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Meet the new East Side Y guy
David Dominick’s transition into the top job has been fairly seamless, it seems
To say the new East Side YMCA executive director David Dominick is a busy guy is perhaps an understatement.
He’s got a plate chockfull of community engagements.
In addition to full-time executive duties at both the East Side and Midway Y’s, he’s the governor of his Lions Club district, which includes 42 individual clubs.
If that’s not enough, he’s also an active member of the St. Paul Sunrise Rotary Club and the Midway Chamber of Commerce.
“There’s never a dull moment,” he says, with a tone of energized whimsy.
Dominick has always been passionate about community work, he says. “All my life has been non-profit work.”
This includes 13 years with the Boy Scouts of America in his old stomping grounds in Indianapolis. His involvement with the Scouts brought him to another branch of the Boy Scouts here in Minnesota, what was then called the Viking Council.
After that, he got onboard with the Midway YMCA in St. Paul, where he’s now been working for 10 years. Though he’s been involved indirectly with the East Side Y for years, he became the new director in March.
Taking over duties at the East Side was seamless, Dominick says. This was in part due to the easy handover from former director Derrick Jaeger.
“Derrick did a wonderful job” at the East Side Y, he says. Dominick was previously Jaeger’s supervisor, and as a result spent time over at the East Side location. Because of this, he met a lot of the staff and the board there, so it’s not as if he was coming in as a stranger.
For instance, Ann Schulte, fitness director at the East Side Y, has been working with Dominick for years. “He’s pretty familiar with the comings and goings of the East Side Y,” she says.
Schulte says she was glad to have him onboard, saying he has a lot of experience. “He has a great connection with the community and has hands on experience with the inner workings of an inner city YMCA.”
And he’s so involved that “I don’t know how he has a life outside of the Y,” Schulte says jokingly.
With all the transition and changing structure at the Y in recent years, she sees him as “a face that’s going to stick around.”
Felipe Galvan, the East Side Y’s member services director, says Dominick “is made for our community.”
And though he’s juggling with two different Y’s, “he has a great support system that allows him to be effective in both locations,” Galvan says.
Though most of his life has been in the non-profit realm, he says there is one major exception to this -- his four-year stint as a politician.
He was the mayor of Muncie, Ind. Elected in 1991 at the age of 31, he oversaw a budget of $300 million and over 800 employees.
In terms of the East Side Y, Dominick hopes to focus on “helping kids and families have healthier lifestyles.”
More specifically, he identified core areas to focus on, including healthy living, youth development, diabetes prevention and fighting obesity.
Dominick says that among certain East Side communities, there are above-average rates of kids with Type 2 diabetes. He said he is hoping the Y will be able to better connect with those communities moving forward.
To introduce Dominick to the neighborhood, the East Side Review conducted a Q & A with him.
Contact Patrick Larkin at email@example.com or 651-748-7816.
Q & A with David Dominick, the new executive director at the East Side YMCA
What’s your age?
A young 52.
How did you end up in Minnesota?
I got a job promotion to Minneapolis - I became Chief Operating Officer of the former Viking Council at Boy Scouts of America.
Where did you go to school? What did you study?
Ball State University. I graduated in 1984. I was studying to be a high school business teacher. I ended up with a business management degree.
You’re a busy guy. What keeps you going? How do you stay energized?
Diet Coke. And I have always been very active.
How did you end up getting involved with the YMCA?
After moving here, I fell in love with Minnesota and the Twin Cities. I didn’t want to continue moving around the country due to work relocation. I saw this ad in the paper for a YMCA executive director, applied, and here I am 10 years later.
What keeps you working there?
Passion for inner city work; passion for kids, seniors, daycare kids, passion for the YMCA mission -- great staff, great volunteers, and I can sell Christmas trees -- all are some of the reasons that keep me at the Y.
Why choose to work for non-profits? What makes them important to you?
I grew up being a Boy Scout and became an Eagle Scout. I loved being an event organizer, loved giving back to the community. All of these things directed me to switching majors and getting my first career with the Boy Scouts of America.
Non-profit work is very gratifying, and I would choose no other field to work in. After my political career, I went right back into non-profit work.
How will you be splitting your time between the Midway and the East Side YMCAs?
On an average I spend 2.5-3 days at each location. Much depends on what is going on in the community at that given time -- this will determine how I balance out the week and weekend.
So far it has been 3-plus days a week in each community.
It’s like being the mayor of two-thirds of Saint Paul. All good.
Can you describe some of your favorite aspects of the East Side? of the East Side YMCA?
It has a rich history. I like the diversity of the community, the pride and loyalty of the East Siders, the long history of the Eastside YMCA in Saint Paul. And it has great restaurants (I love to eat).
What are some of your aspirations for the East Side YMCA?
Continue to expand and strengthen our community partnerships; continue to engage more East Side residents with the YMCA; help our kids and families live healthier; play a key role with the Payne-Maryland Project, the Prosperity Campaign, and be an active supporter of East Side Area Business Association and the St. Paul East Side Lions Club.
What was it like being mayor of Muncie, Indiana?
Being mayor was a great experience that I will always remember.
Being able to oversee and lead the sixth largest city in the state of Indiana when I was 31 was incredible.
Having no political background, I learned a lot, improved some city services, held the line on taxes and spending, reduced the city deficit and helped improve the quality of life for the residents.
Muncie was known for Garfield the Cat and the Ball canning jar. The movie “Hoosiers” was about my high school, Muncie Central, that was beat by Milan.
How did you end up receiving the Martin Luther King award? What was it awarded for, any specific project?
I received the award when I was mayor.
I was the first mayor to engage the African-American community in city government.
I appointed the first African-American deputy mayor and chief of police.
I really embraced the African American community and because of my leadership, they recognized me for my work.
At the time- I was a Republican mayor in a Democrat city.
Even though I was raised a Democrat, I switched parties in college and served as a Republican.
But now I am registered with the DFL.
What do you do for fun?
Bowling, mosaic work, mow the grass, work in the garden, give back to the community through service club work (Lions and Rotary), bake awesome cupcakes, dabble in politics. When I have the time, I love to sign up for community education classes so that I can master a new skill or hobby.
On the radar: web design and Spanish. I need to refresh my language skills.