West, son of the nonprofit treatment facility’s creator, Charles West, stepped down from his position as board chair at the end of 2012.
“All along the way, the level of quality of our care and the level of our staffing and so forth has just continued to improve,” West said. “I have a great deal of satisfaction that it delivers superb quality care and is the best in class throughout the country.”
West said there is a level of awareness and openness around mental illnesses which he watched increase since Skyland Trail’s inception.
“In fact, I think I saw a 30 percent annual growth this past year,” he said.
John Gordon, who has been working on Skyland Trail’s leadership team for more than 20 years, is taking West’s place.
“New blood creates new opportunities,” said West, who plans to take a “supporting role” with Skyland Trail.
And Gordon said he is ready for his responsibilities as board chair.
“I view myself as a servant leader to the executive team at Skyland Trail, who are incredible,” Gordon said.
As part of Skyland’s strategic plan, he said it is time to “jump in and make a change” with the fastest growing group of clients Skyland Trail sees: young adults.
“We know scientifically the earlier you can intervene, the better the chances are for a positive outcome,” Gordon said. “Were on a very deliberate task to assemble property on which we can build a facility for young adults exclusively.”
Additionally, another facet of the strategic plan is to establish a primary care clinic staff to make available to clients.
Skyland Trail President Beth Finnerty described the transition of board chairs as a “momentous bittersweet occasion.”
“Mark has served as a visionary for this organization and set the bar high for myself and all the staff here to provide high-quality, excellent services for our constituents,” Finnerty said. “John is a great person to follow Mark as chairman. He knows the organization so well. … He is truly another visionary board leader.”
She said Gordon served for about 20 years in a volunteer capacity in several ways, including chairman of finance, chair of marketing and worked on all strategic planning committees.
“My task is to help get the strategic plan realized and that will require us to approach the philanthropic community in Atlanta which has been so good to us over the years, to help us in our work to improve our community in general by helping significant numbers of people who do have mental illness issues,” Gordon said. “It touches everybody. Everybody has a friend, family member or colleague at one point or another who are going to have an episode or period in life where they really need the help.”