20 Under 40 Q&A: David A. NolleProfessional scouter
Occupation: Professional scouter.
What do you actually do? I’m the CEO of Voyageurs Area Council, Boy Scouts of America. Through my leadership of staff and nearly 1,500 volunteers the council delivers Scouting in a 42,000-square-mile territory in northern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin and part of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula through partnerships with more than 125 community organizations to nearly 4,000 young people.
Years in your job: 1½ in current position, 15 as a professional scouter.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Missouri.
Family: Wife, Angie; daughter, Sophie, 5; sons Luke, 3, and Oliver, 3 months.
Community involvement: Church, Rotary Club No. 25, United Way, Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Duluth, Kansas Leadership Center alumnus.
What brought you to the Twin Ports?
My family and I first came to Duluth in September 2010 to interview for the CEO position of the Voyageurs Area Council, BSA. I had never been farther north than Omaha in the Midwest. We returned the first of November and spent our first winter living lake-side on Park Point, with no garage. Quickly acclimating to Twin Ports weather, we find it hard thinking about living anywhere else.
What do you like to do during your free time?
Free time is consumed by family activities with my wife and children. Exploring the surrounding areas is the single largest free-time activity. This exploring can be on foot on community trails, or traveling to nearby attractions, festivals and events. The exploring extends beyond the Twin Ports with family trips to Arizona, Kansas, Missouri and many more places both domestic and international on our bucket list.
Describe your favorite place in the Twin Ports.
It should come as no surprise that my favorite place as the leader of the Boy Scouts is the outdoors. It can be traveling throughout my large service area, at one of the Boy Scout Council’s five camps, in the nearby backside of Hartley Nature Center, or in my back yard.
What do you like most about the Northland?
Working with a population of diverse and inclusive individuals with a great sense of community.
How can the Northland retain younger people?
The Northland community already does a strong job of retaining its younger population. Despite its relatively small market size, it affords young people events, activities and groups geared toward them. It affords adventure, outdoors and fitness opportunities. It generally provides opportunities to advance and to take leadership positions. Simply look at the youthfulness of Duluth’s city council, its mayor, etc.
Who or what has made the biggest impact on your life?
Even if scouting were not my vocation, I would have to say that my experiences in scouting as a boy and young man, when it was my avocation, made the largest impact on my life, far more than graduating from college. Scouting helped me define who I am and how I live my life. My positive association with male role models through scouting taught me how to be a good husband, father and civic leader.
What are you most passionate about?
Both personally and professionally I am most passionate about servant leadership. Leading by example and being proactive in how my experiences, position and knowledge affect my family, my colleagues and my community are a high priority for me. I approach every challenge by diagnosing the situation, managing self, energizing others and exercising an intervention. All four of these approaches are concepts I learned as a participant in the Kansas Leadership Center.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
Attaining the rank of Eagle Scout. My ability to see my scouting rank advancement through from age 10-15 and to lead a group to complete a community service project gave me the experience and confidence to complete comparable, and technically bigger, projects throughout life. Yet that was the biggest accomplishment as it set the stage for countless other accomplishments to follow.
What advice would you give other young people?
If you are waiting for reinforcements, they aren’t coming. Step up, manage yourself and how you approach things, take stock of the situation, energize others and then do something. If you are waiting for someone to tell you how to do it, then you’re doing it wrong. Get away from the screen. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google — they are all tools. None of them replaces face-to-face interaction and communication.