Tag Archives: Phoenix Father’s Day Council

Father of the Year – Jason Rowley, SVP of the Phoenix Suns

Jason Rowley was one of five outstanding Valley dads to be honored by the Phoenix chapters of the American Diabetes Association and the Father’s Day Council as 2011 Fathers of the Year at an awards dinner and celebration Thursday night.

These prominent Phoenix businessmen were chosen on the basis of their demonstration of responsible parenting, exemplary ability to balance family and work life and strong commitment to serving the community.

Jason Rowley, senior vice president of the Phoenix Suns

Jason Rowley, father of two young girls, had no personal ties to diabetes until he learned that an uncle on his wife’s side of the family was recently diagnosed and has had to make “significant lifestyle changes.”

He considers himself fortunate to have been selected as one of this year’s Fathers of the Year, but notes that he is not unique in his steadfast dedication to responsible fatherhood.

“It’s a funny thing, because I can show you 50 guys I know who are wonderful fathers, who do a tremendous job balancing their work life and their family life, who are doing all of the same things that I do to make sure their kids know that they’re loved and important and your highest priority in life,” he says.

When he’s not at work, Rowley likes to spend time with his family outdoors.

“Most of my job is spent indoors, so I have time on the weekend to be able to take them out and to show them [the outdoors]…. They live here in the city, and I like to expose them to some of the rural settings and the great outdoors so that they’ll develop an appreciation for that.”

Working for the Phoenix Suns, Rowley says he can even spend some time with his girls while he is at work. He and his wife try to bring the girls to as many home games as they can.

Although his daughters are still very young (one is 5, the other just 18 months old), Rowley is already thinking about how to foster their involvement in community service.

“As I reflect on it, it’s a nice thing to have the award early on, because it kind of reiterates or makes the point that you really need to try your best as a parent and make sure your kids are learning the things they need to learn to be responsible citizens and grow up in a manner that you’ll be proud of and that they’ll be proud of themselves,” Rowley says. “I think it’s important that they recognize that there are other families and kids out there who are not quite as fortunate, and that they need to help out as much as they can.”

The family often goes up north to Sedona to celebrate Father’s Day, but will likely stay in town this year. Rowley says his wife, a whiz with crafts, always helps the girls make him something he can hang in his office to remind him of the family throughout the day. — Sadie Smeck

Father of the Year – Chris Rich, president of Rich Financial Group

Chris Rich was one of five outstanding Valley dads to be honored by the Phoenix chapters of the American Diabetes Association and the Father’s Day Council as 2011 Fathers of the Year at an awards dinner and celebration Thursday night. On Wednesday, we interviewed honoree Bradley Parker. On Thursday, we interviewed honoree Mike Tully.

These prominent Phoenix businessmen were chosen on the basis of their demonstration of responsible parenting, exemplary ability to balance family and work life and strong commitment to serving the community.

Chris Rich, president of Rich Financial Group

Chris Rich, president of Rich Financial Group, and his family.

Rich, a father of two and president of Rich Financial Group, is also the president of a local Little League, from which he says his connection to diabetes stems. A long-time, beloved umpire and friend had to give up umpiring, hiking and other activities he enjoys after his toe was amputated because of diabetes-related complications.

“That was something real close to my heart,” Rich says.

He was also especially touched to learn about the millions of diabetic children in America that often can’t go to regular summer camps like other kids, because the staff at most camps aren’t usually trained in the medical knowledge they need to care for kids with diabetes. Special camps for kids with diabetes can be costly.

Rich’s favorite thing to do with his family is boating on Lake Pleasant, where they take a trip every year.

While the Rich family does not have any particular plans for Father’s Day, he says they will “spend the day together and find a family activity that we will all enjoy.”

Tomorrow: Steve Lawrence, Partner, Gallagher & Kennedy.

Father of the Year – Mike Tully, CEO of AAA Arizona

Mike Tully was one of five outstanding Valley dads to be honored by the Phoenix chapters of the American Diabetes Association and the Father’s Day Council as 2011 Fathers of the Year at an awards dinner and celebration Thursday night.

These prominent Phoenix businessmen were chosen on the basis of their demonstration of responsible parenting, exemplary ability to balance family and work life and strong commitment to serving the community. Yesterday we interviewed honoree Bradley Parker.

Mike Tully, CEO of AAA Arizona

Mike Tully, CEO of AAA Arizona, and his family.

Tully, the father of two teenage girls, was surprised to be nominated for the award. He says he is fortunate not to have any close, personal ties to diabetes.

Since his nomination, he has learned a great deal about the disease and its impact, especially on children.

Tully remembers an impactful experience at one of the Father of the Year meetings, at which each father was given a teddy bear wearing a jacket hung with 120 safety pins, representing the number of shots of insulin children with type 1 diabetes must be given each week.

In an effort to raise funds for the cause, Tully sent letters to his “400 closest friends,” family and colleagues around the country. He has been amazed by the generous response he received.

With long work weeks, Tully says he looks forward to vacation times with his kids.

“Between community service-type stuff and work, trying to balance family-type stuff is critically important. So, vacation is one of the big, very very special moments in my life. We typically go on adventurous vacations. We’re typically very active on vacations and have a lot of great memories,” he says.

Tully’s two daughters, ages 15 and 12, are best friends, despite having very different personalities.

“I’ve never seen two kids get along as well,” he says. “The two never fight. We’ve been phenomenally blessed. I’m incredibly lucky, actually, to have the family I’ve got.”

Over the years, Tully says he has tried to teach his girls by example how important it is to be active in the community.

“I’m a strong, strong believer in ‘What you do is what people see, which is what they will do.’ So basically demonstrating the balance in your own life. Frankly, sometimes, when I get done with work, I’d rather drive home. Making those tradeoffs and making sure your kids understand those tradeoffs, getting involved in charities [is important].”

Tully said he wants to be sure his kids understand how fortunate they are, and the struggles others go through.

“One thing could change in your life and it could be completely different,” Tully says, “and you’d want to have people looking out for you if that ever happened to you.”

This Father’s Day, the family will embark on yet another adventurous vacation. They will be heading up to Whistler, Canada to go sightseeing for bears, canoeing down a river, and speeding down a “monster zip-line run.” — Sadie Smeck

Tomorrow: Chris Rich, president of Rich Financial Group.

Fathers of the Year – Bradley Parker, senior vice president of US Bank

The Phoenix chapters of the American Diabetes Association and the Father’s Day Council will honor five outstanding Valley dads as 2011 Fathers of the Year at an awards dinner and celebration Thursday night.

These prominent Phoenix businessmen were chosen on the basis of their demonstration of responsible parenting, exemplary ability to balance family and work life and strong commitment to serving the community.

After accepting the honor, each of the five will make a pledge to raise research funds for the American Diabetes Association by calling on friends, family and colleagues to make donations to achieve their fundraising goals.

I had a chance to speak with each of the five outstanding fathers about the honor, diabetes and their families.

Bradley Parker, senior vice president of US Bank

Bradley Parker, senior vice president of US Bank (Mark Skalny photo).

Growing up, Parker watched his grandmother suffer from diabetes. He says he didn’t realize how “big” it is until until he began researching the disease soon after learning he would be receiving the ADA award.

“It seems like everywhere you turn, you uncover new information and you also uncover people that you know that you didn’t know had it,” Parker says.

He was driven to participate when he saw the impact the disease can have on the lives of children. Parker saw connections to his own experience with a rocky entry his twin sons experienced when they were born eight weeks premature.

“Whenever I see the children connection, it definitely pulls on my heartstrings,” he says. “So that was a big impact for me and a big reason I wanted to get involved after I realized what an impact it had on children, especially.”

Parker’s three kids are all different, all interested in different things.

“My kids are incredible,” Parker says, laughing tenderly as he talks about his own three children. “They light up my life every day. It’s amazing. I love watching them grow, and every single one of them absolutely inspires me every day to get better at what I do.”

When he is with his family, he enjoys traveling, spending time outdoors and just “doing whatever.”

Parker says this honor has sparked discussions in his family about the importance of community service.

“It’s always been a little bit of a challenge trying to explain to [the children] why we do what we do [charitably], but I think that this process — with me and my wife both being so involved, and just all the work we had to do around it — gave them a better understanding of why we do what we do,” he says.

The Parkers will most likely spend Father’s Day at his wife’s parents’ house here in town, where he said they usually end up having a Father’s Day pool party.

Tomorrow: Mike Tully, CEO of AAA Arizona