Senior Crew Spotlight | Mike Kalinowski
Tell us a little about your background (where you grew up, your family, your career, etc.)
I grew up in the Milwaukee suburb of West Allis. I went to school at UW-Milwaukee, did graduate work at Northwestern University, and later got my MBA from a branch of Texas A&M. I’ve been married for 34+ years to Louann who is a recently retired CPA. We have two grown children – Laura is married, lives in Chicago and works in advertising management. Her husband Jon is in HR. My son John is an attorney – actually a public defender in Queens, NY. His wife Jolaade recently received her doctorate in Public Health and will soon start working in research at a university in NYC. No grandchildren yet.
I retired in early 2015 after 35 years at Kimberly-Clark. I worked in Transportation, Distribution and import/export management. I also did a lot of recruiting on campus (primarily at UW-Madison) and did some work in employee development. In my last position I led a team of scary smart people who helped management make better strategic and tactical decisions. Over the years I worked at several sites including New Milford, Connecticut; Paris, Texas and Knoxville,Tennessee. This is the third time we’ve lived in the Fox Valley, and have now been here for the last 26 years. We live in Darboy.
What made you decide to volunteer for Habitat?
I go to church with John Alhiser who was a senior crew member for many years. Sid Landsverk went to the same church before he passed away. Both men encouraged me to think about Habitat once I retired. I had volunteered on the odd Saturday over the years and really enjoyed it, so it was an easy sell.
When not volunteering with Habitat what do you do? (other volunteering, hobbies, work, etc.)
Louann and I travel a lot – primarily in the U.S. and Europe. We also bike and kayak. I golf and shoot sporting clays. We love going to movies and are both avid readers. We also hit the Heart of the Valley Y, more in cold months than warm.
What do you enjoy most about Habitat? (what work do you like most, what keeps you coming back, etc.)
I have been very blessed in my life and I like the opportunity to give back. I certainly enjoy the people – I don’t know where else I could meet such a variety of interesting men and women. Since I drove a desk for 35 years it’s great to learn a whole new set of skills. This Habitat affiliate is very well led and very well organized, which makes it volunteer friendly and easy to keep coming back.
What is something about you that might be a surprise to those with whom you volunteer?
I sing in my church choir – which is especially challenging given that I can’t read music.