Chris B. Stewart, CPA, CGMA
President / CEO
Chris Stewart became the President/Chief Executive Officer at The Arc of Central Alabama, formerly The Arc of Jefferson County, in April of 2013, after serving as the organization’s Chief Financial Officer since 1999. Chris is responsible for the oversight of more than 650 employees across 89 locations, who manage early intervention, adult day activity, employment and residential programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Chris reports to The Arc of Central Alabama’s Board of Directors, which is made up of more than twenty professionals who share a passion for the organization’s mission. He has grown The Arc’s relationships with federal and statewide entities, as well as monetary supporters like the United Way of Central Alabama and the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham. Chris ramped up the fundraising efforts for The Arc of Central Alabama through the creation of new events, procurement of grants, and by concentrating heavily on increasing community awareness. Prior to Chris’s leadership, fundraising income was under $100,000 in any given year, which he has increased to over $600,000 annually.
Chris has not only grown The Arc of Central Alabama through fundraising efforts but also through strategic business operations. Over the last five years Chris has leveraged the organization’s strength to annex three providers that could no longer sustain quality services under Alabama’s poor state reimbursement rates. Since Chris became President/CEO, he has increased the number of people supported by 22% and the overall revenue of the organization by 20% without increasing the amount charged (72%) to the individual for rent, room, and board.
In 2009, Chris was nominated as a finalist for Top CFO of the year by the Birmingham Business Journal. In that nomination, the former CEO of The Arc of Jefferson County noted, “Chris’s ability to manage personnel costs, numerous regulatory agencies, and streamline functions is a major reason for our success.” Chris was the 2014 recipient of The National Conference of Executives (NCE) Rise Star Award. In that same year, he was awarded the Marvin Densmore Award for Outstanding and Dedication Leadership and Advocacy. In 2017 he was the recipient of the Alabama Council of Executives’ Executive Director of the Year award at Governor Ivey’s Disability Conference. At the same conference, Chris also received The National Award for Distinguished Service. In 2018, he was also awarded the National Conference of Executives’ Explementary Mentor Award, and Governor Kay Ivey appointed him to serve on the Alabama Interagency Autism Coordinating Council. Most recently, Chris was named by the Birmingham Business Journal as the 2019 Executive of Influence, received The National Award for Distinguished Service, and became the chairman of the Autism Council’s Finance Committee.
Chris is a CPA and CGMA who graduated from Troy University. He is serving or has served on many federal, state and local committees and boards in the following capacities: He was elected by his peers to the National Conference of Executives (NCE) of The Arc Steering Committee, then later elected to be a regional representative is the past Second chair, and was most recently elected First chair of NCE; he was appointed to serve on The Arc of The United States Strategic Planning Committee for long range IDD services; he was selected as the Chairman of Alabama DD Rate Setting Committee Work Group; and he has been a member of the National Dialogue on Mental Health Executive Committee, State of Alabama Management Steering Committee, State of Alabama DD Subcommittee, State of Alabama Employment Work Group, State of Alabama Combined Work Group, State of Alabama MRSIS Committee, State of Alabama ADIDIS Committee Member, National Conference of Executives Charting the Future of Service Committee, and the HUD Medicaid Special Placement Committee.
Some of his other accolades include:
- Member, U.S. Office of Disability Policy Employment (ODEP) Four State Vision Quest Committee
- Member, National Dialogue on Mental Health Executive Committee Long-term Supports
- Chairman, Developmental Disabilities Subcommittee Rate Setting Work Group (2014-2017)
- Member, U.S. Health and Human Services Delphi Panel (2015-2016)
- Member, Alabama Department of Mental Health Management Steering Committee (2015-2017)
- Member, Alabama Department of Mental Health DD Subcommittee (2015-2017; 2019-present)
- Member, State of Alabama DD Subcommittee Employment Work Group (2014-2016)
- Member, State of Alabama DD Subcommittee Combined Work Group (2014-2015)
- Member, State of Alabama Individual Residential Budgeting Instrumental Committee (2010-
- Member, HUD Medicaid Special Placement Committee (2007)
- Member, United Way of Central Alabama Bold Goals, Improving Mental Health Work Group
- President, Clastran Paratransit Authority Board (2016-2019)
- Ex-officio Board Member, Jefferson County Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Authority
- President, HARC III HUD Housing Authority (2014-present)
- President, Cerebral Palsy Housing Foundation (2014-present)
- Member, National Council of Executives of The Arc Awards Committee (2015-2018)
- Co-Chair, National Council of Executives of The Arc Engagement and Recruitment Committee
- Member, National Council of Executives of The Arc Scholarship Committee (2016)
- Member, National Council of Executives of The Arc Program Planning Task Group (2016-2019)
- The Arc of The United States Catalyst Awards Selection Committee (2015 and 2017)
- Treasurer, Alabama Service Providers Association (2018-present)
- President, Alabama Council of Executives of The Arc (2016-2017; 2019-present)
- Co-Chair, NCE Summer Leadership Institute (2016-present)
- Co-Chair, NCE Professional Development Seminar (2016-present)
Chris has also been asked to speak at meetings of the Alabama House of Representatives and Senate Committees in Montgomery on the effects of pending and passed legislation on the IDD community. He has been called upon by The Center for Medicaid Services (CMS) and The Association for Community Living (ACL) to comment directly on the state of Alabama’s Medicaid Programming and Home and Community Based Transition Plan.
Prior to his career at The Arc, Chris worked for New South Federal Savings Bank, and Jackson Thornton & Company. He lives in Shelby County with his wife and two children.