David O’Rourke is from Evansville, Indiana. He attended Franklin College, where he graduated with a bachelor of arts in journalism/public relations and played football for four years. David was captain in his junior and senior years, and helped lead the team to two conference championships and two playoff appearances.
Currently, David is the communications manager at the Indianapolis Parks Foundation, where he is responsible for daily media communication, internal design and connecting people with resources. He serves as a member of the Great Places Livability Committee and is a graduate of IndyHub’s 1828 Project. He also heads the Park Foundation Engagement Committee.
In his spare time, you can find David either in a park, on a trail, at Epic Climbing and Fitness, or at one of Indy’s many restaurants or breweries. He's only been climbing recreationally for about a year now, but it has become one of David's real passions and he looks forward to embracing the opportunity to experience outdoors in a new way.
How long have you lived in Indy?
I have lived in Indy for about 5 years. I graduated from Franklin College in 2012 and moved to the “No Mean City” immediately after. Year one, I lived in Speedway. Year two, I lived on the Northside. Year three and four, I live in the heart of Downtown Indy, and now I live in North Square. It has been wonderful to experience the different areas of the city, but North Square feels like home.
Why have you focused on using your skills in the nonprofit sector?
Purpose. I worked for a small tech company previously, and it wasn’t cutting it. We helped high schools and small colleges with payment processing and event management. Basically, we helped them sell tickets to school events, concessions and other miscellaneous items. At the end of the day, I knew I could do more with my skill set, and I had a strong desire to do something I truly believed in. The tech company wasn’t doing anything against my beliefs, but I certainly didn’t care how many hot dogs Knibb High School sold at Friday night’s big game (Knibb High Football rules!). I needed something with a purpose. I needed to feel invested in my work. I found it with the Indianapolis Parks Foundation.
How did you find your current position?
Believe it or not, I found this position attempting to become a firefighter. I knew I wanted a career that was community-based, physically active and positively influence others. All signs pointed to firefighter. One night when I was checking my email to see if I had heard back from any fire departments, I checked a nonprofit newsletter and saw a job listed with the Indianapolis Parks Foundation. I thought, “This looks heavily involved with the community. This looks physically active. This looks like it has a positive influence on all of Indy, and I get to use my degree!”
What would you say to another young professional considering a nonprofit job?
Do it! People are typically great and so is the work. I would suggest finding something you believe in, but also I think most nonprofits will have a mission you can stand behind. When you take a deeper look into these nonprofits, you typically find some pretty incredible people behind the scenes. You can cause a lot of positive change in the nonprofit world.
If you could learn a brand new skill, what would it be?
Is fluency in every language a skill or a super power? Because that’s my choice. I think communicating effectively is one of the best skills you can have. If you can communicate your thoughts and ideas in a way that everyone can understand, the stronger influence you have and the more you can accomplish. Communication is powerful. Spanish. German. Latin. Zorpian (long live Zorpe). I want to know them all. I would also like to know coding, which is basically robot language, so I think I’m still under the every-language umbrella. All little coding knowledge could go a long way. It seems to be more relevant all the time, and would make website maintenance much easier. Also, I could give shout to my robot friends in binary code. 010010001001001 0100011101010101010101010101100101010011!
If you were an inanimate object, what would you be and why?
This is a difficult one, but I’m going with a drop of water. As a drop of water I would get to view life from nearly every perspective, and travel the world. I could be on the side of a cold glass during a hot summer day one moment and evaporate into the sky the next. I can reach the tops of mountains and rain down into the ocean. Now that I’m really thinking about it, a drop of water has a busy schedule, but it sounds like fun.
What do you hope to accomplish that you haven’t yet?
Reinvent the wheel. Not the literal wheel, but well, maybe. Has anyone looked at that thing lately? I would like to identify a problem and fix that problem with a simple solution. I would like for this gigantic solution to be very small in cost and size so that others with very little could recreate what I made. I haven’t accomplished this goal quite yet because I haven’t identified the problem I want to solve, and I don’t imagine the solution will come easy either.
The Garfield Park Sunken Gardens. Now, I don’t think this is hidden, but more often than not, people will tell me they have no idea where Garfield Park is located, not to mention the Sunken Gardens. It’s a beautiful park, with beautiful landscape and a lot to do. Visit today if you get a chance.
Most important question: There’s a little chill in the air! Apart from pumpkin spice lattes (obvi), what do you most look forward to in fall?
The two F’s. Football and Foliage. I love it. Football brings the fun and the foliage sets the scene. Football season gives everyone an acceptable excuse to have a party in a parking lot with all of their closest friends, and any strangers in close proximity. While they’re enjoying the company of their closest friends and strangers, chances are, they can look up and enjoy some beautiful foliage too! It’s a wonderful time of year to take a hike through Eagle Creek Park or even take a drive to check out the transition of the leaves.
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