Rotary Happenings: Rotarians share careers, professional backgrounds with club
Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club President Holli Martin was out of town, so President-Elect John Danner – who still has a few more weeks before he officially takes on the role of president on July 1 – was holding the gavel at our June 15 meeting. The business portion of the meeting was short and sweet, with a need expressed for volunteers to host our Rotary Youth Exchange student from Taiwan this fall and for speaker coordinators for August, September and December. There were shout-outs to Bill Rahe and Joleen Raho for designing and working on our club’s Fourth of July parade float. Raho even led us on a practice round of the patriotic songs we will sing; I think a little practice may be needed.
This week instead of a guest speaker, the program involved two classification talks from Rotarians Chet Sadler and Eldon Bohrofen. When we refer to a classification of a Rotarian, we really are speaking of their chosen professional careers. To maintain a balance of professional input on ideas, projects and programs, Rotary International likes to keep a diversification of professional experience within club membership.
First up was Sadler, a plastic engineer. He attended the University of Colorado and was planning on being a mechanical engineer, but he was drawn to another engineering program on campus. A highly respected professor at Colorado was doing exciting and revolutionary work with plastic extrusions. Sadler switched engineering majors, enjoyed his studies and work with the professor, and graduated from with degrees in chemical engineering and international business. His experience included injection, extrusion and mixing of rubber and plastic. After graduation, he went to work at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in its international division in Jamaica. When a transfer came through to report for a job in Africa, Sadler left Goodyear and went on to 10 different jobs in the plastic engineering field over a career that lasted him 30 years – 20 years in the automotive industry.
Sadler advanced through the ranks of plastic engineering – process engineer, engineering manager, plant manager, vice president of manufacturing. After retiring he formed his own business, Sadler & Associate, which recruits high-tech employees for the plastics, rubber and machining industries and has consulted on projects involving plastic recycling. One project was in LaBelle several years ago, recycling plastic ground covering in the tomato fields. The plastic was transformed into railroad ties. Sadler certainly made his classification field sound exciting and he enjoys the challenges and creative processes of his work. Remember the movie “The Graduate” in the ’60s “One Word: Plastics.”
Next at the podium was Bohrofen, an estate planning lawyer. The interesting part was exactly what road he traveled to become a lawyer. Bohrofen’s family worked a farm in Iowa, but he had a big problem – he was allergic to grain. So, his father pretty much summed up the situation, Bohrofen was not meant to be a farmer. He’d better go to college. Not just any college but Drake University, where his first foray into networking happened when he joined a fraternity. His fraternity brought in speakers on many topics, including “How to Grow Yourself.” One of the speakers owned a clothing business and somehow zeroed in on Bohrofen and his tie clasp. He told him to remove it and proceeded to tell him why. “You don’t want someone looking down at your shiny tie clasp, you want them looking straight at you. You want to be able to look them in the eye and sell yourself.” It was a lesson he never forgot.
After graduating from Drake, Bohrofen still wasn’t sure about what he wanted to do but he knew he wanted to continue his education and decided to attend law school. Bohrofen was a good student but after turning in one of his papers to his law professor and friend, he got a strong wake up call. “You probably know your content of the law well, but you are extremely weak at writing articulate conclusions on your topic.” His mentor brought him around and that was corrected. After graduating, Bohrofen taught law for a while in Wisconsin, then through networking began a career in banking and trusts. Success with his clients led him to join one in business as the fourth largest auto parts supplier to the Ford Motor Company. When the company was sold, Bohrofen returned to trust management and law, eventually becoming senior partner at Rohde Dales. He also is a principal in M-B Companies, a manufacturer of airport snow removal products and pavement marketing and striping machinery.
For information about the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club, visit sanibelrotary.org or www.facebook.com/sancaprotary. The club meets every Friday at 7 a.m. at the Dunes Golf and Tennis Club, at 949 Sand Castle Road, Sanibel; visitors are always welcome to attend.