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McHenry County Turning Point » New director named for local United Way

New director named for local United Way

Thanks to Dave Barber for his hard work and welcome to Steve Otten! From the Northwest Herald:

The longtime leader of the Challenger Learning Center in Woodstock has been tapped as the new executive director for the United Way of Greater McHenry County.

Steve Otten will replace outgoing executive director David Barber next month. Otten has worked in the nonprofit sector for more than 25 years — most recently spending the last eight years as the executive director at the educational space science center.

“When you work with nonprofits for this long you learn how many great organizations there are out there that need help,” said Otten, 51. “I see United Way as an opportunity to continue to help those organizations.”

A graduate of Northern Illinois University, Otten has served on the Woodstock Little League Board of Directors as well as with the Greater Woodstock Baseball Association.

Between 70,000 and 75,000 students went on to pursue math, science and technology careers during his time at the center. Otten also served on the national board of directors for the organization.

“It’s time to move on,” he said. “I love what we do with the kids here. I’ll miss the smiles on their faces every day.”

Barber, 62, will step down after more than a decade as the leader of United Way. He became interested in nonprofit organizations more than 42 years ago after a house fire tragically took the lives of his mother, sister and grandmother.

He joined the United Way Board of Directors while working for a telephone company on the corporate side of the business for 31 years. Barber was hired as the executive director in 2001.

“It’s been very fulfilling,” Barber said. “A lot of the people who contribute don’t get to see the little miracles that happen every day. It took me 31 years in corporate to figure out what I should have been doing for 31 years.”

Barber will remain at United Way in a part-time capacity for several months to help with the transition to the new executive director and will aid in the completion of two projects.

Those projects include fixing the information and referral system in the county so people know where they have to go, and establishing a special emergency account that will fund mental health services affected by the closing of Family Service and Community Health Center.

June 04 2012 08:45 pm | In the news

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