Tag Archives: Membership

New Member Networking Event December 10

–submitted by Haley Saalsaa; photos by Dave Ewanowski


Club President Ellsworth Brown and Haley Saalsaa

On the morning of December 10 25 of us got together for a new member event at the Blackhawk Country club. We were welcomed with fresh hot pastries accompanied by coffee and orange juice.


From left: Jorge Hidalgo, Mike Casey, Larry Collins & Carol Goedken

We took the first thirty minutes to talk amongst ourselves and then the fun really began. Jason Beren orchestrated a Bingo game deriving answers from surveys we had all previously taken. It was a unique networking event and fun to try something new. Often times networking is the same and discussions become routine. The bingo game allowed us to find out unique things about our fellow Rotarians that we may not have known before. For example, did you know that our president Ellsworth Brown played cymbals in high-school? He could put on quite a show incorporating CO2 for special effects OR that TJ Blitz is a trained stage actor?


From Left: Sandy Morales, TJ Blitz, Craig Bartlett & Tom Popp



From left: Mary Borland, Ellsworth Brown, Nick Curran

These are the types of things that likely would not have come into conversation if we weren’t playing an exciting game of Bingo! Jason threw a great event and I look forward to this spring for more events to come.


Rabbi Manfred E. Swarsensky Humanitarian Service Award Program on November 12, 2014

–submitted by Donna Hurd; photos by Mike Engelberger

Club President Tim Stadelman (left) presenting award to Jonathan Gramling

Club President Tim Stadelman (left) presenting award to Jonathan Gramling

Jonathan Gramling was awarded the 2014 Manfred E. Swarsensky Humanitarian Service Award, 32 years since its inception in 1982.

IMG_3317Patty Loew (pictured at left with Jonathan Gramling), a past recipient of the award and Mr. Gramling’s nominator, says of him “Jonathan Gramling has devoted his life to civil rights and promoting racial equity.  From volunteering on self-help projects benefitting African-Americans in the South, to fundraising for United Farm Workers in Madison to supporting Native people on environmental threats associated with mining.  Gramling’s service has been inspirational and exemplary.”


IMG_3248In remembrance of Rabbi Swarsensky, Rotarians and guests viewed the 2000 award-winning video production chronicling his life.  In addition, Rotarian Mario Mendoza (pictured at right) provided the club with excerpts of the November 22, 1967, address to the Rotary Club of Madison, entitled “Thanksgiving – Holiday or Holy Day.”  The address, by all accounts, is as relevant today as it was in 1967.  Paralleling the first Thanksgiving to that of 1967, Rabbi Swarsensky penned, “The work of the Pilgrims is no longer our world.  We could not go back to it, even if we wanted to.  But the recollection of the first Thanksgiving of 1621 can have meaning for us in 1967 [and 2014], if we learned again to be grateful for the simple things in life, which are the most priceless blessings: life and health, home and love and friendship, the privilege to give of ourselves and the determination to make our country and the work a better place so that our children and our children’s children may be proud of us, as we are proud of and grateful to those who have gone before us.”


Pictured above from left: Club President Tim Stadelman, Carol Toussaint, Mercile Lee, Sr. Mary David Walgebach, Sr. Joanne Kollasch, Melanie Ramey, Andy Davison and Mitch Javid

The Club was privileged to host 11 past recipients of the award: Sr. Mary David Walgenbach & Sr. Joanne Kollasch, Patty Loew, Richard Davis, Mitch Javid, Rotarian Carol Toussaint, Rotarian Bill Rock, Rotarian Andy Davison, Norval Bernhardt, Rotarian Melanie Ramey and Mercile Lee.


In addition, we were honored that Rabbi Swarsensky’s daughter, Sharon Swarsensky Bilow and her husband, Paul Bilow, were able to join us for this celebration.  They are pictured above with Jonathan Gramling.

The Manfred E. Swarsensky Humanitarian Service Award was established in 1982 and identifies individuals who have, through their voluntary efforts, made a particularly outstanding contribution to the humanitarian service in the greater Madison community, in the tradition so well exemplified by the life of Rabbi Swarsensky.   The award-winning documentary video, “A Portrait:  Rabbi Manfred Swarsensky,” that was created and produced by Rotarian Dick Goldberg with assistance by Wisconsin Public Television, provides background on Manfred Swarsensky and can be viewed on YouTube, and the Rotary office also has a copy of the video for any member wishing to view it.

Big Wheels Bicyclists Meet with Dinner & Discussion Group October 26

–submitted by Joan Collins; photos by  Pete Christianson & Teri Venker

Goodman Event Oct 26 2014 7

(Pictured above from left: Jason Beren, Dawn Crim, Ed Van Gemert, Joan Collins, Becky Steinhoff, Teri Venker & Terry Jacobson)

Ever been to McCarthy Reserve? Even know where it is?

SPOKESwoman Becky Steinhoff who led the Big Wheels Bicycling Fellowship fall bike outing on Sunday, October 26, took us there during a hilly trip through the fall colors.  Our bike wheels met the pavement in Madison, Monona, Cottage Grove and the Town of Burke before we headed back to our stating point, The Goodman Center, where we doubled our numbers for food and conversation.

Goodman Event Oct 26 2014 6  Goodman Event Oct 26 2014 2  Goodman Event Oct 26 2014 5

(Photo 1: from left: Joan Collins, Ed Van Gemert, Becky Steinhoff, Jason Beren, Dawn Crim & Teri Venker; Photo 2: from left: Joan Collins, Bill Waldbillig, Sandra Christensen & Jim Christensen; Photo 3: Pete Christianson)

From left: Jason Beren, Jim Christensen, Dawn Crim & Roger Phelps

From left: Jason Beren, Jim Christensen, Dawn Crim & Roger Phelps

Besides the bright colors on a sunny and no-wind day, we saw Halloween decorations in one neighborhood sure to win prizes in a decorate your yard contest, as well as farm fields and peaks of Lake Monona.

Back at the Goodman Center, Becky hosted us with her fabulous lasagna (both meat and veggie) and wine, with the rest of us adding to the potluck mid-day dinner.

What’s next? Talk of a cross country ski fellowship as bicyclists switch gears for winter.

“Rotary Bingo” at The Madison Club October 21, 2014

–summary & photos submitted by Jason Beren


On Tuesday, October 21, at our New Member Event, about 25 new and experienced Rotarians attended a coffee event at The Madison Club (Thanks to Mary Gaffney-Ward for the use of the great room).

The focal point of the event was a cutting edge networking activity known as “Rotary Bingo.”  Much like a scavenger hunt played with a bingo card, attendees had to work their way around the room to fill out their card with the names of the Rotarians who matched each square.

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Prior to the event, attendees completed a survey with questions such as:

  • What is something about yourself that’s unique and people might not know about you?
  • Where were you born?
  • Who were your Rotary Sponsors?
  • What high school activity, club, or sport did you participated in?
  • What unique event have you attended?
  • Have you ever done a unique Rotary make-up international or domestic?

Attendees learned that some of their fellow Downtown Rotarian’s have:

  • Been a ski bum for a winter
  • Spent two months deep in the Amazon jungle
  • Attended a cocktail party on Malcolm Forbes yacht
  • Did a Rotary make-up on Easter Island


Meet Tim Stadelman: Club President

–submitted by Andrea Kaminski; photo by John Bonsett-Veal

Tim and Rob

President Tim Stadelman (Pictured above at left with Past Club President Rob Stroud) was our speaker on Wednesday, July 23. He spoke about his past and connected it with his goals as President of our club. Tim referred to four core areas of his life – Rotary, Family, Findorff and the Community. He said all four mainstays are connected, and the first three support the community.

Tim thanked his wife Lori and sons Ross, Tommy and Justin as well as his partners and colleages at Findorff for their support. He thanked Rotary members for “the opportunity of a lifetime to lead the Club.”

The sixth of seven children, Tim grew up near Belleville. His father was a cheese maker and the family lived on the upper floor of the cheese factory. After raising seven children, his mother became a kindergarten teacher. Tim’s parents wanted all of their children to go to college, an opportunity they themselves did not have. Tim graduated from UW-Whitewater with a degree in accounting.

In August Tim will celebrate 25 years with Findorff, where he is CFO and an owner of the company. He noted similarities between Findorff’s core values and those of Rotary, including taking a long-term view, fostering strong leadership, maintaining a community focus and engaging multiple generations.

Tim gave a preview of what to expect as the Rotary Board enters the fourth year of our Club’s five year strategic plan:

  1. Marketing will continue to be an emphasis, so that all materials and messaging will have a consistent focus on core concepts;
  2. Membership development efforts will focus on building connections for members, especially those in their first few years with the Club. Each committee and fellowship group will be challenged to organize one shared activity or event with another committee or group.
  3. The Board will lead us in identifying a fourth focus area for Service, in addition to the current areas of Basic Needs, Education and Mentoring, and Civic Leadership.
  4. We will increase involvement with the Rotaract Clubs at UW and Edgewood College, as well as support a new Interact Club at Madison East High School.

Finally, Tim promised 10% more fun! District Governor Dave Warren will explain this in detail at our July 30 meeting.


Rotary Wine Fellowshippers Enjoy Another Great Event on June 24

–submitted by Mike Wilson

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The Wine Fellowship Group had a Bring Your Own (BYO) Event at Mike and Patty Wilson’s on Tuesday the 24th of June. There were 15 attendees, and each Rotarian brought a bottle of wine, their story to go with it and a snack to accompany it. Great fun was had by all!  I rated every bottle of wine as excellent (17.75-18.5/20 on my scale),for an extraordinary fleet of wines.

From left: Nona Hagen, Dan Dieck, Mike Casey & Carolyn Casey

From left: Nona Hagen, Dan Dieck, Mike Casey & Carolyn Casey

They started with three cold wines: a Santinori Assyrtiko to accompany a tapenade; an Alsatian Pinot Gris (Rotenberg from Domaine Zind-Humbrecht) with a Greek dip; and a Rose of Sangiovese from Amorosa (called Goia) with the winery being a large “Napa Castle” which was viewed from their parking lot on the successful Wine Fellowship tour of Napa exactly one year ago.  These were accompanied by feta and watermelon kebabs.

Next, two beautifully soft Pinot Noirs were tasted:  Acrobat from Oregon and Husch from the Anderson Valley.  Both were paired with great artisanal Wisconsin cheeses and a basket of cherries.  Just like the cold wines described above, these were excellent, and the tasting group was evenly divided in preference.

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(Photo 1: Mike & Mandy McKay; Photo 2: Juli & Keith Baumgartner; Photo 3: Patty Wilson & Cheryl Wittke)

Two “racy reds” were then tasted:  A Domaine de la Janesse Cotes Du Rhone with a colorful story of how it came to be selected (Dan Dieck’s son had sent a case from France) and an A Venge wine called Scouts Honor (a dog story, not Baden-Powell) California blend (Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Charbono and Syrah).  Once again, the tasting group liked both equally well.

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(Photo 1: Steve & Meryl Mixtacki; Photo 2: Meryl Mixtacki & Mike Wilson; Photo 3: Mary Barbieri & Beverly Simone)

Finally the hosts provided two very different ports.  A 1960 Warre’s Vintage Porto as a traditional base, and a 1947 “Royal Reserve” Mazuran “Port” from New Zealand. This previously unknown vineyard in Henderson , NZ, has been producing Port for years.  The initial winemaker was a descendant of the Dalmatian Kauri tree gum diggers that emigrated to New Zealand early on for just this purpose, but when the Kauri trees were significantly reduced (now a protected tree) they switched to other work.  Dalmatia is near where the original Zinfandel vines have been located, and these immigrants formed the basis of the early New Zealand wine industry.  Chocolate covered strawberries and other chocolates were the accompanying snack made by Hostess Patty.  Here the New Zealand port was the absolute winner.  The 67 year old Royal Reserve is the very first Mazuran port Mike tried some 40 years ago, and was released for the visit of the young Queen Elizabeth in her 1952 tour of New Zealand as part of the new monarchs tour of the antipodean british Commonwealth.  Perhaps the Mazuran was rated so well as the tasters were informed that it now sells for NZ$700.

Our thanks to Mike & Patty Wilson for hosting another great event!

Our thanks to Mike & Patty Wilson for hosting another great event!

A great time was had by one and all!