lacasa, Inc. announced today that James (Jim) Davis has been named its Chief Operating Officer. The position is new to lacasa and reflects growth in both the impact and complexity of the agency. It reflects a commitment to continuity throughout its upcoming executive transition and to increased county-wide impact going forward. Larry Gautsche, lacasa’s president for more than 16 years, will retire in August, 2018.

While happening in the midst of the agency’s search for the next President/CEO of the agency, this move reflects a permanent change to the organizational structure.  Says Gautsche, “the formalization of a COO role is both a recognition of the growing complexity and scope of lacasa, Inc. services and positioning the organization for greater county-wide impact.  lacasa has committed to a bold 5-year strategic plan that addresses a spectrum of community development needs.  The addition of this position allows lacasa’s president to focus on relationship building and key strategic initiatives to advance the organization’s strategic plan.  Jim’s 10 years as lacasa’s CFO, proven leadership with many lacasa initiatives, and previous business experience make him a natural selection for the COO role.”

Mr. Davis has served lacasa in the role of VP Finance/CFO for the past 10 years, playing a key role in the tremendous growth of the agency during that time. During his tenure, lacasa’s net assets have grown from $3.4 million to $14.4 million.  The agency has managed growth in complexity, going from managing three legal entities to six, and from owning and operating 110 quality housing units to 324.

Davis has 36 years of experience in public accounting, manufacturing finance and operations, and affordable housing finance. Previously, he worked in a variety of management roles during a 20+ year career at NIBCO, Inc.

Seeing the need for this structural change, lacasa reorganized its Finance department in the spring to boost its capabilities and allow for a shift in Davis’s focus. As the Chief Operating Officer, he will continue to oversee financial performance, while developing and managing frameworks that ensure performance of day-to-day operations and execution of lacasa’s five-year strategic initiatives. He will oversee internal processes and procedures, human relations, technologies and data management, and project management.

Comments lacasa Board Chair Barb Hassan, “lacasa’s executive transition comes during a time when we are actively looking at what it means to truly be a countywide agency. We have grown and will continue to grow. A COO is important now and will only become more important as lacasa works at strategic initiatives over the next 5 years. We couldn’t be more thrilled that Jim is taking on this challenge. I hope it conveys our seriousness about growing in impact in Elkhart County.”

For Jim, this is about capitalizing on lacasa’s growth and continuing to strengthen its impact. “My new role is primarily inward-focused, helping to make lacasa better so we can serve the community better.  Our strategic plan is designed to expand the agency’s reach, both programmatically and geographically.  Strengthening the internal organization is a key pillar in that plan. I am excited to partner with lacasa’s CEO in this new role to serve the lacasa team and the community.”