New P&R director brings enthusiasm to job
New Carson City Parks and Recreation Director Roger Moellendorf, 52, keeps an Albert Einstein quote in his direct line of sight, across from his desk: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
In his daily planner, there’s a quote from Goethe’s “Faust”:
“A man sees in the world what he has in his heart.”
Whoever said a bureaucrat’s life is dull hasn’t spent a day with Moellendorf. True, most of his work day is spent either on the phone or in committee meetings, but he finds a way to glean enjoyment from it all.
“It’s fun,” he said matter-of-factly from behind the neatly organized desk in his sun-filled office on Butti Way, fiddling with his small wire reading glasses.
“It’s a new challenge, and I’m working with highly professional, enthusiastic people,” he adds.
Excited, he leans forward in his chair when he discusses plans for a new multipurpose gym, to be partially funded by the one-fourth percent sales tax passed by Carson City voters in 1996.
Pulling a thick binder from his packed bookshelf full of multi-use gym plans in other Western cities, he said the possibilities are endless.
“We’ve been having brainstorming sessions,” he said. “Should it be a fitness center? Another community center? There could be a fitness room, basketball, soccer, racquetball courts, even inline hockey.”
Formerly the parks and recreation director for Green River, Wyo., he took over the Carson City position Oct. 4 after Carson City Manager Linda Ritter chose him from 50 applicants.
He compares his initiation to Linda Blair’s role in the “Exorcist.”
“My head was spinning at first,” he said. “After working in one location for so long, you take your network of support for granted. You have to re-establish that all over again.”
For six weeks, Moellendorf has been making the most of his time. He’s gathered public comment in a series of three city and parks Master Plan meetings, learning right off the bat his new community needs more indoor recreation facilities.
“It’s really advantageous that I came in the middle of the master plan process,” he said. “I’ve really been able to get my feet wet and find out people’s attitudes about existing services and projects. I’m finding there’s really a dearth of indoor recreational space.”
He sympathizes: Life would not be as sweet without recreation, he said, especially his favorite kind – flyfishing.
“I love it,” he said. “Also camping and hiking. My kids like skiing and snowboarding.”
Every once and a while, his eyes flit to a photo of his three fit and tan children; Dylan, 31; Ike, 22; and Jenny, 19, all grinning and squinting from the bright sun.
“Two of them are kind of ugly,” he quips, deadpan.
He said he worries about Ike, a soldier in the U.S. Army stationed for the last two years in Korea.
“At first, I didn’t want him to do it,” he said. “It’s a huge sacrifice he’s making.”
He softens when he speaks of Jenny, a soccer player at Montana State University at Billings. He lists his oldest son’s achievements: college degree, works as a headhunter/recruiter in San Diego, is working on a second degree in film.
He said he misses his wife, Donnie, a child development services administrator still in Green River.
He said they’re all meeting up in Wyoming for Thanksgiving.
“We’ve got a really tight-knit family,” he said. “This is the first time in three years we’ll all be together.”
Position: Roger Moellendorf, 52, Carson City’s new Parks and Recreation director.
Family: He lives in Carson City, and will soon be joined by his wife, Donnie, who is tying up loose ends in Green River, Wyo. They have three grown children: Dylan, 31; Ike, 22; and Jenny, 19.
Career: Parks and Recreation director for Green River for the last 18 years.
Before that, he was a city arborist for the city of Fremont, Neb., from 1979 to 1983.
Education: 1975 bachelor of science degree in forestry and outdoor recreation from Colorado State University, 1993 master’s in public administration from the University of Wyoming.
Contact reporter Robyn Moormeister at email@example.com or 881-1217.