Andy Dorian has a heart for helping others and a mind for seeing projects through.
After getting a bachelor's degree in political science, Dorian started his post-college life building trails for AmeriCorps in Alaska. Eventually, that lifestyle drew him to a second degree in recreation administration from Eastern Illinois University and brought him back home to the Tri-states. As director for Hannibal Parks and Recreation, Dorian is able to build playgrounds and groom areas for both the community and his own family to enjoy.
"It's kind of cool to know that maybe someday I'll be able to build more playgrounds and that my child will be able to play on them," he said.
He consistently strives to make progress in his work, and despite his demanding job, he remains involved in area initiatives. He's quick to invest his time in causes that spur community growth and help the general public.
"My legacy is, I hope that when ever I leave, I hope they know that I truly did care," he said. "I didn't put in 60 hours a week because I wanted to, I put it in because I truly love the community and all the things that I do outside of work."
Dorian credits his success to his organized wife, dedicated co-workers and consistently stubborn attitude. He hopes that if his daughter learns anything from him, it's that anything is possible with a little innovation and extra effort.
"I'm not stubborn to the point where I never give in, but I never give up," he said. "If I have a plan, I'm going to make sure that plan gets in place."
Family: Wife, Laura; daughter, Mia
Education: Bachelor of political science, Western Illinois University; bachelor of recreation administration, Eastern Illinois University; Master of Business Administration, William Woods University
Community involvement: Member, Holy Family Catholic Church; president, Kids in Motion advisory board; member, United Way of the Mark Twain Area Board; allocation member, United Way of the Mark Twain Area; member, Shine a Light on Autism .
What is your job, what do you do and what do you like best about it? Director of the Hannibal Parks and Recreation Department. What I like most about my job is being able to build parks, construct playgrounds, develop programs and raise money for the community. I also love working with the public and getting a chance every day to make a contribution to our community.
What is a typical workweek like? There is no typical workweek at the Hannibal Parks and Recreation Department. It changes every day, sometimes every hour. For the most part, though, I plan projects for the maintenance staff; work with contractors and engineers on capital projects; keep track of the budget and finances; supervise up to 50 employees, depending on the season; and attend way too many meetings. I try and get out to the parks and facilities as much as possible to monitor ongoing projects, evaluate staff and talk with park patrons. I also work with our recreation staff and local organizations on planning new programs and events.
What was your first job, and what do you remember about it? My first job was in the seventh grade as a paperboy delivering The Quincy Herald-Whig with Rob Gengenbacher. I have a lot of great memories about that job, and Rob and I to this day still joke about all the antics we use to get into.
How do you balance everything? I am very lucky in that I have a terrific wife who is very organized and keeps me headed in the right direction at home. At work I am also lucky that I have two fantastic and dedicated co-workers in Aron Lee and Mary Lynne Richards, who help balance the workload and are also great friends away from work. I would have a lot more gray hair without the three of them.
Which person has influenced you the most and why? I would say my mother and father have influenced me most in life. My mother is truly a kind and caring person and has always been there for me throughout the years. She has always been a terrific sounding-board and has always given me advice when advice was needed. She has just done a great job on teaching me how to make sacrifices, treat other people and care for family. My father has taught me so much, especially about how to work hard. As my father always says, "A Dorian's work is never done."
Have you ever failed at something? How did you recover? My wife and family will laugh at this question because they would say I would never publicly admit to failing at anything, I think that's the stubborn Irish in me. I have and do fail at things all the time, whether it be a soccer or baseball game in high school or projects here at the Parks Department that did not quite go the way I was hoping. I recover from failing by learning from my mistakes and working that much harder so I do not fail at the same thing twice. Failing is a part of life. What is most important is being prepared and working hard so that when you do fail, you can never regret that effort was the reason why you failed.
What does success mean to you? Success to me is a happy, loving family. If your family is truly happy, then you are as successful as you can hope to be.
What was your proudest professional moment? So far my proudest professional moment was being named the Hannibal Parks and Recreation director. I owe a lot to our Mayor Roy Hark and City Manager Jeff LaGarce for believing in me and trusting me to run the Parks Department at such a young age.
What is your favorite stress-buster/leisure time diversion? I am a big St. Louis Cardinals and Notre Dame Fighting Irish fan, so anytime I can sit and watch a game, I enjoy it -- although sometimes watching creates more stress, so I might need to find a better stress buster.
What is the biggest need in your community? Solutions to our growing poverty here in Northeast Missouri is a major concern and priority. We're not unlike most cities across the country in that we need more adequate-paying jobs for our residents to prosper and for our local government to continue to offer the services that are needed here in Hannibal.
What gives you reason for optimism in your community? A great thing about my job is that I am able to see reasons for optimism every day. We host countless fundraising events each year, and it always amazes me how generous people are with their time and money, even those people who have little resources.
If you could go back in time and give advice to yourself when you were in high school, what would it be? I would go back and tell myself to go to the doctor and get some of my sports injuries fixed so that when I was 31, I could get out of bed without so many aches and pains. It would be a pointless effort, though, because as stubborn as I am, I would not have listened to myself and would have continued to keep playing.
If you weren't working with the Hannibal Parks and Rec, what would you be doing? I had an offer to go to Clemson to get my Ph.D. in recreation, so if I was not a parks director I would have probably pursued being a college professor.
If you could add a few more hours to the day, how would you spend them? That is an easy question. I would definitely spend more time with my wife and daughter.
Do you live by any mantra or saying? Don't measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability. -- John Wooden
Career aspirations aside, name one thing you definitely want to accomplish in your lifetime. At the end of the day, I simply want a happy family. If I can accomplish that, then I have accomplished everything.