Congrats on becoming the new Grand Master! What are you most looking forward to this year?
This coming year, I am most excited about the travels around Ohio that I will be afforded, which will allow me to further connect with the brethren of this amazing fraternity by hearing their stories and seeing their lodges. It is my sincere hope that in my travels and visitations, we, as brethren, can work together to continue to provide and refine a quality fraternal experience in each and every lodge.
How does it feel to become Grand Master and lead Ohio Masonry?
In one word, humbling. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would find myself in this position in our fraternity. For a Grand Master, 7 years ago, to have the confidence in me to start this journey, through his appointment to the Grand Lodge Officer line, still leaves me in awe. I am, and always will be, struck by this honor the Brethren of Ohio have given me through their election of me as Grand Master, and I pray I bring the best of myself to this position so that Freemasonry in Ohio is stronger because I have served.
Tell us about your focus for the year. Why is this important to you?
I plan to focus on two main areas:
1) improving the attendance at our lodges and
2) for our lodges to adopt and embrace the 3-5-7 membership plan.
For these to succeed, our lodges should be reestablishing connections and renewing friendships with brethren who have been absent from the sidelines by personally calling them to invite them back to lodge to enjoy the fellowship and a quality meeting, which could include stellar ritualistic work, impactful educational programs, and meaningful interaction amongst the brethren, possibly around a shared meal.
Sidebar: The “Rusty Nail” program is available to the lodges for their use when helping to reacclimate a brother to the lodge after a prolonged absence. This personal touch is the most valuable and influential way to contact our membership and encourage them to come back to lodge to re-engage with their brethren. To further bolster this, we are also strongly encouraging our lodges to connect with their communities through Open Houses during April 2024. By opening our doors to the communities in which we live, meet, and serve, it is my hope that we will show that our lodges are inviting places for people to gather, connect, thrive, and improve.
What events are you planning to support your focus?
This year we are promoting what we call the 3-5-7 membership plan. When our lodges carry out the 3 pillars of this plan, we will see an increase in our overall membership and reignite the fires of enthusiasm within our membership rolls.
The 3 areas of the plan are:
1) Raise 3% of our 2023-year end membership as new Master Masons,
2) Reinstate 5% of our membership that have left the fraternity, and
3) Lose no more than 7% of their membership (demits, withdrawals, suspensions, expulsions, or deaths)
Again, in conjunction with this, we are also strongly encouraging our lodges to hold an Open House sometime during the month of April as a time to invite those brethren who have not been active in the lodge back as well as showing the beauties of our buildings and members to the community as a whole.
What from your personal and/or professional life will you bring to this leadership position?
As an independent insurance agency owner & agent for 20 years, I served on various committees and boards within the Professional Insurance Agents Association and various insurance companies that I represented. Through this experience I was able to develop skills that enabled me to help professionals work together for the common good of the membership. These efforts refined my skills of listening to a myriad of opinions, synthesizing the data into a well-rounded view, selecting goals, setting down a proper course of action, and executing on those goals to achieve the best possible outcomes.