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  • Elk Hill

Elk Hill named a 2024 Top Workplace USA

Updated: Apr 2

On Wednesday, March 20, 2024 USA Today announced that Elk Hill is a 2024 Top Workplace USA. “It is quite an honor to be named as a Top Workplace,” stated Ron Spears, CEO of Elk Hill. “We are proud of the culture we’ve created and maintained over the last 50 years and appreciate that our staff recognizes that Elk Hill is special.” Some staff, like Spears have been at Elk Hill for decades, he often says, “I came for a job, and stayed for a career.” In 1984 he took a position as youth counselor at Elk Hill. Over the years, he was promoted again and again, eventually becoming Chief Operations Officer, and then in 2020, took the helm as CEO. “We invest in our people so they can grow both personally and professionally and become the best versions of themselves.”


Elk Hill casts a wide net to find great employees. “Our number one priority is a passion for the work. You have to want to help kids – and we want you to love what you’re doing,” said

Diana Hudgins, Chief Human Resources Officer. Elk Hill is a trauma-informed organization, Hudgins explains. That means focusing on what happened to an individual as opposed to what’s “wrong” with them and how Elk Hill can help. Because we have that approach with our youth, we also have that approach with our staff.”


Elk Hill rewards that dedication by doing everything possible to support its staff, both professionally and emotionally. The organization offers great benefits including tuition reimbursement and encourages staff to pursue professional licensures.


Children are referred to Elk Hill for many reasons: because they’ve experienced trauma or abuse in their family of origin, because their behavioral challenges require individual attention, or because they need specialized education not found in traditional settings.


Elk Hill, headquartered in Goochland, serves more than 800 children each year across Central Virginia. Through residential therapeutic group homes, specialized schools, school-based mental health programs, camps, and other programs, Elk Hill enables children and families to transform overwhelming challenges into successful futures.


Top Workplace USA winners are chosen based solely on employee feedback gathered through an employee engagement survey issued by Energage. Winners of the Top Workplaces USA are recognized for the great culture that exists at every level of the organization. Over 42,000 public, for profit, and nonprofit organizations were invited to participate.

Check out our feature in the Richmond Times Dispatch.

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