More than three years ago, the Fort Wayne Housing Authority launched a national search for a potential replacement for its executive director, Maynard Scales, who was already well past retirement age.
Out of Rock Island, Illinois, they found a man named George Guy. Guy was given no guarantee that he would someday become the new executive director, but, as Scales put it, "He presented a vision that the board felt was in line with our mission statement."
Last Tuesday, at age 70, Scales finally retired as executive director, and Guy, 43, for three years the deputy director and the man the board put its hopes in in 2012, moved into his position.
All in all, everyone seems very pleased with how things have turned out.
"He brings a lot of new ideas," Scales said. "He understands that he is running a corporation," that the landscape can change and that the agency must be prepared to deal with the changes.
Guy will be overseeing an agency that has a $25 million budget, nearly 50 employees and serves more than 3,000 households.
Guy and the agency board would not immediately disclose his salary, but Scales made approximately $90,000 in the position.
Andrew Downs, a member of the authority board, said that in the past 10 years, organizations such as the housing authority are being encouraged to be more entrepreneurial, and Guy fits in well. "He’s coming of age when we’re becoming more entrepreneurial."
Downs said Guy understands the role of the authority, its mission and its goal of helping families become self-sufficient.
"He has broad interests on the regional and national scale," Downs said. "He’s looking for new ways to do things and increase the visibility of the housing authority locally and nationally. He’s a talented guy."
Joe Jordan, director of the Boys & Girls Clubs, where Guy is on the board of directors, sees him as a forward-?looking individual.
"He’s a visionary type of leader, and he knows how to implement ideas," Jordan said. "He can dream with you and help you get there. He knows how to get there.
"He’s definitely someone we should celebrate coming to the community and running programs. He has a passion for participants. He has a servant leadership personality," and talks of giving people the tools to be self-sufficient, Jordan said.
To Guy, the most important issue is continuity.
"There have been things we have done well," he said.
"We want to continue to do what we do in the current environment."
Guy said the first thing he wants to do is go through the agency’s strategic plan.
"How do we strengthen what we’ve done? What do we need to improve on and what can we expand?" Guy said. "We have a five-year plan. It makes sense to re-?examine it. We do that every year anyway."
Guy said he wants to start partnering with other agencies. "We can do more together" if different agencies combine efforts to educate and create social programs.
Scales made reference to what he called a changing landscape and "people who make decisions in Washington who might not be as compassionate." Guy, though, said the most important task is to "make sure we’re prepared, make sure our programs are efficient. I want to focus less on the downside of what can happen and be prepared."