An unexpected change
After just a month in the new position, things took a turn that Braun didn’t expect.
“I was 33 at the time, I thought this would be a great opportunity,” Braun said. “Stay here 10 years or so and when Art leaves I might have his position. Five weeks later, Art resigned. I had no idea five weeks later he would resign. The board named me interim director and then they went through a search process, which I am not sure if they ever interviewed anyone. In Aug. of 1987 they offered me the job.”
Support of COC has always been something Braun is proud of.
“One of the things I did when I first started was I took past board meeting notes home with me and read them,” he said. “I wanted to get a sense of the history of the organization. I had some knowledge of COC, but I didn’t know all the details. One thing that impressed me is the community support, in all of our communities. From volunteers to capitol campaigns - the community has always been supportive.”
Over the years, Braun explained how COC has expanded their vocational services to Oskaloosa in 1989; residential services to Des Moines in 1990; and residential and vocational services to Indianola in 1994.
As of November 2011, Braun said that there were a total of 123 individuals on campus here in Pella.
“We have $10 million is annual revenues,” Braun said. “It was around $1.5 million when I first started with approximately 65 on staff. Sometimes people with disabilities are sold short, given low expectations. Once you get to know them, you realize more similarities than differences between yourself and them.”