Empac CEO Gordon Rogers set to retire

08/19/2014 9:59 AM

08/19/2014 6:32 PM

After 17 years as CEO of Empac, a Wichita-based employee-assistance program provider, Gordon Rogers is preparing for retirement.

Rogers, who turns 65 on Friday, will retire Aug. 28.

“We have some children in Kansas City and grandkids and … we’re going to move up there,” he said. “I really enjoy the job here. (But) I’m ready to slow down some.”

Rogers has been with Empac for 21 years. He originally joined the organization as a counselor and therapist, and worked in that capacity for four years, he said.

“He’s been a great leader,” said Nikki Vancuren, Empac’s board president. “We’re greatly going to miss him. He’s put in a lot of time and dedication to the organization.”

Empac, which is a nonprofit organization, was established in May 1977 with start-up money from the state of Kansas and $18,000 from the city of Wichita.

The funding was aimed at getting the organization started to provide a low-cost employee assistance program to employers in the city. The intent was once it was operational, revenue from the companies that used its services would support the organization.

“Our mission is to help employees and help employers,” Rogers said. “A lot of times people’s behavior or performance is not good in the workplace because they have issues or concerns (outside the workplace).”

Empac provides a number of services, including counseling and therapy on marriage and family issues, grief and substance abuse. It also provides critical incident stress debriefings and training to employers and employees on topics such as positive ways to work with negative people, he said.

“We have (employees) who are licensed, clinical marriage and family therapists, people who are licensed clinical counselors and people who have master of social work degrees,” Rogers said.

Some of the clients for Empac’s EAP have included Beech Aircraft, Gates Learjet and Pizza Hut. Some of its employer-clients also govern Empac. Rogers said its board comprises representatives of four client companies based from each of three categories: large, medium and small employers.

“Everybody works together,” he said. “It’s a good arrangement.”

Empac is based on the ninth floor of the Garvey Center at 300 W. Douglas, where it has 15 employees.

Rogers said that over the years, Empac has grown to serve 162 companies with employees in 42 states. Some of its largest local employers include Spirit AeroSystems, Intrust Bank and Bombardier Learjet.

Empac’s board is in the process of selecting a new CEO. Rogers said Jo Lynn Bright will serve as interim CEO.

Reach Jerry Siebenmark at 316-268-6576 or jsiebenmark@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @jsiebenmark.

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