George Brown has served as the executive director of Clermont Senior Services for the past 20 years. After leading the agency through two decades of change and growth, he will be retiring at the end of this month.
“It has been enjoyable to be a part of a team that has been able to do so many things to help older adults stay in their homes,” Brown said of his years with the agency.
Brown said that he felt fortunate in coming to work at for an organization that already had a firm foundation when he started.
In 1991, Brown took over as director of the agency from Lois Brown Dale, who had served as executive director from the agency’s founding in 1969.
“She had been the director for 21 years before I arrived,” Brown said. “Clermont County was the first county in Ohio to pass a levy for senior services – that’s the kind of leadership that she provided.”
Much has changed in Brown’s 20 years at Senior Services. He said that when he arrived, the agency didn’t even have a fax machine.
“We would walk across the hall to the United Way office and them a dime when a fax came through for us,” he said.
That first year, the agency had a budget of approximately $2 million and employed around 60 employees, nine of whom provided home care services. Today, Clermont Senior Services has a budget of $8 million, which funds 180 employees, including 60 contracted employees who provide home care.
This growth makes it possible for the agency to serve a population that has grown from about 13,000 seniors 20 years ago to 35,000 or more today.
But for Brown, one of the most significant things that has been accomplished during his tenure is the development of senior housing.
“For me, that’s been one of the most rewarding things that I have had the pleasure of doing,” Brown said.
Over the last 15 years, six senior housing facilities have been built by Clermont County Senior Services. When the next facility, Dimmitt Woods, opens in Batavia in 2013, a total of 264 individual senior apartments will have been created by the agency.
But Brown says that not everything has changed during the past 20 years.
“The most significant thing that has not changed is the dedication of our employees in providing ‘service with heart,’” Brown said. “It may sound like a cliche, but it really is the hallmark of what we’ve been about, it has been a real constant.”
Brown says that he is looking forward to pursuing new adventures in his retirement. He will continue his weekly column for The Clermont Sun, in which readers may be privileged to read about many of those adventures.