New director at East Suburban YMCA helm

| Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

As her 1991 graduation date from Lock Haven University approached, Kelli McIntyre — who had started swimming at age 4 and was a lifeguard at the East Suburban YMCA in Plum when she was a teen — started thinking about a career path that involved both children and her lifelong love of water.

Though she was about to receive a teaching degree, her dedication to swimming during her college years confirmed that she didn't want her own classroom nearly as much as she wanted her own pool.

“Through college, I drove home on weekends to teach swimming lessons at Franklin Regional,” McIntyre said.

So instead of searching for a teaching job, she took a job as the aquatics director at the New Castle Community YMCA.

Shortly after that, she found her way back to the Plum YMCA and began to climb the organizational ladder.

Last month, a search committee bumped her up a rung when it named McIntyre, 44, of Murrysville, the new executive director of the Route 286 facility.

McIntyre succeeds Larry Stormer who left the position after nearly six years in February to take a job with Coy Capital Management in Wilkins.

She began her career at the East Suburban YMCA as a pool manager and swim coach in 1993 as well as working as a substitute teacher in the Plum School District.

“I subbed for a swim teacher,” McIntyre said. “I kept going back to water.”

Over the past 20 years, McIntyre has worked in a variety of positions at the Plum facility, including senior director of program and membership, associate executive director and interim executive director.

“This is what I have been moving toward all my life,” McIntyre said of her new position.

“I love it. I like challenge. It really didn't hit me until our CEO said, ‘You will be running the biggest nonprofit in this area.' ”

McIntyre's biggest challenge is managing the $12 million expansion of the East Suburban Family YMCA, which will nearly double the size of the 20,000-square-foot facility.

Construction is expected to be completed in a year.

Features of the project are a 30,000-square-foot addition with a wellness center and track; a teaching kitchen; an indoor aquatic center, including a warm-water therapy pool; a new and expanded child-care area and summer day camp; a new community room; locker rooms; a preventive health class and rehabilitation-program area; and potentially a teen center.

The fundraising campaign kicked off a couple of years ago with a $1 million donation from the Sampson Foundation.

Gary Nowading, district vice president of the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh, said about $5.3 million has been raised to date and that the YMCA will be raising half of cost for the $12 million project and finance the other half.

McIntyre is focusing on keeping the YMCA programs in place during the construction.

Some programs have been moved to other areas of the facility to accommodate the project.

“I am a calm person, but I like the chaos of construction,” McIntyre said.

Those who have worked with McIntyre laud her for her passion with respect to the YMCA.

“We could not be more pleased with Kelli as executive director,” Nowading said.

“Kelli is an asset to the Y, and will be a bigger asset with this leading role.”

“Kelli is passionate about that Y and the YMCA,” Stormer said.

“I think she will do a phenomenal job.”

“Kelli is honestly one of the most determined, hard-working and passionate people that I have ever had the pleasure of working with,” said Ben Raible of North Huntingdon who is the director of youth development at the East Suburban Family YMCA.

“There is no one more deserving or better prepared to lead our branch into this exciting new era. The future Sampson Family YMCA is positioned perfectly in the very capable hands of Kelli McIntyre.”

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400 ext. 8753 or kzapf@tribweb.com.

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