Russell Hampton
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Gary Miller
Getting to Know our Members
Getting to Know Mike Sherber

Michael Sherber has lived in Avon since 1992. He was born in New York City and has two younger sisters. Michael grew up in Edison, NJ a few miles from where Joanne Santiago grew up. He attended the same college, Princeton University, as those two famous Rotarians Paul Harris and Tom Voorhees. While in college he was a walk-on to their Division I track and field team. In his senior year he led his team in dual meet scoring and was the Ivy League champion in the 400 meter dash. He graduated from Princeton with a civil engineering degree.

During his senior year Michael became interested in energy conservation and solar energy. This led him to work for an engineering firm in NYC that specialized in energy conservation engineering studies. He later was accepted into Georgia Tech where he received an MS in mechanical engineering. Following Georgia Tech he attended Columbia University Business School and graduated with an MBA. While at Columbia he met his first wife, Stephanie on the New York City subway. Upon graduating from Columbia he was hired by United Technologies into their management rotation program which brought him up to the Hartford area.

Following seven years of employment with UTC he started his own energy services company that performed complete energy retrofits for two school districts in New Jersey. This was followed by a senior position with an engineering firm that specializes in high performance building design.

He has two children, Thomas and Emily who both graduated from Avon High School. Thomas would later graduate from Virginia Tech with a degree in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering. Following six months working as an engineer Thomas enlisted in the US Army, got his paratrooper wings, earned entry into the Army Ranger program, and is currently an Army Ranger medic. Michael’s daughter Emily graduated from Northwestern University and plans to apply to medical school.

Michael’s professional interests include indoor air quality, energy conservation and sustainability.

In 2000 he was asked by the Connecticut Academy of Sciences and Engineering to co-author a report to the Connecticut General Assembly on school indoor air quality. This led to the passage in 2003 of the Connecticut School Indoor Air Quality Act.

Michael first joined the Avon-Canton Rotary in 1998 and has been a member since then with two brief breaks for out of town jobs. He enjoys Rotary and was club president in 2011-12. That followed two years of chairing the winter wine and food tasting event that later became Tastes-of-the-Valley. That same year he was president of this Rotary he was also president of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). He is very active in ASHRAE at the national level and has chaired three national technical committees as well as being a member of three more national standing committees. He has received the ASHRAE Distinguished Service Award and numerous regional ASHRAE awards. He is a licensed mechanical engineer in 15 states and LEED Accredited Professional.

Following the passing of his first wife he met Angelica who would become his second wife. Together they later started the Dominican Republic Green Building Council which has taught sustainable building practices to about 100 building professionals (architects, engineers, contractors and building owners) in the D.R.

He currently works for Plasma Air in Stamford, CT as their Vice President of Engineering. Plasma Air manufactures electronic air cleaners for commercial and residential applications.

Jul 19, 2019
New Member onboarding
Jul 26, 2019
Lions' Addiction Task Force
Aug 02, 2019
Dog Star Rescue
Aug 09, 2019
Aug 16, 2019
Oil Drum Art-an NFP to Benefit Haiti
Aug 23, 2019
View entire list
Executives & Directors
President Elect
Immediate Past President
Foundation Chair
Board Member-at-Large
Board Member-at-Large
Asst Treasurer
Interact Chair
EarlyRiser Presentations
Promoting the Golf Tournament
The Annotated Guide to Ending Polio
GLO Fall 2017 Mission Trip
Club Information
Rotary of Avon-Canton - Founded 1973
Service above Self
We meet Fridays at 7:30 AM
Avon Old Farms Hotel
279 Avon Mountain Rd.
Avon, CT  06001
United States of America
DistrictSiteIcon District Site
VenueMap Venue Map
Jason Jakubowski
Special Presentation
At the beginning of the meeting, incoming President Mike Mezheritskiy presented certificates to Brian O'Donnell recognizing his 30 years in Rotary and to Greg Demanche for 15 years of Rotary membership.
Sergeant-at-Arms Report
June 21, 2019
Members Present: 35
Make-Ups: None  
Guests: Jim Voorhees and speakers: Steve Erie and Phil Rockwell
Happy Dollars: $28
Raffle Winner: Greg Demanche
Happy Dollars
Salin Low was happy to have learned two additional steps to the 4-Way test at the District's Inauguration Dinner. The new steps are 5-Will it be done with love and 6-Will it be done with fun. She also passed around a clipboard for the Senior Luncheon sign up on July 18th.
Joanne Santiago thanked Mike for a great year as President.
Don Rossler was happy that his twin boys had both graduated high school and were employed for the summer.
Sean Blacker said that he would be gone next week while volunteering as his church camp. He would be running a program for 17 year olds to perform various fix-up projects around the camp.
President Mike Mezheritskiy announced that we would not be meeting on July 5th and that the long awaited meeting at the new Rotary Building at Favarh would be on July 19th.
Steve Morris reminded everyone to come see Beauty and the Beast performed by the FAVARH Players.
Phil Worley announced a meeting of the Lonely Rotarian Society at Lasalle Market & Deli on July 5th.
Yvonne Gardner invited everyone to come to Focus Rocks at 41 Bridge Street on June 30th.
Calendar of Upcoming Events
July 5th:  No regular meeting
July 18: Seniors' Luncheon for seniors of both Canton and Avon. Canton Senior Center - our work begins about 9:30. See Salin Low or Alicia Canning for details. Sign-up coming soon!
July 19th:  Regular meeting at the new FAVARH Rotary building.
September 9th: Annual Rotary Charity Golf Tournament at the Golf Club of Avon. Please contact Gary Miller or Larry Sullivan if you are interested in working on one of the golf committees.
Induction of New Members
None this week.

Community and International Service Grants
None this week.

Fresh Start Pallet Products
Craig Buhrendorf introduced Steve Erie who worked in the business world for 48 years with experiences in software development, finance, and operational management. Steve retired in 2016 and is now the Chairman of the Board with the non-profit Fresh Start Pallet Products, LLC. Steve has been actively involved as a Board member since the inception of the program four years ago.  
Steve Erie began by stating the program's motto: Building Furniture, Rebuilding Lives
The employees of Fresh Start Pallet have all been homeless, addicted or suffered other family challenges. Fresh Start partners with Wheeler Clinic and Intercommunity to support the employees who work for 2-3 years before moving on to other gainful employment opportunities. 
Fresh Start Pallets started in 2015 when a woman at Grace Lutheran Church invited a homeless man, who she knew was a carpenter, to build some benches for the church. He used some pallets that were found near the church for the project. Pastor Rick Cramer thought about turning the project into a business. The business started in the back yard of the church, but was moved into the basement of Trinity Church. Two years ago the business was moved to a 12,000 square foot space in the Asylum Hill area. The operation has continued to expand as the quality and variety of furniture has grown. The program has a net profit of $8000 this year.
The 5 employees earn $15 per hour and work 40 hours per week. The current staff consists of four male carpenters and one woman who is an artist. The sales goal for this year is $60,000. The program has retail partnerships with Kloter Farms, Cape Cod Fence and Grossman's Discount Center. Fresh Start Pallet became a standalone 501c3 this year and works with the Hartford Foundation for funding. The product line includes custom made furniture and breakdown versions that can be boxed and shipped. The furniture is either natural finishes or painted with designs.
Steve recited the Fresh Pallet "elevator speech": 



The road of life offers both triumph and adversity. Some are able to overcome adversity and some cannot.  Our non-profit provides a true “Fresh Start.” There should no longer be ‘throw-away’ people, nor discarded wood.

Those we serve are individuals recovering from addiction, exiting incarceration, refugees seeking a better life.

The means to that end is the creation of attractive and affordable indoor and outdoor furniture using wood pallets and other wasted materials headed for landfills.

Furniture and custom wood-working are the means to the true product - changed lives.

We are gaining regional attention and success. A growing number of partnerships with commercial, health and social service organizations speak to our recognized value on many fronts.

We serve the underserved and the ignored.

Independent studies estimate that for each person we employ, we save the state government $25K a year.

The skills ands training provided and the future created for those we serve is a great payback for our community.

We look to supporters and foundations to help this worthy cause because we do not find government funding sources that do. 

The payback is incredible."

The pallets are donated from various sources. Fresh Start can pick up pallets and will deliver furniture.
Several schools have engaged Fresh Start to make "Buddy Benches" for their playgrounds, including schools in Canton. Fresh Start hopes to grow from 4 to 6 workers who will rotate through the program to other jobs. Fresh start uses its service partners to screen potential employees for suitability for the program.
Steve introduced Phil Rockwell and Bob Cave, both of whom are active Board members.
Steve brought 3 bags of kindling made from furniture scraps. The bags normally sell for $5, but Steve intended to give them away today.

Mail Bag
None today
Photo Credits 
Photographs courtesy of Phil Worley unless otherwise noted.
Editor's Notes
Submission Deadline: Members are kindly encouraged to submit all materials for each week's Early Riser as early as possible. Please note that some editions may be published and distributed as early as the Saturday following our meetings, and during those weeks further contributions to the Early Riser will be included in the subsequent week's edition.
“The FOUR-WAY TEST of the things we think, say or do”:

1. Is it the TRUTH?
2. Is it FAIR to all Concerned?
4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?