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National 'Y' picks Payne

| Thursday, April 23, 2009

One of Donora's many success stories is now leading the country's largest nonprofit, community service organization.

Ulice Payne Jr. was unanimously selected as the new chairman-elect for the YMCA of the USA's board of directors.

Payne will serve in that position until February 2010, when he will succeed Chairman Kenneth B. Colloton.

Payne joined the board in 2005 and will serve a two-year term as chairman.

"It truly is an honor to help lead the YMCA's movement, especially in these interesting times," said Payne, a 1973 Ringgold High School graduate.

Payne said the "Y" has a long tradition serving communities and has endured the Great Depression, every World War and conflict, and recessions.

"Things are a lot different today than they were even four years ago, yet the mission of the YMCA hasn't changed," he said.

Payne said he returns home to the Mon Valley at least twice a year to visit relatives and has been the guest of honor at annual golf fundraisers for the Mon Valley YMCA in Carroll Township.

He says he has a "special place in his heart" for the Mon Valley YMCA and remembers youthful days playing basketball in the summer league.

"Back then, the Y was just being built, but it had a great court to play summer leagues on," he said. "To go there now and see how far it has come is very heartening for me."

Payne is remembered in his hometown as a standout basketball player. He went on to Marquette University, where he was a member of 1977 national championship basketball team.

After graduating in 1978, he was selected by the Detroit Pistons during the 1978 National Basketball Association draft. He was later cut from the team.

He bounced back and focused on his studies, receiving a Marquette law degree in 1982.

Payne is president of Addison-Payne LLC, an advisor on global trade compliance, where he heads daily operations.

He previously led the National League Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club as president and CEO. He served as managing partner of the Milwaukee-based Foley & Lardner LLP, and as the Wisconsin Commissioner of Securities.

YMCA of the USA President and Chief Executive Officer Neil Nicoll said he is confident Payne will serve the board with "passion."

"Our nation's YMCAs form a powerful association dedicated to strengthening kids, families and communities," Nicoll stated.

"Ulice brings passion and years of experience as a business and community leader to our mission. We look forward to his leadership as we continue our efforts to foster the development of children and families, advance healthy communities and support those in need."

A community and business leader, Payne serves on the boards of the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee, Manpower Inc., Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co., Badger Meter Inc., and Wisconsin Energy Corp. He serves on many more boards and organizations.

Mon Valley YMCA Executive Director Ken Wiltz watched Payne grow from a young boy shooting hoops at the "Y" to a basketball star and successful businessman.

"He's extremely busy, but he always finds time to give back," said Wiltz, adding Payne was instrumental in helping lead the fundraising campaign to build the Carroll Township facility.

"Ulice is someone you're definitely proud to be associated with," Wiltz said.

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