Proteus, Inc. Searching for New CEO

A nationwide search is underway to find Proteus, Inc.’s new CEO following current CEO Mike McCann announcement he will retire next year after 15 years as head of the jobs, training and assistance center.

Begun in Visalia in 1967 as an adult training center, Proteus has expanded its programs during the last 50 years to offer a range of job placement, education and training for all ages, energy-saving programs, foster family placement and adoption, youth and community centers, and a range of other services. Operating 30 offices in Fresno, Kings, Tulare, Kern, San Bernardino and North Los Angeles counties, Proteus serves some 40,000 low-income customers annually.

Many-Faceted Organization

“We do just about everything,” said Jeana Brooks, communications and employee relations analyst for the organization. That broad mandate complicates the search for a new leader.

“We want someone (with a) nonprofit background,” she said. “It’s kind of hard to find, since there are so few. It’s a very specialized area. It’s very different from for-profit.”

Confusing the picture even further, Proteus’s energy division is for-profit, meaning the candidate they find to fill McCann’s shoes will need experience in both arenas. The right person will also need to have a soft spot for the people Proteus serves. Brooks cited the work and qualities of McCann’s predecessor Bill Maguy as an example.

“Someone that has a kind-of-hard to explain set of characteristics, a heart. Mr. Maguy was a former priest. Mr. McCann has the same vision. We’re looking for someone who can continue that vision,” she said. “Someone who’s also going to be flexible because this industry is always changing because of what’s happening. We’ve always just rolled along like that.”

The Right Person

The candidate who wins the job can expect an annual salary in the $110,000 to $140,000 range, and will bring maturity, energy and enthusiasm to the position. They’ll also need the normal set of business and communication skills, as well as “sensitivity to the human condition and individual differences” and commitment to the values that make Proteus unique as an organization.

“The board is seeking an individual who will continue the legacy for which Proteus, Inc. was founded, but also bring with them a clear vision for its future grown and sustainability,” said Richard Rodriguez, vice-chair of Proteus’s board of directors.

Potential candidates can find out more about the position and submit an application at

The Getting is Good

The person they pick to fill McCann’s shoes will find Proteus in top health when they take over. McCann is going to make certain of it.

“My goal is to make sure when I leave the place is in solid shape, and it is right now, so I better get while the getting is good,” he said. “It’s time. We’ve got new generations coming up. They’ve got new ideas and directions, and that’s healthy.”

McCann had his own ideas when he joined Proteus as a data systems manager in 1984, ideas born while serving in the US Navy and working as a laborer on a pear ranch in Oregon, and refined during the decade it took him to become Proteus’s chief financial officer. He put them into practice completely in 2000, when he took over as CEO from Maguy.

During McCann’s tenure as CEO, Proteus received the California Award of Performance Excellence Prospector Award in 2004 and the California Award of Performance Excellence Eureka Award in 2007. McCann sits on the board of La Cooperativa, an alliance of groups that assist farmworkers in the Western US, and served as treasurer of the Western Alliance Farmworker Advocates.

It’s Been a Privilege 

While leaving is bittersweet, the time is right to go, McCann said.

“I can hang on a few more years, but I’ve got a bucket list I want to take care of while I still can,” he said. “It involves a lot of travel, getting out of the stream.”

McCann’s retirement coincides with his wife Gail’s retirement from Fresno County Health and Human Services, and the couple will spend a lot of time visiting with relatives and reconnecting with them. They will also be doing a lot of sightseeing.

“This is an active position I’m in, so I don’t get a lot of free time to do things like that,” he said. “About half the people say you’ll hate it, the other says you’ll love it. I’m going to find out.”

No matter what he discovers, McCann will have the satisfaction of a job well done.

“It’s been humbling and a privilege,” he said. “My heart’s in what I do. We’re all servants for each other. To be able to lead in that direction has been an honor.”

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