New CAP president sees position as a 'calling'

October 22, 2003|PHIL PENDLETON

LANCASTER - After working a dozen years as an executive at Hitachi Automotive Products in Harrodsburg, a change was in store for Bill Mills.

"It was a very spiritual decision," Mills said of his move from a for-profit manufacturing industry to become president of the Christian Appalachian Project, which for now is based in Lancaster.

Mills wasn't actively looking for a position in a not-for-profit organization such as CAP, but he feels his new position answers a calling that was placed on his life.

"Through a major series of events in my life, it became very clear that this opportunity was something that I needed to pursue. This is the Lord's will for my life," said Mills, adding that he was drawn to the organization based on its mission statement which is focused on helping people in need through physical, spiritual and emotional support.


"There's a difference between a hand-out and a hand-up," he said. "CAP is about lending a hand-up."

Mills has four goals for CAP under his leadership.

First, he wants to maximize current and future programs that help the people the organization serves. Secondly, he wants to support employees.

"CAP has a tremendous employee base," he said. "I have been so impressed and excited to work with the employees here."

Third, Mills said he will work toward enhancing CAP's history of strong volunteer support, and fourth, he wants to increase funds, which is currently done through direct mail and by a process referred to as operation sharing, which results in goods being collected from throughout the country.

He also wants to understand CAP's outreach in each county it serves. "And clearly define what the needs are and ensure that we're providing the services and that each county needs," he said.

Mills currently works out of the organization's headquarters in Lancaster but will relocate to Mount Vernon and then establish a permanent office in Hager Hill near Paintsville. CAP is in the process of moving its headquarters to eastern Kentucky, which will take about two to three years, Mills said.

"CAP's focus is on distressed counties," said Mills when asked about the organization's future presence in Lancaster. "In the past and in the future, CAP will focus its efforts on those areas. You can look on a map and see which counties are distressed and which are not.

"The plan was made some time ago to move this office (in Lancaster) to eastern Kentucky," he said.

Mills said there are some plans for the building on Crab Orchard Street following the final CAP exodus but said he could not disclose those at this time. He said the purpose of moving to eastern Kentucky is to be more aligned to distressed counties.

Mills said he does not see the need for any other major changes in the organization.

"It wouldn't be wise of me to jump in and start making additional changes," he said. "CAP has a lot of strong managers and directors, employees that I have very quickly developed a lot of confidence in."

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