Raintree steps in as Goodwill CEO
Goodwill Industries could hardly have planned a smoother transition between CEOs.
To replace Bob Baker, who retired in December after 18 years at the helm, the company turned this year to Shawn Raintree, an experienced business leader who had been named to the Goodwill Board of Directors in 1999 and was its chair in 2004.
“There's been great continuity,” Raintree said in an interview this week as he neared the end of his first month on the job. Also a member of the Goodwill Foundation Board of Directors, he expressed his appreciation to Baker for making the transition as painless as possible.
Headquartered in several buildings (including a store and a product warehouse) in the 2300 block of West Colorado Avenue, the non-profit business is one of the Westside's major employers, focusing on helping disabled and disadvantaged people become self-sufficient.
A 1970 graduate of the Air Force Academy, Raintree moved back to the area in 1997 to lead Kaiser Permanente's Colorado Springs start-up. More recently, he was interim CEO of the city's Fine Arts Center. He was also on the board of the Chamber of Commerce and has helped with other community organizations.
He and his wife Jes live in Monument, with two students at Lewis-Palmer High School.
Raintree doesn't come into the the new position with big plans for change. Despite his Goodwill background, he sees himself as still learning and “getting to know the team members. This is a chance to work with a strong team.”
He does expect Goodwill to expand, however, especially in response to the difficult economy. Already, he said, “we've experienced a sharp increase in the services we're providing.”
A sign of Goodwill's strength can be seen in its donations, which continue to increase. “The community support for the organization is simply extraordinary,” Raintree said.
Asked what it was about Goodwill that has continued to interest him over the years - most recently to seek the CEO position - Raintree said he likes the way its “business model” works for individuals with disabilities and disadvantages. “As I learned more, I really got 'hooked.'”
He added: “When the opportunity to serve as CEO came along, I just had to put my hat in the ring. I see my new role as continuing to build the organization and make a difference in the lives of the people we serve.”
Westside Pioneer article