Under Greg Toutant's leadership as CEO, Great Lakes Recovery Centers (GLRC) has expanded its scope and reach. In addition to its longtime role in addressing substance abuse, GLRC now provides a wide range of behavioral health treatment and prevention services throughout the Upper Peninsula. Toutant's role in that effort, combined with his active community involvement, have earned him Northern Michigan University's 2020 Alumni Service Award.
“Everything I've been able to accomplish can be attributed to the team of compassionate people I'm fortunate to be surrounded by,” he said of his GLRC colleagues. “Our mission is to help people in their journey to recovery, whether that's related to addiction, mental health issues or life stressors. It is a privilege to create programs and services that allow people to improve their health and wellness. It's just a great way to wake up every day, knowing you're helping others through challenging times.
“Moving the adolescent residential treatment program from Marquette to Negaunee and working with Bell Hospital to develop that was highly rewarding. It's an excellent facility, located on 26 acres. There are very few addiction treatment centers left for kids in the state of Michigan. We're not just housing kids, but addressing the full facets of life, including trauma they may have experienced.”
Toutant has more than 27 years' experience working in the field of addiction and behavioral health treatment services. He is certified as both an advanced alcohol and drug counselor and a clinical supervisor. His two decades with GLRC include the past 13 years as CEO. The organization has been recognized numerous times for its community impact on children and adolescents, adults, veterans and, most recently, incarcerated individuals.
After earning a bachelor's degree in history with a minor in sociology from NMU in 1994, Toutant completed a master's degree in clinical counseling at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. His career started with direct client care as a therapist in Wisconsin.
Toutant accepted an opportunity to relocate to Negaunee with GLRC, and served as an administrator prior to his CEO appointment. He said his team has had to be creative in developing new systems of care and programming for U.P. communities that have gaps in services and less access than in urban areas.
He recently completed a fellowship at the University of Michigan, Center for Health Policy and Research Transformation. For the past 17 years, he has also served as a behavioral health program surveyor for the international accreditation body, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).
Toutant's service to community extends well beyond his role at GLRC. He has been an active member in the Provider Alliance (Community Mental Health Association of Michigan), and in the creation of Recovery Centers of Michigan LLC. He has also served on several boards and organizations over the past 20 years.
With the board of North Star Academy, a school chartered by NMU, Toutant was involved in the construction of a new school. He said the project gave alternative education in Marquette County a platform to move forward.
His other activities includes the Marquette County Community Corrections Advisory Board; Negaunee Public Schools Board of Education; Negaunee Area Community Fund; Mitchell United Methodist Church; NMU Athletic Advisory Council; Upper Peninsula Mental Health Advisory Committee; and the Upper Peninsula Steering Team for the Michigan Department of Corrections Offender Success Program.
“Having a voice in helping a variety of community resources stay intact and improve is a wonderful experience. Being a lifelong learner, community involvement enriches my ability to continue to grow. NMU built the ability to gain hands-on experience as a collegiate student doing different community outreach activities with my fraternity, Catholic Campus Ministries and others. That really set the stage for a better university experience.
“You don't have to be isolated and just be a student. There are all these other opportunities. If you take advantage of them, you build a great skill set going forward in terms of your life. NMU had excellent academics and professors. It is a gem of a university that provides access to a high-quality education.”
Toutant's wife, Heather (Veale), is also an NMU graduate, earning degrees in 1995 and 2007. The couple lives in Negaunee with their children Faith and Preston.