Human Services Programs of Carroll County, Inc. has named Scott Yard as the nonprofit’s new, permanent executive director, taking lead at the organization after the departure of Angela Gustus in July.
“I am very humbled by the board’s decision and the opportunity,” Yard said in an interview.
Yard had been serving as the director of emergency services programs within HSP since his hire in 2016, and was named acting director and has been serving in that role since Gustus left, giving HSP’s board a good opportunity to see how Yard might fit in the executive role.
“We interviewed six candidates and at least four of the six would have been a good selection for HSP,” said Bob Miller, HSP board president. “Admittedly, Scott had an inside leg up on them by serving the past four plus months as the interim; we already saw some of what he was doing.”
But Miller said that familiarity, and the prospect of a smooth, hit-the-ground-running transition if the board selected Yard for the job, was a perk to his hire, and not the deciding factor. The board selected Yard, he said, because of Yard’s interview.
“He spoke of a vision he has for where he would like to see HSP go in the future, Continuing the partnerships we have with other nonprofits, but also expanding that into the faith community and to even other nonprofits that we right now are not partnered with directly, but we could work with more efficiently the future,” Miller said. “So many of our client are shared with these other nonprofits.”
It’s a vision of service integration, Yard said of his plan, of making the interplay of HSP’s 18 programs — from emergency energy assistance to operating the five shelters in the county — more seamless for its clients.
“The big goal is how to integrate all of our services into each other, so an individual can come and they don’t get served by different programs, they get served by the agency as a whole,” he said. “I’m looking at all our programs to see how they can tie together, work together and really with the long term goal to really end poverty in Carroll County.”
Yard entered the world of social services by accident. As a freshman at what was then Western Maryland, and now McDaniel College, he had intended to study physical education and become a gym teacher. But after a freshman year spent exploring a few too many classes, his adviser told him he was a year behind on the phys ed track.
“I had to decide if I wanted to be a fifth year senior and be in school and extra year,” Yard said. “I really didn’t want to do that, so I said, what’s my options? He said, well, you could be a sociology major. I said, well, let’s give this a whirl.”
Yard started working at Target Community & Educational Services while still in college, and then later moved on to Keystone doing case management.
“I did criminal justice program working with inmates with significant mental health issues,” he said. “Then from there I went into the jail and did a shelter plus care housing program.”
After a brief foray into the insurance world, Yard realized human services was his true calling, and went to work with CHANGE Inc. for five years before moving to HSP in 2016.
“I love the possibility in this field that if you work really hard and do your best, it can equal success for someone else too,” he said. “I’ve always loved that aspect of social service.”
Now that Yard will be permanently serving in the executive director role, his success will translate to a promotion or new job for someone else, as he and the board look to find someone to fill his old role as head of the emergency services.
Miller isn’t worried about Yard’s ability to do that.
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“I’ve been on this board for 17 years, I am in my third term as president of the board, and I have worked with some impressive people in the HSP family. But this young man has a head on his shoulders that just never ceases to amaze me,” Miller said. “How he thinks about things that other people just sit and say, ‘You know, I never thought of doing it that way before.’”