Powers named new director of center

    Mike Powers learned early on about the joys of working with children with disabilities.
   He was 19 years old and started a job as a direct-care specialist at the J.D. McCarty Center. The specialists work one-on-one with patients assisting them with daily living skills and taking them to appointments and therapy sessions. The job also includes going on field trips with the kids and participating in recreational activities with them. The trips and activities with the kids were a highlight for Powers, and those interactions left a lasting impression.
   “The center has had an incredible impact in my life, and I can’t imagine working anywhere else,” Powers said. “The patients are what has kept me here. The population we serve is truly incredible and they have taught me so many things over the years. I am a better person, both professionally and personally because of my experiences with the center.”
   Powers, 41, was named the new director and chief executive officer at the center in July after the retirement of longtime director Vicki Kuestersteffen. He has worked at the center for 22 years and previous jobs have included recreational activities specialist, director of recreational activities, Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement coordinator and deputy director.
   The Norman native earned a bachelor’s degree in administrative leadership and a master’s degree in human and health services administration from the University of Oklahoma.
   Powers said looking ahead he wants to increase awareness about the center and the resources it offers to children and families.
   “I hope that I can continue to help expand programs and outreach into areas where services are so desperately needed.  I also hope that I can contribute to expanding the brand and the name recognition of the center,” he said. “The work that we do here is truly incredible and I want as many people in our community as possible to know about the great things that happen here on a daily basis.”

Mike Powers photo
Sharla Bardin