Doug Palonder is a native of Chicago Illinois but grew up in the Youngstown/Warren area of Ohio. He graduated from Youngstown State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology/Sociology as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education. While earning his two undergraduate degrees’ he taught Junior High School for 5 years. He changed careers in 1976 receiving an Associate Degree in Nursing and then in 1977 earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing, both from Youngstown State University. He practiced nursing on multiple levels including at the bedside, as an Assistant Head Nurse, Head Nurse, Nursing Supervisor, Assistant Director of Nursing, Director of Nursing, and finally as an independent consultant. During his nursing career he received his Master of Science degree in Health Management in 1982.
In 1988, after completing the required education courses, he received his Property and Casualty and well as his Life and Health license from the State of Florida. He spent his first two years in the insurance business as a “Prime Agent” for The AEtna Life and Casualty Company. In 1989 he opened his own insurance practice out of his home; in 1998 opened Main Street Insurors.
Doug has been active in the community since moving to Pinellas County. In 1987, he was introduced to Rotary and became a member of the Rotary Club of Clearwater East. He served on a number of committees and was instrumental in developing a quarterly social event calendar for club members as a way of attending cultural or sporting events as a fellowship group.
He became club treasurer in 1996 and held that office until he assumed his year as president elect in 1999. During his year as President, 2000-2001, the Rotary Club of Clearwater East was named District 6950 Rotary Club of the Year. The following year, 2001 – 2002, he was named District 6950 Rotarian of the Year for his work as Chairperson for Rotary’s involvement in the Chrysler Championship. Close to $250,000 has been raised for Rotary charities in the first four years of Rotary’s association with the tournament that he has been chairman. In 2003, he was again honored to be named District Rotarian of the year, few people receive that honor once let alone two years in a row. For a number of years, he was the routine host of “This is Rotary”, a half hour TV program that airs four times a week on a public access channel. In the spring of 2004, he was the chairperson for the inaugural Rotary Day at the Races which raised $26,000, chairperson for “Rotary Goes to the Dogs” for the inaugural day at Derby Lanes greyhound track which raised $20,000, and co-chaired the “Iron Lung Torch Run” though Zones 33-34 raising $100,000 as well as awareness for Rotary’s involvement with polio eradication.
In 2005, he was awarded the extremely prestigious “Dr. Milton O. and Alice Jones Exemplary Service Award”, the highest honor that can be given to a Rotarian in the District 6950. Doug served as Rotary District 6950 Governor year 2006-2007 one of 450 worldwide. He is active at the Rotary Zones 33-34 level attending the last four Zones 33-34 Institutes. He was the chairman of the inaugural Think Caribbean Celebration held July of 2008 in Ft. Lauderdale Florida.. Doug was the first volunteer of the St. Petersburg Bowl. He and the bowl Executive Director designed both Bowl Beach days: Beach Bash and Battle of the Bands. He is still currently chairman of both the events. In addition, he is also a team host for one of the teams playing in the bowl game.