Lawrence-based Headquarters Counseling Center will soon have a new executive director.
Andy Brown, who has worked in social services in Lawrence for the past decade and a half, will lead the agency beginning May 12. He takes over for Steve Lopes, who has served as interim director since November and who will return to being a volunteer and advocate for the nonprofit.
"I started working in social services because I enjoy being able to give back to the community I live in and work with people one on one," Brown said. "I really like to go to bed at night and know something I did that day made a difference for someone else."
At Headquarters Counseling Center, which provides suicide and crisis counseling for people in Lawrence and across the state, Brown says his first goal will likely be to get the local crisis hotline back up and running 24/7. Headquarters suspended overnight services last year due to a lack of funding; people who call between midnight and 8 a.m. are directed to a national suicide hotline. At that time, the board also parted ways with Marcia Epstein, who had been the agency's executive director since 1979.
Brown most recently worked as the development director at the Lawrence Community Shelter and, before that, for Ballard Community Services and Douglas County Senior Services. He has a certificate in nonprofit management and bachelor's degree in applied sciences from Washburn University, as well as a master's degree in social work from Kansas University.
"He has extensive experience in helping with the social aspect of Lawrence," said Headquarters Board President Beth Pine. "He has years of experience with the Ballard Center and he's done great work for the Lawrence Community Shelter, and we knew that we would be able to bring that wealth of experience to Headquarters."
Headquarters is the only crisis center in Kansas that is part of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and in 2012 was tasked with developing the Kansas Youth Suicide Prevention Network.
"When it boils down to it, what Headquarters does is save lives," Brown said.