ST. ALBANS — It took stops in New York City, Boston, France and Louisiana, but St. Albans native Derek Hoy has returned home to a position as the new chief financial officer (CFO) for Northwestern Counseling & Support Services (NCSS).

“I’m glad to be back here,” said Hoy, who started his work at NCSS this week.

After growing up on Smith Street and graduating from Bellows Free Academy, Hoy left to attend college in New York City. He then spent two years living and working in France before earning master’s degrees in business administration and educational administration from Boston College.

It was in graduate school that he met his wife, a Louisiana native, and the pair moved to Louisiana before coming to Vermont.

“This is an amazing state,” said Hoy, and the way people live here is “how we wanted to raise our kids.”

“It took being out of state to realize how good things are,” he added.

But the attraction Vermont holds for Hoy isn’t simply skiing, hiking and beautiful vistas, it’s also the resources Vermont puts toward health care.

When his family moved to Louisiana, he shifted from working on education administration to a job for a company that provides home health and hospice care. “It sparked a deep interest in me,” Hoy said.

It was his first exposure to health care and the continuum of care that connects hospitals, specialists, primary care doctors, mental health providers and organizations that provide in-home and hospice care.

“As a state, Vermont is very in tune with partnerships and the continuum of care,” Hoy said. Vermont has also made support for mental health and well-being a priority, in his view.

He also believes in the importance of mental health care. NCSS, Hoy said, is a perfect fit “in terms of my values and our family’s values.”

Working at NCSS also connects his two interests: education and health care. NCSS operates the Soar Learning Center for students with special needs, while also working with students in the area’s public schools.

Although as CFO he is focused on the numbers, Hoy said “you still have to have a passion and a personal connection.”

“I very much see my role as making sure that all of the mission-centric things can happen,” he said. That includes making sure clients can count on the resources they need and employees are taken care of, Hoy explained. NCSS is one of Franklin County’s largest employers.

“If I’m doing my job right, I’m worried every day about our clients, our employees,” he said.

How health care is paid for is continually changing and part of his role is to stay on top of those changes and how they impact NCSS, according to Hoy.

Growing up in St. Albans, “I was aware of [NCSS], but they didn’t have the amazing resources they have now,” said Hoy, explaining he was excited to be “part of something bigger than myself.”

He is also excited to be working with NCSS’s many partners, citing in particular the close physical proximity of NCSS, Northwestern Medical Center, and Franklin County Home Health Agency, and the ways in which they work together and with other agencies. “We’re all connected and working together,” Hoy said.

“We have a lot of caring and compassionate people.”

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