Work Experiences – After I worked for a couple of years as an engineer in Chicago IL for P&G, we visited many of the Chicago area sites.  We returned to MN to work for 3M at the end of 1966 – I never wanted to work in big dirty cities, but my first job offer was a very good one and I had better give it a try.  At 3M I had a great 35-year career working in a lab, in Production Engineering, internal corporate consulting, and IT.  In 1975 I became the P&IE Manager of the Brookings SD Medical Products plant.   Brookings was important to my family because my father graduated from SDSU in 1931.   It was a great place to live and raise children in an excellent school system.   Eventually two of my children graduated from SDSU and Michelle, my daughter, is now on the Board of Trustees for the SDSU Foundation.

Meet our Member: Jim McCarville

As the oldest and longest serving Chisago Lakes Rotarian, having joined Rotary in 1975, I feel I bring a long-range perspective on the evolution of Rotary over the years, the History of the Chisago Lakes Area Rotary Club and the importance of Rotary “Service Above Self”.  I’ve always strived to do well in my life and leave a legacy of a better world, and Rotary ideals have helped me accomplish many of those goals.

I was born in Worthington, MN, and grew up in Ortonville, MN, where my father was an Electrical Engineer, and my mother was an elementary school teacher.  I have one brother, Don, who is a retired businessman in Mound MN.  My growing up years were in an ideal small-town society where we were insulated from many of the world problems and led a simple life of school, play, and work.   I always had jobs and at one time had three – as a shoe store clerk, a soda jerk in an old-fashioned drive-in restaurant, and an announcer/DJ at a local radio station.  My brother and I eventually purchased and ran the drive-in restaurant and it helped us finance our college education.     

I attended the U of M as a Chemical Engineering major and was active in student government and honor societies.  My major extra-curricular activity was as a marching and concert band trumpet performer   Perhaps the most important thing about band was that as I was finishing up my engineering degree, I met my wife, Karen, from St. Croix Falls, who had come to the U of M graduate school in Music Education.  We were married in 1966 at St. Josephs in Taylors Falls.   We’ve been playing and singing in music groups ever since for the last 60 years.

I also picked up an MBA, and became a registered Professional Engineer in SD.  In 1982, my boss called me into his office and said “I want to computerize the plant – and your it!”  I developed the plan, justification and helped the plant to implement the program. We had to invent our own programs, databases, structured wiring, etc.  Based on that work, I moved back to St.  Paul to plan and help implement Manufacturing Information Systems for the entire company.    I retired at 60 in 2001   

Community Service - I was always active in outside activities.  In Marine on St. Croix, I was a member of the local fire department and rescue squad with an EMT I, and was a city council member for 5 years.  I wrote the first subdivision ordinance for the city, founded a committee that was able to purchase the Marine Mill site for the Minnesota Historical Society, and founded another committee that doubled the size of Wm. O’Brien State Park – the 3rd most heavily used park in the state.            

Brookings was much further advanced in planning and implementing for the future.  I did become active in the community planning efforts, got involved with the college as a member of the SDSU Engineering Advisory Board for 28 years, was an adjunct professor in Industrial Engineering, and got involved with Public Broadcasting as Treasurer and President of South Dakota Public Broadcasting.  We raised $1,000,000 the year I was president to fund programming and operations for SD Public Broadcasting (radio and TV).

When we moved to Lindstrom in 1990, the city was very well run, but had no long-range plans and vision and had only half the recommended minimum park space.     I wrote a Bush Foundation Grant for community planning in 2013 that while unsuccessful, was used as an example for a successful grant application to America’s Best Cities.  I served for many years on the local park board and EDA   I also did counseling for SCORE and in 2010, 3M named me as a Retiree Volunteer of the Year.

Rotary - I joined Rotary in 1975 in Brookings SD.   My Rotary experience gave me an insight into how Rotary has evolved to become more effective and inclusive.  One lone individual can’t accomplish much, but working with a service club like Rotary makes you more effective and lends clout to accomplish what you feel is needed.  I chaired a committed that built a Rotary Park and was District 5160 conference co-chairman.  I was President of the 120-member club in 1989-1990.      

I became a charter member of the Chisago Lakes Rotary Club in 1998.  Those first years, we drew heavily on my knowledge of what needed to be done.  I was a board member, treasurer and eventually President in 2001-2002   I’m proud of the fact that our Rotary Club provide much of the funds needed to start the local CLA Community Foundation in 2008 which I had worked to establish since 2003.   I’ve served a total of 40 years in Rotary.

I was a Rotary Assistant District governor (2003-2005), and then became the Assistant District 5960 Governor Coordinator for 2+ years (2006-2009), and served on the District Executive board and the membership and technology committees.

Family - Karen and I have five children and four grandchildren.  Our son, Kevin, is a design and test engineering manager for computer chips used in space in Austin TX.  Our oldest daughter, Michelle, is an Oracle Database Administrator for Best Buy, and Erin is a Med-Peds physician for Fairview Eagan.  Michelle and Erin were charter members of the Twin Cities Nights Rotary Club, and Erin met her husband at their charter banquet.  Shannon is program director for the MN Council of Non-Profits, and Meghan is a small animal veterinarian in Sherman, Texas and raises quarter horses.   

I like reading, golf, working around the house and have done extensive traveling. My wife and I still play or sing in seven different bands and choruses.   For the last 45 years I’ve been active in genealogy – researching and developing my Irish and French family history following work begun 100+ years ago by my grandfather and his cousin, and have published two editions of a book outlining our family history.     I’ve also researched my wife Karen’s tree and her grandparents and great grandparents settled in St. Croix Falls and Wolf Creek 15 miles NE of Lindstrom.      

While physically it has become more difficult to take an active role in Rotary, it always pleases me to maintain my community and club friendships, and see how the younger members continue to serve and improve our community and the world through RI.  That is what most of us wish as we review the life we’ve lived.