Boys & Girls Club snares new director from Arizona |

Boys & Girls Club snares new director from Arizona

Cory McConnell
Appeal Staff Writer

After a three-month search, the Carson City’s Boys & Girls Club of Western Nevada has found a new leader.

Club officials announced Wednesday that Hal Hansen, a longtime Boys & Girls Club employee out of Arizona, will take over as the club’s executive director later this month.

Hansen, the chief professional officer of the Casa Grande, Ariz., club for the past three years, was chosen from a pool of 80 applicants after a nationwide search to fill the seat held for 11 years by former director Cathy Blankenship, who was fired in December.

Hansen said he decided to give up the top post at the much larger club to get out of the bustle of booming Phoenix, one of the largest cities in America.

“It’s just getting to big,” he said, “and I’m from a small town (in Michigan). I miss the four seasons, too.”

Hansen was one of three finalists who were flown in for interviews last month. Club president Jennifer Russell said his energy, enthusiasm and leadership style put him over the top.

“Hal has expressed great interest in being involved in the community,” Russell said.

Hansen, who has a bachelor’s of science degree in recreation and an associate’s degree in marketing and management, has been worked for boys and girls clubs in Arizona for the past 20 years. His title of chief professional officer for the Tempe club is the equivalent of his new post as executive director in Carson City.

The Carson City Boys & Girls Club has been without a permanent director since December.

Although club officials said there was no connection between the two events, the firing came two months after an investigation by the Carson City Sheriff’s Department into missing club funds. Detectives ruled out Blankenship as a suspect early on.

The investigation failed to turn up any suspects and detectives suggested the club perform an internal audit.

The audit also failed to turn up any suspects but Russell said it did turn up “a need for us to revise our internal procedures.”

Measures to ensure no more funds will turn up missing have long since been in place, Russell said, and the club is ready to “move forward with great enthusiasm from here on out.”

The club has much to look forward to with construction on the first phase of a planned 40,000-square-foot “clubhouse” expected to start by the end of this year.

So far, about $2.5 million has been raised for the project, which will start off with a 25,000-square-foot complex, including a gymnasium, game room, offices, library, fine-arts room with an adjoining kiln, as well as a kitchen and cafeteria. Future phases include plans for education rooms, a computer room, music center, outdoor garden classroom, multimedia print shop, sports complex, culinary classroom and community meeting space.

Club officials are planning an open house for early May so the community can meet Hansen.

n Contact reporter Cory McConnell at or 881-1217.