This is my final message to you as District Governor.  The year has gone by very quickly and has been very fulfilling.  Despite a rather aggressive travel schedule early in the year, I enjoyed thoroughly my visits to each and every club.  Each club in our District is so unique.  All clubs have their own culture, their own traditions, their own sense of purpose within their community.  All clubs are valuable assets within their communities, providing service and funds that otherwise might not be available.
We tried some different things this year.  Of particular note, the Foundation event, “You’re a Good Rotarian Charlie Brown.”  The Strategic Planning Committee finished up their work on the District’s Strategic plan which will be presented for approval during the Council on Legislation (COL) at the District Conference.  We finished integrating the financial information from our two previous Districts and put in place a more streamlined District financial system, which should make things much easier for those involved in finance going forward.
I recall in the not too distant past that we have had trouble getting folks to step up into leadership beyond the club level.  That does not seem to be the case any more.  As a matter of fact, it seems we have more people who want to serve at the District level then we have positions.  This, frankly, is a nice problem to have.
I tired something new this year – periodic videos as a different means of communicating with the District.  It’s hard to judge how successful this might have been, just as it’s hard to determine how many folks read these monthly DG messages or read relevant emails related to District business.  I’ve heard a number of nice comments about the videos from both Rotarians in our District as well as from Rotarians outside of our District.  All that being said, I don’t think Spielberg is worried about his job.
Since the merger on July 1, 2017 there is a newfound enthusiasm in our District and in its members.  I urge you to continue to build on this enthusiasm.  Continue to take the initiative and think outside the box.  It will only help you as individual members to be better Rotarians and help our clubs grow stronger.     
Immediate Past District Governor Nancy did a marvelous job getting things organized and put in place during our first year as District 5495.  I have tried to build on those efforts, as well as develop some new ways of doing things.  One of my main goals was to hand over to Governor-Elect David a District in even better shape than it was when I began this journey.  I hope I have accomplished this.
It has been an honor to have served all of you as District Governor.  I have memories and experiences that I will cherish for the remainder of my life.  Thank you to all District 5495 Rotarians for giving me this opportunity.  I urge you to give future Governor’s the same support you gave me and I urge you to do even more for your clubs and your communities going forward. 
Marty and Doc finally were able to find all the necessary parts to get the DeLorean back in working order.  I have returned to the present.  Marty and Doc won’t be able to join us in Scottsdale for the District Conference due to prior commitments.  But I will be there and I’m looking forward to see all of you there too!
Jim Erickson
District 5495 Governor 2018-2019