Wendy Irving opened the meeting by encouraging us all to go through our days and live our lives with intention and gratitude. Following Marsha Minervini led us in a round of the rousing spiritual Down by the Riverside.

Our weekly slew of announcements began by congratulating Al Long as our newest IM Rotary grad. After, Max Anderson reported that we've raised more than $65,000 in Rotary Show ad sales, all of which will benefit the Good Works Committee. Al Bonney provided an informative and clinical look at the way the Polio virus spreads, and Karla Weaver reported on the success of the recent Rotary youth exchange open house.

Lisa Pointe gave an update on all the exciting activities planned at GOREC, including a mountain bike camp produced in partnership with Norte and an international tree-tent camping event in partnership with Three Tree Tent.

For those looking for more information on our upcoming club trip to Guatemala, please see the 2020 Club Trip Flyer and the 2020 Club Trip Orientation Packet.

Per our club bylaws, Chuck Korn won the 50/50 raffle.

Warren Call, CEO of Traverse Connect, introduced our guest speaker for the afternoon CEO of Grand Traverse Industries, Steve Perdue.  GTI provides advocacy, employment, and training support and services to persons with disabilities or other barriers to employment to help them achieve their highest level of independence. Their strength is their diversity, which supports a wide variety of work opportunities.

Steve began his career in vocational rehabilitation while studying at San Jose State University (go Spartans, apparently). Steve later served as the president of the Idaho Special Olympics. He has also served as president of the Idaho and Michigan State Trade Associations and the National Trade Association, where he remains an active board member. 

Steve was the 2007 recipient of the Sara Hardy Humanitarian of the Year award and the 2019 Traverse COnnect Distinguished Service Award. He and his wife remain devoted community members, and are preparing to welcome their 25th grandchild into the world this summer.

GTI was formed as a nonprofit in 1974 for the purpose of developing and providing comprehensive services for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities residing in Grand Traverse and Leelanau Counties.

“Across my 40 some years, I can’t say enough about the welcoming attitude of this community toward people of differing abilities,” Steve proudly reported to our club members.

Over the past half-century, GTI has grown to provide vocational training, employment, and habilitation services to persons with any disability in the seven counties of Northwest Lower Michigan. They have grown from serving 10 persons with developmental disabilities to serving over 500 annually with a wide range of disabilities, needs, and services.

GTI now provides services in all of Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula, with its core services of Employment and Training provided in Northwestern Lower Michigan. GTI’s headquarters are in Traverse City with three training facilities, including two manufacturing plants and one training and manufacturing facility in Mancelona and a small custodial operation in Petoskey.

Over the years GTI has started and operated businesses in microfilming, recycling, commercial sewing, plastic bag manufacturing, vending, industrial assembly and packaging, and custodial.

Currently, GTI operates plastic manufacturing, industrial packaging and assembly, and custodial businesses. Throughout its history, GTI has had a major focus on the placement of persons with disabilities in competitive jobs throughout the community providing job development and placement throughout 5 counties in Northwestern Lower Michigan.

GTI’s businesses have led to wages paid to persons with significant disabilities exceeding $1,100,000.00, with over 2,000 persons placed in competitive employment.  They are accredited by CARF (The Rehabilitation Accreditation Commission) and is a member of ACCSES – Voice of Disability Service Providers Nation Wide and a member of the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce.

GTI has a record of continuously providing needed services in the community which maximizes abilities and integration into society as a whole for all persons served. Their employment and training services along with Community Integration and skill-building services are obtained by referral for individuals who qualify by various agencies such as Community Mental Health, Michigan Rehabilitation Services, NeuroRestorative, Lighthouse Group, and private pay. 

If your business or someone you know has a workforce or assembly/ packaging need please reach out to them if you’d like to know more about the referral process and how you may qualify. 

Steve Perdue

Katy McCain

Lisa Pointe

Al Bonney


Winner, Chuck Korn