John White Honored for his 14+ Years of Service

In John White’s 14+ years as the first Administrator of our Club, he has been instrumental in so many of the efficiencies we now enjoy. He has nurtured our membership growth, developed streamlined operating procedures, fostered incoming president-elects, guided presidents during their tenure and been a mentor to so many of our Club leaders. His influence reaches beyond RCAA to our District and most importantly as a leader in the Large Club Leadership. On November 28, our membership joined in thanking him for his “service above self” as he retires at the end of this year. See below for the full text of recognition remarks and John’s response.

Barbara Eichmuller, Greg Stejskal, John White, Downs Herold, Rosemarie Rowney, Mark Ouimet

Honorary Remarks by Downs Herold

Fifteen years ago,  Past-President Al Burdi and I were interviewing a potential candidate for the newly envisioned position of Rotary Club Administrator in the community room at the Bank of Ann Arbor.  He was a recently retired engineer from the Environmental Protection Agency Automotive Labs here in Ann Arbor.  I recall asking him how he felt he was qualified to handle the required record keeping of our Club’s 300 member association. (we still tally those orange attendance sheets)

John White reached into his briefcase and shared several sheets with Al and me and explained that they were evidence of his record keeping for the EPA Lab’s Softball team…. and on the sheets he had calculated the current Batting Averages for each player.  He Got the Job…. and today we are here to honor him as he and his wife Lynn are counting the days remaining in 2018   ’till his retirement as Administrator.   (33 days..- right Lynn? )

We considered following tradition of making these events a surprise…but couldn’t figure out how we could get Lynn in this space without John noticing her… Even when we had the $5B man scheduled as our speaker..  So no surprise !

On with John’s Recognition

John White has served as our Administrator for over the past 14 years. During his lengthy tenure, he introduced several innovations that have eased our club operations. They include:

  • The “1-2-3” bills that come out each fall that invite us to contribute all at once, just before end of the tax year, to our Community Service Assessment, our Club Foundation, and the Foundation of Rotary International;
  • The Deposit Worksheet, by which every item of incoming funds, including each check, from each member, that comes into our post office box or on-line via PayPal, the deposit worksheet shows the allocation of these funds to over 10 different places they might go, such as membership dues, contributions to RI, and the like;
  • The “Handy Dandy Contact List” collapsing the contact information from our 60 page Directory into a few double-sided sheets.
  • There are many more innovations that he has introduced, but to cite them would shortchange other major contributions that he has made.

John has had a 50% appointment as our Administrator, yet he spends at least double that time, volunteering many more additional hours. His experience of many years further enhances that productivity as he learned and shared shortcuts and efficiencies that only time can bring.

John watches over our club operations like an expectant father and mother combined. Each president (there were 14) and most other officers and committee chairs can cite multiple times that John has pulled their fat out of the fire before it started to smoke or alarm other club members.  He has taken a father’s pride in the Harpoon and our website, scouting out the practices of other clubs and bringing us ideas for new website design from the Toledo Rotary Club (which, incidentally, was also the spur for the initial formation of our Ann Arbor Rotary Club) and the idea of sponsorships by ads in the weekly publication, not yet implemented, but under serious consideration. His willingness to jump in at the last minute, wherever needed, whether it is as meeting or social function photographer, a meeting setup, or entrance ticket taker has been exemplary.

He has become a champion of growing our membership, and a show of hands of members that have been connected to this club by John’s tracking them as visitors would cloud the air!  Whereas the Club Program committee may have one or sometimes two potential speakers to consider from some members, John regularly provides a list of around half a dozen speakers to consider.

John’s reputation extends beyond this club, both into Kiwanis, where he has brought to us some of their best practices, and to Rotary clubs around the country. At the Rotary Large Club Conference, which is an annual gathering of about 50 clubs, generally distinguished by having some form of executive officer or administrator, John has become a legend. He has run Executive Officer training sessions several times at this conference, as well as on a smaller scale for some of our District meetings.

It is with great pride and gratitude that we present

John T. White III with

     the Rotary Club of Ann Arbor’sDistinguished Service Award,

 the highest award given by our club,  with the following citation:


         For Service Over 14 Years As Club Administrator

         Outstripping all Limitations of Appointment and

                   Permeating Nearly All Club Areas.

                           November 28, 2018

As a Rotary non-member Administrator he has also led by example and the Paul Harris Fellowship that comes with this Award will be added to the EIGHT other Paul Harris Fellowships and his Rotary International Benefactor Pin that he has previously received.

I want to be the first of many to sponsor John’s nomination for Membership in our Club when his resignation becomes effective on December 31st.

… and John’s Response…

Thank you, Downs

This is an extraordinary honor for me and I am truly grateful to have had the opportunity to serve such an altruistic organization with such dedicated members.

I want to offer my sincere thanks to those Rotarians who took the initial chance on me back in 2004, especially Ingrid Sheldon, Dave McDowell, Secretary Downs Herold, President Elect Paul Glendon and the late Al Burdi. After my retirement from EPA a few months earlier, I was seeking a position in the area of association management but had no idea where I might end up.

Although my father was a Rotarian for a while, I didn’t know much about Rotary.

Now, after almost 15 years, I can assure you I have been fully “Rotarized.”

I have been to about 600 luncheon meetings, 150 board meetings, ten Large Club Conferences and two trips to RI Headquarters along with numerous district events and many meetings of other clubs. I have witnessed the Centennial celebrations of both Rotary International and our own club.

In terms of people, I have met 500 members of this club, including the 117 of you who were here when I started. I have served 15 Club Presidents and met countless Rotarians from around the district, around the country and around the world.

As I end my day to day responsibilities with the club, I want to extend some special thanks to several members who supported me over the years. They are each of my Presidents, my immediate bosses, Club Secretaries Downs and Barbara, and our club’s stalwart yet silent Sergeant-at-Arms who, as always, chooses to remain nameless.

But, of course, the biggest expression of gratitude goes to my dear wife, Lynn, who has put up with my blazing passion for all things Rotary over the past decade and a half.

Although I am leaving my position with a bit of a heavy heart, it is greatly lightened by knowing the Club will be in good hands with my able and enthusiastic successor, Lori Walters. I am certain you will welcome her with open arms and provide her with the same guidance, counsel and patience you gave me long ago.

Perhaps Rotary was my destiny in that I took part in the trials of the Salk vaccine in 1954 and am now here to witness Rotary taking the final arduous steps to eradicate this disease worldwide. Maybe it was a coincidence but in any case, I have only the warmest feelings for this club and the best wishes for its continuing success as well as that of the other 35,000 in Rotary International.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you very much for this great honor.