Janesville55.7°

From GM to gardens: Rotary Gardens has a new executive director

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Catherine W. Idzerda
February 23, 2009
— A retired General Motors production superintendent is the new executive director of Rotary Gardens.

David Jennings, 55, will take over the post on Monday, March 16.


Jennings will replace Gary Smith, who has served as volunteer interim executive director since June.


“David has a lot of experience with people; he’s positive, very upbeat and knows the community well,” Smith said.


Jennings worked at GM for 31 years and has a bachelor’s degree from UW-Whitewater in business administration.


Smith noted that Jennings doesn’t have “a lot of fundraising” experience, but Rotary Gardens already has a fund development specialist on staff.


“Fundraising is about relationships, and from that perspective, he’s a good choice,” Smith said. “He’ll build on those relationships, and that’s very important.”


Jennings has volunteered at the YMCA, participating in fundraising dances and raffles. He also was the chairman of the Craig Football Boosters, a significant fundraiser and support system for the high school football program.


Although Jennings could retire, he said he feels like he still has a “lot of years” and wants to work, using his management skills.


“I think keeping the gardens going forward during these economic times is going to be the issue,” Jennings said. “I want to look at how to keep current donors and encourage new ones; and maybe there are some new ideas we haven’t considered in the past.”


Jennings lives in Janesville with his wife, Debra. He has two grown sons, Timothy and Steven.



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