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This Palmer finds purpose in adjusting Quad-Cities entertainment scene

This Palmer finds purpose in adjusting Quad-Cities entertainment scene

DAVENPORT — A man named Palmer seemed destined for Davenport, a chiropractic fountainhead.

Yet Rick Palmer’s been much more interested and involved in adjusting the Quad-Cities entertainment scene.

Mr. Palmer, 56, is executive director of the Davenport RiverCenter and Adler Theatre, not of Palmer College of Chiropractic. His job provides a large economic impact to the Quad-Cities, but more important in his eyes is how it improves the community’s quality of life.

Rick Palmer

“It’s not always about only what’s good for the RiverCenter and Adler Theatre,” Mr. Palmer said. “It’s about what’s good for the community, and what a privilege it is to be a part of that.”

Helping nonprofits hold fundraisers — working with Quad City Arts’ Festival of Trees, Ballet Quad Cities, the United Way and other community agencies — is quite rewarding, he said. Having dinner with Aerosmith or watching a Monday Night Football game with ZZ Top also are memorable moments.

Mr. Palmer said he also “walks the talk” for community support. He’s been a member of the Optimist Club, the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, the Quad-Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Downtown Partnership, to name a few.

He said he enjoys his job and the Quad-Cities so much that there’s nothing he would change if he could.

Mr. Palmer came to the area in 1997 as the associate general manager for the center and theater. In the mid-2000s, he became the executive director.

“As executive director, it’s my job to look into the future and continue being a community liaison,” he said. “I really believe in partnerships.”

He credits fellow staff members — assistant general manager Heather Brummel, operations manager Scott Braudt and chef Chris Carton — for taking great care of running the day-to-day operations.

He said he grew up in a family who provided a janitorial and carpet-cleaning service. After he graduated from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, he went to California until his mother, Vera Palmer, developed terminal cancer. He returned to the Midwest to help his dad, the late Richard Palmer.

He said he considered returning to California. But he took a position that opened up at the Five Seasons Center, in Cedar Rapids, before coming to Davenport.

“Yes, I could see Coe from there,” he said with a chuckle, referring to what’s now called the U.S. Cellular Center.

Being the “gateholder” for the RiverCenter and Adler Theatre is a great gig, he said.

“I feel very privileged for this position I have,” Mr. Palmer said. “I seriously enjoy what I’m doing.”

He also remembers advice he has picked up along the way, “to do your research, book what the market wants, be careful booking only who or what you like, and to remember you’re working in a diverse community.”

He’s dedicated to following that advice, and to adjusting anything needed to keep the Quad-Cities entertainment scene in great shape.

Story from Moline Dispatch and Rock Island Argus, qconline.com

February 28, 2016

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