Vince Pettinelli
Vince Pettinelli
PeopleServe, Inc.

Vince Pettinelli has over 40 years of senior management experience in the organization, administration, and provision of services in both the public and private sectors to persons with mental retardation, developmental disabilities, mental illness and geriatric dementia.

Vince began his career in government administration, serving as Director of Education for the Mental Health Association of Houston/Harris County, Texas; Director of Regional Services for the South Carolina Department of Mental Retardation; Commissioner for Mental Retardation for the Pennsylvania State Department of Public Welfare; and Director of the State of Ohio Joint Mental Health and Mental Retardation Advisory Review Commission. He is the former Chairman and Founder of PeopleServe Inc.

In 1979, after 15 years as a top management executive in government, he founded PeopleServe, Inc. as one of the first of its kind for-profit company created to serve persons with severely handicapping conditions.  Since it’s founding, PeopleServe had grown to a $300 million company, serving over 4,000 individuals in 12 states and the District of Columbia.  The company employed over 9,000 people, who developed and operated homes, provided residential and day programs, and consultation and training for families, care givers, and not-for-profit groups. PeopleServe was acquired by Res Care, Inc in June of 1999. Res Care provides services to persons with developmental disabilities, people with acquired brain injury, persons with severe, chronic mental illness as well as services to youth with special needs. Res Care is a publicly traded company and serves over 26,000 people in 22 states. Vince has served as a member of the Res Care Board from 1999 to 2004.

An author, lecturer and educator, Vince has written a book as well as numerous articles on the subjects of entrepreneurship and human services management.  His book, Human Services Management That Works, was published by IDS Publishing Corporation in 1993.  He is currently completing his second publication, Uneasy Choices: An Insider’s Guide to Selecting the Right Professionals to Care for a Loved One.  He has authored articles and presented conference papers for such distinguished groups as the American Association on Mental Retardation, the American Psychotherapy Association, the President’s Committee on Mental Retardation, and the National Conference of State Legislatures. Vince holds Diplomates in The American Psychotherapy Association, The American Association on Mental Retardation, The American Board of Examiners In Clinical Social Work, and the International Academy Of Behavioral Medicine, Counseling and Psychotherapy.

Born in Houston, Texas and raised in New York City, Vince received his BA degree from the University of St. Thomas (Houston, TX), and his MSW from Tulane University (New Orleans, LA).  In addition, he completed post-graduate study at the University of Alabama and the University of Wisconsin.  As an educator, Vince has served on the adjunct faculty of the Ohio State University School of Social Work, the University Of South Carolina Department Of Social Work, and the Temple University School of Social Work. Vince also served as an Executive in Residence at Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio.
Most recently, Vince was a member of the Board of Trustees of Kent State University and a member of the Advisory Council of the Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University.  In 1995, he was appointed by the governor to serve a term on the Ohio State Board of Education.

Vince is also active in the community.  Among his volunteer activities, he was a Trustee of the Ohio Business Roundtable, is Past-Chairman of the Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing, Inc., was Vice-Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the United Way of Central Ohio, a Founding Board Member of Community Research Partners and was a member of the Board of the National Center for Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation.  He and his wife Judy are residents of Naples,  Florida and maintain a home in Dublin, Ohio.

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QVince, how did you start what became one of the largest providers serving people with mental retardation and developmental disabilities?

A I am a psychotherapist by training, and I was the commissioner for mental retardation for the state of Pennsylvania. I was then recruited by the governor and legislature of Ohio and discovered it was extremely political. I was talking about developing private sector opportunities for people with disabilities in Ohio. I was doing this for the state, and then I thought maybe it's time to do this for myself. We started with a group home in Columbus for 10 people.

QSo from 10 residents, you grew to serving 7,800?

A Well, we were really good at what we did. And we had a no-reject policy. We would serve anyone so long as we had reimbursement to pay for services. So we quickly grew by taking people with difficult challenges that other providers were not interested in taking. We were one of the first proprietary companies to do that.

QThere aren't many psychotherapists on any list of champion company founders. Was that an advantage or disadvantage?

A Both. My colleagues were very skeptical. They suffer from a "sack cloth and ashes" mentality: you shouldn't profit, and doing good is enough.

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