ohio Valley Goodwill was described as a leader in the state of Ohio in innovative practices and also commended for being active in advocacy. The staff was noted as being committed, caring, flexible and thinking outside the box. This is a tribute to the leadership and to a culture that rewards hard work. Ohio Valley Goodwill looks like an organization where people come to work not because it is a job, but because it is where they want to be.”
Steve currently is very active in working with the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, the Ohio Provider Resource Association (OPRA) and the Ohio Association of Goodwill Industries (OAGI) on ensuring that providers have the resources they need to support inclusive programs and services designed to serve individuals with Developmental Disabilities.
Former Goodwill President and CEO, Joe Byrum, who mentored Steve throughout his career noted the following, “Steve is the consummate rehabilitation professional. His contribution to Goodwill’s book of services both in quantity and quality cannot be over-stated. The men and women with disabilities in Greater Cincinnati benefited from Steve’s services and will for years to come. It’s an honor to be Steve’s colleague.”
Ohio Valley Goodwill is grateful to Steve Koons for his many years of service to Ohio Valley Goodwill and the thousands of individuals whose lives have been impacted during his tenure. Steve will remain in a consultancy position for the organization in the future.