Written by The Business Journal Staff
Fresno County Economic Opportunities Commission
What we do:
The commission helps improve lives and boosts economic opportunities through education, energy assistance programs, community development, health programs, youth outreach and development programs, nutrition programs, employment and training, economic development and transportation services.
I attended Fitchburg State University in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial psychology.
Jeff, son; John, son; Lyndsey, daughter; Melissa, daughter-in-law; and Ryley, grandson, live in New Jersey, Lyndsey lives in New Mexico and John lives in Tennessee. Ryley is just 4 ½ months old.
How long have you served as executive director of the Fresno County Economic Opportunities Commission and what are your main responsibilities?
I have served as economic director for 16 months. The director position is like a chief executive officer. I oversee all operations, administration, employees and decisions made at the Fresno County EOC. I report to a board of directors.
What is the new vision of EOC? What is the strategic plan?
As an entrepreneurial agency, we bridge the gap to self-sufficiency by providing opportunities and resources as we initiate and partner in shared community efforts to improve the quality of life. The goal is to empower individuals who thrive as healthy self-sufficient and contributing members of our communities. We want healthy communities with equal access to social justice, jobs, education and resources.
Where does your funding come from and how much do you receive? How do your programs assist Fresno County?
EOC operates on an annual budget of approximately $160 million and employees over 1,300 full and part-time staff members. Sources of revenue consist of all levels of government, donations, businesses and user fees. Due to the wide variety of services provided by the commission, staff is extremely experienced in management, operations and financial aspects of all levels of human services and economic development. The agency’s success can be measured by the various dimensions of services and its demonstrated ability in reaching and servicing the target population. In the past year, for example, the agency provided preschool education and supportive services to more than 3,500 children, more than 4,000 youth received shelter and crisis support, senior citizens received more than 900 meals daily, more than 26,000 women and children received nutrition education and supplemental food vouchers per month, health services provided services to 4,592 patients and more than 1,200 homes were weatherized to conserve energy and reduce fuel costs.
Will the EOC be affected by state and federal budget cuts and how will it affect the community?
That’s still to be determined. We have seen very little in the way of cuts this year. However, we’re up in the air for next year. Home energy assistance, a federal program is under attack. We don’t see any damage to the Head Start (pre-school) program.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like arts, music and sports. I go to symphonies and support the arts. And I’m part of the Red Sox (baseball) nation.
How did you become interested in helping people?
In college as a 21-year-old I would go the neighborhood youth center in Massachusetts where I would mentor a kid. A recruiter came through own and asked me to join AmeriCorps’ Vista (fight poverty) program. I was then stationed one town over. I decided to go at it. I felt I could make a difference. Later I my current job posted on a national website. I was looking to move up the career ladder.