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(Springfield) – After eighteen years as Executive Director for the Community Blood Center of the Ozarks, Don Thomson has announced his plans to retire on June 19, 2014. He shared the announcement with the board of directors for the not-for-profit blood center in September and plans are underway for selecting his replacement.

“Don is an extraordinary leader, whose vision and commitment to our community helped make the dream of a community blood center possible,” says Dr. Margaret Janssen, current board chair. “He helped guide the blood center through the challenging startup years to become an organization respected nationwide for an outstanding track record in quality, service, and efficiency in our industry. We owe him a big debt of gratitude for his dedication and passion and wish him well in his retirement.”

Under Thomson’s leadership, the blood center has become the sole-provider of blood products to 38-hospitals throughout the Ozarks. In 2009, he led the move to the current operational headquarters at Plainview and Campbell in Springfield, which more than doubled the organization’s capacity and provided the resources needed to respond to the rapidly changing healthcare environment in our region.

“When our community made the decision to start our own blood center back in 1995, we committed ourselves to a mission built on the premise of accountability to the people of the Ozarks. Today, after serving more than one and half million donors and countless patients, we remain true to that founding principle. I am proud of what we have accomplished here in the Ozarks and look forward to watching the blood center continue our mission of saving lives for many years to come,” Thomson said.

The board of directors has appointed an executive search team to seek candidates for Thomson’s replacement. The team consists of the current board executive committee and includes Steve Edwards, CEO and President of CoxHealth.

“As a member of the search team, I will work closely with the other members of the board to identify a new executive director,” said Edwards. “However, it will be a challenge to replace Don, because he is in rarefied air… among the best leaders I have ever known. The organization is extremely well run, with an excellent staff, and Don has agreed to stay in his role until the new executive assumes these duties.”

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