New leader at Living Well Disability Services

Thomas Gillespie is the new president and CEO of Mendota eights-based Living Well Disability Services, a leader in providing exceptional […]

Thomas Gillespie

Thomas Gillespie is the new president and CEO of Mendota eights-based Living Well Disability Services, a leader in providing exceptional services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He’ll start his new duties this month.

Gillespie has more than 15 years of senior management experience working across the spectrum of roles in the disability services industry including executive leadership, operations management and group home management. His resume includes more than a decade of strategic leadership at Minnesota disability service providers, most recently as executive director of the Duluth Regional Care Center (DRCC), Duluth. Prior to that Gillespie was chief program officer of Hammer Residences in Wayzata. Hammer Residences provides services for more than 1,900 people impacted by disabilities, Hammer has 550 staff in locations across the Twin Cities region.

Gillespie succeeds Rod Carlson, who has been Interim president and CEO as well as chief operating officer (COO) for the past year. Carlson will continue as COO. Living Well Disability Services provides residential and customized services to people in their own home, their family’s home or in one of our 33 group homes throughout the 10-county region.

“We are excited to have Tom lead Living Well Disability Services as we focus on continued growth and our leadership in providing exceptional services,” said Paul Hillen, the nonprofit’s board chairman. Hillen cites Gillespie’s extensive experience in disability services at all levels, including providing strong leadership in both operational and strategic areas, as plusses in his new role.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Living Well Disability Services team,” said Gillespie. “It is a true honor to join an organization that serves and employs such great people. Living Well has built its strong reputation by nurturing relationships and living our mission every day. I look forward to reinforcing these foundations while we look to the opportunities and challenges ahead. Despite the uncertainty that surrounds us these days, Living Well has stayed true to its mission and commitment to exceptional services. It is an honor to join such a great organization and I cannot wait to get to work.”

As DRCC leader, Gillespie successfully increased year-over-year growth, created a new human resources department, and engaged in efforts to work with legislators for support of front line workers. At Hammer, Gillespie was responsible for services across all departments and provided strategic direction for more than 1,900 individuals with disabilities, ensuring opportunities and engaging activities of their choosing. He had worked at hammer since 2003 and held several posts there.

Gillespie is on the board of directors for the Association of Residential Resources in Minnesota (ARRM). He received an undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Minnesota, Duluth and an MBA from Concordia University St. Paul.

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