|Says position allows him to give back and stay busy|
Staff Photo by Stacey Hairston:
Bill Loope is the new executive director of STEP Inc. in Rocky Mount.
Friday, January 31, 2014
By STACEY HAIRSTON - Staff Writer
Bill Loope is settling into his new position as executive director of STEP Inc. in Rocky Mount.
Loope replaces Jon Morris, who was the director for over eight years before leaving for a position with Family Preservation Services in Roanoke.
"My first day was Nov. 11," Loope said.
Originally from Salem, Loope left Virginia during the Vietnam War and returned last June.
He recently retired from New River Community and Technical College in West Virginia, where he was the vice president of Institutional Advancement and Workforce Education.
Prior to that, he was the executive director for the Region 1 Workforce Investment Board.
"I tried retirement and realized it wasn't something I could be content with," said Loope. "I needed a position where I could give back and stay busy. This was a perfect match for both."
Loope is a graduate of Bluefield State College and Mountain State University. He is currently enrolled at Columbia Southern University, where he is pursuing a doctorate in business administration.
STEP currently has 20 community service programs and 23 funded programs, Loope said.
"My main goal is to insure that those 20 programs are the very best in the nation," he said. "We want to serve the maximum number of people that resources will allow."
Some of those programs include Headstart and Early Headstart programs, Life's Academy, weatherization programs, homeless assistance, and assistance to seniors that includes meals and transportation.
STEP serves over 3,000 people across the counties of Franklin, Henry, Bedford, Patrick and Pittsylvania.
"Franklin County has, by far, the largest number of people being served at this time," Loope said.
Funding remains a pressing issue for STEP, he added.
"We hate when we have to turn people away because of funding," said Loope. "Like all non-profits, funding has been and will continue to be a challenge because of the recovering economy. Competition for available funds continues to increase, and everyone is expected to do more with less."
But Loope said he doesn't plan to let funding issues deter STEP's efforts to reach those in need in Franklin County.
"We want to truly enable people to be self-sufficient and lead productive lives," he said. "Every one of our programs has a success story that can be told."
Loope currently resides in Roanoke with his wife of 48 years. The couple has two children and two grandchildren, who all live in West Virginia.