Voss steers Seamark Ranch through unprecedented times, need for expanded growth

By Wesley LeBlanc
Posted 1/13/21

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Greg is the new CEO of Seamark Ranch and his focus are the children that call the ranch their home.

Seamark Ranch is a place where at-risk children can live when other …

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Voss steers Seamark Ranch through unprecedented times, need for expanded growth

Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Greg is the new CEO of Seamark Ranch and his focus are the children that call the ranch their home.

Seamark Ranch is a place where at-risk children can live when other living conditions aren’t an option. If a child or teenager can’t live in their current environment, the ranch west of Penney Farms can become a transformational option. The goal for all residents, however, is form them to return home once their conditions improve.

That’s Voss’ sales pitch for the not-for-profit organization, and he’s ready to lead the ranch further into the future.

“Our goal is to give them something they didn’t have, be it a strong-parent household, a new set of positive circumstances, a chance at something resembling vacation or a sense of work that feels fulfilling,” Voss said. “Our No. 1 goal above all else is to give them a loving home.”

Seamark Ranch is more than just a home for sleeping and eating. It’s a ranch complete with its own classical Christian education-based school. This means the ranch can be an all-around experience. The children can sleep, shower, eat and live at the ranch, wake up each morning and learn in the school, and then work on the ranch tending to livestock and crops.

That all-encompassing on-site experience is why Voss uses the word “transformational” to describe the ranch in one word.

Voss has lived in Florida for 15 years after originally hailing from the New Jersey-Maryland-District of Columbia area of the east coast. He worked in sports and entertainment media and marketing, including jobs with the Washington Redskins and Washington Capitals before moving to Florida where he eventually became the vice president of operations for the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce, where he further cut his business-oriented teeth.

He went through a recruiter first, then an interview with a search committee and an interview with the ranch’s executive committee before he was brought on to replace Fred Meiner. Voss has been with the ranch since last June and he’s learned something new every day.

“You know, starting a new job like this, it’s like drinking from a fire hydrant because there’s just so much to learn,” Voss said. “We have a great board of directors so obviously very early on, what I prioritized was getting to know the board members and the staff really well. Getting to know the major stakeholders of this organization was important too and building relationships with every single person at the ranch or involved with us.

“But I’m in my own now and we’re making great strides for the future of this ranch.”

Voss came into the nonprofit at a very interesting time with the COVID-19 pandemic. He not only had to learn to steer this organization, but steer it through the storm.

“There were so many different things to think about and apply between masks, safety protocols, social distancing, sanitization and everything else, but we did it and we honestly haven’t had much of a problem at all with the virus,” Voss said. “I’m very thankful for the staff in that regard.”

Voss foresees a new sports complex and new school-related buildings in the ranch’s future, he said. Ground already has been broken on a new sports complex dedicated to a child and friend of the ranch that recently passed away. It will be known as Cole’s Courts, and Voss said naming the complex in Cole’s honor is a great way to memorialize him forever.

“We want to build more homes on the ranch as well, but in order to do that, we need to expand our school because it’s at capacity,” Voss said. “We’re going to launch a more aggressive campaign to raise funds soon and get an add-on to the school builds and we hope to start construction on that project by the end of 2021.”

Voss said the ranch also wants to be more aggressive about vocational training too due to the number of those staying at the ranch who need ways to transition from ranch life when they turn 18. The ranch is also always working on community partnerships because those are the heartbeat of what keeps the ranch going, Voss said.

“We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without the support of the community and the people that work here,” Voss said. “We have a great group of people that work at Seamark that are dedicated professionals who want to do what’s best for the kids in our care.

“I can’t say enough good things about the people that work here. Seamark is what it is because of them.”

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