A Letter from Founder and CEO, Van K. Benton
Let me begin by saying thank you for making Premier Community Services one of the most well-respected residential providers in Oklahoma. When I reflect on how far we have come since our inception in 1999, I am filled with gratitude for all of our amazing clients and employees in this close-knit community. When I launched Premier, more than 20 years ago, my plan was simple: I wanted to do a better job of exceeding the demands of the special needs community than what I experienced throughout my early career with other organizations.
The Early Years
It’s been more than 30 years ago, but I remember well when I first started out as a Habilitation Training Specialist (HTS) working a 48-hour weekend shift.The bond I formed with my client was so powerful that, to this day, I continue to be inspired by the lessons he taught me. It only took a few weeks for me to realize this is what I wanted (and needed) to do for the rest of my life.
Over the years I served in numerous roles in the industry, both residential and vocational. I believe each position provided me with a unique perspective on the industry, the clients we serve and the employees that choose this field as a profession. It wasn’t long before the idea started formulating in my mind that I could improve upon what was being offered to clients and employees.
Premier: A Dream Is Born
In 1999, Premier Community Services was established with the vision of a true community-based service organization committed to excellence of care with integrity and compassion. I immediately started hiring like-minded people from the industry with several years’ experience in the field and who also wanted to improve services provided to people in our community with developmental disabilities.
I’ve continued the practice to this day. The management team at Premier includes tenured professionals who have worked their way up from direct care (hands-on) positions to supervisor roles. Our mantra continues to be to provide the highest-quality care while treating our clients and employees with respect and dignity.
My philosophy is that we can continually improve our services by building on what works, while also being flexible and open-minded about what changes must be made to keep our clients happy, safe and living life to the fullest. That is why, to this day, I require our management staff to spend time working alongside our staff in the field so we may never lose sight of why we are here.
What Lies Ahead
Like most organizations, the most challenging issue we face moving forward is what will the new “normal” look like? The COVID-19 pandemic has sent the world into a tailspin with regards to “business as usual.” While I am sure there will be some innovative service programs developed as a result of the pandemic, there will also be some painful adjustments made with regards to service delivery, monitoring and funding.
Nevertheless, we remain committed to providing the best personalized community-based programs available to the individuals we serve and the best benefit package to the individuals we employ. I want Premier to not only be the best choice for our clientele, but the number one place to work in the industry for our employees, as well.
Again, I thank you all for making these past 20+ years a success. On behalf of all of us at Premier, we look forward to serving you in 2020 and beyond.
Van K. Benton