When former Village On The Isle CEO Joel Anderson announced his surprise resignation earlier this year, the VOTI board decided to conduct an internal leadership search. After two weeks of interviews, VOTI Chief Operating Officer Douglas Feller was promoted to the top leadership position from a talented in-house pool. Doug becomes CEO at a time of both growth and challenge for VOTI. Having just completed a $100 million expansion and modernization, VOTI continues to look to grow its footprint, while also managing the challenge of Covid-19.
“We were all surprised that Joel left,” says the warm and affable Doug. “But what he left to pursue is an incredible opportunity and we all wish him well. Joel really mentored me. After I was named CEO, I said to him, ‘How do you follow Michael Jordan?’ He really is one of those standout leaders in this industry.”
Born in Ohio and raised in Tennessee, Doug learned the meaning of hard work from his father, a manager for Klein Tools. His mother, a lifelong employee at the American Heart Association, taught him the importance of service.
“I had a great childhood and I aspired to be like my dad,” Doug says. “He was honest, hardworking, and one of those guys who knew how to do anything. He could take apart and repair a car or install an air conditioning unit. He and my mother were fantastic role models.”
A University of Alabama graduate, Doug began his career working for medical devices conglomerate Medtronic in Fort Myers. Attracted to a career in the health care industry, he was the VP of Health Services at Westminster Village in Spanish Fort, Alabama, for six years, a community similar to VOTI. He was a project manager at Plymouth Harbor, and at VOTI he has held various roles including Resident Services Director, Director of Operations, and COO. He loves serving the residents at VOTI.
“We have World War II vets and people who grew up in the Great Depression,” Doug explains. “This generation single-handedly changed the course of history and have never asked for a ‘thank you’. They are the most humble and caring individuals you can meet. I have a tremendous amount of respect for this generation and making them feel cared for is my mission.”
Married to his wife Dusty for a decade, seven years ago the couple welcomed triplets, and embarked on the greatest challenge of their lives.
“Our children were born three months premature,” Doug says. “Our son Davis weighed 2.4 pounds, our daughter Kennedy 1.12 pounds, and our son Eli weighed 1.1 pounds. They spent two and a half months in the NICU.”
The children are now seven years old and in great health. Doug likes to joke, “Because we have triplets, my wife would tell you that I come to work to go on vacation everyday.”
That intense time taught him the importance of communication when it comes to medical issues, as the couple was grateful for even the smallest updates on their children while in the NICU.
The experience guides him now as he faces Covid.
“Our goal is to keep it completely off our campus,” he explains. “There’s no playbook on Covid, we can’t pull out any previous policies or procedures. While we have to restrict visitors and communal gatherings for now, I also know how important attention and connection is for each of our residents. We have become very creative in bringing our residents special meals and treats. We will all work together to get through this time while letting each one of our residents know how important they are to us.”
920 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice. 941.484.9753. Villageontheisle.com