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New YMCA CEO sees much potential for local organization

New Albany Area YMCA President and CEO Dan J. Gillan says he sees a lot of potential for the organization in Albany. “This is a wonderful community,” Gillan said. “There’s also, in respect of the YMCA, a lot of unrecognized potential.” (Staff Photo: Brad McEwen)

New Albany Area YMCA President and CEO Dan J. Gillan says he sees a lot of potential for the organization in Albany. “This is a wonderful community,” Gillan said. “There’s also, in respect of the YMCA, a lot of unrecognized potential.” (Staff Photo: Brad McEwen)

ALBANY — The Albany Area YMCA has a new leader and, based on his resume, retired Marine Colonel Daniel J Gillan believes he’s the right man for the job.

Having recently retired from the United States Marine Corps, the new YMCA president and chief executive officer thinks that the local organization, while very successful, has a lot of untapped potential that could make it even better.

“I think we already do a very very good job at maintaining the membership,” Gillan said. “By excelling in quality, we can continue to grow. You want the place to shine. You want people to feel welcome.”

Gillian believes his track record as a Marine officer and his knowledge of the Corps’ core values of honesty, courage and commitment will be crucial in leading the organization to increased success. Having retired from active duty in 2009 as CEO and Commander of the Maintenance Center at Albany Marine Corps Logistics Base, he feels he is well prepared for the challenge.

“Being a leader of Marines was the perfect preparation for this,” said Gillan. “It’s not all that different than leading a battalion. We just need to work as a team and all stay focused on a common goal.”

In addition to his military background, Gillan is also a fitness enthusiast who is certified as a personal trainer and aquatic fitness professional, skills he has put to use as a teacher at the YMCA for the last few years. Since 2011, Gillan has been a fixture at the YMCA, soldiering members through Boot Camp fitness classes four days a week, something he plans to continue doing in addition to his new leadership role.

“What a better way for the CEO to be engaged,” Gillan said. “as long as it doesn’t interfere with my other duties. With most of the classes at 5:30 in the morning, that shouldn’t be a problem.”

Gillan and his family relocated to Albany from San Diego, Calif. in 2007 when he was given command of the maintenance center, a move he says was welcomed.

“San Diego was a great place to be, but I spent most of that time deployed,” Gillan said. “Coming from San Diego to Albany was interesting. We’ve never lived in the deep south before, among all the farm county. We received a very warm reception when we moved here.”

During his time in Albany, Gillan feels that he’s become part of what he sees as a special community and that he can contribute a lot through his efforts at the YMCA to make it even better.

“We can always do better,” said Gillan. “With that comes serving the membership with quality facilities, quality staff, a balanced budget and delivering value. We do those things now, but to tap into that unrealized potential in our community we can do better. We can be good at what we do or we can be excellent.”

Along with his duties at the YMCA and raising a family, Gillan is a member at St. Teresa’s Catholic Church, where he also serves as adult leader for Boy Scout Troop 3. Gillan is also one of a handful of bagpipe players in southern Georgia, a skill he developed in childhood and which he displays regularly at parades and civic functions throughout the area.

“I really think I’m the only piper in South Georgia,” joked Gillan. “The good thing about that is, if I mess up a song, no one really knows what it’s supposed to sound like anyway.”

Gillan said he is excited to meet all the supporters of the YMCA as well as others in the community as soon as possible. To facilitate that, the organization will be hosting a meet and greet with Gillan for community members and the media Oct. 14 from 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Leadership Room of the Albany Area YMCA main location on Gillionville Road.