UDS Announces New President/CEO


Upon accepting the recommendation of the Executive Search Committee of the UDS Board of Directors, United Disability Services is excited to welcome Brian Thomas as the Agency’s next president/CEO. He will begin his new role on August 20 replacing retiring President/CEO Howard Taylor who will remain with UDS through the end of the year to help ensure the smooth transition of leadership.

“Brian is a dynamic leader who believes in the UDS mission and its clients,” says Theresa Carter, president of OMNOVA Foundation. “He is a strategic thinker, and a visionary, with an innate ability to bring people together to support the vision.”

Thomas leaves his current position as president/CEO of AAA Akron Auto Club after a long and successful career to follow a passion for helping to improve the lives of those with disabilities. His outstanding qualifications combined with a personal connection to issues of disability made him the standout among the final five candidates interviewed for the position.

“Brian is able to motivate and excite the people around him,” says William Considine, CEO/president, Akron Children’s Hospital. “He empowers people and celebrates their accomplishments.”

He is a familiar face to UDS having served in various positions on the Agency’s Board of Directors since 2003, most recently as vice chair.  He is a native of Akron who has demonstrated a lifetime of leadership with strong ties in the community having served on the boards of some of the area’s largest not-for-profit organizations including the Victim Assistance Program, United Way of Summit County and the All-American Soap Box Derby. He holds a bachelor’s degree from The University of Akron and is also a graduate of Leadership Akron Class XVIII.

The mission of UDS is deeply personal for Thomas. He brings a firsthand knowledge and understanding of the opportunities and challenges that face UDS and the people served by the Agency. He has a sister with a disability and comes from a large family dedicated to helping her make the most of her potential. Generations of his family have worked at Camp Christopher, his father, Ray Thomas, is the retired executive director of the ARC of Summit and Portage Counties, and his parents have fostered numerous children including many with disabilities.

“The Board and staff members of UDS are looking forward to working with Brian as a collaborative leader and compassionate advocate,” says Amanda Leffler, chairperson, UDS Board of Directors, “He is committed to honoring the rich history of UDS and building on an already strong organization for years to come.”