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Ga. Mountains YMCA leader leaving for NC job
Rich Gallagher, CEO at the Georgia Mountains YMCA, meets with a group of youths Tuesday afternoon during the J.A. Walters Family YMCA summer day camp. Gallagher is leaving for a job with a YMCA near Charlotte, N.C.

The president and CEO of the Georgia Mountains YMCA is resigning to take a job as executive director of the Siskey YMCA in Matthews, N.C., a suburb of Charlotte.

For two years, Rich Gallagher has overseen the Gainesville-based organization with a staff of 212 and budget of $4.5 million at the Oakwood, J.A. Walters and White County Family facilities.

"It’s going to be a fun challenge. I’m very excited about a great opportunity, the Georgia Mountains YMCA association is phenomenal, and it’s hard to leave, but I’m looking forward to working with the staff of the Charlotte association; it’s a great Y," he said.

During the time Gallagher has been CEO, the association saw a debt reduction from $9 million to $3.5 million, and increased membership numbers reflecting its highest total in years, according to a news release from the organization.

"The membership right now is 2,600. When I started two years ago, it was around 1,900," Gallagher said.

Gallagher begins his new role on July 1, and was previously chief operating officer and executive director of the White County Family YMCA in Georgia.

He has worked for the Y since he was 15 years old, he said.

"I’ve worked them you could say on and off, but it’s been pretty much continuous since I was 15. I started out as a lifeguard in Birmingham, Ala., and from there to teaching swim lessons, being a camp counselor, working as a sports program assistant and so on and so on and up through the YMCA doing many different positions," he said, adding, "The YMCA has always been a part of my family."

Gallagher said an interim CEO will take over, with the board of directors making a decision "within the next week and a half."

"We have a fantastic board of directors. They’ll be putting an interim CEO in place, and they’ll be in place three to six months while the board with YUSA does a national search," he said.

He intends to take the lessons he learned in Gainesville and apply them to the Charlotte area.

"I have been in Gainesville with such great people and great staff and great members, and I intend to just continue to really follow what the Bible says. Treat people they way you want to be treated. It’s all the golden rule, and good things happen is what I have learned in Gainesville when you treat people the way you want to be treated," he said.

Gallagher also thanked his staff and board for all their support.

"I hate to be leaving behind a phenomenal staff and phenomenal members, from the seniors to the kids. We have a great membership and great families," he said.

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