RED WING— The 150th anniversary celebration completed, Red Wing Family YMCA Executive Director Mike Melstad will retire in December.
Melstad, who turned 65 this year, told the YMCA Board on Tuesday that he will step down at the end of 2020. Melstad, who came to the Red Wing YMCA in 2008, spent nearly 44 years with the worldwide YMCA organization, which is committed to community work. All the while, he's advocated for youth and their families.
"Organizations have life cycles and you need to change the person at the top for things to grow and develop," Melstad said Friday. "I think it's time for new leadership to come up and prep the Y for the next 150 years."
His impact on Red Wing is massive, the board noted in a news release Thursday. In addition to direct work with the YMCA, his involvement has ranged from the arts and education — Sheldon Theater Board, Red Wing Community Education Advisory Council, Every Hand Joined, etc. — to health and business — Live Healthy Red Wing, Goodhue County SHIP, Goodhue County Park Board, the Red Wing COVID Response Collaboration, and more.
“Mike is someone with a huge heart for each person he meets and he’s always looking for the next opportunity to collaborate and help with the needs in Red Wing. His passion for true social work is always evident, and it has been an honor to work beside him," Red Wing YMCA Board Chair Janie Farrar said in a statement.
The board voted to begin the search soon for an interim director. Bringing in a fresh set of eyes will be the first step in the overall search for a permanent CEO, Farrar said, and the board plans a thorough process to determine organizational needs and vision.
In a news release, the local Y said his legacy of servant leadership, optimism, community and commitment to the YMCA is exemplified with his words to the board Tuesday: “Our best days are ahead of us.”
“I want to thank Mike for his dedication and commitment to the YMCA and the community of Red Wing over many years. We will all miss him very much," YMCA Trustee Chair Mark Urdahl said.
"If I were rich and there were no YMCA, I would invent it," Melstad said.
A community celebration will be held for Melstad and his wife, Marilyn Meinke, before his retirement.