PLATTSBURGH — Andrew Pulrang and Robert Poulin have worked side by side over the last 12½ years as community advocates for people with disabilities.
Pulrang, executive director for the North Country Center for Independence, is heading into retirement and will hand over the reins to Poulin on Thursday.
“We’ve been doing things to prepare for this for about a month,” said Pulrang, noting that the center’s Board of Directors chose Poulin in late September to fill the position. “We had a number of excellent applicants, but their ultimate decision was to go with Robert.
“I think it was a great decision.”
Poulin, as the center’s systems advocate for the past decade, did everything he could to ensure that the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was understood and followed across the community.
A staunch believer in the political process, he constantly followed legislative action in Albany and Washington, D.C., that would impact people with disabilities.
He now accepts his new position with that same fervor but acknowledges Pulrang’s role as his mentor and boss.
“We have talked in depth about the center and independent living, about disability-rights issues,” Poulin said. “I credit him in helping me get to this point in my career.
“I am confident as we go forward that he had left us with a strong foundation to continue on.”
The center has already hired a new systems advocate to replace Poulin and will introduce the new employee to the community in the next few weeks. In fact, the center has hired three new staff members at this time of transition.
Meanwhile, Poulin will continue to promote assistance for the individual while emphasizing the need to focus on the big picture and independent living’s role in the community.
“It’s a huge job,” he said. “The work Andrew did here is amazing. He has meant so much to so many people. He is going to be missed.”