It's the intangibles that mean the most to Chad Rodgers.
"The most gratifying part of what I do is when I am able to see the changes in people's lives," said Rogers, the operations director for the Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center.
Rodgers sees people come and go at the Kroc Center on a regular basis. He watches -- and enjoys -- their growth, not only in a healthy, physical sense, but spiritually, too.
"You see their quality of life improve," Rodgers said. "We're trying to help them, and they are very appreciative. There have been lots of tears shed in the offices here when we tell stories of people who have been helped."
In the past couple of years, the beauty of the Kroc Center has brightened what had become a desolate area of the downtown. Add to that all of the recreational bells and whistles found within, and it's easy to be overcome by the physical structure itself. But Rodgers reminds it's another of the intangibles connected with the building that is most important.
"We try and make sure the mission of the Salvation Army remains intact," he said.
Family: Wife, Kathleen; daughter, Olivia, and son, Ethan.
Education: Master's of science, Ohio University; bachelor's in business administration, University of Iowa
Community involvement: Member of Calvary Baptist Church; Noon Kiwanis member; volunteer coach for Upward Basketball; emergency disaster team leader for the Salvation Army; volunteer to ring bells, distribute food and toys for the Salvation Army.
What is your job, what do you do and what do you like best about it? Operations director for The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center. I would boil my job down to providing support and encouragement to my staff, ensuring the highest quality service to all of our clients and customers while maintaining our commitment to our mission. There are a number of things I truly appreciate about my job. I love working with our incredible staff -- we truly have a fantastic ensemble of talented folks here. Additionally, I witness daily the unbelievable generosity of this community, and the big hearts they have for one another. Finally, God is always present and revered in our workplace -- and that is a tremendous comfort.
What is a typical workweek like? Now that is a very funny question. A typical day in my role doesn't really occur. My weeks are filled with meetings, mentoring staff, putting out "fires" and responding to the needs of others.
What was your first job, and what do you remember about it? Being a country boy from Iowa, my first "job" was doing chores like feeding our animals, baling hay, cutting/splitting wood, etc. The first job I was ever paid for was mowing yards for some elderly folks in our small town. However, I worked many different jobs when I was young from detasseling corn, to landscaping work, a custodial job and working at a farmers' market. All of these jobs were very physical in nature and really instilled a strong work ethic.
How do you balance everything? Most importantly, I have an amazing wife who is extremely organized, so our family life -- although very hectic -- is managed by her. This allows me to stay focused on my responsibilities with my job and volunteer time in the community. I do not have an administrative assistant, so I maintain a very organized work life, using calendars, checklists and folders for everything. However, I admit this is a work in progress.
Which person has influenced you the most and why? I could not name one person (because) I have been influenced by a number of people in my life, but most of the credit would need to go to my parents. Though cliche, my mom and dad are different in many ways, but also very much the same.
Have you ever failed at something? How did you recover? Failure is part of life, and if people are truly honest, it is where the biggest lessons can be learned. I've had my share, and I am certain more will come. Having a strong faith in God and a loving, supportive family can provide the strength to recover from all things in time.
What does success mean to you? Achieving a shared goal, while maintaining one's integrity.
What was your proudest professional moment? Professionally, I would say the times when I have been contacted by former students and staff to thank me for the lessons I shared with them. Knowing that I had a positive impact on their life, however small, has always made my job worthwhile.
What is your favorite stress buster/leisure time diversion? I love to fish and play golf, (but those are) not favorites of my wife, so spending quality time with my wife and kids playing in the yard or taking a trip is also very enjoyable.
What is the biggest need in your community? The needs are many, however, I feel our society must turn from its sense of entitlement and put hard work, family and God back at the forefront in all we do.
What gives you reason for optimism in your community? I have the privilege of observing the generosity and care of the people in this community daily, while also knowing there are still many young people who understand the importance of hard work, education, faith and respect.
If you could go back in time and give advice to yourself when you were in high school, what would it be? Spend more time with the loved ones I have since lost ... and to take better care of my health.
If you weren't working for the Salvation Army, what would you be doing? Operating another recreational facility. I really enjoy my profession.
If you could add a few more hours to the day, how would you spend them? Coaching my kids on a variety of sports, sharing life lessons, or just spending more time in general with them.
Do you live by any mantra or saying? James 1:19: "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath." I work to live by these words every day, and I usually fall short each day. But it gives me something to shoot for each morning. My staff would say I use the phrases "Perception is Everything" and "use this as a learning opportunity" on a very regular basis.
Career aspirations aside, name one thing you definitely want to accomplish in your lifetime. I want to open and operate my own business with my wife. She's my best friend and I cannot imagine having a better business partner.