Springfield, MO

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2019 40 Under 40: Michael Buttacy, 35

Executive Director, Ozarks Teen Challenge

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One in three workers in the drug recovery field leave their job each year. But at Ozarks Teen Challenge, the average length of employment is seven years.

“This longevity comes from being empowered to do their job with excellence,” Executive Director Michael Buttacy says, who has directed the nonprofit since 2015.

Under his leadership, Ozarks Teen Challenge has reorganized under a new 501(c)(3), doubled its financial reserves and increased charitable giving. A capital campaign he created has raised over $650,000 to date.

But it all comes down to the young men served, Buttacy says.

“To see our students move from being angry, defiant, self-destructive and unforgiving … to experiencing joy, love and reconciliation, makes my job the best job in the world,” he says.

What about your job would shock people? The crazy stories you see on TV about people dealing with addiction, driving drunk and making reckless decisions? They call us after the story airs wanting help.

What is your best productivity hack? Happy people get more done.

What was your professional aha moment? I got a phone call from a young man that graduated my program. He told me his best friend was dead from an overdose. I realized the success rate of our program is irrelevant if it’s not 100 percent.

Have you ever met a celebrity? Jennifer Connelly is my cousin. So there’s that. 


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