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Headshot of Richard Houck, Board Member

“The opportunity that Dogwood has to use significant funds to impact this small of a population is amazing.”

Richard Houck

When Rick Houck retired as a Rear Admiral with the U.S. Coast Guard, he and his wife settled in Hawaii, her native state, and built what they thought would be their “forever home.” Having moved 16 times, they did not think they would ever move again.  But when first visiting Brevard, they bought land on a mountain looking out on the Blue Ridge Mountains and now say, “Why vacation? We’re here.”

Originally from the Chicago suburbs, Rick earned a BS degree in nuclear engineering and naval architecture from the Coast Guard Academy where he was also a gymnast.  He began in engineering with the Coast Guard and later earned an MBA from Pepperdine University and a master’s in mechanical engineering from the Naval Post Graduate School.  He served in afloat and ashore engineering and management positions including three start-up units.  As a flag officer, he served as the Coast Guard’s CFO and Commander of the Coast Guard in the Pacific Northwest.  His career was about “building new organizations” having also led three significant reorganizations during his tenure.  

Rick has contributed to each of the communities in which he’s lived, working with the Red Cross, Nature Conservancy and local Chambers of Commerce, symphonies and festivals, among others.  Naturally, he sought out community service opportunities soon after arriving in Brevard in the summer of 2018.  He now volunteers with the Transylvania Transportation Commission, Brevard Music Center, and mountain bike clubs.

Rick says that when he learned about Dogwood Health Trust, he “wanted to get involved right away.”  Having experience in organizational development and design as well as strategic planning, his background and interests fully align with Dogwood’s development.

“My whole career has been about transforming organizational structures but the opportunity that Dogwood has to use such significant funds to impact this small of a population is amazing.”

“To get to the root cause, not just responsively solving the symptoms, will reduce the need for food banks, shelters, or remedial programs for kids.  Dogwood can do both, and we have the intellect and desire of the Board and staff to do both.  We can be responsive when needed, but investing now in opioid abuse prevention, racial equity and affordable housing will preclude the need for responsive interventions later.”