QUINCY -- The YMCA of West Central Illinois will have a new CEO next month.
A strategic product manager at Brimfield, Ill.-based manufacturer Kress Corp., Jim Chamberlain brings with him an extensive background in business and experience in a number of different leadership positions in which he was able to mentor people from a variety of cultures. The LaSalle-Peru native holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering.
"I see a lot of similarities between my experience on the for-profit side and the YMCA," he said. "I'm so passionate about the mission of the Y and what the Y can do."
Chamberlain has served for the past five years on the board of directors for the Greater Peoria Family YMCA and is the board chairman there. His history with the YMCA runs much deeper, though.
"I was a gym rat growing up, so I was at the Y all the time," he said. "Some of my earliest memories are playing basketball and soccer and football there, and one of my first jobs was at the Y, as well."
He didn't realize until adulthood, but the YMCA kept Chamberlain out of trouble growing up. As his peers began to party and experiment with smoking and drinking, the YMCA kept him focused and on the right path.
"The Y provided me a safe alternative to maybe getting into some bad situations," he said. "As I got older and into the professional world, I started looking for an organization to give back to. What better organization than the Y? It did a lot for me, and I would love being able to be part of helping to provide that for other people."
Chamberlain will start in the new position Oct. 1. His wife, Chayne, and two children will join him in Quincy in the near future.
"The West Central Illinois YMCA is already doing so many great things," Chamberlain said. "I want to understand what we are doing well and how we can capitalize on it to have an even bigger impact on more people."
The YMCA of West Central Illinois has branches in Quincy, Mount Sterling and Barry and a program center in Ursa.
Chamberlain replaces Brandy Dowdy, who announced he would be stepping down from the CEO position in April after accepting a position working in development for a nonprofit in Naples, Fla. Quincy Family YMCA Senior Executive Director Jamie Veach was named interim CEO.
Being new to Quincy, Chamberlain invites anyone interested to come out to the YMCA and introduce themselves.