From the late summer edition of "Goodwill Today", the newsletter of
Goodwill Industries of South Central Wisconsin.
Profile of Leadership: Dave Olsen
Learning the value of volunteering came early to David (Dave) Olsen.
Growing up in Jefferson, in a home with a mom who was chosen
Wisconsin Mother of the Year and parents who were named Citizens
of the Year, you naturally learn to give back to your community
at a young age. Combine that with the added values of hard work,
love of family and faith- and its clear how this warm, friendly,
and very giving man was shaped.
Born in Iowa, Daves family moved four times before he was seven,
ending up in Jefferson, Wisconsin. Following his graduation from
the University of Hawaii (on a four-year Army ROTC scholarship)
he served three years in northern Italy where he became fluent in
the language, worked as a special weapons officer, and reached
the rank of Captain. After active duty, Dave served in the Army
Reserves as a battery commander during Desert Storm.
Dave spent a number of years using his political science degree
working as a political consultant. He has worked on campaigns at
all levels and candidates from city council to president have
benefited from Dave's political expertise.
Dave has been married to Linda, whom he met at Phantom Lake YMCA Camp
in Mukwonago, for 15 years. After living in Hawaii, Italy, Dallas,
Houston, Chicago, and Milwaukee, Dave convinced Linda that
Jefferson would be the perfect place to raise their family and
returned in 1995.
For 5 1/2 years, Dave worked full time as the Executive Director
of the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce and full time (with his father
and brother) at the Olsen Funeral Home. When Dave and Linda were
blessed with daughter Ryanne and son Nathan this hard working
provider chose to scale down to just one occupation. To be
able to help people during their deepest time of need is important
and very rewarding to me, he says.
In February 2004, Governor Doyle appointed Dave to the Funeral
Directors Examining Board, a board that oversees all the funeral
homes and funeral directors in the state of Wisconsin. This is
a position, like all his other involvements he takes very seriously.
Dave is a charter member of the Jefferson County Tourism Council
which led to Governor Doyle appointing him to the Governor's
Council on Tourism in the fall of 2004. This 14 member council
advises the Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism on
all matters relating to tourism, including assisting the Secretary
in formulating a statewide marketing strategy.
All work and no play...
Family is very important and the Olsen family loves to travel and
have fun! They have family in Florida, Cape Cod, Arizona, Alaska,
Colorado, Idaho, and California, so they spend a lot of time
visiting family across the country. They have a place outside
Lac du Flambeau (northern Wisconsin) and love to fish, go
tubing, and water ski.
Dave is actively involved in the city of Jefferson. He is a
Jefferson Common Council member; Rotarian (Past President);
committee member of the Alverno Humans Rights Committee at
St. Colettas; Jefferson Historical Society member; gives classes
at UW-Whitewater, and trains volunteers of the Jefferson Rainbow
Hospice program by teaching a class on death and dying.
Goodwill Industries is also very fortunate to have the expertise
of this talented man. Dave has served on Goodwills Jefferson,
Old Middleton Road, Beebe, Kinney, Stein, Meyer and SLA
affiliate boards since 2002. These boards manage and direct
our supported apartment programs.
Asked why he continues his involvement with Goodwill he quickly
says, Its an opportunity for me to work with an organization
with a great reputation for serving people with specific needs.
I am impressed with Goodwill's great leadership too. Goodwill's
philosophy is a nice fit with my philosophy... People helping people.
How does he fit it all in? Being a night owl helps, I guess.
Dave typically does not retire for the evening until 2 or 3 a.m.
For a man who deals with death and dying on daily basis he is
truly a person who is living life to the fullest. He is an
inspiration to the community he works so hard to improve and
to the many lives he has touched.
Married to Linda for 15 years (owner of Trusted Plans)
Children: Daughter, Ryanne -12 years old Son, Nathan 9 years old
Bernie & the late Mona Olsen
BS Political Science University of Hawaii
Worsham College of Mortuary Science
Co-owner of Olsen Funeral Homes (Jefferson & Whitewater)
Hobbies or Activities/Interests:
Other Volunteer Activities:
Jefferson Common Council, Jefferson Rotary Club (Past President),
Alverno Human Rights Committee at St. Colettas Church,
Jefferson Historical Society, Rainbow Hospice
Additional Interests & Supporter of:
Tomorrow's Hope, Jefferson Blue Devils, Boy Scouts, Gemuetlichkeit
Days, Jefferson Public Library, United Way
Philosophy on Volunteerism
I'm very fortunate to live the life that I live and I think
it's important to try to give back.