…And We’re Back.

Hello?! Is this thing on??

After eight years or so, I decided to bring back my personal blog. I feel like I have some things to say and need an outlet to say them. Yes, I’ve said a lot on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social profiles, but those are on platforms where I don’t necessarily have full control of that content. Not that anyone will be turning off Facebook anytime soon … but I’d sure like to pull my Top 8 from MySpace. I had a pretty fly MySpace page — back in 2006.

After starting at St. Peter’s in 2015, I quickly learned that someone was always ready and willing to take a social media post out of context. So I pulled back—several times. At one point, I booted almost 100 “friends” who were connected. This was after a pretty innocuous post was printed and sent to the Pastor. The post was something to the effect that after running a highly successful “friend-raiser,” I could have a career in event planning. It was sarcasm at its finest, and someone took it as I didn’t like or was unhappy about my job.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be adding backdated posts — migrating them from my social channels again, so I have that history where I want to keep it. But we’ll also be moving forward, writing on topics that interest me or that I just have something to say about.

If you had asked me in high school, I never would have guessed that a good portion of my adult life would involve writing. I went into television initially so I wouldn’t have to write, but now I write something almost every day.

Hopefully, they’re constructive, opportunities to spark discussion or just questions. I don’t want to be the next Karen/Ken — just looking for a place to complain.

If you’re here to read. Thanks for taking the time.

Does Mansfield need tornado sirens?

Since last week’s tornado in the northern part of the county… There has been a lot of discussion about the fact that there are no tornado sirens in the City of Mansfield.

Wikimedia Commons/Credit: Tony Webster

Here is my question…. Are they needed, and Is it worth the cost in 2024?

  • Sirens are not designed to be heard inside your home. We were 1/2 mile from the nearest sirens when I lived in Indianapolis. On a clear day, when they ran the monthly test, we could hear them outside. In the middle of a thunderstorm, it depends on the wind and the amount of rain falling.
  • All smartphones and US cell carriers are now part of the WEA (Wireless Emergency Alert) system. It will (if turned on) automatically alert your phone if you are inside a warned area – for both a tornado & flash flood.
  • All smartphones and US cell carriers are now part of the WEA (Wireless Emergency Alert) system. It will (if turned on) automatically alert your phone if you are inside a warned area – for both a tornado & flash flood.
  • Dozens of weather apps are available and can send you push alerts for weather warnings.
  • Local radio and TV still broadcast alerts, and the Cleveland TV stations almost always provide wall-to-wall coverage with tornado warning weather.
  • NOAA weather radios with battery backups are still available and affordable.

Warnings from the NWS are no longer issued for the entire county. They are polygons based on where the storm is tracking. Would the sirens activate everywhere or just inside a warned area? (Yes, I totally understand that the EAS/TV/Weather Radios still use more broad county-wide warning areas.)

Based on last week’s tornado in Northern Richland County, would folks in Mansfield and south be needlessly panicked for the sirens sounding for a storm that was well to the north?

I think it’s a good discussion for city officials, I just wonder if it is worth the cost for the true value it could have in saving lives. We could provide weather radios to anyone who desires them.

The Next Chapters

The Next Chapter(s)…

As several of my peers have found, the job market isn’t all that fun. The automated AI that sorts resumes is cruel to job applicants. Since July, I have probably sent 100 resumes and got called for two or three interviews. In two of those cases, I made it to be a finalist. Both applications had specific qualifying questions, which my answers helped to break through the clutter. Ultimately, another candidate was selected.

On the other hand, there was no shortage of rejection letters. Some I got within minutes of submitting the resume. However depressing and demoralizing that was, life moves on, and there are bills to pay and mouths to feed. So, I’m happy to announce that I’ll be moving forward again with my own business and a couple of other ventures.

It was January 15, 2013, when I launched Crundwell Digital Marketing. I successfully built that business before returning to Mansfield to work at St. Peter’s. I never gave it up and picked up projects when I had time. It was an excellent way to keep my skills fresh. I started the new year with a new website project for a client in Michigan and hope to launch it by the month’s end.

Most of my clients have come through referrals, so if you know someone who needs their website updated, give them my information.

In addition to working at Crundwell Digital, I will work part-time as the new business manager for Ontario Youth Sports. Last year, OYS partnered with the City of Ontario to manage all the community events in the parks. OYS is also sponsors the annual Ontario 4th of July Festival. In addition to paying bills and ensuring everything is running smoothly, I’ll also use my fundraising skills to help find new sponsors for the organization.

Finally, as a part-time associate, I am excited to continue working with the Institute for School and Parish Development. Everything I learned about Catholic school advancement I learned from ISPD and Frank Donaldson. ISPD is a national development consulting, coaching, and educational firm that works exclusively with Catholic schools. I’ve been very fortunate to make a few road trips with ISPD; if the Holy Spirit permits, this role will continue growing. It is a refreshing joy to see plenty of communities actively growing their Catholic schools and parishes.

I’ve heard from many St. Peter’s people that we miss seeing me and the family at church these past few months. I’m humbled that I’ve been missed, but I needed a spiritual break from my home parish and former employer. We have been going to Bethlehem Sacred Heart these past few months. I have found Fr. Jeff Smith’s homilies relevant, and the music is quite contemporary for a church in the middle of the country. As a history buff, I love that Sacred Heart is the mother parish of the county, predating St. Peter’s by several years. We’ve also explored many other parishes in the region.

Thank you to everyone who has prayed for me and my family over the past few months. Please don’t stop, cause we still need them. I’ve only found about ½ the revenue needed to replace my previous full-time income. It’s a bit harder when you have to go out and get it yourself. However, those who know me know I don’t go halfway. It is never easy, but I am motivated not to give up.

Here’s to a better 2024!


***Life Announcement***

On Friday, I was informed that my position at St. Peter’s School was being eliminated. Yes, shocking and sucks, but parish leadership is forcing the school to make deep cuts. As a full-time employee with benefits, I am a big target on the budget line and will have the least impact on students in the classroom.

Life changes are never easy, especially when you have a family to support. However, I’m proud of the work that I’ve done over the last eight years. I walked in the door without formal fundraising experience to embark on a capital campaign that raised $2.6 million to restore our parish church and renovate the high school auditorium. Produced numerous fundraisers from galas to flower sales, evolved our tuition drive into an annual fund, and after more than a little prodding, jumped headfirst into Richland Gives, and our efforts were an instant success.

In 2020, I added marketing and communication duties to my role. As the world shut down in March of that year, I was still in the office almost daily – I was essential. For 68 weeks, I shot, produced, and edited a multi-camera 30-minute Sunday Mass that helped keep our parishioners and thousands of other Catholics worldwide connected to their faith during a time when they could not celebrate Mass in person.

Using my multimedia talents, I’ve produced nearly every piece of collateral in-house, from print to digital, for enrollment, fundraising, athletics, and the Sunday bulletin. I worked to standardize the brand look for the school (PMS 281 & PMS 116 if you’re wondering what colors Spartan blue and gold are.) and shot probably tens of thousands of photos of everyday student life.

I’m proud of my accomplishments over the last eight years. I went to work every day for the betterment of Catholic education in Mansfield. The many 50-60 hours workweeks, the stints where I would be on campus for at least four hours a day for 21 days straight were all worth it when I saw a smile on a child’s face or the hugs from a kindergartener. It was all worth it watching students succeed. Knowing that David and Katie benefited along with everyone else was worth it.

I was far from perfect, and I know I made many mistakes along the way. I did my best to keep all the plates spinning on their poles, but I broke many along the way. Overall, I did my job to the best of my abilities.

Ironically, tonight is the one-year anniversary of the tree falling on our house. It was the first of several challenges my family faced over the last year. I flamed out more than once from the stress. So, getting this news on Friday was the capstone to an otherwise turbulent year. The good news is that I get to put this year behind me and start a new one tomorrow.

I’m excited for the next challenge – whatever that may be. We have made our home in Mansfield, and I really want to stay here – especially since I moved my elderly father back here last year. I will keep an open mind and open heart about what that next chapter will be. Please reach out if you know of a job opening where I would excel. Ten years ago, I reinvented myself, so maybe it’s time to do that again.

While I’ll no longer be employed by St. Peter’s, you can’t drain the Spartan out of my blood. My family has been part of Mansfield and the St. Peter’s family for more than 110 years. I’m sure my grandfather is raising cane in heaven over this, but I’m also sure my mom and grandmother are telling him everything will be fine. In a couple of months, my title will just be Dad. I am kinda looking forward to that.

However, I will continue to be an outspoken advocate for the future of Catholic education in Mansfield and an even louder advocate for a new governance model for our school.

St. Peter’s will only flourish when there is a governing board with full authority to operate the school from the Diocese. The last ten years have shown that pastoral leadership does not have the skill set or the time to manage a 21st-century school system of our size. The previous two years also prove that solid day-to-day administration of the school can make a ten-fold difference in academic progress.

Mansfield and Richland County are primed for amazing growth. St. Peter’s needs to be here as a strong beacon of academic excellence and strong moral character building.

I’m grateful to Laurie McKeon for her leadership, friendship, and generosity these last two years. She has moved the ship in the right direction, despite the daily high seas that continue to attempt to knock us off course. This was not an easy decision, but our students always come first.

I’ll make the best of these final days at the corner of Mulberry and 1st Street. Fortunately, I still have a bunch of vacation time.

Finally, I appreciate your prayers and support, but if you’ve made it this far in reading and believe that my work has made an impact, I ask that you make a gift to the St. Peter’s Annual Fund and dedicate it in honor of me. It’s the best way I can think of to express your support and thanks.

Crundwell Digital Marketing celebrates one year

Growing up, I hated roller coasters. I don’t think I rode anything other than the Jr. Gemini at Cedar Point until I was in junior high. My classmates forced me on the Magnum XL 2000.  Well, I was hooked.

In many ways, that’s how this last year has been. Once crazy roller coaster ride.
cdm_logoIt was one year ago today, January 14, 2013, when I registered my company’s domain name CrundwellDigital.com. I guess in the digital world, a domain name registration is as close to a birthday as you can get. With that purchase followed by a logo and business cards, Crundwell Digital Marketing was born.

A year later, we’ve provided to clients small business web design in Indianapolis, Ohio and New York. We now have over 30 sites in our portfolio with more to come.

Read more