Working in direct care? That’s how Arthur’s management team got their start

At Arthur’s and ACR Homes, knowing how to provide the best possible care for our clients is a way of life.

In fact, many of our top administrators first joined us as direct care providers (DCPs) before transferring their skills to management roles. And many say that one-to-one experience has helped them enormously when it comes to understanding the philosophies and standards of care that make Arthur’s so exceptional.

“It’s astonishing — like 92% of the people who work in administrative roles with us have done direct care,” notes Deb Nygaard, director of development for both Arthur’s and ACR Homes. “That is not common. If you love this company’s philosophy and values and who it hires, there are so many opportunities for growth here.”

Nygaard herself joined ACR as a DCP 30 years ago before working her way up to increasing levels of responsibility. These days she heads up marketing, builds community relationships and oversees the transfer of new clients to the company’s homes.

“What’s kept me here is knowing I am a part of helping people live their best lives — not just people with disabilities, but our staff too,” she explains. “I see their young lives changed by this job, and I see college students constantly changing careers because the people we support have the magic to do that.”

Some other examples of ACR leaders who started as DCPs:

  • ACR Homes & Arthur’s CEO Jim Nelson was actively involved in direct care when he co-founded the company with his wife, Dorothy Nelson, in 1981. For that reason, he now makes a point of soliciting monthly staff input on how the organization should be run through ACR’s “Open Sourcing” program. “Most of the policies … have originated from our staff,” he explains. “Obviously our staff are the ones working with our clients and they see what their needs are. They can see where we can make improvements in a procedure or policy to improve our care.”
  • ACR Homes & Arthur’s COO Gene Leistico also got his start at ACR working direct care in 1995 while in college, before moving into work in various departments, and then to management.
  • Arthur’s Director of Housing and Services Kate Jaeb looks back fondly on her days working closely with clients as a live-in housing manager at both ACR Homes and Arthur’s Senior Care’s Emmert location. “Some of my favorite memories are from time spent around the dining room table talking, reminiscing, watching the deer, playing “Name That Tune” or “Hangman” and even asking for parenting advice for my own kids,” she notes.
  • Jean Wolfe, who holds degrees in chemical engineering and interior design, joined Arthur’s as a part-time DCP three years after seeing her daughter transformed by her work at ACR. Soon after, she left her other job to join ACR full-time; since then she’s become housing manager. “I never expected the relationships to form that did,” she notes. “I think as you go through life, experience changes what you think and what you do. I love the relationships I’m building with my co-workers and the clients and even the clients’ families.”
  • Hannah Brosted joined ACR as a part-time DCP during college; now she’s a live-in housing manager at Arthur’s, joined by her husband and infant son. “Being at Arthur’s just felt like being at home, and I was getting paid for it,” she explains of her work transition. “I kept picking up extra shifts because that’s where my heart was. (Clients) come to Arthur’s and we can see the positive changes in their overall well-being and the joy and gratitude from their families.”