Living Well Disability Services Announces New Leadership

Living Well Disability Services, a leader in providing exceptional services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, announced today Thomas Gillespie has been named as President and CEO. Rod Carlson, who has been acting Interim President and CEO as well as Chief Operating Officer (COO) for the past year will continue as COO. Gillespie’s employment with Living Well Disability Services (LWDS) will begin mid-February.  
Gillespie has more than 15 years of senior management experience working across the spectrum of roles in this industry including executive leadership, operations management, and group home management. This includes over a decade of strategic leadership at Minnesota disability service providers, most recently as Executive Director, Duluth Regional Care Center (DRCC), Duluth, MN. Prior to that Gillespie served as Chief Program Officer of Hammer Residences in Wayzata, MN. Hammer Residences provides services for more than 1,900 people impacted by disabilities with 550 staff in locations across the Twin Cities metro area in Minnesota.
“We are excited to have Tom lead LWDS as we focus on continued growth and our leadership in providing exceptional services,” said Paul Hillen, Board Chair of LWDS. “Tom’s extensive experience in disability services at all levels, including recently leading DRCC will provide strong leadership in both operational and strategic areas for LWDS. His track record of proven results, operational expertise, strategic planning, and servant leadership will help LWDS achieve both our short- and long-term goals,” continued Hillen.
“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 the Executive Director at DRCC, 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. As Chief Program Officer at Hammer, Gillespie was responsible for services across all departments and provided strategic direction for over 1,900 individuals with disabilities, ensuring opportunities and engaging activities of their choosing. Gillespie had been with Hammer Residences since 2003 where he held several positions including Chief Program Officer, Director of Systems Design and Program Director.
Gillespie is on the Board of Directors for the Association of Residential Resources in Minnesota (ARRM). He received a BAS Degree in Psychology from the University of Minnesota, Duluth, MN, and an MBA from Concordia University, St. Paul, MN.
About Living Well Disability Services
Living Well Disability Services delivers exceptional services that transform the lives of people impacted by intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities. Founded as Dakota’s Children in 1972 by parents, volunteers and community partners in West St. Paul, the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization 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 offer a broad spectrum of services to people with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, multiple sclerosis, autism, and brain injury. Innovation in services, accessibility, wellness and technology help people pursue their goals and live as independently as possible. More information is available at
Media Contact:Laurie Eggers
Source: Living Well Disability Services