Honored this year for his volunteer service and contributions to the community, Bill Plank is no stranger to community involvement.
Plank, who was awarded the Fast Forward Award this year by the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce, has served as a past chair of the chamber's young professionals group, a past chair of Roteract and a board member of the Jefferson City Rape and Abuse Crisis Service, among a number of other community organizations and event boards.
Plank said there was no one thing or event that inspired him to get involved, just a desire to help make the community a better place.
"Why not get involved and figure out what needs to be done," Plank said. "Once I realized the power of networking and being able to work with so many people, who quite frankly are a lot smarter than me and better at a lot of things ... you learn a lot of things that are useful."
For Plank, receiving awards are an odd experience, because he doesn't feel it's ever been his work alone that led to something being achieved. In leadership roles, he said he tries to create other leadership opportunities for those involved and it's more a matter of stepping back and letting people do what they do best.
"I feel almost guilty or odd receiving awards," Plank said. "I work with so many great people that make things work ... I don't do as much work as a lot of the other people and that's been, all those people I've worked with, have really served as a source of inspiration."
With a full-time job, a wife and young son, Plank still finds time to keep active in the many organizations he belongs too, but he says it's not as time intensive as it may seem. His family accompanies him to many of the events he takes part in and he's never felt as though any of it has been an added load.
"If you really enjoy something, it's really not like work," Plank said. "Whenever you start becoming passionate about something, you start doing more of it."
Of all the events he's been a part of, Plank said he's most proud of the Roteract's Kicks in the Sticks event, which was held for the first time last August at Binder Park. Plank described it as a "kind of off-road 5k," which begins about sunset and follows trails through the woods. It was followed by an after party with food, beer and music, he said and raised money for various service organizations.
"Raising the money is a huge deal," Plank said, "but it's also a really cool event for the community."
Plank said the 2nd annual Kicks in the Sticks is set for August of this year.
In what's left of Plank's spare time, he likes to go running and biking, and is currently prepping for a triathlon. He also enjoys fishing, hunting and cooking.