After a nationwide search for a new leader, the Board of Directors at Dogs for the Deaf, Inc. has named Blake Matray to the position of President/CEO. Matray is expected to assume his position on July 1, 2014.
“The Board Members individually and as a group spent a great deal of time over a few days getting to know Blake. We found him to be an exceptional candidate for the position. Genuine. Authentic. Approachable. Intelligent. Articulate. An inspiring leader. A dog lover that is passionate about our mission. The Board unanimously agreed that Blake is perfect to lead Dogs for the Deaf,” says Dogs for the Deaf Board Chairperson Marvin Rhodes.
Matray retired from the Air Force in 2013 after a 23-year career overseeing flight operations, training, strategic operations and risk management. He is a lifelong animal lover and considered becoming a veterinarian prior to joining the Air Force. He is a 1990 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and has a Master’s Degree in Management from Ellis University in Chicago.
While stationed in North Dakota, Matray was introduced to sled dog racing and began raising and training Siberian huskies. His passion for dogs and racing is partly what drew him to Alaska, where he has lived since 2000. He has competed in numerous mid- and long-distance sled dog races in Alaska.
In 2007, Matray founded and worked as the Executive Director of the Sled Dog Fund, a 501(c)3 that used sled dogs to promote awareness and support of children with special needs. He secured funding for Autism Service Dogs for families and financed camp participation for children with special needs. Matray currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Alaska Center for Children and Adults (ACCA), a 501(c)3 serving adults and children with special needs within Interior Alaska.
“I’m honored to have been chosen as the next President & CEO of Dogs for the Deaf,” says Matray. “My family and I are excited about joining the Medford area community and I’m eager to start working with a great group of people at Dogs for the Deaf. I’m energized by the mission of Dogs for the Deaf and I look forward to leading the organization through the years ahead.”
Since 1977 Dogs for the Deaf has been rescuing dogs from shelters and training them to assist people with hearing loss and placing the dogs with people throughout the United States. The previous CEO, Robin Dickson, retired from DFD in December 2013 after 32 years with the organization.