Direction Service has a new home in Springfield

By Corinne Boyer
July 18, 2016

In 1976, Marshall Peter was hired just as Direction Service was founded. In those days, the fledgling nonprofit operated out of the University of Oregon. Shortly after, they moved to a nearby house, and later rented spaces from a variety of Eugene schools

In May of 2016, Direction Service found a new home in Springfield, Oregon. It's the first time in its 40 years that the staff and families will have professional, high quality office space. "Moving into a nicer space will create a much more welcoming environment for families," says Peter.

Aggie Agapito, Co-Director of Family Services, says the new building provides better access for families, including an elevator and better climate controlled spaces. "The old building was so cold in winter and so hot in summer. There are now 5 meeting rooms. In the old building there was only one room for everything," she says. "It was stressful at times when the only meeting space was overbooked and many of us had to scramble to find a make-shift spot in the building to meet with clients."
     CEO Aimee Walsh & Board Member Richie Weinmann in the Marshall Peter Meeting & Conference Room.
CEO Aimee Walsh & Board Member Richie Weinmann in
the Wright Meeting & Conference Room.

CEO Aimee Walsh says the nonprofit prepared for the move for over a year. "We worked with Lile Moving and Storage so we budgeted and planned for it, and staff did a great job," she says. "We upgraded some furniture and we're working with a family trust, and they have given us a tremendous rate, and we utilized relationships with vendors to make things go farther."

The day that Direction Service moved, the phones were disconnected at noon. Walsh says they were up and running in the new Springfield location by 3 p.m. "It's a priority when a family calls that they get a person to speak to," she says.

The Direction Service administrative offices are now located at 1144 Gateway Loop, Suite 200 in Springfield, Oregon.

The Direction Service Counseling Center remains to serve at 576 Olive St, Suite 300 in Eugene, Oregon.

New CEO takes the reins at Direction Service

By Corinne Boyer
July 18, 2016

In January 2016, Aimee Walsh officially stepped into her new role as Chief Executive Officer of Direction Service. Having worked for Direction Service since 1999, Walsh says the transition felt natural. She worked with former Direction Service CEO Marshall Peter for 17 years--when she began as his assistant. "He left some big shoes to fill," she says. "I'm not sure he ever slept."

Walsh says she didn't know much about Direction Service before her initial interview, which took place in the closet of a classroom. She had such a great time at the interview, she knew she'd fit in with the Direction Service team. Walsh started out in the nonprofit's lowest position while earning her bachelor's degree, and later her master's degree in special education. As CEO, she now holds the company's highest position. Peter says Walsh is brilliant.
Fmr. Direction Service CEO Marshall Peter (Center Left) & current CEO Aimee Walsh (Center Right)
"She's fast, strategic, driven, and has exquisite interpersonal skills. It's an extraordinary luxury to be able to pass the leadership of Direction Service, an organization that was my focus for almost 40 years, to someone in whom I have absolute and total confidence," says Peter.

Board of Directors President Lara Johnson says, "Aimee has great organizational skills, she's good at motivating people, and she's doing a fantastic job."

Walsh has worked with hundreds of families and played an integral role developing the nonprofit's Wraparound Program. "I built in our Wraparound Program so that even if one staff went on leave there are two [other staff] available," says Walsh. There is no waiting list, no paperwork for clients, and whenever there is a barrier to the program, she says they get to remove it. "It feels like I can get stuff done so we can be really productive," says Walsh.

Our mission: "Helping people with disabilities and special needs live full and healthy lives!"
1144 Gateway Loop, Suite 200 • Springfield, Oregon 97477, USA • Phone 541.686.5060 • Fax 541.343.6938