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CEO Profiles

CEO PROFILE: Mohsen Badran Prepared to Continue Goodwill's Growth in Savannah Area

By Clark Byron
SBJ Contributor

On Feb. 15, the Savannah area welcomed the new president & CEO of Goodwill Industries of the Coastal Empire, Inc., Mohsen Badran. Badran, a native of Egypt, came to Savannah after serving 18 years with Goodwill Industries of New York and Northern New Jersey, Inc., where he was senior vice president.

He brings a vision for the organization’s future, and a clear plan for where the resources will come from to accomplish it, according to Dr. Thomas Jones, vice chair of the board of directors, and former president of Armstrong Atlantic State University.

“We feel very good about what he’s done in just the first five weeks in expanding services and strengthening relationships,” said Jones, adding that a new strategic plan is in the works.

Badran succeeded former CEO William G. Oakley who served the organization for more than 10 years with an impressive track record of leadership and growth. Oakley left Savannah last August to assume a similar position at Goodwill Industries of Central Florida in Orlando.

The interim CEO, Bardwell B. Way, the non-profit’s vice president of finance, has carried the ball since October 2010.

Badran describes his vision in very clear terms. “We want to make Goodwill Industries of the Coastal Empire the leading human services agency in the area,” he said. “We want to make sure that people in need trust us to serve them effectively,” add that his ultimate goal is that partners and stakeholders view Goodwill as the leading agency of its kind.

In recent years, Goodwill has expanded its focus beyond people with disabilities to include anyone who is facing barriers to employment, which means that new resources are needed to keep pace with the growing need.

In addition to its traditional services to persons with disabilities, new programs include helping homeless veterans, re-assimilation of incarcerated individuals, a mentorship program for at-risk youth and other employment training and assistance programs.

Goodwill has faced many of the same economic challenges other organizations have had to weather. Yet Goodwill’s business model helped keep it anchored in a whirlwind economy, according to Jones.

In 2007 gross revenues were just under $16 million. By 2009 income had grown to just over $18 million. FY 2010 saw a slight drop to $17 million. With the recent downturn in the economy, including an unforeseen drop in contract funding of just over $102,000, the organization finished 2010 with a net loss of only $34,000.

Goodwill serves 33 counties in Georgia and another four-and-a-half in South Carolina. There are no government grants supporting daily operations but there are direct service contracts with Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation, Georgia Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Labor, and the U.S. Department of Justice.

The FY 2011 operating budget projects gross revenues of over $19.5 million and an operating surplus of more than $600,000. “We have never really received much in the way of cash donations before,” said Badran. “We have to get better at asking now.” The ongoing need will always outpace the available resources. There will be many more requests for assistance than there is funding which is why more money is always needed, he explained, and he hopes the additional money will come from increasing local philanthropy.

Goodwill generates more than half of its operating revenue from its twelve area thrift stores. The thrift stores attract mass donations of gently used goods of every kind. “Goodwill is the oldest recycling organization in America,” said Badran. “We’ve been doing this for over 100 years.”

Most of the in-kind donations are resold to the public via the thrift stores. But there are other markets that leverage donated goods for optimum return. E-commerce revenues from online sales, mostly books, grossed about $67,000 in January, according to Steven Bellmoff, special projects manager at Goodwill. There is also an agreement with Dell for computer recycling. “You’ve got to be very creative,” said Badran. “There’s not just one approach.”

In keeping with a diversified funding stream, Goodwill has a unique wholly-owned subsidiary called G-Force Technologies (GFT), which supplies component parts to several aircraft manufacturers. GFT produces parts for all four Gulfstream platforms, including the G200, G450, G550, G650 series aircrafts. It employs about 150 Goodwill consumers, 90% of which have a disability. GFT is housed in a 20,000 square-feet facility and operates day and night.

GFT owns three patents in its field, and produces annual gross revenues of about $1.2 million. “We expect that figure to rise dramatically,” said Frank Jones, Principal of GFT. “We have Tier 1 status as a supplier. There is not another entity that fills this niche in the aero-space supply industry.”

GFT competes head-to-head with every other supplier, according to Jones. There is no guaranteed business. “We earn our right to exist every day. We are only as good as our last shipment.” GFT also supplies other manufactures such as Lockheed Martin, Hamilton Sundstrand and Sikorsky, and HondaJet/HACI, and expects to add Boeing and Bombardier in the near future.  

“We run Goodwill like a business,” summarized Badran. “With over eight lines of business, we’re not the typical charity.”

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