AARP South Dakota chose Gross for his vast experience and leadership capabilities.
"Patrick is going to be a dynamic leader for AARP South Dakota. I am thrilled he is willing to take on this challenge," says State Director Sarah Jennings. "AARP South Dakota is going to benefit greatly from Patrick's experience, knowledge of the state, and commitment to community service."
"I'm delighted to be a part of such a valuable statewide organization. Our members are increasingly becoming involved in critical issues that influence both quality of life and community development across South Dakota," Gross said. "My hope is that I can help the staff and our dedicated volunteers advance and resolve those issues, while extending AARP services and benefits to new members."
Gross recently retired as the Community Development Program Director for USDA Rural Development in South Dakota. His background includes a decade in banking, 12 years as an administrator with The University of South Dakota, and several years as the state director for now U.S. Senator Tim Johnson where he focused on economic and rural development issues, natural resource initiatives, and tribal concerns in South Dakota.
Among Gross's accomplishments, are several USDA awards, including its highest award, the 2002 Honor Award, for his work with the Oglala Sioux Tribe. Gross also served the USDA on several national committees.
In South Dakota, Gross served as chairman of the South Dakota Rural Development Council. The National Boys and Girls club of America also recognized Gross for his leadership role in a Presidential Initiative and federal/private collaboration developing the $6.5 million SuAnne Big Crow Youth Wellness Project on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
Gross says he is glad to put his experience to work on behalf of AARP South Dakota's more than 91,000 members.
"AARP has experienced significant growth both in South Dakota and across the country because they produce results on issues and provide benefits that have a direct impact on their members, and because AARP has become a valuable resource for mature adults from all walks of life," he said.
Gross is also a dedicated waterfowler and conservationist. He and his wife, Donna, who also live part time in Springfield, are engaged in restorative conservation projects on South Dakota farm property where they have planted 120 acres of native grasses and 6000 trees. They are also working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop a quail habitat project in Bon Homme County.
Gross is a fifth generation South Dakotan born and raised in Gettysburg, with a degree in sociology from The University of South Dakota. He began his duties Jan. 1, replacing Charlie Anderson who stepped down at the end of his term.