His mind racing, Mike Wennekamp peers into the Two Rivers YMCA hall. The wheels in his head are turning.
His first-floor office as chief operating officer of the Moline-based facility, allows him to see and interact with members and staff as they pass by. The Y's first floor is a busy place, and Mr. Wennekamp loves being at its core.
"One of the perks of the job is people stopping to talk,'' Mr. Wennekamp, 38, said. "It's really a good day when all the 'regulars' stop.''
The problem is, Mr. Wennekamp soon will occupy the second-floor office of CEO of the Two Rivers YMCA. His promotion to the top spot has created the first work-related dilemma for the man selected by the Y board from a nationwide pool of candidates,
Mr. Wennekamp takes over as CEO for Dan Osterman, who retires Dec. 31 after 25 years leading the Two Rivers, and 40 years with the YMCA.
Mr. Wennekamp has been the COO for Two Rivers YMCA since 2004, which includes responsibility for operations of the main facility and more than 40 program sites across the Illinois Quad-Cities.
"My new office is a busy place, but it will be an adjustment not being able to talk to everyone walking by,'' Mr. Wennekamp said. "We'll find a way to make that part of the process work. I'm just honored to have the chance to carry on the great work that's been done and continue to move upward.''
Mr. Wennekamp has an extensive history with the Y and has been a leader in program innovation and growth. He developed resources through volunteer-led fundraising, grants and sponsorships. He has experience in strategic planning, staff and volunteer leadership and community partnerships.
"Our Y has made transformational changes over the last five years and Mike has envisioned and led many of those efforts," said Kelly Alward, president of the Two Rivers board. "We look forward to his leadership as chief executive officer."
It's not lost on Mr. Wennekamp the growth the Two Rivers YMCA has experienced under his friend, Mr. Osterman. He said his style might differ slightly from Mr. Osterman's, but having a great staff, a caring board and a hands-on membership, will guide him.
"You don't replace someone like Dan or fill his shoes, it just doesn't happen,'' Mr. Wennekamp said. "You take all the great things he did here -- and there are many, many things he did so well -- and you mix your strengths with an energetic and caring staff.
"You go forward with the Y's mission and values to guide you, trust the strategic vision of your board and see to it you meet the needs of all who want to be part of the Y. You mix strategic and functional. There can only be one Dan.''
A native of Hubbard, Iowa, Mr. Wennekamp turned a summer internship at the Cedar Rapids YMCA into his life's work. Before arriving at Two Rivers in 2004, he held a management post with a YMCA in Schaumburg.
He and and wife, DeAnna, and their two daughters are active in the community. He is past president of Moline Kiwanis, an active member of First Congregational Church, and was named a 2012 Quad Cities Area Leader Under 40.
"What's neat is you have all the things locally you need to make it feel like a big city, but with a small town feel and its values,'' Mr. Wennekamp said of the Quad-Cities.
"There is a sense of community here you don't have in other settings. You have individual municipalities, but a true sense we are all working together. I'm a Y-guy, grew to appreciate what it stands for and its mission as an intern. I was hooked. It's part of me. I met my wife at the Y. I have so much because of it, including a new challenge.''
There is a lengthy list of chores in Mr. Wennekamp's new post. Staff and membership know a familiar face is simply moving up a flight of steps. One matter, though, is pressing. There is a need to identify and become involved in areas under-served by the Two Rivers YMCA.
"Whether that means more off-site programs or a plan of action for our facility, that is part of our strategic plan,'' Mr. Wennekamp said.
"And we will do that. What I have going for me is a willing and energetic staff dedicated to carrying out the Y's mission. There will be challenges, but there are always challenges.''
Retirement reception Dec. 12
A retirement reception for Dan Osterman, who is retiring as CEO of the Two Rivers YMCA after 25 years, is scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Dec. 12, in the South Lobby of the YMCA, 2040 53rd St., Moline.
Today is Tuesday, Oct. 21, the 294th day of 2014. There are 71 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: The weather is discouraging for our great Democratic rally tomorrow, but never mind that. Let our Rock Island people show they can make a big procession themselves, rain or shine. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Apparatus arrived for drilling an artesian well on the premises of George Warner's Atlantic Brewery. 1914 -- 100 years ago: The German army continued its attacks on the allies line near the Belgian coast. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The farm home of Mr. and Mrs. Gus Zachert northwest of Buffalo Prairie, burned to the ground. 1964 -- 50 years ago: WVIK-FM, noncommercial educational radio station at Augustana College, will return to the air tomorrow. The station operates at a power of 10 watts at 90.9 megacycles on the frequency modulation band. The station is operated with a staff of 92 students. 1989 -- 25 years ago: An avenue of lights, 13 Christmas trees strung with more than 44,000 sparkling lights, will expand the Festival of Trees beyond the walls of RiverCenter in downtown Davenport in mid-November.