Ed Hosack went from Pillowtex corporate world to a nonprofit
By Joanie Morris
KANNAPOLIS ó To look at Ed Hosack today, you’d never know he was anything but a nonprofit worker.
Hosack is executive director of Cooperative Christian Ministry, a nonprofit crisis assistance ministry that provides food, shelter and more to families and individuals in need.
At one time, he was a manager at Pillowtex.
Hosack started working at the mill in January 1984 and worked there for almost 20 years, serving in all three divisions ó bedding, bath and carpet.
“I enjoyed good relationships from all areas and every level, from the shop floor to the executive office,” Hosack said.
Hosack worked for one additional week at the mill after the massive layoffs were announced in 2003.
“I was responsible for an orderly shutdown of the bedding division,” said Hosack. August 6 was his last day.
“I drove away on the last day with a very empty feeling in my gut and not knowing what I would do,” Hosack said. In the weeks that followed, he worked on dressing up his resume and did a lot of praying and discussing with his wife.
He received several offers to go work at other textile mills that weren’t in Kannapolis. He considered them and then turned every single one of them down.
“That wasn’t where my heart was,” Hosack said. “My wife and I agreed to stay in Kannapolis, where we could make a difference.”
While he was dressing up that resumé and praying, Hosack and his wife started a non-profit agency, Lifebuilder Ministries, using money from his own savings.
The Wednesday after Hosack drove away from the mill for the last time, he held the first meeting of the nonprofit at Trinity United Methodist Church. The group was started to help those who were unemployed by the mill and continues to do work today. While Hosack doesn’t do too much with the group any longer, in the beginning, he led group networking meetings and taught six-week courses to help people write resumes, learn how to apply for jobs, how to interview and how to interact once on the job.
At the first meeting, 70 people came. The meetings continued weekly, with attendance remaining high.
“I started talking to business owners about what they were looking for and found soft skills is what they were looking for,” Hosack said. He started a class called Competitive Learning and Soft Skills (CLASS) and received a grant from Microsoft that has since been renewed to hold computer classes at the Cyber Campus at A.L. Brown High School.
“That class remains popular at the Cyber Campus,” said Hosack. “Lifebuilder continues to do that work and Microsoft continues to support it.”
In July 2005, big news came Hosack’s way. The executive director of Cooperative Christian Ministry was retiring and friends encouraged Hosack to apply for the job.
“The rest of the story is history,” said Hosack, borrowing on the old cliche. “In July 2005, I became executive director of Cooperative Christian Ministry. It’s hard to believe it’s (been) three years.”
Since Hosack has been with Cooperative Christian Ministry, the organization has grown and new projects are being added within the community all the time.
“It’s very humbling to know this organization helps so many people,” Hosack said. While he didn’t need to use the services of Cooperative Christian Ministry, so many of the people he worked with did. “I was very fortunate not to have to rely on Cooperative Christian Ministry during that time.”
He said when he stepped into the executive director’s role at Cooperative Christian Ministry three years ago, there were still people that needed the services.
“(I’m thankful) to have the opportunity to step into Cooperative Christian Ministry … knowing that three years down the road and now five years down the road, there are still people affected,” Hosack said. “I consider it a privilege. There’s some degree of giving back.”
Hosack’s goal was to leave industry at 50 and get involved in nonprofit organizations.
“Industry left me at 44,” said Hosack. “My timing was off but I think it’s all worked out.”