Meet Matt Kasik, CEO at Apace (GoApace.com) – formerly Region V Services.
Tell us a little about your business. – Apace is Nebraska’s largest provider of services to those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We support approximately 800 individuals at 20 locations within southeast Nebraska, including the Lincoln and Omaha metro area.
Apace offers new experiences and opportunities that enrich life for people with disabilities through residential and independent living supports, day programs and job services. Seeing people as people, Apace connects individuals with disabilities to the resources they need to control (and celebrate) everyday life.
How did you get started in the business? – My oldest brother, Randy, has cerebral palsy. Living with and around him my whole life prepared me in ways that I could not have done through the workplace alone. When I make decisions now, I think, ‘How might this affect the people we support or their families?’
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally? – I’ve experienced several, but one of the most challenging initiatives that I have been a part of has been rebranding of Region V Services to Apace. Renaming a 50-year organization is very hard, especially considering the personal nature we have with our employers. Our longest tenured staff just celebrated her 45th anniversary, and I would guess that she proudly stated that she worked at Region V Services hundreds if not thousands of times. Because of this personal nature, gaining consensus was hard but was ultimately achieved. We chose the name ‘Apace,’ which means going or advancing at the same rate as something and can be used as a synonym for alongside.
What has been your most important achievement professionally? – While I worked at the Journal Star, I started Journal Star Recycling, a curbside recycling service. No other newspaper in the country operated a service like this, making this truly unique. Bringing this service from a concept to the reality of serving over 4,000 customers was personally gratifying but also had a measurable impact on the community: between 2011 and 2019, disposal rates at Lincoln’s landfill decreased by 10%.
Tell us a little about your family. – My wife Lisa and I will be celebrating our 20-year anniversary in November. We have three daughters: our oldest daughter Paige and her wife Susannah live in Omaha, Leighton is a junior at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and Ashlynn is a senior at Lincoln East High School.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off? – I enjoy running, hiking, biking and lake time. I prefer a good football or basketball game to a show or movie.
What local nonprofit organization are you passionate about or involved with, and are there any special reasons why? – The Apace Foundation (formerly the Region V Foundation). Our foundation supports the mission of Apace and aims to improve the lives of those with disabilities in Nebraska. In recent years, we have started Empowering Possible grants, which provide direct funding to an individual or group who has an unfunded need. Over the past two years, we have awarded funding for adaptive equipment, once in a lifetime trips or experiences and funding for a choir. This choir is based out of our Crete location and is made up of the individuals we support and staff. Our choir performed in the Rotunda of the State Capital building last year.