When the dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you, when the work you put in is realized, let yourself feel the pride but always stay humble and kind.” – Tim McGraw
No two words describe Chief Financial Officer Doug Reid better than the words humble and kind. With a commanding presence and a lifetime of stories, the one thing that stands out the most when talking with Doug is his undeniable love of two things: people and numbers. “I am who I am today –as is everybody – because of the experiences of my life and the people who have surrounded me,” Doug said in a recent interview about his pending retirement.
Doug’s final day at Perkins will be December 23, 2016. This will be the closing day of a 33-year career that spans many changes in special education, position titles and personnel. Through it all, one thing remains the same – Doug’s love for all things Perkins and his belief that excellence in all things will get you everywhere.
“Excellence is the word I would use to describe both Perkins and my history here. It came from the leadership and was refined during my tenure,” Doug said. “There has never been tolerance for anything but excellence. It is simply how we do things. I have heard that we are best in class, and I know that to be true. When you focus on excellence and everyone is on board with that being the driving force, people feel better about what they are doing, and they become committed to their jobs and the agency.”
Doug’s love of all things financial was something he advocated for and shared with all employees. He regularly encouraged the youngest employees – as well as those with more years under their belt – to save for retirement. He was also well known for going to bat for the best health care packages available. Doug was well known for his strong mentoring skills as is evidenced by the longevity of many of Perkins’ employees. In Doug’s time, Perkins staff went from 140 to 325 people strong. He was also a driving force behind Perkins growing campus.
“Doug was a key member of the executive management group that, along with a visionary board and committed donors, catapulted Perkins through a period of dramatic expansion and diversification evident in the addition of a dozen buildings,” Executive Director Emeritus Charlie Conroy said. “In the process, Perkins was transformed from a small, all-residential school for children and adults with intellectual disabilities into the multi-service, human services agency it is today which serves individuals and families, some with special needs and some not, from infants to seniors.”
Doug’s ability to work with many organizations allowed Perkins to become the first organization to join with the Department of Elementary and Special Education to embark on a program reconstruction project for Perkin’s residential program. It was from this program reconstruction- which began in 1999 – that the Janeway Education Building was created. “The school borrowed $8.3 million dollars to refinance the Janeway mortgage and fund the Child Development Center,” Doug explained. Thanks to Doug’s savvy financial skills and his relationship with Clinton Savings Bank, he was successful in reducing the interest rate on the loan thus saving $1.2 million dollars over the course of the loan – a huge coup for the agency.
Doug – always hoping to offer something of himself to another – has this advice for those who may one day hope to be in his position, “Once you get into a job, be flexible,” he said. “Listen, observe and be honest. Learn everything you can about the business side of things, and then know what’s most important – the people – the numbers will come. It’s what you trained for, but know the people and be respectful because at the end of the day it’s the people that matter.”
On Friday night, December 9, Perkins trustees, special guests and employees honored Doug with a dinner and recognition of his service. Perkins Chief Executive Officer, Michael Ames, kicked off the event by talking about Doug’s 33 years as a committed employee. He provided a “then and now” comparison of the agency in terms of the annual budget which in 1984 was two million dollars and today stands at 22 million dollars. The agency endowment at the time of Doug’s hiring was one million dollars and is now over 10 million dollars. Michael noted the growth of the campus crediting Doug with the role he played in strengthening the agency to include the financing/construction of the Janeway Education building.
Director of Administration and Finance Lisa Harrington, who has worked with Doug for 21 years said, “It is motivating to work with someone who truly cares about Perkins. Doug has never been one to take any credit for Perkins’ success. He more often than not remarks that it is his business office team who really do all the work. He has always been humble.”
Ask any employee on campus and there are three things you regularly hear about Doug – he is tall – really, really tall – good-natured, and he is extremely skilled in managing money. “As our CFO, Doug has been the go – to man for all financial matters, not only for this organization but for other financial officers in the commonwealth,” Trustee Stan Starr said. “He leaves Perkins in the best financial condition we have ever been in and he is the last of the big three (Charlie Conroy and Laura Beckman being the other two) that made Perkins what it is today.”
During Friday night’s ceremony Doug was presented with an official citation from State Representative Harold J. Naughton of the office of the State Senate in recognition of his retirement and 33 years of dedicated service to Perkins. He also received a plaque from the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Association of Approved Private Schools Jim Major for exceptional service in his role as a resource to other chief financial officers. Recently, Doug received a citation from Senator Jennifer Flanagan for 33 years of dedicated service. Doug’s impact will be felt at Perkins for years to come.
When not changing lives and managing money at Perkins, Doug can be found at home with his wife, Patty. They have raised a son and a daughter and are the proud grandparents to three. In retirement, Doug plans to spend time in his Naples, Florida home, volunteer for the local food pantry and drive for Meals on Wheels. He will continue to sing in the church choir (a lifelong passion), play golf, travel, and spend time with his grandchildren.
“There is so much we’ve done in my time here that I feel good about,” Doug said. “We allocated resources for the best outcomes for the populations we serve while letting the heart override the financial piece when necessary.”
In the words of Tim McGraw that so reflect Doug’s career and his life:“When you get where you’re goin’, don’t forget to turn back around, and help the next one in line. Always stay humble and kind.”