After nearly 40 years as president and CEO of Upstate Caring Partners, formerly Upstate Cerebral Palsy, Louis B. Tehan is stepping down, the agency has announced.
Tehan announced his retirement on May 1, and Gene DeCondo, current chief operating officer of UCP, assumed leadership of the agency as executive director.
A native of Utica, Tehan joined UCP, formerly United Cerebral Palsy, as executive director in 1979. At that time, the agency had a budget of $1 million with one building serving 450 individuals.
Over the course of the next four decades, recognizing the need to serve people within their communities with more personalized and focused care, Tehan paved the way for the rapid acquisition of new buildings and treatment sites, as well as the development of new programs tailored to meet the needs of children, adults and their families across New York, the agency said.
Since opening its first residence in 1986, UCP has since opened more than 50 additional sites for children and adults across seven counties and expanded services to offer medical, behavioral, and emotional or physical supports centered on the needs of the individual person.
Tehan has been the voice for thousands of people with differing abilities who were unable to speak or advocate for their needs, the agency said, adding that throughout his tenure, he has tirelessly advocated for increased supports for the people who receive UCP’s services, including comfortable and home-like residential options, paid work opportunities, family support options to help family members cope with caring for a loved one with a disability, recreation opportunities and other life-enhancing programs and services to ensure that people with disabilities are treated with dignity and able to reach their fullest potential.
He also has lobbied for and is committed to supporting staff through increased wages for direct support workers – those who are on the front lines each day caring for the people we support on a one-on-one basis.
“While I’ve learned many things over the past 39 years, I believe the most important lessons have come from the courageous pioneers that started our agency, as well as the committed board members, senior administrative staff who are second to none in our field, and the thousands of staff at all levels providing direct care services that are simply amazing and the backbone of our agency,” said Tehan.
“Our agency has matured as the leader of quality, individually based innovative services, and it is our honor and privilege to serve every person as if he or she were the only person receiving those services – for this I am so proud,” Tehan added.
DeCondo began his career with UCP in 2008 as the executive vice-president and later was named chief operating officer/chief financial officer in November 2016. Through his diligent attention to the fiscal environment at the local and state level and within the agency, DeCondo has navigated between the complex funding streams for people with differing abilities. In addition to handling an extensive budget across multiple affiliate agencies, he was executive director of Mohawk Valley Handicapped Services, Inc., an affiliate that served as a holding corporation for several UCP facilities.
During his tenure, DeCondo also served as a shared executive director of affiliate agency, the E. John Gavras Center in Auburn.
“I am pleased and encouraged to announce the Board of Directors has approved Mr. DeCondo as the Upstate Cerebral Palsy executive director, effective May 1,” said Tehan. “I’m sure you will find Geno’s steadfast leadership and drive for the highest level of quality measurable services to be the continued hallmark of our great organization.”
UCP Board President Andrew Ward said, “I am confident that Mr. DeCondo will continue Mr. Tehan’s legacy of compassion, dedication and advocacy to the people we support, proving a tremendous leader propelling the agency into a promising and exciting future of providing exceptional services to our community and beyond.”