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04.28.16 – Luncheon Notes and Photos

SPOKES Notes written by Shannon Kolarik

Thursday’s meeting commenced with Rick Huisman introducing the day’s guests and visiting Rotarians. “Happy Dollars” was introduced as well and will be implemented on a weekly basis. Also, “Rotary Minute” will be added to the agenda moving forward so we can all start sharing what it means to be a Rotarian and fully exhibit Service Above Self moments. Jason Webb led us in a beautiful rendition of “If You’re Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands” which was well received.

President Derek Aten introduced our keynote speaker Jim Jarecki, Vice President of the West Michigan White Caps, sharing with everyone Jim’s long history in professional baseball with 21 years creating and upholding the “Fifth Third Ballpark Experience”. Jim’s passion for the White Caps and this community was eminent in his presentation of “When ‘It will never Happen’ Happens”.

Jim walked us through the events of January 2014 when a fire struck Fifth Third Ballpark, a day that most of us remember as you could see the smoke from the highway and parts of downtown. He shared the phone calls to their Insurance Company and Lawyer, the stress of the media that flooded the Ballpark, the logistics of moving their offices to the Pepsi Stadium Club, the decision that had to be made of whether the upcoming baseball season would go on. With the opener three months out, Jim and his team pushed forward with positive marketing like “95 Days…No Problem!” And with the support of the community, family, and colleagues, Jim led the rebuild and the season opener on April 8th was a success, with the full rebuild complete by June 19th.

Jim stressed the importance of having good insurance and good people by your side when an unexpected event happens. He expressed how a fire like this makes you think about everything. It’s a lesson in security and risk assessment, dealing with all of the “What Ifs” you hope you never have to experience.

The cause of the fire was an unattended space heater left in one of the suites and Jim and his team are just grateful no one was hurt in the incident.

The meeting concluded with President Aten presenting Jim with Rotary’s water filter donation and a customary Service Above Selfie for the road.


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