Welcome to the Elkhart Rotary Club Meeting on February 4, 2019; Today we welcomed speaker Levon Johnson, President/CEO, Greater Elkhart Chamber.

President Peter Norton opened the meeting and introduced Bill Rieth, who started with a terrible joke, but redeemed himself with some inspirational words, led the Pledge and Four-Way Test.

James Davis introduced our guests including visiting Rotarians Judy Jankowski and Doug Grant, as well as Rotarian guests Patsy Boehler, executive director of ETHOS and guest of Sherm Hansen, Janet Evanega and Rob LaRoy, guests of Jim Rieckhoff, and Dr. Steve Thalheimer, superintendent of Elkhart Community Schools, guest of Brad Sheppard. We were also honored to have visiting student guests from Memorial High School at our meeting today.

Important announcements from February 4:

  • Andy McCaskey announced upcoming volunteer opportunities to support ETHOS Innovation Center, including a February 25 CS Fundamentals workshop/training offered by Code.org - if you're interested you can register here.
  • On behalf of the Marketing Committee, Erin Wagler thanked the club for their support of promoting our great speakers and reminded all that club speakers are added as Facebook EVENTS, as a way of more easily spreading the word about our club programs. If you're already Facebook friendly, thank you for helping us to "Like", "Share", and "Invite" your friends to our great programs. And if you need help with your social media skills, please ask a member of the committee such as Eric Garton or Erin Wagler, they're happy to help you out!
  • Peter  Norton reminded the club of upcoming Rotary Leadership Academy workshop on February 16; if you're interested please see Peter directly.
  • Rob LaRoy, executive director at the Humane Society of Elkhart County, has submitted his application for Rotary and has been approved by the board; thus enters our one-week comment period in which club members provide feedback to President Norton.
  • Doug Risser announced an upcoming Rotary event, inviting all to attend, celebrating the 100 Year Celebrations of both the Goshen Rotary Club and the Warsaw Rotary Club. The theme is "Bahamian Bash" and features Barry Rassin, Rotary International President. Party is scheduled for Friday, February 8 at the Spohn Ballroom 109 E. Clinton Street in Goshen. 6-7 pm is Social Hour and Silent Auction, 7-9 pm Banquet and Program. Casual-Island attire recommended! $35 per person, RSVP to Doug Risser - - TODAY IS THE LAST DAY TO SIGNUP, Contact Doug immediately if you'd like to attend.
Today's Sergeant was Rebecca Kuiken, who did a great job of poking some fun to raise some FUNDS! Rebecca's trivia about the polar vortex and common 'religious phrases everyone should know' were a fun way to fundraise. Rotary fines are collected weekly and are pooled into a fund. In the spring approximately $10,000 is distributed as grants to not for profit organizations around our county.

Today's speaker was Levon Johnson, President/CEO, Greater Elkhart Chamber.
Levon Johnson oversees operations of the Chamber at the direction of the Board, to carry out programs of work to meet the members’ needs and serves as Secretary to the Board of Directors. An Elkhart native, Levon previously worked in Elkhart Community Schools, as an assistant principal at Elkhart Central High School, a principal at Pierre Moran Middle School and most recently as the school district’s supervisor for corporate and community partnerships. He headed the Work Ethic Certification process for all of Elkhart County, an initiative that aimed to assist students’ entry into the work world. He began with the Chamber in December of 2017.

Levon highlighted the major priorities of the Chamber, including:

  • Advocacy for businesses with city, county, state, and federal governments,
  • Education, particularly for youth who will eventually be our business community, and
  • Entrepreneurship support, education, and training for startup businesses of those seeking to start a business.
More about the Chamber:
  • MISSION: The Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce represents and serves our member businesses and the community. We will promote the interests of our members and the community in the areas of business, government, education and the professions through direction and leadership of our investors and the Chamber staff. 
  • VISION: The Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce shall be the primary resource to ensure a frictionless environment for business and the community to thrive to their fullest potential.
  • PHILOSOPHY: We will use the principles of cooperation, communication and concern while working with others to enhance the quality of life for all citizens.
DID YOU KNOW.... that Elkhart County is the SECOND FASTEST GROWING economy in Indiana behind only Marion County?

About Rotary:

Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, community leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and act to create lasting change – across the globe, in our local communities, and in ourselves. The Elkhart Rotary Club was founded in 1917 and serves its community through volunteerism, providing grants to not-for-profit organizations, sponsoring, and participating in service projects such as ringing bells for the Salvation Army, roadside trash collection, and are the originators and sustainers of Wellfield Botanic Gardens. Elkhart Rotary Club’s membership consists of approximately 150 dedicated individuals from various professional backgrounds and diverse interests. Membership in the Elkhart Rotary Club is by invitation. We welcome guests to attend any of our meetings and hear from our great lineup of weekly presenters.
For more information on the Elkhart Rotary Club, visit elkhartrotary.org or email elkhartnoonrotary@gmail.com. Like and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook/ElkhartRotaryClub to stay current on meetings, upcoming events or speakers, and initiatives in the community.
Upcoming Meetings and Programs:
  • February 11: Suzie Weirick, Elkhart County Commissioner
  • February 18: Gavin Ferlic, Elevate Ventures’ Entrepreneur-in-Residence for the South Bend – Elkhart Region
  • February 25: Chris Snyder, Chief of the Elkhart Police Department
Join us for our next meeting:
All meetings are at noon on Mondays at the Matterhorn Banquet and Conference Center, 2041 Cassopolis St. in Elkhart IN, 46514. In months that include a FIFTH Monday, the Elkhart Rotary Club holds a dinner meeting (no presenter) at the same location.