AJC article: MedShare names new CEO; co-founder steps aside in planned succession

Today, September 1, 2011, is a monumental day for MedShare. This is the day A.B. Short steps down from his post at CEO, and we welcome a new leader to our organization, Meridith Rentz.

Meridith Rentz, MedShare's CEO & President

As CEO for 13 years, A.B. was the motivational and entrepreneurial force that drove MedShare to ship $93 million worth of supplies and equipment in 700 forty-foot containers to 88 developing countries, outfit 2,100 medical teams and save over 2 million feet of cubic space from landfills in the U.S.

Meridith’s goal is to take MedShare’s innovative, global medical supply chain concept and expand its reach and social impact. She’ll do this by focusing on two interdependent priorities: 1) improve the model and 2) expand the model.

We’ll leave you with an article the Atlanta Journal Constitution ran on our CEO transition. If you wish to share your thoughts, bid farewell to A.B. or welcome Meridith, we invite you to do so on our Facebook wall or via Twitter, @MedShare or @mrentz.

MedShare names new CEO; co-founder steps aside in planning succession
by: Sheila Poole

A.B. Short, chief executive officer of Decatur-based MedShare, is stepping down from the helm of the nonprofit he co-founded.

Meridith Rentz, most recently chief operating officer of Points of Light Institute, will become the new chief executive. 

The move, which is part of a planned succession strategy, takes effect Sept. 1.

“I am not retiring, I’m not even thinking about that,” said Short, 66. “I’m moving over and inviting some youthful and creative leadership to come in and take MedShare to the next stage.”

Short, who co-founded the organization with Bob Freeman in 1998, said he will remain as Rentz’s senior adviser for an unspecified time.

 “Some of us who start things stay too long,” he said. “We get comfortable and organizations can suffer.” He said he asked the organization’s board to start the process of finding a successor about a year ago. 

MedShare collects surplus medical supplies and equipment from hospitals, companies and individuals and distributes them to health care facilities in developing nations. It also helps medical missions and safety net clinics in the United States and abroad. In doing so, the organization’s work helps reduce the amount of medical waste in landfills.

“I’m going to take off my hat here and put on my MedShare hat,” Rentz said. “MedShare is really on a fantastic trajectory.” She said her plans are to continue to provide the same “high-quality services and expand our footprint.”

MedShare currently has two warehouses — in Decatur and in San Leandro, Calif. Officials hope to expand into the Mid-Atlantic region, which would cover Boston, Philadelphia and New York; and in southern Florida.

Four months later, Alabama firefighters get back on feet with assistance from MedShare

Atlanta nonprofit provides tornado relief in the form of medical supplies to volunteer firefighters 

ATLANTA, Georgia – MedShare, an innovative nonprofit headquartered in Atlanta, partnered with the Alabama Fire College (AFC) to provide tornado relief. The nonprofit sent two 40-foot containers of medical supplies in response to the tornado that tore through the Southeast in late April.

The containers were sent on June 1 and June 30, and included over 2,000 boxes of brand new items such as syringes, infusion units, IV kits, oxygen masks, bandages, gauze, and sutures. The containers were made possible by a generous donation from Alabama-native Lewis Manderson and his wife, Faye, and various MedShare product donors.

The Alabama Association of Volunteer Fire Departments (AAVFD) works to assist the nearly 1,200 volunteer fire departments throughout the state. An enormous amount of their supply inventory was exhausted from the storms and the following relief efforts, and donations were desperately needed. Catholic Charities USA contacted the Catholic Health Association (CHA) regarding the AAVFD’s needs. CHA, a MedShare partner, connected the two organizations.

“The amazing generosity of the Manderson’s, MedShare, and Catholic Charities will help in Alabama’s continuing recovery from the April storms. It isn’t often that first responders have to ask for help, but many fire departments will be able to continue serving their communities due to the kindness of these individuals and organizations,” said Allan Rice, Executive Director of Alabama Fire College.

The AFC worked with the AAVFD and the Alabama Association of Rescue Squads to identify emergency agencies that were destroyed or that used excessive quantities of medical supplies during the tornadoes. The AFC is warehousing the donated supplies and is distributing them to the affected agencies using their vehicles and Regional Staff members.

“MedShare is an organization that typically only ships containers of humanitarian aid to needy hospitals and clinics throughout the developing world,” said A.B. Short, MedShare’s CEO and Co-founder. “Occasionally, however, we do respond to natural disasters and domestic local needs. Our nimbleness, flexibly, infrastructure and great relationships in the medical community make this possible, and we felt it our duty to assist when called upon by our neighbors for help.”

A Special Thank You from A.B. Short, our CEO & Co-Founder

Dear MedShare friends and supporters,

A.B. Short, MedShare CEO & Co-Founder

It is with pleasure that I welcome Meridith Rentz to MedShare. After thirteen years, $93 million worth of supplies shipped in 700 forty-foot containers to 88 countries, 2,100 medical teams outfitted and 2 million cubic feet of space saved from landfills, I have decided it is time to step down from the role of CEO. As of September 1, my new role at MedShare will be Senior Advisor to the CEO.

I’m confident that you are in very capable hands with Meridith. Tasked with finding my successor, MedShare’s Board of Trustees conducted a national search to find the best candidate. Their year-long process was outstanding, and we are lucky to have Meridith. She brings strong academic, healthcare and nonprofit management experience, and her passion for our mission mirrors my own.

As Jim Arnett, MedShare’s Board Chair, said, “Meridith’s experience leading high quality, innovative programs of the geographic breath and scale that MedShare aspires to will support the significant growth and expansion of our own services that is underway.”

There are many things I could say about these past thirteen years. That MedShare has attracted such a strong, committed staff has been both humbling and empowering. Our in-kind and financial donor community far exceeded our earliest expectations, as did the 18,000 community volunteers we mobilize each year to sort and pack medical supplies. The Board, remarkable in their commitment and dedication, has been my true driving force. From the very beginning, I received their encouragement to make MedShare a national leader in the medical surplus recovery and redistribution field, and to create the best model that can be replicated and grown into a truly international organization. I’m proud that this once one-person operation has, and continues to, not only fulfill, but exceed their expectations.

From this self-proclaimed “do-gooder,” I appeal to you to keep doing good. If there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that regardless of situation, all people share a commonality. We are all one family, and we should act accordingly.

YOU and the thousands of people like you make up the MedShare family. Your involvement and investment have made our vision for MedShare a reality and have created and sustained an organization that will continue to do good for many years to come. While my role may be changing, our work is not yet done and I encourage your continued support of our mission to bridge the gap between surplus and need.

Sincerely,

A.B. Short
MedShare CEO & Co-Founder

To read the letter from our Board Chair, Jim Arnett, announcing this CEO transition, click here. For more, read the Atlanta Journal Constitution coverage and the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s feature.

MedShare Welcomes Tony Blair Faiths Act Fellows

In early August, we introduced you to our Tony Blair Faiths Act Fellow, Sana Rahim and Clint Fluker. They’re doing an incredible job so far, and we’re enjoying having them!

Our CEO and Co-Founder, A.B. Short, welcomed them on the Tony Blair Faith Foundation’s blog, and we wanted to share the post with you. Click here to view, or see below.

MedShare Welcomes Tony Blair Faiths Act Fellows

By: A.B. Short, MedShare CEO & Co-Founder

Faiths Act fellows Sana Rahim and Clint Fluker, joined MedShare in late July. The two not only brought with them a wealth of experience and talent, but also a tangible new energy to our team.

Clint and Sana, MedShare's Faiths Act Fellows

You see, MedShare is aware of the potential to bridge interfaith groups in our community for a greater good, and as such, we’ve been eagerly anticipating their arrival.

To welcome Clint and Sana, we hosted a team breakfast where they had the opportunity to meet everyone. Then, to foster their understanding of how MedShare’s operates, they met with each of our various departments. I especially enjoyed sharing the history, founding, and achievements of MedShare with them.

During their year at MedShare, Clint and Sana will be working with various faith communities in Atlanta to allow those from different faith backgrounds to come together for a common cause: to improve global health.

Clint, Sana and Lindsey Barnett, MedShare's Senior Programs Manager, Sorting Medical Supplies

Their presence here has the potential to double the number of volunteers and, accordingly, our impact worldwide.

MedShare mobilizes community volunteers to sort and box the 20,000 lbs of donated medical supplies that we collect weekly, so you can see why their role is vital to MedShare’s ability to truly bridge the gap between surplus and need.

In addition to leading volunteers, our fellows plan to raise funds for joint container sponsorships, bridging those from various faith backgrounds to send 2,000 boxes of medical supplies to healthcare facilities treating victims of malaria and improving access to healthcare for women and children.

Clint and Sana with A.B. Short, MedShare CEO & Co-Founder

Most importantly, though, Clint and Sana will leave a lasting impact on the MedShare community of staff and volunteers as they lead us in a greater understanding of the way that collaborative faith can be a force for good.

I expect the Faiths Act fellows will pass along invaluable interfaith dialogue skills that we will continue to benefit from and utilize long after the fellowship has ended.

We’re honored to be a host, and happy to have them!

A.B. Short, MedShare’s CEO & Co-Founder

To learn more about medshare go to: http://www.medshare.org/

If you’d like to welcome Sana and Clint to MedShare, you can do so on our Facebook wall or via Twitter: @MedShare, @SanaRahim or @ClintFluker.