Longtime President and CEO of Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota receives Distinguished Career Award

For these reasons, Goodwill Industries International honors Wirth-Davis with the 2022 JD Robins Jr. Distinguished Career Award, which recognizes a Goodwill CEO for outstanding professional contributions and dedication to advancing the Goodwill network over a period of at least 25 years.

The list of accomplishments during his 30-year tenure is long; highlights include:

  • Growing partnerships and workforce development programs with life-changing results: GESMN participants experience an average annual increase in earnings of $26,452 and 82% are employed after six months.
  • Connecting over 4,500 people to career services each year; increased retail locations from 7 to its current 45 local stores, 3 outlets, e-commerce and aftermarket operations.
  • Leadership on dozens of boards ranging from the Minnesota Charities Review Council to Workability International to the Nonprofit Assistance Fund; create the Minnesota Employment Service Consortium (MESC) of workforce development leaders to influence systems change and advocate with legislators.
  • Champion both sustainability and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives to drive meaningful change and add lasting benefits to the community.

“Beyond this impressive growth is the story of a leader who has remained true to the mission and purpose of Goodwill, and to all those Goodwill serves,” said Steven C. Preston, President and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “We are grateful to honor Michael for his more than 30 years of leadership as well as his commitment to Goodwill and his passion for serving his community.”

Direction of Wirth-Davis

With a background in social services in the areas of disability services and rehabilitation, Dr. Wirth-Davis has channeled her skills and passion to improve the lives of those around her. As a result, GESMN has been recognized for its operational and programmatic excellence, expertise in serving people facing multiple barriers to work and independence, and developing creative collaborations for service delivery.

For 30 years, Wirth-Davis has overseen the growth of retail to increase disposable income for programs that connect people to work. The organization is a Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA) certified training provider, an accredited post-secondary school and has consistently maintained CARF certification since 1977.

“Michael’s work reflects the strength of his belief that systemic change is both important and possible,” said Wendy Mahling, Chairman of the Board, GESMN. “He believes that everyone deserves fair access to employment opportunities and leads with purpose to bring about meaningful change in our community. He has led by example with integrity and determination in serving those who face barriers in the workplace. and independence.”

Outside of GESMN, Wirth-Davis is an adjunct faculty member at University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs and a member of its Future Services Institute and its Nonprofit Leadership Center. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Hamline University School of Business Graduate Program in Nonprofit Management. He is frequently called upon as a speaker/host and holds a doctorate in public administration and management.

Wirth-Davis has served on the national board of directors of Goodwill Industries International (GII), the GII Senior Executives Conference and other working groups/committees. His contributions have been recognized by GII through national awards, including the Goodwill Sustainability Champion Award (2020), the PJ Trevethan Award for Outstanding Contributions to Staff Training and Development (2011), and the Kenneth K. King Management Award for Excellence in Management (2001).

Wirth-Davis received the JD Robins Jr. Distinguished Career Award at the February 2022 Annual Goodwill Meeting of the Conference of Executives in Phoenix, AZ.


Goodwill Industries International is a network of 155 self-sustaining community organizations in United States and Canada with a presence in 12 other countries. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit that helps people find jobs, Goodwill is recognized with GuideStar’s highest rating, the Platinum Seal of Approval.

Local goodwill organizations provide job opportunities, placement and training services, and other community programs, which are funded by the sale of donated clothing and household items in nearly 3,300 stores and online at ShopGoodwill.com®.

For more information or to find a Goodwill store near you, visit goodwill.org. Follow us on Twitter: @GoodwillIntl and @GoodwillCapHill, and find us on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube: GoodwillIntl. Sign up for our Legislative Action Center via lawyer.goodwill.org.


Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides job training and one-on-one career support to remove barriers to work and independence. Proceeds from thrift retail, e-commerce, grants, and financial contributions fund our services that help Minnesotans gain equitable access to employment opportunities and realize the power of work. Shopping and donations divert over £65million from local landfills every year and have helped us connect people to jobs since 1919. Visit gesmn.org or follow @goodwillmn.

SOURCE Goodwill Industries International

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