Goodwill NCW names Chris Hess new President and CEO

Chris Hess, vice president of market development and sales for ThedaCare, has been named President and Chief Executive Officer of Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin.

Hess, 37, replaces Bob Pedersen, who retired at the end of 2017 after 26 years at Goodwill NCW. Hess will begin his new job on March 26.

“I’m honored to join such a wonderful organization,” said Hess, who lives in Appleton with his wife and two children. “Our team members have built a legacy in the communities we serve by impacting and elevating the lives of those who might be marginalized.”

Chris Hess

Hess joins a nonprofit human-services organization that in 2017 touched the lives of 72,937 people — a one-year organizational record — through its programming, serving 35 counties from one side of the state (Manitowoc) to the other (La Crosse). The organization also employs more than 1,200 people statewide.

“I believe we have a great foundation to build on and that the future of our success depends on deeper collaboration with all of the stakeholders in our community,” Hess said. “I look forward to working together and building on our past success to impact the future generation.”

“We’re thrilled to welcome Chris to Goodwill,” said Gregg Curry, Goodwill NCW’s board chairman. “He brings an exciting combination of experience, innovation and compassion to our efforts, and we’re confident that with his leadership, we’ll serve our communities across Wisconsin at even higher levels.”

Goodwill NCW offers 24 human services programs, including traditional job training and placement, financial counseling, tax preparation, three Miracle League baseball programs and three restorative justice programs across Wisconsin. The organization supports those 24 programs and the fuller organization through the sale of donated goods at 27 retail store and training centers, two online shopping portals ( and and the Outlet Store in Appleton.

Hess is a graduate of St. Norbert College and earned his master’s degree in business administration from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. He is involved in various community organizations and serves on the boards of directors of the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce and the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley.

Hess, a native of Kenosha, joined ThedaCare in 2013 as a senior brand manager in the marketing department and was promoted to vice president/market development and sales in June 2014. He also has worked as corporate marketing manager at U.S. Venture and as director of business development for Genco (now FedEx Supply Chain).

Goodwill NCW is one of 162 independent Goodwill organizations across North America and is known for its innovation in how it serves communities. Under Pedersen’s leadership, the organization grew from serving 718 people in 1991 to almost 73,000 in 2017 — 101 times more people served than when he joined Goodwill.

The Goodwill Community Campus at 1800 Appleton Road, Menasha, is home to more than 20 community agencies and programs, not all of which are Goodwill programs. Opened in 1996, the Goodwill Community Campus has become a blueprint for similar nonprofit collaborations across the country.

About Goodwill NCW: Goodwill NCW is a not-for-profit human services organization that in 2017 helped improve the lives of 72,937 people across 35 counties in north central Wisconsin. The organization includes 27 retail stores and training centers in communities from Manitowoc to La Crosse, 24 human services programs, a unique shopping experience at its Appleton outlet store, plus online shopping at, a women’s apparel website, and It offers four Donation Express sites in the Fox Cities and Green Bay, and 10 convenient donation bins throughout the Fox Cities. Goodwill NCW is a Platinum Level member of, the world’s largest source of nonprofit organization information. Visit the website at

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