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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
Originally From:
Spencer, IA
BS Political Science University of Hawaii
Worsham College of Mortuary Science
Co-owner of Olsen Funeral Homes (Jefferson & Whitewater)
Hobbies or Activities/Interests:
Reading, Movies
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.