Jerry Hoffmeister uses board service to ‘joyfully’ give back to the community

Jerry Hoffmeister is chairman of the board of governors of The San Diego Foundation. He also serves on its Board Governance Committee, Organizational Success Program Working Group and Science and Technology Working Group, and is vice chairman of the North County Coastal Civic Alliance.

Hoffmeister is also president of the board of trustees of EJE Academies, a dual-language charter school in El Cajon, and chairman emeritus of Project Walk, a spinal cord injury recovery center headquartered in Carlsbad. Additionally, he serves on the board of directors of Ebert Composites Inc. in Chula Vista.

Until his retirement in 1997, Hoffmeister managed and expanded several global technology companies serving the energy industries worldwide. He currently provides strategic support and mentoring to early stage technology companies and community nonprofit organizations. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Valparaiso University.

What brought you to Del Mar?

My wife and I moved to San Diego from Pittsburgh in 1990 to manage the U.S. operations of a German technology company. Real estate sticker shock demanded we buy a town home in the UTC area, and fortunately for us, the 1992 downturn in housing prices afforded us the ability to buy a 1929 Colonial Spanish “scraper” in Del Mar that we restored.

What makes Del Mar special to you?

(It’s) living near the ocean and beaches while being able to walk to the local post office, library, restaurants and shops. Biking up and down the coast from Del Mar is also special to me along with having UCSD and the La Jolla Playhouse just a 10-minute drive north.

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in Del Mar?

This is a tough question that requires some brutal honesty. My wife and I love the small-town village atmosphere but find the civic engagement process to resolve community issues between residents, property owners, businesses and city government in need of an overhaul. The lack of a caring and effective process causes ill feelings among neighbors and (challenges) Del Mar’s ability to encourage the development necessary to vitalize our village or downtown business district. Unfortunately, you can’t “snap your fingers” to make this issue go away, but it certainly needs to be addressed by the community.

Who or what inspires you?

Spending time with people who really care about the world and who understand the joy of giving back.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

Who should be invited is not as important to me as what could be accomplished. I’d like to host a dinner party for eight people in a position to make a significant impact in solving world famine, health, education and environment issues. Perhaps your readers could help me with this list.

Tell us about what you are currently reading.

I’m all over the place when it comes to reading. I just finished Philippa Gregory’s “The Other Queen” and Melvyn Bragg’s “A Time to Dance,” while currently reading “A Pure Clear Light” by Madeleine St. John. (I’m married to a London Lady!) Interspersed with novels, I peck at serious stuff like “What Are You Optimistic About” by John Brockman and “Forces for Good” (Leslie) Crutchfield and (Heather) McLeod Grant, among others.

What is your most-prized possession?

Photos of my family during the days when I was growing up in western New York.

What do you do for fun?

My wife and I enjoy theater and dance. Spontaneous fun happens when we’re spending time with our grandchildren.

Please describe your greatest accomplishment.

This question is a work in progress, but understanding what is really important about life.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

Making sure I spend most of my time doing the things I truly enjoy.