When Merry-Go-Round owner Boogie Weinglass interviewed Michael Sullivan for the job of chief financial officer in 1974, more was on Boogie's mind than the company's money. The company softball team was in dire need of help.
The interview took place at a baseball game, where Boogie asked, "Can you play ball?" Sullivan replied, "Yes, I'm good." Weinglass told his partner, the late Harold Goldsmith, "Let's hire him and he better be able to play third or he's out."
Sullivan proved to be a good team player, on and off the field. In eight short years, he became the president and CEO of Merry-Go-Round Enterprises, which now has more than 800 stores in 38 states.
Last week, Boogie and his Merry-Go-Round executives joined hundreds of the Baltimore business community's movers and shakers at Stouffer's, where Sullivan was honored as Loyola College's 1992 Business Leader of the Year. Father Joe Sellinger, president of Loyola, was in his element, greeting guests and introducing Sullivan; his wife, Jean; and their two daughters, Sheelah and Shannon.
Others at the party were Mike and Pattie Batza, Dot and Henry Rosenberg, Joe De Francis, Ann and Ed Crook, Millie and Pat Deering, City Councilman Mike Curran, Delegate Bob Hergenroeder Jr., Gail and Lenny Kaplan, Henry J. Knott Jr. and Sr., two former Baltimore County execs Dennis Rasmussen and Don Hutchinson, Chris and Charles Shivery, Ann and Edgar Silver, City Councilwoman Rikki Spector, Stuart Lucas, Bob Simon, Steve McLerran and Congresswoman Beverly Byron.
Boogie mentioned that he'd seen Father Sellinger on television saying that he backed Tom Clancy's effort to get a NFL football franchise for Baltimore. He quipped with a twinkle in his eye, "Mike, keep that in mind the next time Father Sellinger wants a donation."
I bumped into Carol and George McGowan last week, he's CEO of BG&E, and she's a member of the Maryland Racing Commission. Carol was still glowing from her trip to England with Sherri Thompson, who works for Maryland National Bank. They had a busy week, which included two days watching the steeplechase races at Cheltenham and an interesting visit to Lord Huntington's training yards near Newbury, where the Queen's horses are trained.
Carol said they were so busy that on the day their plane was leaving to come home, they got up at 5:30 a.m. to go to the Bermondsy Market Antiques Fair. "Our friends had insisted that we see this fair before leaving England, so off we went in the wee hours of the morning with flashlights in hand."
The Baltimore Opera Company's production of "The Daughter of the Regiment" has caused quite a stir in Towson and Glen Burnie. Nova (the Daughter) Thomas, has a sister and brother-in-law, Muriel and Cliff Summers, and their daughter, Nova, living in Towson. While Melvin (Hortensius) Lowery's mother, Dolores, lives in Glen Burnie.
Last Sunday, Muriel, Phyllis Spence and Barb Pac had a party at Phyllis' Roland Park home to celebrate Nova's debut with the Baltimore Opera Company. Several of the star's close friends, Mary Landen, who lives in Baltimore, and Nancy Getsinger, who drove up from North Carolina, were there as was John Patterson, who flew in from Cedar Rapids, Mich.
The dates for the remaining performances are tonight and Friday night at 8 and Sunday at 3 p.m. Since Thursday is a non-performance night, the entire cast is looking forward to going to Gunning's Crab House for steamed crabs. Lowery's mother was a Gunning, and the restaurant is run by her brother and Melvin's uncle, Edward Gunning.
Things are looking good for opening day. NBC's "Today Show" regular Joe Garagiola and weatherman Willard Scott will broadcast from Oriole Park at Camden Yards. And things are beginning to gel for ABC to bring in "Good Morning America" host and avid Orioles fan Charles Gibson, along with former Baltimore weatherman Spencer Christian. Plans are also coming together so that David Zinman and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra can play the National Anthem before President Bush throws out the first ball at our new stadium.
Who says you can't go back. Phyllis Brotman, CEO of Image Dynamics, went back to her alma mater, Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Va., as an Executive in Residence.
She has a busy schedule this week, working with gifted students, speaking at the school's annual breakfast for local business leaders and senior business majors, and will conclude her residency later this week with a keynote speech for school donors, trustees and administrators titled "Reflections of an Entrepreneur: If I Could Start Over."