The search for a new Pathway Services Executive Director has come to an end.
According to an announcement by Kevin Eckhoff, president of the Pathway Board of Directors this morning, Ryan Dowd has been named as the new executive director of Pathway Services Unlimited, Inc.
Dowd most recently served as the chief operating officer at Sparc in Springfield. He was also a residential director at Sparc from 2009 to 2015 and a residential services director at Brother James Court in Springfield from 2005 to 2009.
Dowd says Pathway is a pretty well-known organization due to its close proximity to Springfield, so when he became aware of the opening for the Executive Director’s position, he knew it was an organization he wanted to be a part of.
“I knew about The Attic. I had some colleagues who knew about the store and how it employs folks with disabilities in achieving its mission so I thought that was really a pretty neat way to get folks engaged. I knew about the residential program. Actually, I had an employee that was here for a while, Rodney LaFever who came to SPARC while I was still there so I learned a little bit about Pathway from Rodney as well. Like I said, as far as in the D.D. community, it’s a well know agency, well respected and I wanted to be a part of it.”
Dowd says he would like to explore ways of how to grow Pathway in both the residential and vocational departments including a goal of reducing the number of residents in group homes from eight to four overtime, as well as increasing the number of paid opportunities for the people Pathway supports.
Originally from just down the road in Missouri, Dowd is a graduate of Quincy University and currently lives in the Springfield area with his wife and their three children. Part of the hiring agreement is that Dowd and his family will be relocating to Jacksonville, which he says is more familiar to him than one might think.
“I’ve been a mid-westerner my entire life. I grew up in St. Louis and ended up in Springfield about seventeen years ago. So I’ve been around the area for quite a while and actually lived in Jacksonville for a little while out of college. I worked at the Family Video right here as a manager in training for about six months, so I knew about Jacksonville as well and I’m happy to be back.”
Board President Kevin Eckhoff said in the announcement that in his previous roles, Dowd demonstrated strong relationships with his agency’s individuals, their family members, co-workers, and community leaders, and the board of directors is excited to have Ryan as their new leader.
Dowd will officially take over April 1 when Maryjane Million, current executive director, retires.