The timing couldn't have been better for Nathan Prenzlow and his family.
A native of Snyder, Neb. - a town of 300 - Prenzlow was ready for a return to his Midwestern roots. The retirement of Becky LaBarre, longtime Spencer Y executive director, opened the door for Prenzlow to move closer to home.
The local Y announced the hiring of Prenzlow in November 2012. He left his family in Pennsylvania to begin his role as the CEO at the Spencer facility shortly after the first of the year. He's excited about the change in location.
"This is about the size of the community I worked in while in Blair (Nebraska). Blair was about 8,000 people and had the same size Y as this one. I loved being there. This is what I was looking for," Prenzlow said, noting his enjoyment of the "Midwest feeling."
"I had two goals when I accepted the job - join an independent Y and move closer to family. I really wanted to come in and be a CEO with a strong branch with a lot of support from the community," he added.
Prior to accepting the Spencer position, Prenzlow served as executive director for the YMCA branch in Reading, Pa. His responsibilities included management of a $4.4 million budget for a YMCA with 1,800 members, 25 full-time staff and 83 part-time employees, and a variety of programming including fitness, aquatics, childcare and housing.
Prenzlow has enjoyed what he's seen to this point at his new job.
"Look at it. It's four o'clock and it's crazy here. We're thriving. First impressions are that things are running pretty good," the new CEO said. "If I can take some of my experience and incorporate it here," Prenzlow said, "I definitely have all sorts of ideas - the expansion of programs, getting out there are doing special events."
He added, "This is a great facility. It's a good size. Every Y executive will say we want more, but that takes time."
Previously, he was the executive director for the Adamstown YMCA and Mifflin Area YMCA. All three of these Y's are branches of the YMCA of Reading and Berks County Association.
Prenzlow moved from his native Nebraska in 2009 to work with the YMCAs of Reading and Berks County. Just prior to his leadership role at the YMCAs in Pennsylvania, Prenzlow managed an Anytime Fitness in Omaha, Neb. His career started at the Blair Family YMCA in Blair, Neb. where he served as director of Operations from May 2002 through August 2008.
Prenzlow credited the staff with making the transition smooth.
"The staff's been great. The board members, the community - they've all been wonderful. They've helped me out with the people and putting me in the right places."
Prenzlow and his wife Christy have three children, Campbell, Marley, and Mila. The family will be moving to Spencer the weekend of Jan. 26, weather permitting.
Welcome new Spencer Y CEO Nathan Prenzlow during the Y's Men Pancake Breakfast at the Spencer Family Y from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3.