Lutheran Services Carolinas (LSC) recently celebrated 30 years of dedicated service by President Ted Goins, Jr.
“It does not feel like 30 years,” Goins said when presented with his years of service award. “It feels like 10 years. It’s hard to believe.”
When Goins began his healthcare career as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) he had no idea that it would eventually lead him to becoming the CEO of Lutheran Services Carolinas.
Falling in love with long-term care
He began working in long-term care at a for-profit nursing home, the Brian Center, while he attended Lenoir-Rhyne University.
“I really fell in love with that and decided that’s what I was looking for in a career. I talked to them about training me as an administrator, but they didn’t have the space,” Goins said.
That was when his mother, Frances, suggested he reach out to the Rev. Robert Q. Beard, who was president of LSC at the time. Beard must have recognized Goins’ potential, because he offered him the opportunity to train as an administrator at Trinity Oaks health and rehab in Salisbury. At that time, Isaac Kuhn was the administrator and the building was only five years old.
“Isaac Kuhn was known as Mr. Lutheran Home,” said Goins. “I could not have had two better mentors than Mr. Kuhn and Rev. Beard!”
Once he received his administrator license, Goins accepted a position in the LSC administrative office.
As the assistant to the executive director, Goins says he got experience in a lot of different areas, from operations to fundraising.
His goal, however, was to be an administrator. “We only had three facilities at the time,” Goins said, “so it didn’t look like I was ever going to get that opportunity.”
So in order to pursue his dream, Goins left LSC and returned to the Brian Center Corporation, working there for seven years. During that time, Goins learned about the business side of health and human services from Brian Center Corporation President Donald Beaver and his team, helping open two new facilities.
“Every time I see Don I thank him for teaching me the business side of health and human services. LSC taught me the mission side, and Don Beaver taught me the business side,” Goins said. “I learned a lot, but I always really wanted to come back to LSC.”
He was finally given the opportunity when Lutheran Home, now Trinity Village, opened in Hickory in 1990. LSC called to see if Goins was interested in the administrator position. Of course, he accepted, and he served in that capacity for 10 years.
One computer for the whole building
When Goins started the new position, he realized the building still had the same furniture as when he visited it for the first time with his Lutheran pastor father, Ted Goins, Sr., in 1962 when it was new.
Residents still smoked in the building, and there was exactly one computer for everyone to use.
“When I arrived there were a bunch of boxes sitting in the corner. I asked what they were and learned that LSC had purchased each facility one computer for the entire building,” Goins said. “When I asked why it was still sitting there in the box, I was told that everyone was afraid of it, so they stuck it in the administrator’s office for storage. So I told them to get it out and set it up so we could see what it would do!”
‘More growth on our plate than any time in our history’
In 2000, the position of President and CEO at LSC became available and Goins was selected to fill the role.
Since then, he said the thing he is most proud of is how the nonprofit continues to grow.
“We needed to get bigger or we weren’t going to survive,” Goins said. “We built four nursing homes in five years and that was certainly something that was very unusual, especially for a nonprofit. Then came the affiliation with Lutheran Family Services, expansions and renovations across the state, and of course, Trinity Landing in Wilmington.”
The growth in the culture
LSC’s physical growth – adding more programs and care communities – has been important, but he says that the evolution of LSC’s culture of abundant living has been even more important.
Goins is proud that LSC was an early adopter of innovative ideas about caring for seniors. Through programs like New Pathways, Wellspring, and the Eden Alternative, LSC embraced resident-centered care and made providing abundant living a priority. Programs like Just Culture and the LSC Way have focused on nurturing a sense of teamwork and a culture of customer service among LSC teammates.
Through it all, the church has been an important partner, Goins says. “In fulfilling our mission, it’s been very important to me that we maintain and nurture our close ties to the church, including the North and South Carolina synods and the many congregations in the Carolinas who have supported us over the years, as well as Lutheran Services in America,” Goins said. “Our Lutheran roots are incredibly important to us.”