Hats Off to SVSB’s Wizard David Loendorf

Andrea Molberg

Mention David Loendorf, who’s retiring from Senior Village at SaddleBrooke’s (SVSB) Board of Directors, and immediately you’ll hear the word wizard—someone with magical powers or so skilled at something it seems like magic. King Arthur had Merlin, Harry Potter had Dumbledore, and SVSB had David Loendorf.

David was the originator and designer of the EVE computer program that runs SVSB and wrote all the computer code upon which the organization operates. Says SVSB founding father Gary Hammond, “David is an exceptional IT talent—our ‘Wizard’ given an official hat and wand! No doubt we have the best system of any village, which enables us to deliver so many services to our members in such a timely manner.”

The stars were definitely aligned in early 2016 when David walked through his living room as Gary was talking with Stephanie Thomas about her offer to become one of the first Senior Village volunteers. The words “members” and “volunteers” caught David’s ear, and his brain began going down one of its analytical rabbit holes. He casually asked Gary about how members would get in touch with Senior Village, how volunteers would accept assignments, and how this information would be shared within the Village. By the time Gary departed their home several hours later, he had accepted David’s offer to create a web application to manage the Village database (and enlisted Stephanie as membership coordinator). The rest is history.

In the beginning, during weekly meetings with the Dispatch Team and Gary, David would be asked to “tweak” the computer program to make the dispatch job easier. Traveling by golf cart, by the time he arrived home after the meeting, he had sorted out the issue in his “computer brain” and went directly to the actual computer to make the requested changes. Though a “wizard” is usually a wise old man with a long, white beard and flowing robes, in the computing world, a wizard is a piece of software that guides users through a particular task, like we see David doing.

“More recently,” said Hammond, “David was once again the right person at the right time to step up as president for the critical next stage when I ‘retired.’” As president, helped by his exceptional partner Stephanie and others, David redirected the board to a more traditional oversight role and less hands-on operations. He skillfully expanded the scope of services, recruited the next generation of key volunteers, hired our first paid staff to take some of the pressure off the volunteers, and took the fundraising and communication effort to the next level. The Village is now well established and will be here serving SaddleBrooke for years to come.

“Hats off to David for his vaccination clinic wizardry!” In early 2021, vaccination clinics across the country were having major problems with delivery, scheduling, and misinformation. “David had a firm concept of what would work with our technology and how to implement, so we were able to quickly establish a database and reserve vaccination appointment times for an average of 1,000 residents every week. The SB experience resulted in an efficient, on-time clinic that we replicated time and time again for 13 weeks,” said Treasurer Ed Kula.

Everyone agrees David is brilliant and unbelievably competent and a leader who doesn’t seek attention for his accomplishments. This compassionate, fearless problem solver and visionary can be tough on the outside but has a heart as big as the Montana sky—his home state. David enjoys saying that he has “never worked a day in his life,” because everything he has done has been an enjoyable challenge.

David’s remarkably magical combination of clear thinking and deep caring has successfully shaped Senior Village. SVSB would not be the organization it is today without his knowledge, expertise, dedication, and sincere belief in the mission, say Team Leaders Shawne Cryderman and Lois Volanti, former head of Volunteer Orientation Jet George, and Board Chair Mardie Toney.

Loendorf has worked tirelessly for seven years to make SVSB thrive and serve. About his retirement, Executive Director Linda Hampton admitted, “We knew this day was coming but, still, it has arrived too soon.”