Willy Funkhouser: New Executive Director at Rockbridge Area Occupational Center
Willy Funkhouser is the new executive director of Rockbridge Area Occupational Center (RAOC) in Buena Vista, an organization that gives employment to disabled adults throughout the county. He accepted the position that Tom Craft held for six productive and successful years and who will, according to Craft, bring a new and beneficial approach to running the center. Craft stated that “the true future of RAOC will be to further develop industry and business contracts to provide work for the employees of RAOC” and believes that the organization has hired the right man for the job.
At the end of a 20 year career in the army, Funkhouser became an assistant commandant at VMI before recently retiring. He feels that the management and organizational skills that he utilized in the military will be useful in guiding RAOC and says that he looks forward to the opportunity to serve the center and the community. Like Craft, he has a family member who has a disability. Funkhouser believes the knowledge that has come from that experience allows him to better understand the needs of the employees and says, “I want them to have successful work experiences and to gain a sense of accomplishment and recognition for what they have done”.
Funkhouser explained that in addition to filling business and industry contracts by doing labor-intensive piece work, and therefore saving both money and time for companies, the center’s mobile crew also performs a variety of outdoor chores. The bonded and insured crew does yard maintenance (mulching, mowing, trimming), debris clean-up, deck and fence painting, janitorial services, and fence installation. He added that the center runs a shredding business for both business and private needs in which shredding bins are delivered and picked up as needed. The center also makes and sells Adirondack- style outdoor wooden furniture. RAOC, Funkhouser concluded, has a great deal to offer to the community.