RICHMOND — For Dave Wallace, new executive director of the Telford YMCA, the move to Madison County was more than a business step, it was a homecoming.
“I’m a Madison County native,” Wallace said. “As a kid, I ran up and down the floor of that gym.”
Wallace, 53, was born and raised in Berea, where he attended Berea College and after graduation worked as the city’s parks and recreation director.
During his time with the city, he and the Berea College Volleyball team organized a church volleyball league as well as adult softball and other programs until he decided to leave the area to pursue other opportunities.
“When I would come back to visit my parents, I would come here (YMCA) to work out. So, I’ve been in this building before.”
Wallace spent nearly 25 years away from Madison County, working in sales and finally becoming a full-time YMCA employee.
“I got started just doing programs,” Wallace said. “I’ve done a little bit of everything, from youth sports to child care programs, day camps, special events, things like that.”
When his two now grown children were young, Wallace said he began looking for a job in administration so he could spend more time with his family. That’s when he became associate executive director of a YMCA in Moultrie, Ga. After establishing a name for himself in a director’s position there, he accepted similar jobs in Charlotte, N.C., and then Albany, Ga.
“That gave me experience working in a large, metropolitan YMCA,” Wallace said. “I had been accustomed to working in smaller, single-unit associations. That gave me a different perspective, not only with Y work, but also with outreach and working with special populations, very diverse populations.”
Wallace said this experience will be put to good use in future projects at Telford.
He said he’d like to use outreach to improve the quality of childcare offered in the area, as well as offering more after-school programs and extending outreach to senior citizens.
Wallace said coming back has given him the opportunity to reconnect with many people he knew before he left. At the same time, he said he is excited to use the experience he gained working in other states to improve the outreach in Madison County.
“I see so many opportunities for this Y to have an impact on the community,” Wallace said. “There’s a unique history here.... I'm just excited to have the opportunity to build on that legacy established by the Telford family.”
When he’s not working, Wallace enjoys riding his bike along the hilly roads of the county, which he said are very different from the flat land of southern Georgia. He also enjoys skiing and traveling, as well as doing yard work.
Seth Littrell can be reached at email@example.com or 624-6623.