Letter From the CEO: One-Month Reflections

Columbia Industries Supporters,

It was just over a month ago that I joined the Columbia Industries team as President & CEO and it has been an amazing immersion experience. It was with great pleasure that I provided remarks during the Opportunity Kitchen graduation ceremony where we celebrated three remarkable individuals, all of which gained employment post-graduation. Additionally, I have enjoyed several opportunities to connect with our clients at our Community Center. In fact, when our team at the Community Center learned I am a musician, they encouraged me to come visit on a Wednesday afternoon as clients participate in a music session. There is so much great work happening via both of these programs that provide life skills and social inclusion.

Michael on CI Express truck
Michael Novakovich helps deliver packages on a CI Express truck in Lewiston, ID.

I have also been spending time connecting with various key stakeholders who partner with us to provide job opportunities for our clients, program delivery and also help support our various endeavors financially. Additionally, we are working on a new partnership that may provide several job opportunities for clients. We will be sure to share updates as additional partnerships are solidified.

As I sit and type this note to you, I am in Lewiston, ID, which is home to CI Express our FedEx trucking division. The team has set me up on an “undercover boss” situation. I spent today on a truck delivering packages on the Washington State University campus. GO COUGS! Tomorrow I will spend time working a rural route in the Lewiston area. The intent is multifaceted, including gaining a deeper understanding of our complex operation while also spending time investing in boots-on-the-ground leadership. This exercise also provides keen insight for process improvements and future decision making for the benefit of all of our stakeholders.

As you are most likely familiar, Columbia Industries is social enterprise. Meaning, we have a number of operations, like CI Express, that generate revenue to provide the financial resources to take care of more people in our community in an expanded fashion. Even though we have four for-profit businesses that fund our five non-profit mission services, we couldn’t do what we do if it wasn’t for the support of individual donors like you and our family or corporate sponsors.

My team and I are so very appreciative of your generosity that helps provide employment services, specialized job and life skills training, career opportunities, our center for social enrichment, connectivity to community resources and more. Your investment in Columbia Industries is enhancing our ability to serve more people.  Thank you.

Keep your eyes on this amazing team and stayed tuned for more updates as we continue to expand our reach into our community to advance our mission: Columbia Industries is committed to supporting and empowering individuals with disabilities and other challenges in order to help them achieve personal success and community engagement.


Michael Novakovich
President & CEO

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