by Kirby Lindsay, posted 15 November 2013
In November, providing a break appears in the many activities and events the Fremont Chamber of Commerce supports, its members will be asked to vote in elections for one-third of its Board of Directors.
Elections will also be held soon for the Fremont Arts Council Board (in February) and the Fremont Neighborhood Council (in April.) Comparatively, the Fremont Chamber has a large Board, with 18 slots, not including ex-officio members and officers. The Chamber Board Members serve for three-year terms, staggered so that each year the membership need only fill six seats. The officers are, as in the other two organizations, elected by the Board.
Meet Newbie Sean Erhardt
For this Chamber election, four incumbents agreed to return for an additional term – Pete Hanning, John Houlihan, Paul Nordstrand and current Board President Ken Saunderson. Three ‘new’ Fremonsters volunteered to join the Board this year – Victoria Odell, Susan Fuller, and Sean Erhardt.
Erhardt, like Odell and Fuller, is not exactly new to Fremont. A Seattle native, he attended Seattle Preparatory School and the University of Washington before moving to Fremont 9 years ago. Living here, he worked at the Fremont PCC Natural Market and, very briefly, at Blue C Sushi before a part-time job at the Fremont Anytime Fitness turned into full-time and then, very, very full time.
With business partner Darren Gillespie, Erhardt owns the Fremont franchise of Anytime Fitness, and successfully moved the gym to its current location at 837 N 34th St (on J.P. Patches Place at Solstice Plaza.) They have also opened a second, two-level Anytime Fitness in Snoqualmie, and take great pride in being associated with the largest, fastest growing gym franchise in the world!
Yet, Erhardt speaks with equal fervor about his neighborhood. “I feel truly blessed to have ‘landed’ here in the Center of the Universe,” he wrote for his candidate’s bio, “I have a genuine desire to become more engaged in people’s lives, in my community, and until now I haven’t found the right avenue or role.”
Get People Involved
“Being the young guy, I didn’t think I had anything to offer,” Erhardt explained when asked why he stepped up now. “Even in high school,” he said, “I’ve always been involved in leadership, and I love to be part of the group and collaborating.”
Erhardt has built bridges as he’s met people through the gym, the PCC and his walks around the ‘hood with his faithful (and also friendly) canine companion Aspen. Now he hopes to bring the people he knows together. “I want to bring a little more unity to that spectrum of people,” he said.
“I do feel like I’m in no-man’s land,” he joked, about being younger than many people currently on the Chamber Board, yet older than people he meets in the neighborhood. He’s ‘in-between’ and, “I have a vision of being a liaison,” he said, “there are people in their early 20s, itching for something purposeful, but they don’t know how to get plugged in.”
“I’m not a new ideas guy. I’m not political.” Erhardt explained, “I’m more about the people, and getting the people involved.”
Meet ‘Oldie’ Rodman Miller
Erhardt looks forward to following in the steps of the more senior – in experience only – members of the Chamber Board. One of those is Rodman Miller.
Miller is best known to the broader Fremont community as the artist behind the neon Rapunzel on northwest tower of the Fremont Bridge (and the companion piece in the northeast tower, ‘The Elephant’s Child,’ which Miller recently repaired.) He also co-created the glass art fence at the former Fremont’s Peet’s Coffee & Tea, the glass finials on the second floor of the building where the PCC is located, the neon on the Fremont Rocket, and a missing art piece, The Sputnik, which he may reinstall in the coming year, if he finds a patron for it.
Needless to say, Miller is a working Fremont artist – and an active member of the Fremont Arts Council (FAC.) He has served the FAC and the Chamber, simultaneously, for decades. “My official role with the Fremont Chamber,” he recently explained, “is as liaison,” between the two organizations. “I think my loyalties are more with the Arts Council,” he admitted, when pressed, “I find myself more into the arts than commerce.”
A full-time glass artist, 23 years ago, Miller gave up his job as an electron microscopist at the University of Washington. Since then, he’s participated in our community in dozens of small and large ways, “because its important,” he explained, “It gives value to the community. It gives value to one’s life. Life gets depressing if you are all alone. I feel that if you are isolated, you don’t define yourself. Interacting with the world is the way you become a ‘being.’”
“I like to know what is happening in the neighborhood, what are the undercurrents,” Miller also acknowledged, smiling, “I keep abreast of it all.” For him, he finds meaning and fulfillment through his friends and co-conspirators in our community, “some people can find that by being heads of corporations,” he acknowledged, “I’m not quite there yet.”
As for his work as liaison, “I think the Chamber is doing a good job boosting the neighborhood, and the FAC, and my art,” Miller said, “I’ve tried to increase the symbiotism, and they’ve been very symbiotic so far.”
’Look, Listen, Learn’
While up for election to the FAC Board in February, Miller can sit this Chamber election out. As for Erhardt, his promise for his first year on the Board (if elected,) is to, “look, listen, learn, and just build relationships. There is still a lot of Fremont I’m totally unaware of,” he said. After all, like with nearly all Chamber Board Members, this isn’t just about winning election – they want to improve our community. For Erhardt, it can be downright personal. As he admitted, “my aspiration is to live in Fremont my whole life!”
- Turning Over The Calendar
- by Kirby Lindsay, January 2005 for Fremont.com
- All This, And Sputnik Too
- by Kirby Lindsay, November 23, 2009
©2013 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.