The Spirit Behind the Service
Ambassador Spotlight: Dave Hallenberger
“I want to be outside. I want to be where the people are,” Dave Hallenberger replied when asked why he valued his Ambassador position at Block by Block (BBB).
Before working as a Special Projects Ambassador in Downtown Minneapolis, Dave spent 28 years in a security role where he was confined indoors, behind a desk. He shared that he did not know what happiness felt like in a work environment until he started his career at Block by Block. From Dave’s first day on the job to 13 years later, he is still passionate about the positive impact created by his work downtown. Raised in a small town near Lake City, Minnesota, the army veteran of 10 years initially felt intimidated by Minneapolis since he was unfamiliar with the landscape. Now he knows the streets of downtown like the back of his hand.
Dave’s journey as an Ambassador began when his sister-in-law advised him to apply for an opening position at the company. At the time, Block by Block was a recently introduced hospitality service to the downtown area contracted by the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District.
Immediately after reviewing the job description, Dave was thrilled to apply. “They were going to pay me to be a good Samaritan!” he thought. Quickly, he learned that his new employer was different from any other that he had witnessed in the workforce.
“Where do you get a job where the vice president of the company goes out there with you?” Hallenberger commented about his first day on the field. He appreciated the precedent the company’s leadership set because it connected the values and culture through the different roles and ranks.
Throughout his years working at Block by Block, he became a trusted employee who always went above and beyond. “He makes my job easier,” Angel Johnson, Operations Manager at BBB, shared.
Many other managers who worked with Dave agreed. He always takes the initiative to complete tasks before they are noticed and goes above what is expected of him. Over the 13 years, he was recognized twice as the employee of the year and was recently awarded employee of the quarter. Hallenberger thrived in his role because of the trust he built with the management team. He appreciated the freedom and the responsibility of his job.
Throughout his time, he implemented a routine, starting his week by patrolling the blocks and noticing anything that seemed off. From there, he prioritized his projects and what he needed to accomplish in the following days. Even his colleagues were quick to see the self-starter within Dave’s personality.
His coworker and partner on the field, Ron Carlson, said, “You can see how much Dave cares about what he does. He is passionate about his work and wants to do the best job possible.”
Because of the painstaking efforts Dave and many other Ambassadors demonstrate, Minneapolis is kept clean, friendly, and safe. Their hard work keeps the graffiti off the buildings, trash off the streets, and hospitality at the forefront. The Ambassador position at Block by Block was more than just a job for Dave. In addition to positively impacting the community, it was an opportunity for Dave to find joy in his work. Within a year of working as an Ambassador, he encouraged his son, Kevin, to apply. Closely behind Dave in seniority, Kevin has worked as an Ambassador for 12 years in various roles. Currently, he is the team lead for the night shift.
Stories like Dave Hallenberger’s reveal the environment Block by Block creates in downtown areas. By incorporating their hospitality services, downtown communities can provide meaningful jobs that are rewarding and beneficial to the economy. In turn, Ambassadors serve by keeping the city polished and welcoming for the individuals visiting or coming to work.
This ecosystem generates opportunities for people to find work where they feel heard and gives them a chance to serve other citizens. “I feel very passionate about my job,” Dave added.