West Side Stories Podcast - Episode 1

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With Guests Sally Ortgies, Ryan Penning, and David Sadler (3)

In the debut episode of West Side Stories, Allison speaks with the administrators of the West Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department. She asks them why they chose careers in the parks and recreation field, what a typical work day looks like, and if there are any common myths they want to debunk. There are also a few funny stories of experiences that they often say could have been scripted into the sitcom "Parks and Recreation".

Guest Bios


Sally Ortgies - Director of Parks and Recreation
Sally began her career in the parks and recreation field in 1989 when she first interned with the West Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department. She then advanced through the department, becoming a Landscape Designer, Landscape Architect, and Superintendent of Parks. She now serves as the Director of Parks and Recreation. Sally earned Bachelor of Landscape Architecture and Bachelor of Science-Horticulture degrees from Iowa State University. Sally lives in West Des Moines with her husband, daughter, and MinPin dog.

Ryan Penning - Recreation Superintendent
Ryan has over 12 years of experience in the parks and recreation field. From 2006-2018, he worked for the Ankeny Parks and Recreation Department. He began his career in Ankeny as a Recreation Coordinator, then became a Recreation Supervisor-Athletics, and finally a Recreation Superintendent. Ryan became the Recreation Superintendent in West Des Moines in June of 2018. He holds a BA degree in Leisure, Youth, and Human Services from the University of Northern Iowa. Ryan lives in Ankeny with his wife, two children, and English Bulldog.
David Sadler - Parks Superintendent
David Sadler earned is Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from Iowa State University and his Masters of Public Administration from Drake University. David has worked as a Park Planner for the Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department, a Landscape Architect for a private firm, and a Contract and Purchasing Manager for National Home Builder. In 1999 David was hired as a Landscape Architect in the West Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department. David became Parks Superintendent in 2016. He lives in West Des Moines with his wife and three children.

Like what you are hearing? Want to suggest other topics? Have further questions?
Email Allison Ullestad, the
 West Side Stories host, at allison.ullestad@wdm.iowa.gov.

The views and opinions expressed on the West Side Stories podcast are entirely those of the host and guests who are entirely responsible for all show content, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the City of West Des Moines officials or staff. This podcast is presented and made public AS ENTERTAINMENT, in the hope that it will be entertaining and informative to the audience. It is not intended to promote any specific lifestyle, belief, religion, political affiliation or other personal practice.