Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly names executive director

HANCOCK – Because Chris DeGiulio knows some local residents, he found a new job as executive director of the Hancock office of Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly.

DeGiulio said he learned about the opening for a replacement for the former LBFE executive director, Mike Aten, from his girlfriend who lives in Hancock. Her mother saw the ad for the position in the Gazette and told her daughter about it.

DeGiulio said he applied right away after seeing a description of the position on the LBFE website.

“I sent an e-mail to the search committee,” he said.

Although it was early in the search process, DeGiulio said he was able to get a two-hour interview for the job in May because he was in the area to visit his girlfriend.

“It went great,” he said.

DeGiulio said in New Jersey he was the chief financial officer for a non-profit organization called Brand New Day, which provides housing, education and economic opportunities for low-income residents. Before that, he worked at a community action program in northern New Jersey.

DeGiulio said he was planning to find another job after his son graduated from high school, and that happened to coincide with the opening for the LBFE position.

“Everything just came together, in terms of timing,” he said.

In doing research about the local LBFE, DeGiulio said he learned residents hold the organization in high regard, and that was influential in his decision to take the job.

“I was really excited about the opportunity,” he said.

Little Brothers of the Poor was started in France in 1946 by a nobleman named Armand Marquiset with the intention of giving support to elderly people who were suffering from the after effects of World War II. In 1959, the organization expanded to the United States with an office in Chicago, which is the United States headquarters. Its name became Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly. In 1972, an office opened in Minneapolis, and in 1979, an office opened in Boston. There are also offices in San Francisco, Philadelphia, Cincinnati and Miami.

The Houghton County Upper Michigan Chapter of LBFE started in an apartment on White Street in Hancock on May 1, 1982. After a year, the office moved to a house on M-26 in Ripley, which they rented with an option to buy. In 1999, a third move put them into their current office on Hancock Street in Hancock.

Michael Lydon, president of the LBFE board of directors, said the process to find a replacement for Aten included creating a search committee, which defined the position, then posted the opening with other LBFE organizations in the country, online employment sites, the Gazette and other western Upper Peninsula newspapers.

Lydon said 15 applications were received, and from that, five applicants were chosen for interviews, but one dropped out.

“We ended up interviewing four people,” he said.

The applicants were from New York, New Jersey, Grand Rapids, and one local, Lydon said.

A list of questions, which included management ability and style and fiscal knowledge were asked of each applicant, Lydon said. They also met LBFE staff and some board members.

The interview process lasted a full day, and the applicants were very closely matched.

“They were in a hair’s breadth of each other,” Lydon said.

DeGiulio was hired in late August and his first day on the job was Oct. 1.

Aten said the LBFE board of directors allowed him to be in on the process to find his replacement, and everyone was very impressed with DeGiulio.

“In the end the (choice for DeGiulio) was unanimous,” Aten said.

Although he’s no longer executive director of LBFE, Aten said he’s still involved with the organization and is part of the process to create a separate local foundation, which is expected to be completed during the current fiscal year. Until now, the local chapter has been using the national LBFE foundation for certain funding.

Aten said he’s pleased with the choice of DeGiulio, and he can move on to his next position knowing the organization will do well.

“I feel so comfortable and so assured Chris is the right candidate,” he said.

DeGiulio said he and the staff are working to get ready for the LBFE Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter dinners, and he’s just going to do “exactly what’s working.”

The local LBFE is going to have a greater presence in Baraga, Ontonagon, and Marquette, and DeGiulio said much of his attention will be focused on that.

“They’re relying on the executive director to help with their growth,” he said.