History of Concerted Services, Inc.
1965 – Present
Concerted Services, Inc. (CSI) is a private non-profit organization originally established under the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 to fight America’s War on Poverty. CSI is one of approximately 1,000 such agencies across the nation known as a Community Action Agency (CAA). CAA’s serve 96% of our nation’s cities and counties.
Community Action Agencies are a primary source of support for the more than 38 million Americans who live in poverty. Through their innovative programs, these CAA’s are able to help thousands of people achieve self-sufficiency each year.
CSI started doing business under the umbrella of the Slash Pine Area Planning and Development Commission in 1965.
On October 7, 1968, Slash Pine Community Action Agency was incorporated as a private non-profit charitable organization serving Atkinson, Bacon, Brantley, Charlton, Clinch, Coffee, Pierce, and Ware counties. A name change was made on July 25, 1984 from Slash Pine Community Action Agency ,Inc. to Concerted Services, Inc.
In September of 1986, Concerted Services merged with another Community Action Agency, Communities Acting Together (CAT), which provided services in Appling, Bulloch, Candler, Effingham, Evans, Jeff Davis, Long, Tattnall, Toombs, and Wayne counties. CAT, originally known as Altamaha Area Community Action Agency, Inc., was incorporated May 18, 1965. The board of directors officially dissolved the corporation on January 5, 1987. Mr. A.C. Harrison served as the agency’s only Executive Director.
Concerted Services also operated during this same time period, On the Job Training Program (OJT), Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) in the Coastal Georgia area. These counties were Bryan, Camden, Glynn, Liberty and McIntosh. However, by June 30, 2004, the agency no longer operated programs in the coastal area due to budget constraints.
On July 1, 1997, the Heart of Georgia Altamaha area (formerly Altamaha/Georgia Southern) expanded its service delivery area. Since CSI operates the Community Care Service Program in this service delivery area, this meant that CSI’s area expanded to include Bleckley, Dodge, Laurens, Montgomery, Pulaski, Telfair, Treutlen, Wheeler, and Wilcox counties. On July 1, 2000 the State realigned the service area, removing Pulaski County and adding Johnson and Emanuel counties. CSI has an administrative office located in Mt. Vernon (Montgomery County) for the Community Care Services Program.
CSI operates some programs in 26.7% of the State of Georgia by currently operating in 28 (18%) of the 159 Georgia counties. The agency has also grown from an annual budget of $300,000 with 75 employees in 1965 to approximately $27,000,000 with over 400 employees in 2012.
Executive Board: Community Action Agencies are governed by a uniquely structured board of directors where members come from three diverse segments of each community: third low-income (target sector); third private sector; and third public sector. In 1987, the board changed its board structure to accommodate the expansion of the agency’s service delivery area to include representation of the Altamaha/Georgia Southern counties. It established the Altamaha Area Advisory Board with twenty-one (21) members. It changed the original Governing Board to an eighteen (18) member Southeast Area Advisory Board. The nine (9) member Executive Board was made up of each advisory board’s four officers plus one “roving member”. The Executive Board is “the official” agency board that conducts business for the agency.
In October of 2000, the Executive Board, the Altamaha Area Advisory Board, and the Southeast Area Advisory Board voted to combine the two advisory boards into one. The membership of the Executive Board was then made up of the four (4) officers and five (5) elected members of the combined Advisory Board.
On April 20, 2009, the Executive Board and the Advisory Board elected to restructure the board. This restructuring eliminated the Advisory Board and changed the Executive Board from a nine (9) member board to a twenty-one (21) member board. Membership is made up of one member from each of the eighteen (18) counties in the basic service delivery area and with Bulloch, Coffee, and Ware counties having two (2) members. These three counties have two representatives since they have the largest number of the target population.
Executive Board Chairmen: The first Board Chairman was Jeofry J. Jones who served from 1968 until 1997. He also chaired the Southeast Area Advisory Board from 1987 (when it was formed) until 1997. Mr. Jones, a resident of Alma, GA, was a banker and insurance executive until his retirement.
In 1987, Winton Bell became the first Altamaha Area Advisory Board Chairman. Mr. Bell was a farmer/businessman and well known and respected politician from Bellville, GA. He became the second Executive Board Chairman after the retirement of Mr. Jones in 1997. He served in this capacity and chairman of the Altamaha Advisory Board until his untimely death in 1998.
Rev. James Joyce began his service as Executive Board Chairman in 1998 until the present. Prior to that time, he served as Vice Chairman of the Altamaha Advisory Board. He became the chairman of the Altamaha Advisory Board at the same time he became the chair of the Executive Board. Rev. Joyce is an active minister of the gospel and is a resident of Vidalia, GA. He retired from the board on November 15, 2012.
On November 15, 2012, the Executive Board of CSI elected Carlos Nelson as Chairman of the Board. Mr. Nelson has been representing Ware County on the Executive Board since November 1, 2009. He is the director of the Drug Action Council in Waycross and is a Ware County Commissioner.
Executive Directors: CSI has had a few Executive Directors to lead the agency through the more than four (4) decades of existence. They are as follows:
William S. (Bill) Smith – Mr. Smith was hired January 1, 1965. He was the original Executive Director of CSI (formerly Slash Pine CAA). He served from 1965 (pre-incorporation) until 1973. Prior to his service to this agency, his field of expertise was education. He was the Charlton County Superintendent of Schools for numerous years.
Irby Dell (I.D.) Ingram – Mr. Ingram served as the second Executive Director of the agency. He served from 1973 to 1974. He had retired as Dean of Students at South Georgia College in Douglas prior to becoming Executive Director.
Father Wallace Thompson – Dr. Thompson served as Executive Director from 1974 until 1977. He held a degree in Law and a Doctorate in Divinity. He also served at Grace Episcopal Church in Waycross.
Pate C. Lowery – Mr. Lowery served as Executive Director from 1977 to 1995. His past experience was mostly in the field of education having taught at the high school, voc-tech and college levels prior to working with community action. He holds an A.A., B.B.A., M.ED., and M.S. degrees.
Ted R. Johnson – Mr. Johnson served as Executive Director from 1995 to 1996. He came to work with this agency in 1973 as director of the agency’s housing program. He later moved into the position of Administrative Director. He held this position until the Board appointed him as Executive Director in 1995. He holds a B.S. degree in Physics and Math and a M.S. degree in Management.
Pate C. Lowery – Mr. Lowery returned to CSI as Residential Services Director July 17, 1995. He once again became Executive Director on November 28, 1996. After taking a leave of absence, he was hired as Head Start Director December 16, 1997. He retired on July 15, 2000.
Clarence E. Billups – Mr. Billups served as Executive Director from 1997 to 2007. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Savannah State University and Master of Science Degree – Psychology, Counseling and Guidance from Valdosta State University. Prior to becoming Executive Director, Mr. Billups was the agency’s Head Start Director for twenty-five (25) years.
Ophelia K. Gaines – Ms. Gaines was selected as the agency’s Executive Director in November of 2007. She holds a Masters of Social Work, Summa cum Laude, from Savannah State University, and a Bachelor of Arts: Sociology, Magna cum Laude, from Albany State College. She is a past adjunct professor for Georgia Southern University and past adjunct professor in the Masters of Social Work Department of Savannah State University. Ms. Gaines was the agency’s Community Services Director for the thirty-four years prior to being selected as Executive Director.