Rock 'n Ribs 2018

Hundreds of volunteers and barbecue competitors hosted thousands of guests on April 20 - 21 to raise money for seven nonprofit organizations that serve children in the Ozarks.

This was the 19th annual Rock'n Ribs BBQ Festival. The Rotary and Rotaract clubs of Springfield plan and run the event but the nonprofit organizations that receive the funds also provide hundreds of hours of volunteer time to make it a success. Over the years, Rock 'n Ribs has raised just under $2 million for children of the Ozarks.

Click on each photo to make it bigger.

(Photos by Rick Gilmore, Rotary Club of Springfield Southeast. Many more of Rick's photos are in a gallery on the club's Facebook page.)

Welcome new member Jim Wilson

Welcome new member Jim Wilson

Ken Schwab introduced him on April 12. His co-sponsor is Jon Baker.

Jim moved back to Springfield in January 2017 from Houston, Texas. He is a principal at Ingress Investments, a private investment company focused on B2B services and technology, commercial real estate and hospitality and dining. He also is an owner of a software platform for building services companies that is being marketed in China and Canada, with other locations under consideration.

Jim and two partners recently formed JJJ Development, which has a building under contract with plans to open a bar and restaurant if the transaction is completed.

Prior to founding Ingress, Jim was a business lawyer for more than 20 years. His practice focused on corporate finance and securities, with an emphasis on mergers, acquisitions and public offerings. His international experience included Brazil, China, Egypt, Italy, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Spain, The Netherlands and the U.K.

Jim has been recognized as a “Texas Rising Star” as well as a “Texas Super Lawyer” by Texas Monthly. He has also been listed as a leader in international mergers and acquisitions by The Legal 500.

Jim has a bachelor's degree in accounting from Southwest Missouri State University (now MSU) and a law degree from University of Houston. He's been on the Board of Trustees of the MSU Foundation since 2012 and on its executive committee since last year. He's also on the Executive Advisory Board of the MSU College of Business since 2010, was on the Funding Task Force for the MSU Visioning Project in 2014 - '15, is on the planning committee for the annual MSU Volunteer Leadership Conference since 2016, a member of the Founders Club since 2011, and a member of the President’s Leadership Circle since 2012.

Jim was in Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity at SMSU and now is chairman of this chapter's Alumni Advisory Board and a member of the Executive Committee for its Alumni Association.

Jim has twin sons, one attending Wharton School of Business and the other attending Princeton University. Both sons have won Fencing National Championships. Jim’s wife is Ginger.

Springfield Southeast Rotary service

The Hands-On Committee planted trees and perennials, and replaced old mulch, on Friday afternoon, April 6, at Lutheran Family and Children's Services on North Glenstone Avenue. The service project was scheduled for Saturday morning but was moved up to Friday because of the forecast for snow and ice. Jennifer Baker, Carl Hutchinson and David Pomerenke definitely represented the club well!

Photos by Barbara Lucks

Rotary Fellowship Lunches

When Paul Harris started the first Rotary Club in Chicago in 1905, he and three other men rotated as the host of the weekly meetings, with the others going to the host's office for lunch. To honor those meetings that gave Rotary its name, Springfield Southeast has fellowship lunches twice a year in which about six members host other club members for lunch at a site away from our regular meeting site.
One of those fellowship lunch days was April 5. These photos are from two of the six sites: the Creamery Arts Center in Jordan Valley Park across Sherman Avenue from Hammons Field (those are the photos in the brick room), and Homemade Delivered, 1330 E. Cherry St. Irwin Cohen, president of the Springfield Symphony board of Directors, and Ashley Walden, executive director of the Springfield Ballet, hosted members at the Creamery Arts Center. Denise LeBolt, owner of Homemade Delivered, hosted members in her commercial kitchen.
Photos by Dan Emrie (at Homemade Delivered) and Agnes Sawyer (at Creamery Arts Center)

Springfield Rotary clubs plant trees in Jordan Valley Park

Rotary International President Ian Riseley asked the 1,230,399 Rotarians in 35,784 clubs worldwide to plant a tree by Earth Day, April 22, 2018, to raise awareness of the critical issue of worldwide deforestation.

The five Springfield Rotary clubs and Springfield Rotaract Club embraced the request. City Utilities of Springfield donated trees for the Clubs’ joint projects and the Missouri Department of Conservation made seedlings available to the 500+ local club members.

To celebrate the completion of this project, a Rotary Grove was planted in a ceremony at Jordan Valley Park on Wednesday, April 4. The public was invited to attend the celebration.

Rotary organizations include:
Partnering organizations include:
The project also included educational presentations at each club. It is anticipated that nearly 200 trees will be planted as a result of the combined efforts of the clubs and the partnering organizations.

Click on each photo to make it bigger. 

Photos are by Dan Emrie.

Welcome new member Brett Sheets

Welcome new member Brett Sheets

Jim Towery introduced Brett on March 29.  His co-sponsor is President Lori Barnes Miller.

Brett and Jim have been business partners for 20 years as co-owners of Steelman Transportation and Group One, which they sold in July 2017 but continue to manage.  Brett is president of the two companies.

Brett grew up in trucking, as his father was an independent contractor for more than 45 years. Brett began his transportation career as a truck mechanic in 1984 and was then a dump truck driver for an asphalt company.  He then took an entry level mechanic’s job with a truck dealership in Kansas City and worked his way up to a Journeyman 1 Mechanic.  He then became a sales representative and then a sales manager in a 12-year career with that company.

Brett in 1998 became co-owner and vice-president of Steelman Transportation, overseeing sales and the Oversize Division, among other duties.

Brett has served on an advisory board for the Missouri Department of Transportation for improving State Oversize Permit Regulations.  He has also worked closely with local DOT officers and the State Highway Patrol as an advisor on key issues.  He's also been involved in the Springfield Area Motor Carriers Club, Missouri Trucking Associations, Truckload Carriers Association, and Machinery Haulers Association.

Brett joined Springfield North Rotary club in 2005 and had 11 years of perfect attendance.  He is a past president of that club.  He has also been a board member for more than 10 years and a three-year chairman of the board for Rock'n Ribs Barbecue Festival.

For 16 months in recent years, Brett let his hair grow to more than 12 inches so he could donate it to Locks of Love for wigs for cancer patients.

Brett has been married to Lorri for 27 years.  They live in Pleasant Hope with two Boston terriers.  Brett is an instrument rated pilot who enjoys flying and taking trips in his RV.


Springfield Rotary Basketball Tournament 2018

The Rotaract and Rotary clubs of Springfield and Ozark played their annual tournament on March 21, 22, and 24 to raise funds for the Southwest Area of Special Olympics Missouri.   The tournament raises about $13,000 each year to help with the athletes' travel expenses in several sports.

Springfield Southeast's Team #1 took second place, losing to Rotaract Team #2 in the championship game.  Springfield Southeast's Team #2 took sixth place in the eight-team tournament.

The tournament started in 1987.   It was an idea of Springfield Southeast's Steve Scott, who was playing noon pickup games with members of Downtown Rotary club.  It grew from a game between two clubs in the first couple of years to a tournament that since then has, at times, included clubs from Bolivar, Lebanon, Ozark, Nixa and Branson, as well as all  the clubs from Springfield.

Click on each photo to enlarge it.  

Photos by Dan Emrie

Don't Meth with Missouri grant

Don't Meth with Missouri grant

Adapted from Safeco Insurance's Facebook page:

Bill White Insurance Agency in March 2018 earned a $10,000 donation for Don’t Meth With Missouri (MO).   Bill is an independent agent and member of Springfield Southeast Rotary Club who supports DMWM's efforts to stem this area's
epidemic of methamphetamine abuse.

The average age of first use of the deadly drug is 12.5 years old.  DMWM, a program founded and supported by Springfield Southeast Rotary Club, has been taking the fight against meth into schools with an education program tailored to fifth grade, seventh grade and high school students.
“Our educational programs are having a huge impact on getting Springfield area youth to say no to methamphetamine,” said David Hamm, board president of Don’t Meth With MO. “Fellow-board members like Bill who develop and present our educational programs are changing the conversation about drugs, one classroom at a time.”

For fifth graders, meth is in the future, in seventh grade students are beginning to feel peer pressure to experiment with drugs, and in high school the availability of meth is prevalent.

Don’t Meth With MO programs for their youngest audience focuses on leadership, goal setting and good vs. bad decision making. Their seventh-grade activity uses a Jeopardy game where students face off on their knowledge of drug dangers in categories like ‘Poison Potion’ and ‘RX Only.’ High school students gather annually for an assembly presentation by a former addict who tells his compelling story of addiction and recovery.
Launched in 2010, Don’t Meth With MO is patterned after a similar successful initiative created by a Rotary Club in Farmington, New Mexico. Rotary members split up presentation duties, which can become very intense during the school year. Fifth grade presentations roll out through October and every day committee members present at two schools, reaching a total of 37 schools in Springfield.

Seventh grade health teachers host Don’t Meth With MO presenters every quarter, and at the high school level, assemblies are presented for one solid week.
“Meth is used by 46% of families in our local juvenile services system. With an addiction rate of over 90%, the danger in Springfield and surrounding communities continues to rise for children living in meth lab homes who are at increased risk of everything from physical and sexual abuse, to exposure to toxic chemicals, burns, substance abuse and malnutrition,” said Bill. “At the end of each presentation we have the kids repeat our mantra ‘we are the future – don’t meth with us!’ as loud as they can so that the entire school hears it. Their young voices echo our hope for the future of Springfield in the ongoing battle against methamphetamine.”
A 2018 Safeco Insurance Make More Happen Award will be a huge help. The $10,000 donation to Don’t Meth With MO from Safeco on behalf of the Bill White Agency will contribute to the charity’s goal of being able to offer the school presentations to each Springfield school, every school year. The monies will also help them reach their goal to provide 2,000 backpacks with t-shirts, wristbands, pencils and bookmarks that reinforce the anti-drug messaging long after the presentations end.

Welcome new member Josh Hartman

Welcome new member Josh Hartman

David Pomerenke introduced Josh on March 1.  His co-sponsor is Bob Hammerschmidt.

Josh moved to Springfield from Chicago in 1979.  He attended Immaculate Conception Elementary and graduated from Springfield Catholic High School in 1981.

Josh attended University of Notre Dame, where he earned a BA in Communications and Philosophy.  He then attended the American Conservatory Theater’s Master of Fine Arts program, where he learned with multiple artists who have gone on to win Tony, Emmy and Oscar awards.

Josh worked at Merrill Lynch’s Office of General Counsel as a document editor and at Andersen Consulting as a change management consultant.   He then worked at Springfield Remanufacturing as he worked on his MBA; he says he learned open book management and how to use an impact wrench at SRC.  Josh has been in wealth management since 2007 and now works at Commerce Trust.

Josh has volunteered for several local organizations, including Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks, Notre Dame Club of the Ozarks, Community Foundation of the Ozarks, and Springfield’s Police and Fire Retirement System board.  Josh was selected for Leadership Springfield Class 21 and SBJ’s 40 under 40.  He also volunteers time at his church and children’s schools.

Josh is married to Dawna (Baker) Hartman, a former MSU golfer and a former head coach for women’s golf at Drury University.  They have two children, Kate, 6, and Charlie, 4.