Posted by Eric Garton on Nov 04, 2019
Welcome to the Elkhart Rotary Club Meeting on November 4, 2019; Today we welcomed new Ivy Tech Chancellor Dr. David Balkin as he presented Ivy Tech updates from the campus to the community.

President Candy Yoder opened the meeting and introduced Brian Smith, who shared positive words, led the Pledge, and Four-Way Test.  

Welcome table volunteers were David Toney, Jim Rieckhoff, and guests were introduced by Fran Conner and included Visiting Rotarians Terry Bush from South Bend and John Dresser from Sturgis. Guests of Rotarians included Jean Pletcher (Ken Pletcher) and Sue Neat (Tom Neat). Welcome to ALL, we hope you can all join us again some other time!

Today we welcomed two NEW Rotarians! Aileac Deegan inducted both Stephanie Anderson from Billings Funeral Home and Erik Shultz from AlphaGraphics! It's always great to welcome new Rotarians into the club. Today, two people joined us because they are also passionate about serving the Elkhart community. Thanks to Tom Shoff, who was sponsor for both Stephanie and Erik.

On behalf of the Rotary Foundation, Elkhart Rotarian Doug Risser announced a special matching promotion:
ROTARY DISTRICT 6540 Matching Gifts Campaign, a Limited Time Offer from November 1, 2019 through January 31, 2020 your personal donation of $100-$5,000 to the Annual Fund of The Rotary Foundation will be matched with FOUNDATION RECOGNITION POINTS.
Your matching foundation recognition points can be used in several ways:
  1. For your own Paul Harris designation, at the first level or toward the next multiple. For example, your personal gift of $500 will be matched with 500 points for a total value of $1,000 to achieve designation as a Paul Harris Fellow.
  2. To recognize another individual with a full Paul Harris Fellow designation or an initial contribution. For example, your $1000 check will be matched with 1,000 points to award Paul Harris Fellow designation to a relative, a community member, or another Rotarian.
  3. For multiple recognitions, any combination of points designations for yourself and/or other individuals, with a minimum of 100 points per designation. For example, your personal gift of $500 will earn 500 points. You can keep 200 points for yourself to attain the next level, and award 300 points to a deserving new member of your club to inspire future sustaining contributions to the foundation and a future Paul Harris Fellow designation.
INSTRUCTIONS for the matching promotion:
Mail a personal check payable to "The Rotary Foundation" to District Rotary Foundation Chair, Judy Walker, including donor information and designating the beneficiary(ies) of the matching points if applicable.
  • Mail to: Judy Walker, 8421 Manor Ave. #406, Munster, IN 46321
  • Questions? Voice or text 219-680-6557; email
  • Only those donations submitted per the above instructions will be matched
  • Club checks or online donations are not eligible for this offer
Irwin Larrier made special presentations to Paul Harris Fellows, including:
  • Jim Story - his first PHF
  • Sherm Hansen - PHF+4
  • Ken Pletcher - PHF+4
  • Tom Neat - PHF+6
Thanks, ALL Paul Harris Fellows for your continued contributions to our Rotary Foundation! Your gift makes a difference!
Candy Yoder relayed a sad announcement that fellow Rotarian and Past District Governor, Roger Sims passed away on October 31. He was born on June 30, 1943 in Chicago, IL to Linda and Roy Sims. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Patricia (nee Laube) and his brother Dennis Sims. Daughter Kathryn (Dan) Johnson and children Zachary and Valerie; Daughter Rebecca Sims (Randall Wilson) and children Hope and Blake; Son Steven (Rene) Sims and children Anthony, Emylee, Alexander, Elizabeth, and Lauren. His family was the core of his life.
Roger attended Luther High School South, Chicago; Valparaiso University College of Engineering, BSCE, 1965; Indiana University, MBA, 1991 and worked for Pullman-Standard, started in 1965; the Thrall Car Company; and Sims Professional Engineers, 1983-present. Roger gave his time to many service organizations including Church, Rotary, Munster School Board, Boy Scouts, Indiana High Speed Rail Association. He was a Member of Munster Rotary for 25 years, served as District Governor of Northern Indiana 2015-2016, worked on many international Rotary projects. He was a 53-year member of Griffith Lutheran Church, serving the church at many levels, expressing his faith by singing in the choir and teaching adult Bible class.
Roger had avid interests in travel, golf, boating and skiing. He loved introducing himself and making connections with anyone. He was blessed to have so many close friends and colleagues in his life.
Visitation will be held Tuesday, November 5, 2019 from 4:00 to 7:00 PM at Hillside Funeral Home & Cremation Center, 8941 Kleinman Road, Highland, IN. A funeral service will be on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 at Griffith Lutheran Church, 1000 N. Broad St., Griffith, IN beginning at 10:00 am. Rev. Freda Scales officiating with luncheon immediately following. Memorial contributions may be made in Roger’s name to Griffith Lutheran Church, Valparaiso University College of Engineering and the Rotary Foundation-Rotary International. For additional information, please contact Hillside Funeral Home & Cremation Center Konnie Kuiper-Kevin Nordyke by calling us at 219-838-0800 or visiting us at
Additional Announcements and continued reminders for November 4:
  • At the meeting next Monday, November 11, members will be asked to complete a ballot to elect 4 new Board of Directors Members. Absentee ballots will be available by request for those members unable to attend the meeting. Please let Marie Drake know if you need an absentee ballot by emailing her at

  • Candy announced that a small committee led by Jim Rieckhoff has begun discussion with the Elkhart Morning Rotary Club to create an arrangement by which the two clubs will merge or create a 'satellite' club arrangement. The goal is to have this new structure in place by July 1, 2020. Both groups believe this is a 'win-win' for both the Elkhart Rotary Club and the Elkhart Morning Club. Details and continued discussion to follow.

  • Save the Dates from Matt Lentsch - - Salvation Army Fundraising Chair

    • Friday evening, December 13: Restaurant Fundraising for Salvation Army

    • Saturday, December 14: Ringing Bells for Salvation Army

  • Dave Lehman: Bring $20 next week if you'd like to support Thanksgiving Dinner at Matterhorn, presented by Salvation Army and Kurt Janowsky
Today's Guest Sergeant was Dave Neeser who provided the final (yay!) installment of Rotary Family Feud! Nice job of FUNdraising today, Dave and your special guests! Rotary fines are collected weekly and are pooled into a fund throughout the year. In the spring more than $10,000 is distributed as grants to not for profit organizations around our county. Thanks, All, for your contributions!
Today's speaker was introduced by club member Sarah Rice: Ivy Tech Chancellor Dr. David Balkin, who presented updates from the campus to the community.
David introduced himself and a bit of his background before sharing an exciting initiative with the club, a new iFlex lab at Elkhart County location. The Ivy Tech Community College South Bend-Elkhart campus has been approved for funding to start construction on its new high-tech manufacturing training facility at its Elkhart County location. The Elkhart County Council approved $1.47 million during its Sept. 14 meeting. The funding comes from the tax increment financing (TIF) fund of County Road 6 and 17. Funding from the council is part of a local match to South Bend-Elkhart's $1 million share of the Lilly Endowment LIFT grant, which is being administered through the University of Notre Dame, according to a news release. The grant promotes new cooperation, innovation and workforce programs. The iFlex Lab will be built on the east side of campus, adjacent to the recently dedicated Mervin and Dorothy Lung Hall at 22531 County Road 18 in Goshen. 
"Upon completion of the project, the iFlex lab will instantly become an invaluable training resource for our students, our LIFT grant collaborators and the local business community," said Balkin. 
The new 10,400-square foot facility will provide workforce training in advanced manufacturing, creating more opportunities for Ivy Tech to support residents of the local community in earning degrees or certificates in automation, robotics and internet-based manufacturing. The iFlex Lab building and equipment are estimated to cost approximately $3.6 million. Ivy Tech officials are scheduled to break ground for construction in early summer of 2020. 
About Dr. David Balkin: David most recently served as a regional development director at the University of Notre Dame, took over as chancellor for the South Bend-Elkhart Ivy Tech campuses on September 3, 2019. He replacedThomas Coley, who retired in May. Balkin has more than 30 years of experience in engineering, management and executive leadership. He has three degrees from Notre Dame and spent much of his career as an executive at IBM. In 2014, he was named managing director of Notre Dame’s Center for Nano Science and Technology, a position he held for more than three years. He then became the university’s associate director of regional development for San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Balkin said he’s had an interest in education throughout his career. While at IBM, he developed a course and taught at the University of Vermont. “I’ve always had a dream of returning to academia,” Balkin said Tuesday after a news conference to introduce him as the new chancellor. Balkin said he was interested in having a greater impact on the community and recognized the importance of Ivy Tech locally. He plans to leverage his experience to help Ivy Tech meet a statewide goal of having 60 percent of Indiana’s workforce receive degrees and specialty training, with 50,000 workers a year coming from Ivy Tech by 2025. “The opportunity to build a workforce that is commensurate with the task at hand of matching the outstanding capabilities and business processes that are available is going to be exciting,” he said. Locally, Balkin hopes to forge deeper relationship with area companies. “We are focused on readying our students for the current and future workplace,” he said. 
Thanks, David, for a very informative presentation. If you would like to learn more about Ivy Tech and these initiatives, visit their website 
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 or email 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:
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 an alternative meeting or activity.