Monthly Archives: March 2010

Discover Janesville at the Elks Club – Rob Phelps

Rob Phelps was on Discover Janesville just over a year ago and back then he was talking about his journey from being a laid off worker at Lear corporation to becoming a culinary student at the Blackhawk Technical College. Rob struck me by his positive and proactive attitude and by a great saying: Rob said that there is no magic “job fairy” out there and it’s up to us to figure out what we want to do with our lives.

By now, Rob is well on his way to successfully completing the program. He has recently competed as part of the Blackhawk Technical College team of chefs in a competition in Milwaukee where the team placed second, and Rob’s desert was even featured on the front page of the Janesville Gazette! Best of luck to Rob and to all the other nontraditional students who are pursuing their dreams as the complete their education and become successful in areas they may have never expected.
This interview was underwritten by the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board (SWWDB). Learn more about the SWWDB at their website:

Rob Phelps

Discover Janesville at the Elks Club – the Service Clubs round table

I wanted to do an episode of Discover Janesville about the service clubs in Janesville for sometime. The culture of service clubs in Janesville is strong and many great people I’ve met in our community belong to one club or another, and in fact some people belong to more than one!

The tradition of service clubs was fostered for many years by the corporate culture where local businesses and organizations felt that it was important to have representation in a service club. These days this approach is on decline, and it is forcing the clubs to be more proactive in seeking out new members, which should not be difficult as all of the service clubs do great things to make our community a better place.
Once a year all the clubs get together for a join service club breakfast (this takes place in December) but other than that, the clubs function separately from each other, though as different fund-raisers and events come up, it is not uncommon to find a member of the Lions, for instance, addressing the Rotary and vice versa.
Because my goal is to bring spotlight to great people in Janesville, doing a show on the service clubs was an obvious choice. However, I also wanted to showcase the positive interaction and communication between the clubs who ultimately have the same mission – to make the community a better place. To accomplish this purpose, Dave Haldiman who tapes the Discover Janesville shows and myself did something that we have never done before on the show – we taped a round table discussion – which is quite a challenge considering the not-so-big budget of the show, and I think we pulled it off very well.
I want to thank all the guests – Jon Wangerin representing the Lions, Laurie Huml Eckert representing the Kiwanis, David Arndt representing the Noon Rotary and Jim DeWitt representing the Elks.
The clubs are facing somewhat of a perennial challenge in getting each new generation of community-minded folks to recognize service clubs as a great opportunity to get involved. It is my hope that by watching this program, you the viewer will see the benefits of service clubs to you as well as to the community and will join one of the many service clubs in Janesville, of which by some count there are nearly 15! So the choice is yours.
Each club is also known for their fundraisers, which in some cases have become so popular that they eclipse the club itself in their name recognition. Still, each club their own structure, mission, and goals and so doing some research on the club that makes the most sense for you is a very good idea.
Finally, I want to thank the Elks club for graciously letting us tape the show in the lodge, and I want to express my gratitude to all the clubs one more time for doing all the great things for our community that you do! Enjoy the show and get involved!

part 1

part 2

part 3

part 4