Jim Ott's Blog

This blog is a collection of columns I've written for Bay Area News Group newspapers serving the East San Francisco Bay region.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Public Affairs Executive finds balance in life

By day, Pleasanton’s David Stark is the Public Affairs Director for the Bay East Association of REALTORS®. Spend even a few minutes with him, and his passion is evident as he describes the work he does in connecting with community leaders and the public around housing and real estate issues.

“I’ve always had an interest in social issues,” said Stark, 44. “When I was younger I worked in municipal government and managed housing and community development programs for cities in both southern and northern California.”

Stark said he has learned over the years that finding solutions to fundamental issues such as how to provide housing for a diverse range of families requires partnerships with the private sector. “We can’t expect government alone to solve our challenges,” he said. 
Stark grew up in southern California where his parents worked as community college instructors. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and English from the U.C. Riverside, as well as a Masters Degree in City and Regional Planning from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

"My father loved his job and said going to work was like spending time with his hobby,” he said. “That’s how I feel about my job.”

Another lesson Stark learned from his parents is the importance of maintaining a balance between work and recreation. So after hours and on weekends he and his wife Anne, who is the Public Information Officer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, make time for several pursuits.
“We build and race vintage motorcycles,” said Stark. “Our garage is a fully functioning workshop.” Stark said that building bikes is as satisfying as racing them. The couple both race late 1960s Hondas at such venues as Laguna Seca and Infineon Raceway. Stark is also restoring a 1965 Ducati.

Another common interest is swimming. Several times a week the couple can be found swimming laps with the Tri-Valley Masters Swim team at Pleasanton’s Aquatic Center. The exercise keeps both Stark and Anne physically fit, a priority they have always had in life.

“One of our first dates was a mountain bike ride,” he said. “Anne beat me on the trail that day.”

Along with motorcycles and swimming, Stark is also a member of a three-piece alternative rock band called Pilgrim. An accomplished musician who used to play throughout the Bay Area, Stark met fellow band members Charles McKeag and Chris Zaballos through their mutual work in the real estate industry. “Some people network on the golf course; we network in our band,”
Stark said.

The band performs original music described as a blend of high-energy rock and layered vocal melodies. Stark said their music is influenced by bands they heard on college radio stations during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Although Stark plays guitar, saxophone, and mandolin, his current favorite is evident when he smiles and says, “Playing bass guitar is so much fun it should be illegal.”

Though Stark said he and his wife have different personalities, he credits Anne with everything that is right about his life: “She’s my partner in everything we do. She’s the love of my live and absolutely my best friend.”

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