Cogwheel Archive

Rotary Cogwheel | 09.24.2015

September 24, 2015

Today: Jan Hanson, Classification (Weber)

Birthdays: Ryan Blumhoefer (9/21), Jack Hoschouer (9/22), and Don Robertson (9/25).

Next Week: Mike Leming, Bereavement Process (Holden)

Last Week’s Classification Talk:

Chris Kennelly is a world traveler, sports enthusiast, entrepreneur, and family man. He also displayed a wicked backhand as a three-time All-America tennis player at Kalamazoo College, where he earned his BA in political science and economics.

Chris is a founding partner and president of Bluewater Commercial Real Estate and owner and president of Northfield Construction Company, which he purchased from Ray Cox in 2014. Along with Brett Reese, he also helped form the Northfield Real Estate Fund in 2011.

Born in California and raised in Grand Forks, N.D., Chris played hockey and tennis in high school and spent lots of time at his family’s cabin in Bemidji. He wanted to continue to play competitive tennis in college and Kalamazoo was a perfect fit. It was also at Kalamazoo that he developed his love of travel, spending six months of his junior year studying in Bonn, Germany.

Following graduation from Kalamazoo, Chris spent several months traveling in Australia and New Zealand working a number of jobs, including on a farm, in construction, and as a crew member on a sail boat heading to New Guinea. He cites his international travel experience as fundamental to his personal and professional growth.

Chris went on to earn his MBA from the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business. He is a 15-year veteran of the commercial real estate industry and has experience in every asset class of real estate, including office, industrial, retail, condominiums, multi-family, and hospitality. Prior to Bluewater and Northfield Construction Company, he served as vice president at the Excelsior Group and roles as vice president with Welsh Companies in Minnetonka, and chief operating officer at the Lander Group in Minneapolis.

Chris is an active member of the Northfield community and serves as chair of the Northfield YMCA Board of Directors. He and his wife, Sheila, reside in Northfield and have two sons, Griffin and Miles.


Brett Reese has been an upstanding member of Rotary for 30 years. When he joined the Northfield Rotary club in 1985 he was the youngest of the 62 members at that time. He noted with appreciation our club’s growth over the years, now with 129 members.

Among Brett’s Rotary highlights: he is co-founder of the Bike Tour, which began in 1995; served as Club President in 2005 and traveled to Africa with Charlie Cogan, Rick Estenson and Jim Pokorney for a Rotary International conference; celebrated the club’s 75th anniversary in 2000; and learned how to serve tacos under taco czar Pat O’Neill.

Guests: Joe Wakely (Halverson), Melodi Van Roekel (V. Dilley), and our new exchange students: Nicole from Paraguay, Carson from Taiwan, and Jose from Mexico

Scholarship Enhancement: John Sinning, with an assist from Charlie Cogan.


The 14th annual Rotary Foundation Celebration will be held on November 7 in St. Paul. For those interested in purchasing tickets, see Chris Weber, President Russ, or Dave Brown.

Bike Tour Committee Chair Chris Heineman thanked all the volunteers who assisted with this year’s tour, then announced a preliminary net profit of $25,900. Chris and Jean Wakely received an enthusiastic round of applause for their tireless work in organizing and managing this year’s event.

In other bike tour news, Rob Martin is looking for a missing table and three chairs. If anyone knows anything, please contact Rob. T-shirts from this year’s tour are still available for $10 each (no mediums). Contact Jean Wakely if you are in a buying mood.

President Russ noted car raffle ticket sales are going very well. All tickets need to be turned in by September 24th (that’s today!).

Former Northfielder, Joe Wakely, who now lives in Guatemala and is a member of the Panajchel Rotary Club, invited interested members of our club to consider a coordinated visit to Guatemala to learn more about opportunities to support Rotary projects there focused on improving water quality and water accessibility.

Here is a list of this year’s outbound students. Some have already departed.

  • Beimers, Henry – Norway
  • Beimers, William – Brazil
  • Carlson, Samuel -Argentina
  • Estrada, Gabriella – France
  • Hahn, Erin – Thailand
  • Hodel, Christoph – Indonesia
  • Kelley, Caitlin – Chile
  • Lunderby, Jack – Brazil
  • Mandsager, Erik – Zimbabwe
  • Martinez, Odalys – Japan
  • Muir, Mason – Taiwan
  • Olson, Josiah – Colombia
  • Regnier, Eli – Brazil
  • Rodriguez-Vazquez, Leslie – Brazil
  • Scheffert, Jenna – Italy
  • Seitz, Zoe – Denmark
  • Washburn Chapman, Ahna Cole – South Africa
  • Woitalla, Jessica – Brazil.

Past Northfield Rotary Club meeting videos on YouTube

Coming Up

October 8 — Marlene Gargulak, District Governor (Cogan)

October 15 — No meeting. Rest up for the birthday party

October 17 — Rotary’s 90th Birthday Party, Estensons

October 22 — Linda Hibbard, Epic Enterprises, (Kaczmarek)

October 29 — Annie Young, Speaking of Winning (Lorang)