Heather Raynack said she has always worked behind the scenes at Hitchcock Healthcare since her first day back in 2000; but, her new role as executive director of the facility will bring new challenges that she is ready to take on.

“I’m usually the one helping, so now I know it’s time to step out a little bit,” she said. “It’s bringing in a different set of challenges for me, so I’m passionate about that responsibility.”

With her new role, Raynack said one of the main challenges is getting the word out that Hitchcock has evolved greatly since it opened its doors in 1951.

Today, the company offers occupational, physical and speech therapy, as well as children’s therapy and various other services.

“It’s such a phenomenal company that has really evolved over the years,” she said. “So one of our challenges is getting more people to understand the variety of services we provide.”

Like many others, Raynack said Hitchcock has continued to adapt to the economic hardships that have taken a toll on nonprofits.

This year in particular, Raynack said more health care reforms have put a strain on what the company is trying to accomplish.

To adapt, she’s relying on the experience she gained in her first 14 years with the company as a pediatric occupational therapist, clinician and her time on the administrative side of the business in accounts and billing.

Her collective experience, she said, has helped her understand what makes the company tick, is what makes a good therapist and also helps her map out a plan for the future.

“I wanted to be in a position to help the business, and I wanted to keep our children’s therapy program intact,” she said. “So, part of our challenge is being able to weigh the pros and cons and figure out how to spend our dollars the wisest.”

Raynack took over the reins from Karen Bowles, who spent more than seven years as executive director.

Bowles worked in assisted living before taking over at Hitchcock and has gone back to the industry at the Sterling House of North Augusta.

Bowles said she will miss Hitchcock, but added she knew Raynack was the right person to take over.

“Heather was the perfect candidate with her rehab background. I was previously with assisted living and was given this opportunity so I’m excited about it. But I knew I could leave Hitchcock in the very capable hands of Heather,” she said.

Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard. He joined the paper in June. He is originally from Vidalia, Ga., and a graduate of Georgia Southern University.