Lexington Leader Takes on New Role as CEO

It’s a new year, and the YMCA of the Prairie has a new leader.

Riley Gruntorad, branch executive at the Orthman Community YMCA, began his role as CEO of the three-branch YMCA of the Prairie on January 1.

“I am very blessed and excited to be in this role,” Riley said. “I am the CEO, but I am a great team player. We have an amazing team, and we will accomplish many great things together.”

Janell Brown will continue to lead branch operations at the Don Sjogren Community YMCA in Holdrege, and Julie Czochara will continue her role as the first branch executive at the YMCA at Gothenburg Health.

Riley has led the Orthman Community YMCA for the past three years and will continue to serve as the branch director in Lexington while also taking on this new role.

“Working at the YMCA has been an amazing experience,” Riley said. “I love being around the people and impacting our community. One of the best parts about my job is every day is a new day. It doesn’t matter what day it is, there is no day the same.”

Riley was selected as the new CEO in October, so he has had some time to prepare.

“The past few months, I have been transitioning into this role,” Riley said. “A big part of that was helping with the completion of the 2019 budget. I also attended a YMCA state alliance meeting in Lincoln, which allowed me to meet and get to know all the other YMCA CEOs in Nebraska.”

Riley plans to attend his first YMCA CEO training in March at the YMCA’s national headquarters in Chicago.

The YMCA had been under a management contract with ruralMed Management Resources since early 2018 after the departure of former CEO Ginger Cowne.

While previous YMCA of the Prairie CEOs were based in Holdrege, Riley’s main office will remain in Lexington. He plans to have office hours at the Y in Holdrege on Mondays from 9 a.m.-Noon and at the Gothenburg Y on Mondays from 1-4 p.m.

“During my time on Mondays, I will meet with the directors to go over the week and find out how I can assist them,” Riley said. “But, but my real goal for this time is to get to know the people at the YMCA and in the community …get to know the building, take a class, shoot some hoops, play with the kids in child watch, sit in the social area and have a conversation with members. Also, I will do my best to be at community events in all towns as well as large YMCA events in each community. I want to be involved in the other YMCAs and communities.”

Riley said he is excited to encourage teamwork among the three branches.

“My goal is to work on using each other as resources more, have monthly department meetings with all three branches and be in better communication with one another,” Riley said. “This will spark new ideas and collaborations.”

Riley said his door is always open, and he welcomes visitors and conversation. He enjoys talking to people in person, but he can also be reached at 324-1970 or rgruntorad@orthmanymca.org.

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