Roundabout 9.18.18

September 18, 2018


On September 25 our speaker will be J.T. Warring, special representative of the International President & Board of Directors at Rotary International, on a return visit to the Bloomington Rotary Club. He will talk about Rotary’s efforts in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. Born and reared in Bloomington and a graduate of Indiana University, Warring spearheads a project to provide clean water and sanitation in Myanmar, a troubled nation on the southern border of China.

Joining him will be Nay Lin Htut of Myanmar, a student this semester in California at Corona-Norco Adult School, studying English as a second language. “He’s an extremely high-potential member of our Rotary Project Team,’” said Warring, “and we’re very proud of him.”

The Bloomington Rotary Club has been a past financial supporter of Warring’s work in Myanmar.

Retired now from business, Warring was a founding equity partner and then a vice president of Korn/Ferry International global consultancy. He then founded and led two successful smaller consulting firms bearing his name, serving multi-national clients in the insurance and financial services area. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Los Angeles.

The meeting will be in the Frangipani Room at the Indiana Memorial Union at noon.


This Week’s News

A big Amethyst “Thank You”

Amethyst House board president Brian Garvey joined us on Tuesday to thank all those Rotarians who volunteered at the Amethyst House service project last Saturday morning. Among other things, Rotarians helped paint the new treatment room and an adjoining hallway.


Business Outlook Panel scheduled for November 1

Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business will present its 2019 economic forecasts for Indiana and the nation on Thursday, November 1, at the Woolery Mill in Bloomington.

Speaking to a full house of Rotarians and members of the Bloomington Chamber of Commerce last year, the panel predicted that the national, state and local economies would continue to improve in 2018. So far it looks like it has. But what about next year?

The business school has presented these national, state and local forecasts each year since 1972, touring the state, beginning with audiences in Bloomington and Indianapolis.



Frank Kerker, as a former beverage company executive and recovering alcoholic, knows about coffee. And he knows about marketing. And he knows about addictions. But best of all, he knows how to make coffee an ingredient for helping people recover from addictions.

Putting all of that to work, Kerker has started a coffee business. He is the founder and owner of the Bloomington-based, one-year-old Sober Joe Coffee Company.  “It’s coffee with a cause,” he told a roomful of Rotarians in the IMU’s Solarium on Tuesday.

“Coffee is a part of recovery, “ he said. “It’s fundamental.”  Recovering addicts drink a lot of coffee because coffee helps. Inspired by such philanthropic brands as Ben & Jerry’s, Newman’s Own and Girl Scout Cookies, Kerker’s idea is to use his experience in the beverage business, apply it to a beverage already linked to recovery, and focus his market strategy on that link. Like Girl Scouts selling cookies to help Girl Scouts, Sober Joe’s sells coffee to help recovering addicts.

There are three prongs to his marketing approach, said Kerker. First, embrace the highly visible distribution possibilities of traditional retail sales. Put Sober Joe’s, for example, into local groceries, including Bloomingfoods Market & Deli, Lucky’s Market, and Fresh Thyme Farmers Market. Second, establish emotional connections with consumers and adopt a “peer to peer” based marketing strategy with a single focus – “buy coffee, help people.”  And third, expand it into the world of e-commerce, where shopping is global.

As for company profits, Kerker gives those away, with a focus on housing, finding places where addicts can stay alive long enough to get sober and learn to stay sober, which is where Marilyn Burrus and Brandon Drake come in. They are the founders of Courage to Change, a living environment structured to help people along the spectrum of recovery. Courage to Change provides a kind of rehab halfway house. It gets clients into a safe space, helps them find jobs and encourages them to move forward with their lives, a day at a time.

Burrus, joining Kerker on the dais, said that most of her clients are people coming home to Bloomington from jail or prison with nothing at all of their own. They need a safe / sober place to be, she said. They need a job. They need a re-start.

Clients pay $500 a month to stay with Courage to Change. They might pay that from job earnings, family help or other sources.  One of those other sources is the Sober Joe Coffee Company. Sober Joe profits help subsidize Courage to Change’s clients, making it possible to live in a warm dry place where they can get assistance with fundamentals, such as help with finding a job, establishing a checking account and applying for health insurance.  “We are not a treatment center,” said Burrus. “We are sober housing for people who need that.  And we help them stay on task.”

And helping to pay for this is coffee, lots of coffee. Coffee with a cause. Frank Kerker’s Sober Joe coffee.




President-elect Earon Davis presided.

Jim Capshew greeted Rotarians and guests, and Glenda Murray led the pledge and reflection.

Wondering whether President Loren Snyder, who is 32 years old, might be our club’s youngest president, Glenda, who has access to such information, looked it up.

The answer is (drumroll) YES.  Loren is the club’s youngest president – by two years.

Glenda said the club has had three presidents in their 30s. The second youngest was Robert Allen of the Wicks Company.  He was 34 when president in 1939-40.  The third youngest was Dr. A. M. Snyder, a dentist. He was president in 1920-21 and the club’s third president.  Allen and Snyder served in the 1920s and 1930s.

The oldest president, said Glenda, was probably Bob Priest, who was 69 when he served in 1989-90. The club has had 22 presidents in their 60s. Another 66 presidents were in their 40s and 50s. Information on the rest is unavailable.

“So, just remember,” Glenda reminded members, “you are not too young and you are not too old to serve as an officer in the Bloomington Rotary Club.”


Elaine Guinn introduced our guest speaker, Frank Kerker.

Phil Eskew introduced our guests:

  • Bobby Overman, a guest of Michael Shermis,
  • Anne Fraker, a guest of Dick Rose,
  • Brian Gessler, a guest of Liz Irwin,
  • Brian Garvey, a guest of Nancy Krueger.

Susie Graham collected Happy Dollars for Teachers Warehouse.

Membership Birthdays This Week

  • Tim Thrasher, September 19
  • Bryan Price, September 20
  • Ron Jensen, September 21

President Loren’s thought for the week: “A baby is a blank check made payable to the human race.”  –  Barbara Christine Seifert

Jon Dilts, Reporter

Charlie Osborne, Photographer