ROCKVILLE, MD — Under the leadership of Dr. Michael Wirth-Davis, Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota’s (GESMN’s) trajectory has soared upward. From retail growth to innovative mission collaborations that help open doors to brighter futures, the St. Paul-based Goodwill® has made leaps and gains since Wirth-Davis took the helm.

For these reasons, Goodwill Industries International honors Wirth-Davis with the 2022 J.D. Robins Jr. Distinguished Career Award, which recognizes a Goodwill CEO for outstanding career contributions and dedication to the advancement of the Goodwill network over a span of at least 25 years.

The list of accomplishments during his 30-year tenure is extensive; highlights include:

  • Growing partnerships and workforce development programs with life-changing outcomes: GESMN participants experience an average annual increase in earnings of $26,452 and 82% are employed after six months.
  • Connecting over 4,500 people to career services annually; increasing retail locations from 7 to its current 45 local stores, 3 outlets, e-commerce and aftermarket operations.
  • Leadership on dozens of boards ranging from the Minnesota Charities Review Council, to Workability International, to the Nonprofit Assistance Fund; creating the Minnesota Employment Service Consortium (MESC) of workforce development leaders to affect systems change and advocate with lawmakers.
  • Championing both sustainability and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives to spark meaningful change and add lasting benefit to the community.

“Beyond this impressive growth is the story of a leader who has stayed true to the mission and purpose of Goodwill, and everyone Goodwill serves,” said Steven C. Preston, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “We are grateful to honor Michael for his more than 30 years of leadership as well as for his commitment to Goodwill and passion for serving his community.”

Wirth-Davis’ Leadership

With a human services background in the areas of differently abled and rehabilitation services, Dr. Wirth-Davis channeled his skills and passion into improving the lives of those around him. As a result, GESMN has been recognized for its operational and programmatic excellence, expertise serving individuals with multiple barriers to work and independence and developing creative collaborations for service delivery.

Over 30 years, Wirth-Davis oversaw retail growth to increase proceeds available for programs that connect people to work. The organization is a Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA) certified training provider, accredited postsecondary school and has consistently maintained CARF certification since 1977.

“Michael’s work reflects the strength of his belief that systemic change is both important and possible,” said Wendy Mahling, board chair, GESMN. “He believes that everyone deserves equitable access to employment opportunities and leads with purpose to spark meaningful change in our community. He has walked the talk with integrity and purpose in serving people with barriers to work and independence.”

Outside of GESMN, Wirth-Davis is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs and a member of its Future Services Institute and Nonprofit Leadership Center. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Hamline University’s School of Business Graduate Program in Nonprofit Management. He is frequently sought after as a speaker/facilitator and holds a doctorate in public administration and management.

Wirth-Davis has served on the Goodwill Industries International (GII) national board, GII Conference of Executives and other taskforces/committees. His contributions have been acknowledged by GII through national awards, including the Goodwill Sustainability Champion Award (2020), the P.J. Trevethan Award for outstanding contributions to training and development of personnel (2011), and the Kenneth K. King Management Award for executive excellence (2001).

Wirth-Davis received the J.D. Robins Jr. Distinguished Career Award at the February 2022 Goodwill Annual Meeting of the Conference of Executives in Phoenix, AZ.

Goodwill Industries International is a network of 155 community-based, autonomous organizations in the United States and Canada with a presence in 12 other countries. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit that helps people find employment, Goodwill is recognized with GuideStar’s highest rating, the Platinum Seal of Approval.

Local Goodwill organizations offer employment opportunities, job placement and training services, and other community-based programs, which are funded by selling donated clothing and household items in nearly 3,300 stores and online at ShopGoodwill.com®.

For more information or to find a Goodwill location near you, visit goodwill.org. Follow us on Twitter: @GoodwillIntl and @GoodwillCapHill, and find us on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube: GoodwillIntl. Register for our Legislative Action Center via advocate.goodwill.org.

Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that offers job training and customized career support to eliminate barriers to work and independence. Proceeds from thrift retail, e-commerce, grants and financial contributions fund our services that help Minnesotans get equitable access to employment opportunities and realize the power of work. Shopping and donating divert over 65 million pounds from local landfills annually and have helped us connect people to jobs since 1919. Visit gesmn.org or follow @goodwillmn.

[email protected]

Melissa Becker
Marketing & Communication Director
Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota
Phone: (651) 379-5955
[email protected]