Farewell from President John

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your club President. Successful leadership is certainly a team sport.  Thus, my sincere thanks and appreciation go to our Board of Directors, 35+ committee chairs, our outstanding staff, Mary    and Liz, and all our club members for everyone’s contributions to making it a successful year! 


Together, we improved and strengthened the value of our great Rotary Club. Our weekly programs enabled you to hear from many diverse, top speakers. Tyrotarian tours – including one of our Rockwell Automation’s Allen-Bradley clock tower and green roof – as well as other professional development activities hopefully continued to fulfill your desire to learn and grow.


We sustained our long history of service through your good works, whether it was Done-in-a-Day projects, educational programs, the Scholarship Golf Classic, military support or your contributions to help eradicate polio from the planet. Our hands-on international project in Guatemala continued to exemplify the new model for personal world service.

One of the many highlights of my year were those opportunities to humbly but honestly brag a little about our great club – intermissions at LIVE @ the Lakefront concerts, the War Memorial Center press event recognizing our club’s $100,000 contribution to their restoration campaign, the MANDI Awards. Together, we continued to live up to our club motto of being “Leaders who make a difference!”


However, I hope the legacy of my Presidency will be our new Global Milwaukee Committee (GMC). In addition to the professional, social and service benefits of our club, some members are now getting extra value from connecting with members in other clubs – often around the world. Globe-trotting members like Dave Bishop and Teresa Esser visited clubs in Japan and Korea. Veteran Rotarians  like Bill Coleman and Allen Sells can tell you other ways that they’ve personally experienced the value of being part of an international organization with over 34,000 clubs and more than 1.2 million members. We’ve even attracted a few new members this year by talking about the international value of being a Rotarian.  Special thanks to GMC co-chairs Pat Cronin and Scott Fredrick for your leadership in pioneering this important initiative.


On June 24th, 2015-16 President Dan Vliet will assume leadership of the Rotary Club of Milwaukee.  I know he will be a great leader for our club and encourage you to give him the strong support that you have given me.


Starting in July, I’m also taking early retirement from Rockwell Automation. Milwaukee will be our home base, but my wife Kathleen and I plan some extended travels, starting with summer adventures north through Canada up to Alaska for a couple months, somewhere south in winter, and over to Europe in spring. I’m calling it my “gap year” before any encore career, perhaps writing a business book or two. But I’ll still see you on Tuesdays at Rotary as often as I can!