Personality Profile

OneSource Workforce leader planning to stay very busy in second retirement

By CHRISTY ARMSTRONG  christy.armstrong@clevelandbanner.com
Posted 6/19/17

Rick Creasy, who until Friday was executive director of the OneSource Workforce Readiness Center at Cleveland State Community College, is planning to stay busy, even in retirement.

Creasy, …

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Personality Profile

OneSource Workforce leader planning to stay very busy in second retirement

RICK CREASY just retired from his role as the executive director of the OneSource Workforce Readiness Center at Cleveland State Community College. His “retirement” plans include teaching psychology and practicing marriage and family therapy.
RICK CREASY just retired from his role as the executive director of the OneSource Workforce Readiness Center at Cleveland State Community College. His “retirement” plans include teaching psychology and practicing marriage and family therapy.
Banner photo, CHRISTY ARMSTRONG
Posted

Rick Creasy, who until Friday was executive director of the OneSource Workforce Readiness Center at Cleveland State Community College, is planning to stay busy, even in retirement.

Creasy, 64, is actually embarking on his second retirement after having spent multiple years working in the pharmaceutical industry.

That initial career path was at first inspired by a love of the medical field. Growing up in Old Hickory, he recalls being especially fascinated by his science coursework and loved learning how bodies worked.

“I always wanted to be a doctor. This meant I dissected many frogs in school,” he said with a laugh.

In the seventh grade, he had a teacher who indulged his curiosity by allowing him to take a test tube of ether home with him, something he noted “would never happen today.” 

Creasy said he used the ether as anesthesia he could use to “do surgery” on frogs he caught. He would then stitch them up and send them on their way, and he noted they “usually would just hop away.” 

After graduating from the now-defunct DuPont High School in Old Hickory, he attended Carson-Newman College, where he majored in biology and minored in chemistry.

During summers, he worked as a hospital orderly. Eventually, he was also trained to be a venipuncture technician.

“That helped support me through college and really made me see that I wanted to become a doctor,” Creasy said.

Unfortunately, that goal did not come to fruition. After graduating with honors from Carson-Newman, he applied for admission to med school, but was unsuccessful. He explained it was “extremely difficult” to get into medical school in those days, and his Medical College Admission Test, or MCAT, scores “could have been better.” 

Still, that did not keep him from continuing to work in a hospital setting.

After college, he went to work at Saint Thomas Hospital in Nashville as a scrub technician for open heart surgeries. This involved helping prep the operating room and preparing and handing all the necessary equipment to the surgeons as they did their work.

“It was a pretty intense job,” Creasy said. “You really had to get to know the surgeon and pay attention to the order in which he did things, so you could anticipate what he needed.” 

While he said he enjoyed that job, he did not see a long-term career path for himself there, because he did not have a medical degree.

Having become familiar with pharmaceutical sales while working at the hospital, he in 1978 decided to apply for a job at Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, which is today part of Pfizer.

He got his start as a sales rep, visiting Nashville-area hospitals to tout the benefits of medications for blood pressure and female hormone replacement.

He was later promoted to trainer. After some time in that role, he was promoted again to a district manager position, and was based in Virginia.

After living and working in Virginia for 12 years, Creasy accepted a role as area business manager for the state of New Jersey. For this, he and his wife then decided to make their home in Downingtown, Pa.

Excelling in that role, he was later promoted to the position of global director of sales training and institutional design for the company, which had since changed its name to Wyeth.

However, a “restructuring” forced another big change for him in 2010. As part of the company’s downsizing, Creasy was offered a retirement.

At that point, he and Kathy, his wife, decided to move to Cleveland, because of her family ties here.

Kathy took a job as the international children’s ministry director for the Church of God of Prophecy, while he decided to take a year off from work.

Later, he saw an opening for the executive director position at Cleveland State.

“I thought this would be a good opportunity for me to be using my marketing background,” Creasy said. “I wanted to brand workforce development for Cleveland State and work on building more connections between the college and local industries.”

He and his team in the college’s workforce development department came up with the “OneSource” name, because they wanted to be “one source” for companies needing technical skills assessments and training.

During his time in the department, they also invested in a variety of mechatronics equipment to assess and train workers on skills needed for work in manufacturing facilities.

“I’ve been very fortunate that I’ve been able to help build a strong team to move workforce development forward,” Creasy said.

He admitted it was a “challenge” at first to go from working in a corporate setting to working for a college. Rather than furthering the sales of pharmaceutical products, his “products” were to be highly trained workers who would hopefully find good work in the area.

Creasy said he feels good about the work he was able to do with OneSource, and he looks forward to seeing it continue to grow with a new director.

Now “retired,” he plans to turn his full attention to his work as an adjunct psychology professor at Cleveland State.

In 2004, while working at Wyeth, he decided to pursue a master’s in psychology from Immaculata University, concentrating on counseling.

While working in corporate training, he found he enjoyed speaking with people and helping them work through their workplace issues.

Even while working at Wyeth, Creasy worked part time as a therapist in Pennsylvania. After settling into his role at Cleveland State, he decided to try his hand at teaching.

“I’ve been kind of a life coach and counselor as well,” Creasy said.

For some time now, he has been taking on the occasional marriage and family therapy client. One of his biggest focuses has been counseling local church pastors. Creasy noted pastors are often the ones church congregants go to for help, but they sometimes need help as well.

In 2015, Creasy also wrote a book on marriage called “Staying Married: A Politically Incorrect Guide,” available for purchase on Amazon. He and Kathy now occasionally travel around speaking at marriage retreats.

Both are also Connect Group leaders at their place of worship, Peerless Road Church.

“I will continue teaching and these other things,’” Creasy said. “I really enjoy getting to share my life experiences with students, and show them a different side of psychology, the clinical side.”

He enjoys running and traveling, and thinks he will find time to do more of both. His wife’s job with the Church of God of Prophecy sees her traveling quite a bit, and he’s looking forward to joining her more often.

The Creasys have two sons in Pennsylvania, as well as two grandchildren and another on the way. The hope is also to get to see them more often.

At 6-foot-4 with a head full of gray hair earned over years of business experience, Creasy admits he might sometimes come off as “a bit intimidating.” However, he likes to think of himself as a “gentle giant.” 

He said one of his biggest passions is getting to know people and helping them build successful relationships.

Creasy added he hopes to continue to do that through his teaching and counseling. He is also considering starting on a second book.

“I would like to contribute in some way to building stronger families, stronger marriages in the community,” Creasy said. “I expect retirement will give me more of a chance to do that.” 

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