Posted by Michelle Reynaert
President Julie Pingston pulled everyone in from their small group conversations and called the meeting to order. The invocation was a thoughtful reflection on the 4-way test provided by Orlando Gillespie and the patriotic song was the National Anthem performed by the U.S. Army Chorus.
President Pingston welcomed Nathan Triplett, as well as Jennifer Rostar - who just turned in her membership application and is a guest of Casey Jacobsen. Tim Schmitt was welcomed as a guest of Camron Gnass and is returning to the area from serving as the Community Development Director in Howell to work in Meridian Township. Diane Sanborn shared that Craig Stiles family has grown with the slightly early birth of a little baby girl named Josephine; Mom stayed in the hospital due to COVID issues.  (Update:  Stephanie is at home and doing well and Josephine is still hospitalized). Rocco Rucinski was absent, so his April birthday report will come next week.. He’s probably grocery shopping for the “Taste of Italy” member social/fundraiser coming up on May 12 @ 5pm – stay tuned for more info about that. In other charitable news, Jenn Dubey gave a Paul Harris campaign update – we’re at 30%; it’s not too late to fulfil your personal commitment and help make a difference across the globe. Give at or mail check payable to Rotary International Foundation, to Rotary Club of Lansing, PO Box 13156, Lansing, MI 48901.
Uma Umakanth was recognized as a Rotarian doing great things for his role in promoting and providing STEM opportunities for youth throughout our community. Uma gave a brief overview of “STEM on Sidewalks”, a way to bring STEAM out into the open with science exhibits and displays in parks and on sidewalks, made with low-cost materials and high-quality inspiration. Visit for details.
Thanks to our Chair of the Month, Heidi McNaughton, who provided the introduction of Chris Buck, Senior Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of Martin Commercial Properties, Inc., to present “Commercial Real Estate Navigates the Pandemic – an unclear future”. Martin, led by Van Martin, has been family owned and operated since 1962, offering brokerage services, property management, property development, investment properties and corporate services. Download fun reports they compile at Key takeaways from Chris: The industrial market is the most resilient of all CRE Markets. Construction costs are high. Retail had a lot of available space prior to COVID; 16.4% average vacancy at end of 2020, especially in shopping malls. Bankruptcies in the first 8 months of 2020 nearly exceeded that in all of 2010 following the Global Financial Crisis. Lansing Mall has a new owner. The city of East Lansing is growing like crazy with development. Pat Gillespie is working to redevelop the SEARS property in Frandor. Delta Crossings is being developed in Lansing, just west of 96. The Office Market has taken a hard hit with companies downsizing and shifting to WFM for many of their employees/teams. The suburban market is slated to return more quickly than urban office markets; many of these are in lease arrangements so time will tell true impact. Current vacancy stats are worse than after the recession; there will be continued churn – shifting of people from existing space to different space that better fits their needs. 55% of leases were renewed. WFM is changing what people expect from their office; safety, belonging, productivity, comfort and control are key. Lastly: the market will drive the recovery process, Lansing has a rich history of collaboration, time will tell how and when we recover from this pandemic. Keep in touch with this continued dialog via their BLOG at, at or
A robust Q & A ensued. President Pingston noted in lieu of a speaker’s gift, we give in celebration of our speakers to support a local organization through the Lansing Rotary Foundation which has, over the history of our club, supported more than $2M in needs for local organizations. The meeting adjourned promptly at 1:30pm.
NEXT WEEK: We will meet on Zoom at noon on Friday, May7, 2021, for a much-anticipated “NEW MEMBER PRESENTATION”; don’t miss this chance to get to know our newest Rotary Family members!
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