Q&A: EPI-HAB’s New President on Priorities and Opportunities

Torrey Rogers selected to lead the Phoenix nonprofit forward

EPI-HAB Phoenix, Inc. is thrilled to announce the appointment of Torrey Rogers as the organization’s new president. Rogers succeeds Matt Redmann, who retired after serving in the role for more than 13 years.

Rogers, who took the helm at the beginning of the month, is new to the job but not new to EPI-HAB. He’s served as the organization’s controller and, most recently, its executive director as he transitioned into the role of president.

A native of Sheridan, Wyoming, Rogers transferred from Sheridan Community College to attend DeVry University Phoenix where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting. After college, Rogers spent 10 years with Republic West Remodeling. Hired as an accountant, his career advanced through a variety of leadership roles within the company, including project management.

In 2011, Rogers applied for the controller position at EPI-HAB and instantly connected with EPI-HAB’s mission of providing meaningful employment for individuals with epilepsy and other challenges. “Taking the job was an easy decision,” Rogers said.

As EPI-HAB’s controller, Rogers was tasked with directing all of EPI-HAB’s financial accounting operations, as well as the planning, managing, and maintenance of EPI-HAB’s PC-networked computer system.  He also served as the principal liaison to the external auditor and interacted monthly with the Board of Directors.

His roles within the organization provided significant experience and expertise in building collaborative partnerships and developing ways to move the business forward.

Before stepping into his new role, Rogers sat down with EPI-HAB’s communication team to discuss his vision for his presidency, his approach to leadership and how he plans to further advance the organization and its mission.

The following remarks have been edited for clarity and brevity.


Q: Why is the organization’s mission important to you? What makes the organization unique?

A: My time taking a course at ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Innovation really helped illustrate what makes EPI-HAB stand out. Learning about the nonprofit sector made clear there are very few nonprofits that operate like we do.

Our mission has evolved with time, and we now focus on hiring individuals with a variety of challenges, not just epilepsy, such as hearing impairment, physical limitations, and mild intellectual disabilities.

That being said, there’s a tremendous record of sustainability here over the course of more than 60 years of doing business. We’ve taken on different jobs throughout the years and adapted with the times, but the core of who we are has been successful, and it’s going to continue to work.


Q: Why do you want to be president of EPI-HAB? What attracted you to the role?

A: I’m not afraid to take on responsibility. It’s been a part of my personality throughout my career. I went as far as I could at EPI-HAB, but I needed more responsibility to be truly satisfied professionally. I know the business inside and out and built trust with our staff and customers. I want to see it grow, and I want to be part of it.


Q: How have your previous roles and responsibilities at EPI-HAB and elsewhere prepared and set you up for success in this role?

A: In all of my jobs, I’ve always been successful. I work hard. I’m loyal to my employer, but I’m not successful just because of my work ethic. I’m successful because I communicate well with others and am, most importantly, a team player.


Q: How would you describe your style of leadership?

A: I’ve never been a hands-on leader. It’s just not my style to stand over people. I like writing out tasks and reviewing them with employees. Overall, I prefer to give direction and then support my staff as needed.


Q: How do you see the role of president changing as you take over the position?

A: I won’t be on the floor as much as Matt, who came from the printing industry and ran the operation. Oversight is obviously important, and we’re extremely fortunate to have Patsy, who’s been doing this a lot longer than me. Between her and Bonnie, the two of them know the business and operations through and through. They don’t need my help. My role is to knock down barriers for Patsy, ensuring our customers are satisfied and bringing in new customers.


Q: What will your ideal day be like as president?

A: My ideal day is having a calendar full of appointments—either visiting existing and prospective partners or giving tours.


Q: Will there be any changes seen by employees, customers or EPI-HAB’s business partners?

A: Our management team will experience some change, but the formula used for over 60 years won’t.

EPI-HAB’s customers already know a change is coming, and I am confident the transition will be seamless.


Q: What specific goals or priorities do you have in place for your first year as president?

A: My first year will be spent getting accustomed to my new schedule and finding a system that works best for me as president. My goal is to fill my calendar.


Q: Are there any other long-term goals?

A: At one time, EPI-HAB had around 150 employees, and my long-term goal is to get back to that. I’d love to see our office full of employees helping Veronica and John because of an increase in payroll.


Q: How do you see EPI-HAB evolving? What do you perceive its role will be in the community in 10 years?

A: If I’m doing my job right, there will be an increased awareness in the community. EPI-HAB will be well known as the go-to resource for hand labor.


Q: What do you see as your greatest challenge as EPI-HAB’s leader moving forward?

A: Our greatest challenge is two-fold yet interrelated:

  1. Expanding our ability to effectively reach people with epilepsy or other challenges who are seeking employment opportunities–we are very interested in finding and retaining people who want to work.
  2. Retaining the excellent companies we serve today and growing our customer base with companies who have temporary or ongoing hand labor needs


Q: How will you measure your success in terms of your management of EPI-HAB?

A: Two things:

  1. Full board membership
  2. More than 100 employees


Q: What are you looking forward to most in your new role?

A: New adventures, new experiences and trying to make a difference


Q: In general, what motivates you in life?

A: I’ve got to give my parents a lot of credit for that. They were very positive and encouraging and instilled that energy in me to get up every day and put in a hard day’s work.


Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

A: I’ve worked for so many great men and women who never really gave me advice. They just led by example. They were good people, and I wanted to be like them. I’ve been lucky.


Q: What are your hobbies and interests outside of the office?

A: I love cigars. When I moved to Phoenix, I got introduced to cigar shops and walk-in humidors. This was back in the 90s, and it was pretty popular to smoke cigars—so there were dressy events and parties. Today, I just enjoy sitting out on my porch and smoking a couple cigars as I read the paper.

I also have a love for the outdoors because of my father. He always took us snowmobiling, hiking and camping. Today, I enjoy hiking, which makes personal fitness important, as well. I like to go by myself because it’s a challenge. I really enjoy the preparation and planning that goes into it. It’s a good way to recharge your battery.


About EPI-HAB Phoenix, Inc.

EPI-HAB brings more than 60 years of experience and energy to fulfillmentassembly and inspectionfull-service bulk mail processing, and storage. The organization was founded in 1958 when a group of business and medical professionals came together to provide meaningful employment to individuals with epilepsy. As the medical industry made strides in the control of epileptic seizures, EPI-HAB (Epileptic Habitat) welcomed individuals with other challenges. Over the years, EPI-HAB has always focused on the abilities of its employees, not their disabilities. Its team performs valued work for businesses, large and small, assisting them with a wide variety of jobs.