The MSA Society for Community Living in Abbotsford has announced the retirement of long-serving executive director Richard Ashton.
Ashton has led the agency for the last 25 years and will leave at the end of June.
New executive director Julie Pariseau began her new position on May 22.
Ashton began his career as manager of a group home on Mill Lake Road in 1991, and was appointed executive director of the agency in 1992.
He was instrumental in the growth and development of the agency from a sheltered workshop to a strong and well-respected organization that provides a broad range of supports to the community.
These include a day program for more than 80 individuals, and residential support in a group home and two apartments.
In addition, Ashton has overseen the development of a successful homeshare program that supports over 20 individuals in caring family settings as well as implementing an independent support service that advocates for individuals and families in the community.
In 1996, Ashton was a key contributor to the Refocus initiative, a pilot project dedicated to providing more individualized programs for people with disabilities.
Ashton also obtained internationally recognized CARF certification for the agency, ensuring a culture of best practices and continuous improvement.
Pariseau has dedicated her entire career to the social services sector, including nine years with Chilliwack Community Services as a director of youth services, family services, social housing and employment.
Her educational achievements include a master’s degree in leadership and a child and youth care diploma. She is also a CARF accredited surveyor.