Crossroad Child & Family Services, based in Fort Wayne, Ind., has announced that Randall J. Rider, president and CEO since 2006, will retire in January 2021.
Rider joined Crossroad in 1980 as a therapist and team leader. His ability to lead was quickly noted: Rider was promoted to director of professional services in 1994 and to chief administrative officer in 2004. A licensed social worker and marriage and family therapist, he also provides therapy on a private basis because, as he says, “I love being a counselor.”
During his 41 years at Crossroad, Rider has been involved in the evolution and improvement of Crossroad programs and services, understanding the value of measuring and utilizing outcomes to create effective therapeutic programs. Since 2006, when he was named president and CEO, Rider has helped Crossroad expand its community wraparound and outpatient programs; open its counseling office in Huntington, Ind.; guide Crossroad Academy’s accreditation process as alternative education academy; and open Northeast Indiana’s first emergency mental health shelter car program. He also oversaw the construction of two new important buildings: a 15-bed unit for Crossroad’s psychiatric residential treatment facility and secure care program, which provides space for children on the waiting list; and a new ADA-compliant treatment and welcome center for therapy, case management, and administrative services.
“I hope my biggest accomplishment will be judged as having been true to my calling to touch a few lives along the way and help make them better,” Rider says. “That is what it’s always been about: programs, policies and buildings are only a means to an end.”
Rider knows the importance of community agencies partnering for positive outcomes. During his tenure, he has served on the Indiana Association of Resources and Child Advocacy (IARCA) Board of Directors. He has worked collaboratively to create and originally host Allen County’s System of Care, a significant influence in the local community. He also has helped Crossroad partner with other county-wide service providers.
“For 47 years — 41 at Crossroad — his unwavering focus on doing all that is best for children and families has been clearly understood by those around him,” says Corinna England, Crossroad Board Chair. “Randy has had a profound influence on the lives of countless children and families over more than four decades. His integrity, dedication, skills, and humble spirit are quite evident.”
Rider earned a bachelor of science degree from Ball State University and a master’s degree in clinical psychology from the University of St. Francis. After graduating from Ball State, he began work for the then-St. Joseph County Department of Public Welfare, where his success in placing children paved the way for him to bring his desire to make sure children receive the care and services they need to Crossroad.
In looking back over his time at Crossroad, Rider says he will miss the teams and the challenge of the position. “I’ve been lucky throughout my career to be part of some great teams of competent professionals unafraid to face challenges together, and find solutions to problems big and small,” he says. “I’ll miss the people by my side, and the ‘jazz’ — or adrenaline — of tackling the next big thing.”
In retirement, Rider says he is most looking forward to spending “more time with my wife of 47 years, who has sacrificed so much so that I could do this work she knew was important to me. And then there is my first grandchild to get to know, books to read, and places to go!”
Always the counselor, Rider says he intends to keep up his private therapy practice. “I’ve done a part-time private practice in marriage and family therapy for over 25 years,” he says. “I hope to continue that as long as people think I have something to offer.”
The Crossroad Board is working on its plans to search for the next president and CEO.