Wayzata-based Hammer Residences, Inc. has selected John Estrem as its new CEO.
The appointment follows the unexpected passing last August of Tim Nelson, who had served as the organization’s leader since 2000.
In Nelson’s absence, Lisbeth Armstrong has acted as Interim CEO at Hammer. Armstrong will resume her position as the Director of Program Services when Estrem begins his responsibilities as CEO on Feb. 21.
“John’s passion for our mission was evident at our first meeting," Armstrong said. "His dedication to serve and to provide exemplary services closely mirrors mine and that of all of our employees. I look forward to working with him as we begin a new chapter at Hammer."
“Our diligent search process led us to an exciting choice in John Estrem,” said Jon Matejcek, Hammer Board President. “His business acumen and experience in advocacy, fundraising and public affairs are what Hammer needs right now. John’s experience will be an excellent complement to the quality and operational expertise already in place at Hammer.”
Estrem’s background includes 24 years of commitment to local social service organizations. As CEO for Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Estrem led 550 people and 42 different programs serving families in crisis and managed a $36 million operating budget. Most recently, he served as Executive Director of Episcopal Community Services, a multi-service social servicesagency in Minneapolis.
"Joining Hammer is a great honor for me,” said Estrem. “I worked as a direct support professional early in my career. I have always held in my thoughts that I might return to this field and support people with developmental disabilities once again.”
Estrem has significant leadership experience in operational effectiveness, fundraising, public affairs, volunteer management and working with boards of directors. He began his academic career at St. Cloud State Universitystudying special education and completed his undergraduate work at St. Thomas University. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Divinity from St. Paul Seminary and a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Administration from the University of Notre Dame.
“My vision is to continue a legacy of service in the disability services field unmatched in Minnesota,” Estrem said. “Since Alvina Hammer founded this organization in 1923, this organization has held a unique place in the hearts and minds of Minnesotans. Hammer is a community that breathes life into words like ‘respecting an individual’s abilities and realizing dreams.’ It is a privilege to be given the opportunity to work side by side with the men and women who have made Hammer the thriving organization it is today.”
Hammer is a nonprofit organization providing quality services for adults and children with developmental disabilities. Founded in 1923, it was one of only two Minnesota organizations at that time to offer people with disabilities the opportunity to thrive in a school and home setting.
Hammer supports 275 individuals in both residential and in-home settings, and more than 500 individuals through customized support services. It manages 36 residential sites and runs nine apartment programs throughout the western suburbs of the Twin Cities. Hammer has 443 employees and 550 active volunteers