After 20 years of service to VISTE, Alice O’Reilly is retiring. Alice O’Reilly began working for VISTE in 1994 and has served as its Executive Director since 1995. During the past 20 years O’Reilly has become the public face of VISTE and the driving force behind its continued growth and success.
At today’s Board of Directors meeting, Steve Bissonnette, current Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors, was selected and approved by the Board as the next President of VISTE.
“I am thrilled with the selection of Steve Bissonnette for President of VISTE because of his gentle heart, integrity, and passion for all of VISTE’s elderly clients,” said O’Reilly. “I know that the future of VISTE is in good hands and all of VISTE’s clients today and tomorrow will benefit from this selection.”
A Lakeland resident who moved to Florida from Rhode Island in 1966, Steve spent most of his youth in Clearwater and eventually obtained his Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Florida State University. His volunteer efforts began through Habitat for Humanity as a college student and he eventually became the founding President of Lakeland Habitat for Humanity in 1990. After several years, he served as a liaison to local affiliates throughout Florida for the SE Regional Office of Habitat for Humanity International.
Active in the Lakeland community, Bissonnette has been involved in a variety of service organizations including: the Central Florida Speech and Hearing Center, the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, and Spring Obsession. He is also a graduate of Leadership Lakeland Class IX, and has served as the President of the Leadership Lakeland Alumni Association.
Bissonnette has worked with the City of Lakeland since 2000 as the Assistant Director of Community Development. He has most recently been the Interim Community Redevelopment Agency Manager with the City of Lakeland. His professional career spans several areas of expertise, with experience in urban planning, public administration, and non-profit management.
“The Search Committee is convinced that Steve has the leadership ability, the commitment to service, and the passion for VISTE that will enable it to continue to grow to meet the needs of our expanding elderly population,” said Larry Durrence, Search Committee Chairman.
Bissonnette has received multiple community service awards, including the Lifetime Volunteer Award from Lakeland Habitat for Humanity in 2014 for outstanding leadership. He was only the second recipient of their Lifetime Volunteer Award. He has also received the prestigious Jere Annis Award from the Leadership Lakeland Alumni Association in 2013 in recognition for outstanding leadership.
“Steve understands and has a heart for VISTE and the greater Lakeland community,” said Dan McBride, VISTE Board Chairman. “He will conscientiously continue the sacred trust of caring for our frail elderly.”
Bissonnette will be joining the VISTE staff on Jan. 12.