Open Arms Care is proud to have a committed Board of Directors. Their leadership guides who we are and how we serve. With varying backgrounds and skill sets, they provide for a firm foundation for all that Open Arms Care accomplishes each and every day.
Robert J. Taylor, IV
Mr. Taylor became President and Treasurer of Open Arms effective November 1, 1991; he became a Director in 1992 and Chief Executive Officer in 2000. Since 1988, Mr. Taylor has been the President of Taylor Consulting Group, Inc., a business and financial consulting firm. In 2014 he became a Partner at Bennett Thrasher, LLP, the eighth largest accounting firm in Atlanta and ranked in the top 100 public accounting firms. Mr. Taylor’s experience includes work with clients in the areas of strategic planning, operational and capital budgeting, transaction due diligence, the assessment of funding alternatives, business valuations, and litigation support. This experience has been across a wide range of industries, but a significant portion has been with healthcare providers. From 1979 through 1988 Mr. Taylor was employed by Ernst & Whinney (currently Ernst & Young) in its Atlanta office. At Ernst & Whinney Mr. Taylor was co-director of the Cost Management/Finance consulting practice. In this capacity his responsibilities included business development, project direction, recruiting and coordination of practice related administrative support activities. Prior to joining Ernst & Whinney, Mr. Taylor was the owner of a commercial and residential remodeling firm for more than two years, employed by a bank holding company as assistant chief auditor for three years, and employed by a building supply company for one year.
Mr. Taylor is a Certified Public Accountant in the states of Georgia and Florida. Mr. Taylor holds a B.A. in Economics from Washington and Lee University and a M.B.A. in Finance from Georgia State University. He is a member of the AICPA, the Georgia Society of CPAs and the Association for Corporate Growth. Mr. Taylor has served as chairman of the Management Consulting Services Committee, is a representative on the Business Valuation and Litigation Services Committee within the Georgia Society of CPAs and is active in the development of professional education seminars for CPAs within the State of Georgia. In addition, he serves as an officer and member of the Board of Directors for Georgia Special Olympics, Compeer Atlanta and AMIS (Atlanta Ministry with International Students). Mr. Taylor is an active member of Northside United Methodist Church and is a resident of Atlanta, Georgia.
Douglas B. Kline
“During my 25 years on the Open Arms Care Board of Directors I have taken great pride in our mission. My long tenure on the Board is due in large measure to the satisfaction of seeing that mission realized in the commitment by our employees to supporting individual development so each client can attain his or her maximum potential and quality of life. It is very encouraging to hear examples of amazing development and progress made by our clients and to read heart-warming testimonials received from family members of our clients. I have a great admiration and respect for our employees, including so many with extended years of service. Their dedication to OAC and our clients is extraordinary and they have demonstrated resilience and determination in overcoming numerous operational and funding obstacles while succeeding in their efforts to make sure our clients have a safe, clean and pleasant environment in which to live dignified lives.” – Doug Kline
Doug Kline has more than 40 years of progressive financial and operational experience in several industries, including healthcare. Before joining Jackson Healthcare in May of 2005, he was engaged in independent financial consulting for two years with various clients including Volvo Construction Equipment. During the 14 years prior to that, he held CFO and Senior Vice President Operations positions with two companies in the construction equipment rental industry. Jackson Healthcare is a privately held $600 million company with multiple operating divisions in healthcare staffing and software businesses.
A certified public accountant (CPA) in Florida with BS (accounting) and MBA degrees from Florida State University, Mr. Kline spent the first seven years of his career in public accounting with Price Waterhouse. He then served as Director of Internal Audit for a diversified public holding company during the next five years and then held two CFO positions (home healthcare and restaurant industries) before the equipment rental industry positions mentioned above.
Mr. Kline has been a Director of Open Arms Care since 1989.
“OAC is committed to their values. They live it every day, really live it. It’s not just lip service.” – Jane Buffaloe
Mary Ellis Richardson
Ms. Richardson began her involvement with the Open Arms programs in 1991 when her son became a resident in one of the Knoxville group homes. She has been actively involved with the Knoxville programs since that time, as well as serving as a representative for various corporate committees. Professionally, Ms. Richardson served as an attorney-advisor at the Social Security Administration Office of Hearings and Appeals in Knoxville. From 1988 to 1995, Ms. Richardson served as a staff attorney for the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement for the U.S. Department of Interior in Knoxville. Prior to this she practiced in the areas of general corporate law, estate planning and litigation as an associate attorney for Wagner, Myers & Sanger, P.C., was a corporate legal assistant for Alston & Bird, in Atlanta, Georgia, and served for three years as the Head Women’s Tennis Coach at the University of Tennessee. Ms. Richardson was an accomplished tennis player during her collegiate career, playing at the number one singles position during all four years at Furman University. She was inducted into the Furman University Hall of Fame in 1985.
Ms. Richardson received her J.D. Degree from the Georgia State University College of Law and holds a B.A. Degree in Philosophy from Furman University where she graduated Cum Laude.
She is a active member at Church Street United Methodist Church where she serves as a member of the Finance Committee. She is on the Board of Directors and is Tennis Committee Chair at the Knoxville Racquet Club, a coach’s assistant in Little League Baseball-Challenger Division, and has been a coordinator/coach of American Youth Soccer Organization Leagues.
Central Support Office
Providing support to each of the city operations, the team at the Central Support Office is located in Brentwood, Tennessee. Charged with the oversight of financial, quality and facility operations the team works closely with Executive Directors and their staff to maintain an efficient operation dedicated to service.
Stephen Westbrook, CPA, CGMA
Chief Financial Officer
Having served in both public accounting and with private companies, Stephen Westbrook is a CFO/CPA corporate leader whose work has spanned nearly 28 years – 16 as CFO, 18 years in the non-profit sector, and eight years in public.
His fiscal management encompasses corporate accounting, financial strategy, analysis and oversight; and the design and implementation of scalable financial reporting structures across diverse business platforms. he has also been involved in several turnaround operations leading to organizational recovery, stability and sustainability.
Stephen’s corporate leadership brings proven proficiency in developing internal key performance indicators (kpi’s) to provide insight for company success, profitability and growth.
He has served on professional local and national boards including the Lutheran Financial Managers Association. He is a member of the AICPA and the TSCPA.
Director of Facilities
Freddie Vanderveer joined Open Arms Care in May, 2001 as Director of Facilities. He graduated from Southeastern Louisiana University with a Business Administration degree. His work experience includes facility operations and licensure compliance, maintenance, janitorial, and new construction oversight for Cumberland Health Services, David Lipscomb University and Span Tech Conveyors. Freddie provides guidance and leadership in supporting all city operations.
Director of Quality and Improvement
Each city operation is lead by an Executive Director. Their leadership guides the daily operations at group homes, day programs and their local support office. Learn more about each individual city operation at Our Communities.
Executive Director, Nashville
“Our employes exemplify what it means to be caring and compassionate. It is a pleasure to come to work every day and work with such phenomenal people.” – Sue Cook
Sue joined Open Arms Care in January, 1991. She has served as Executive Director of the Nashville Operations since 1998. Cook received a Bachelor of Science degree in Management and Organizational Development from Bethel University.
Her career in Developmental Disabilities began as a direct support staff member in 1988 at intermediate care facility in Davenport, Iowa.
Cook has been appointed to the 2014 Board of Examiners by the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence (TNCPE). This is her third year as an examiner. Additionally, she is an advocate on behalf of providers through the Network of Community Organizations (TNCO), the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR), and The Association of Professional Developmental Disabilities Administrators.
Sue also volunteers her time and talents, serving Special Olympics, Hands on Nashville, and the Music City Marathon.
Executive Director, Memphis
“We provide quality, individualized care. It’s the most important thing we can do for those we serve and their families. Families who entrust their loved ones to our care can rest a little easier knowing that 24 hours a day, seven days a week, we are there with arms wide open to provide nurturing support.” – Vicki Cox
Vicki Cox joined the Open Arms Care family in 1999 and currently serves as the Executive Director of Memphis Operations. Vicki received her Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration from The University of Mississippi and Master of Public Health from The University of Tennessee.
Cox started her career in the Intellectual and Disabilities field as a Direct Support Professional in an Intermediate Care Facility in her home state of Mississippi. After several years working in the field, she joined the Knoxville city operations of Open Arms Care where in the span of ten years she served in a number of roles including Program Coordinator, Program Services Director and Day Services Director. Vicki’s love for Open Arms Care clients and dedication to helping those with intellectual and developmental disabilities led to her placement at the Memphis Operations in 2009 as the Executive Director.
Cox was appointed to the 2011 and 2012 Board of Examiners for the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence (TNCPE).
Vicki is active in the Memphis community, often speaking and volunteering in activities for youth. She is also a half marathoner and an active member of the Memphis Runners Track Club.
Executive Director, Chattanooga
“OAC employees are among the most talented, skilled and compassionate people you will ever meet. Our core values attract people who are willing to work hard to fulfill the OAC mission. I am honored to work every day with a group of people that make such a positive difference in the lives of the people we serve.” – Lisa King
Lisa King joined Open Arms Care in September of 1993. She has served as the Executive Director since 2002. Lisa received her Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Business from Covenant College and her Masters Degree in Business from Central Michigan University.
Lisa began her career with Open Arms Care as the receptionist. She later became the Businesses Services Director and Assistant Administrator prior to becoming Executive Director in 2002.
King graduated the Leadership Chattanooga Program sponsored by the Chattanooga Chamber Foundation in May 2012. King was appointed to the 2011 and 2012 Board of Examiners by the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence (TNCPE). King has served on the steering committee for the National Association of QDDPs (NAQ) since 2011. King is on the Make a Wish planning committee for the Chattanooga area and is active in both Tennessee Community Organizations and The American Network of Community Options and Resources.
Executive Director, Knoxville