The Edwardsville YMCA Board of Directors are happy to announce that Brandon Bell has been selected as the next CEO. Bell brings sixteen years of YMCA experience and comes from the Shawnee Family YMCA in Oklahoma where he has been the CEO since 2017. In April, Bell will be taking over for Tom Verheyen, who has served as CEO for the Edwardsville YMCA since 2018.
While Bell is coming from Oklahoma, he is not new to the area as he grew up in the Southwest Illinois region. He served for six years in the Army and upon completion of his responsibilities, Bell moved to Edwardsville to continue his education, receiving a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE), later earning his master’s degree in business administration from Southeastern Oklahoma State University (SOSU).
In 2005, Bell began his YMCA career with the Southwest Illinois YMCA (now the Gateway YMCA) as the Multi-site Associate Executive Director of the Downtown Belleville YMCA, East Belleville YMCA and the Belleville Outdoor Center. In 2014, Bell became the Executive Director of the Airport Area YMCA in Fort Worth Texas. Most recently, he served the Shawnee Oklahoma community as the Shawnee Family YMCA CEO.
When asked about what drew him back to Edwardsville, Bell said “I am extremely excited to move back to Edwardsville and lead the mission of the YMCA within the community. My wife (Miriam) and I have always admired the Edwardsville community and how the community embraces the educational system, trail system, and the YMCA. In addition to having family ties in the area, Edwardsville offers everything we would ideally look for in a community.”
Bell has been very involved with his community, serving as a Rotary president as well as being on multiple boards and steering and leadership committees. He supported community efforts at the local level, on county wide initiatives and works closely with the Oklahoma Alliance of YMCAs. Bell said, “I am extremely excited about many aspects of this new chapter in life including working with the established staff team at the YMCA, exploring new avenues for the YMCA to serve and making a positive difference by working with and partnering with community individuals and organizations to ensure we reach all aspects of the community.”
The Board of Directors President, Elizabeth Grant said, “The YMCA Board is excited about Brandon Bell as our next CEO. We appreciate all the members who have stuck with us during these restricted times and look forward to a bright future as we emerge from this chapter. Brandon and Miriam are excited to return to our community, after living here while he completed his studies at SIUE. We feel honored that Edwardsville is where he wants to call home and look forward to welcoming him back! We want to thank the combined efforts of the Search Committee for their diligent work through this process in finding our next CEO. Finally, we also thank Tom Verheyen for the contributions he has made during his 16 years at our Y. We are in a strong position based on his leadership and thank him wholeheartedly for his service. We wish Tom and (his wife) Hayley continued success.”
Through the dedicated efforts of staff and volunteers, the Edwardsville YMCA is devoted to strengthening the foundations of the community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Continuing to impact the lives of thousands of families and individuals in the surrounding Edwardsville area is very important to Bell saying, “The Edwardsville YMCA has been such a great asset for the community and I am excited to join the Edwardsville YMCA during a time in which I believe our best work as a mission driven, non-profit, community organization is yet to come.”