Pacific Northwest PETS had its beginning at the Zones 1 and 7 (predecessors of zones 23/24) Institute held in Newport Beach, California, in January of 1981. Director Jim Speer had been promoting the idea of a multi-district PETS in the Northwest patterned after the successful Southern and Northern California PETS. There was a session devoted to PETS at the Zone Institute. At a meeting of the seven Northwest Governors-elect, Dick McClintic (District 5110) volunteered to coordinate the planning for the first Northwest PETS.
Following a letter from RI Director Jim Speer urging their participation, there was a meeting called in February 1981 for the seven Northwest District Governors-nominee in Portland. Four DGNs (Districts 504, 508, 510 and 511) were able to attend. At that meeting they agreed to proceed with the first PETS and to have the General Chair and Committees rotate among the participating districts.The first PETS was planned to be held at the Jantzen Beach Thunderbird Motor Inn in Portland on February 6 and 7, 1982. Planning was predicated on seven districts participating.
The districts that did not attend the meeting were contacted and districts 503 and 506 agreed to the plan and joined in participation. District 502 decided not to participate, but they joined by the second PETS in 1983. Several outstanding Rotarians were invited to participate in the program: RI President Nominee Hiroji Mukasa, RI Director Tibor Gregor, RI Director Mike Kutsuris, RI Manager of Programs and Activities Jim Vanderburg and Co Chair of the RI 3-H Program Cliff Dochterman. Dr. Mukasa was not able to attend, but all the others participated.
The initial PETS was planned with five sessions: Communication, It Must Be Fun, Building a Team, Ways and Means, and finally sessions conducted by each District Governor and Governor-nominee for their presidents-elect. Since this is an international PETS consisting of clubs in Canada and the US, there were co-discussion leaders for each session.
All expenses, room charges and meals were covered by the registration fees paid by the attending Presidents-elect. The participating districts assisted with seed money to ensure expenses were covered. After final accounting, this money was returned to the district and almost $1,000 was passed to the Committee for the next year’s PETS program
Pacific Northwest PETS was held in various locations including the Thunderbird Motor Inn in Portland, the Mariott Hotel at SeaTac, the Marriott Hotel in Portland, the Westin Hotel in Seattle and the Sheraton Hotel in Seattle before finally settling on our current venue in 1989. Though undergoing several name changes from Red Lion Hotel to the current Double Tree Hotel, this venue has proved to be an easily accessible, centrally located venue.
Pacific Northwest PETS has changed and adapted over the years. We added district 501 when 504 split and district 505 when 503 split. Later, Montana, district 539, joined the group. The district numbers were changed to their current form in the late 1980’s when a zero “0” was added to each district number. Another country, Russia, was added when the now district 5010 expanded into eastern Russia. In 2007 we went back to nine districts when Montana, District 5390, left Pacific Northwest PETS.
PNWPETS is composed of three components: Plenary Sessions featuring an inspirational or noteworthy speaker, often held in conjunction with a meal; District Sessions organized by District Governors Elect for participation by their district’s PEs; and Shared Educational Sessions, content-based sessions designed for participation by attendees from all districts and grouping PEs for participation by club size, whenever possible.
A team of highly-experienced instructors from throughout the nine districts, recommended by their governors elect and selected by a competitive process, will lead the PNWPETS educational sessions. Training for Assistant Governors and other district leaders has also been conducted as adjunct sessions at PNWPETS.. The strength of PETS has come from two major areas: strong attendance and continuous improvement, building on previous success. Beginning with the 1983 PETS, attendance has ranged well above 90 percent. For example in 1999 (excluding our furthest district 5390) all but five presidents-elect attended. Five of the ten districts had perfect attendance. Multiple critiques are held each year that include all the Governor categories, the operating committee and the educational session leaders. Participant critiques, including both immediate and six-month evaluations from president-elect attendees, are reviewed and analyzed carefully to identify modifications that may be needed to increase effectiveness in the future. As a result, the program has been able to favorably evolve and improve each year.
Each district is represented on the Operating Committee by Past District Governors serving a three year term. The Chair, serving as an extra committee member, rotates through each of the nine districts. Educational session instructors are successful past district leaders and club presidents who also serve up to a three year term. We have been fortunate to continue to attract exceptional speakers including many past Rotary International Presidents. Many sitting RI Presidents and Presidents-elect have found time in their busy schedules to participate in the Pacific Northwest PETS.
We continue to enjoy success in the training and education of our presidents-elect and look to continue to improve and evolve in the future as we prepare our club presidents-elect for their year as a highly successful club president so that all our clubs may provide service to their communities and the world.
“Service Above Self”.