YMCA Branch Name

For Youth Development
For Healthy Living
For Social Development
Our Leadership


The Kearney Family Y is governed by our Board of Directors consisting of volunteers from throughout the Kearney community. These volunteers are community leaders with a passion to serve. Together, our Board of Directors is solely responsible for determining policy, approving the annual budget and determining the association goals.


Marc Bailey, President
Julie Speirs, Vice President

Susan Bibler
Mike Borowski
Rachelle Bryant
Steve Chatelain
Amy Eifert
Anthony Finke
Nancy Foster
Lee Fritson
Lori Gartner
Nate Gaunt
Scott Geiger
Josh Hanshaw
Kyle Hanson
Michelle Hilkemann
Sara Homan
Tammy Jackson
Josh Jelden
Kevin Kershner
Bettelee lewis
Jennifer McBride
Shane Melenbacker
Heidi Neverve
Troy Nielsen
Bonnie Payne
Steve Voigt
Cheryl Webber


The staff at the Kearney Family Y is in the business of building relationships. That is why our staff leaders make personal connections with our members, welcoming and treating all people with the highest quality of respect. We value expressing concern for others, including a sincere appreciation of professional and personal needs. The Kearney Family Y staff leaders demonstrate truthfulness, reliability and trustworthiness through words and actions.


Denny Placzek is a 18 year veteran of the Kearney Family YMCA. He began his career at the Kearney YMCA as the Business Operations Director. In 2008 Placzek assumed leadership and CEO of the Kearney YMCA.

During the economic downturn he is credited with changing the culture and financial picture of the Kearney YMCA. He was also responsible for developing the Kearney Family YMCA Foundation in 2010. The Foundation has grown to over $300,000.00 in the first two years.

Denny received a Bachelor’s Degree with an emphasis in Business from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. He is a graduate of Leadership Kearney and is currently a member of the Colonels Club which is a men’s group whose purpose is to serve as a public relations arm of the Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce.

He is married to Amy and is the father of two adult children. In his free time he enjoys camping, cycling, running and spending time with his family.

Denny believes that developing relationships is the key ingredient to a successful organization.


Duane Klabunde has been with the Kearney Family Y since November 2, 1998. He was hired as the Facilities Director to oversee the maintenance and the housekeeping of the YMCA inside and out which is setting on 10.3 acres of land. In 2000, Duane helped to design and build a 36,343 square foot addition to our existing building for a total of 80,704 square foot facility.

Duane is a Nebraska native and grew up in the northeast part of Nebraska at West Point. He served in the US Navy for 4 years from 1972 – 1976. During that time, Duane did two tours over sea and is a Vietnam veteran.

Duane has been married for 37 years to Mary and they are members of St James Catholic Church. Duane and Mary have two married children. Their children have already blessed them with 4 grand children and number 5 is on the way and due in July.


Ray Longoria first began his career at the Kearney Family Y while attending the University of Nebraska- Kearney as a part-time employee working at the Service Center, Family Center, Fitness Center, and Youth Sports. He rejoined the Y in his current role of Program Manager in 2010.

As Program Manager, he provides kids the opportunity to grow and develop through the avenue of sports, while putting emphasizes on skill and social development while having fun. Ray has a very strong passion for working with youth and hopes to make a positive impact on many kids in our community. He also oversees the Fitness Center where he hopes to help people begin or maintain a healthily lifestyle and making fitness an important part of their lives.

Ray received a Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Administration from the University of Nebraska-Kearney. He received his Associates Degree in Business Administration from Colby Community College, where he also received a scholarship to run Cross Country and Track and Field. He is currently a member of the Young Professionals Network, whose purpose is to empower future community leaders through professional development, personal growth and networking opportunities.

Ray is married to Cintia. He enjoys running, playing basketball, staying in shape, listening to music, and grilling out. He and Cintia participate in several 5k races together throughout the year.


--Associate Executive Director

Cindy Mangels joined the Kearney Family YMCA in 1992. Since coming to the Y she has served as the Family Center Manager and is currently the Member Engagement Manager. She developed and implemented the Corporate Membership Program, Physicians Prescription Program, and streamlined the Membership Assistance Program. Cindy’s leadership skills have been recognized by her staff, peers and community organizations.

She grew up in Kearney Nebraska and serves on the Leadership Kearney board, having served as Youth Leadership Chair, ARC of Buffalo County, past board member of AYP and is a member of the Envoy’s Club which is a women’s group whose purpose is to serve as a public relations arm of the Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce. Cindy has coordinated Healthy Kids Day for the Kearney Y the past several years and has developed the program into a community wide event.

Cindy teaches Listen First and is a Faculty Trainer for the National YMCA. Listen First is the core skill in the YMCA Connection Plan. It outlines the skills necessary to truly “hear” what our members, our staff, our colleagues are saying so we can meet their needs. This training has allowed the Kearney YMCA to grow and impact the community.

She has two adult sons and an adult daughter and is married to Greg. She enjoys time with her family, meeting people, exercising, and living by the lake.

Cindy has never met a stranger and is fast to make friends! She believes that when you are kind to others, it not only changes you, it changes the world.


Shari Geiser joined the Kearney Family YMCA team in 2008 as a fitness instructor after having been an instructor in several other Kearney locations for seven years prior. Within a couple of months she fell into a position as the Fitness Coordinator after realizing her love for group exercise, the members it serves, and desire to grow that particular program. In this position, Shari grew the group exercise program bringing Zumba, Bootcamp, and New Year, New You programs to the YMCA. Each of these offered unique and exciting healthy lifestyle/fitness opportunities to the members of the YMCA and Kearney community.

In 2010 Shari stepped into the role of Healthy Living & Fitness Manager overseeing the group exercise department, Turkey Trot race, and all adult Fitness programs such as Bootcamp and the Resolution Solution program and Personal Training department...all of which have grown and become extremely successful programs. Shari continued to bring excitement to the group exercise program by launching the Les Mills BODYPUMP program in February of 2011 which has proven to be very popular amongst members. In March 2012 Shari was a large part of bringing the first inaugural Shamrock Shuffle to fruition at which over 500 runners joined to walk or run the 5K/10K race to raise money to grant a wish to a local teen through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Shari credits her love of fitness to running. Growing up playing several different sports in a small town, she experienced teamwork and the importance of giving 150% at whatever she did. She began running after her second child was born as a way to lose weight and quickly realized her love of running. Shari has currently run 5 full marathons, including the Boston Marathon in 2010, and has participated in countless half marathons and 5K/10 road races. Shari branched out into adventure racing and has participated in three Market2Market races, an 80+ mile team relay race from Omaha to Lincoln.

Shari grew up in Kansas and graduated from Barton County Community College with an Associate in Business Degree in 1989. She worked for The Buckle as a manager and area manager in several states for ten years before moving back to Kearney to raise a family with her husband Ryan. Together they have three children, Christian, Peyton, and Jake. Shari enjoys spending time with her family, shopping, travelling, and running.

Shari lives by the mantra of "What doesn't kill you makes you STRONGER" and truly believes that healthy living and fitness is the key to happiness.


Sue Klein has seen many wonderful changes at the Y during the 16 years she has been employed, ranging from Preschool Teacher to Program Director, to Child Care Director. She was involved with the planning and building of the Child Development Center which opened in 2000. Children are a blessing and a priority in her life, so working at the Y is a good fit. The Child Care area has benefited many families throughout the community.

Ms Sue is a graduate of Concordia University with a bachelor degree in Elementary Ed with an Early Childhood certificate. She is active with the Advisory Committee at Kearney High School and the area Child Care Directors Group, as well as the Kearney Area Chapter of the Association for the Education of Young Children. Sue has volunteered many hours of her time for the betterment of youth in the Kearney area.

Sue and her husband live north of Pleasanton. They have 3 children and 6 grandchildren. One of Ms Sue’s favorite times outside the Y is planning “Grandma Weekends”, full of exciting adventures resulting in memories that last a lifetime.

The Y is committed to providing programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all. We make every effort to ensure that no one is turned away due to inability to pay. Click to read more about our financial assistance.