UNITED WAY LEADERS … Bill and Pam Steel have accepted the position of chairs for the United Way Giving Circle which will now be called the Steel Family Leadership Giving Circle. “There are many different ways to be involved in fundraising with the United Way and this is just one of those. We are happy to be stepping into this position,” Pam Steel said during an interview. (PHOTO BY REBECCA MILLER, STAFF)
By: Rebecca Miller
The “Thomas M. Herman Leadership Giving Society” was started in 2009 as a means to encourage United Way donors to step up their giving level.
Anyone who gives more than $500 per year is welcomed into this group. At that point in time, the Williams County United Way had 124 combined households (144 Individual) who fit the description to be in that circle of giving. Donations that year were $11,093.85.
Over the years the numbers grew until the pandemic and for the 2021 Campaign, they had 86 households (98 individual) who were leadership donors, with a total of $83,133 in donations.
Over the years the group’s name changed to the Giving Circle instead of Society.
Recently Mr. Herman retired and moved to another state, leaving a vacancy in the leadership of this Leadership Giving Circle.
Bill and Pam Steel have been members for quite a few years and United Way Executive Director Chasity Yoder asked them if they would be willing to step into that position.
Yoder said, “We need the younger generations to step up to fill that gap that has happened! I have no doubt with Bill and Pam taking on the role of leadership chairs and their passion for this community, we will see those donations increase.”
As leaders in the community, not only as the Steel family, but also as the 4th generation of the Bard Manufacturing family, Bill and Pam were more than happy to move into that spot.
It has recently been announced officially that the group of givers is now called the “Steel Family Leadership Giving Circle.”
Bill and Pam look forward to the reception that is held each year for the members of the Giving Circle, and are planning to hold it in their home this year.
They have attended many which were held at the United Way offices, but this is a little different as they will be hosting it.
They are excited about this new step in their connection with this community they love.
Bill Steel, from Colorado Springs, Colorado, met Pam Bard from Bryan, Ohio, back in the 1980’s when they both toured with a group called “Up With People”, singers who also did community service.
Bill had just graduated from Colorado Springs College with a degree in Business Economics and Pam had one more year to go before graduation from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.
She promised her parents she would just take this one year off and then finish her college education, which she did, graduating with a Business Degree and a minor in Nutrition. They were married in 1987.
In their interview, they shared that they had talked about moving to Bryan and being a part of the family business.
Right around the time of the 75th Anniversary of Bard Manufacturing they did just that.
Now Bard Manufacturing is in its 108th year as a part of this community and with a full history.
Bill started his Bard Manufacturing career in the Cost Accounting Department as they needed a cost accountant and it was a good fit. He is now the President and CEO.
Pam, who had worked in the family business doing odds and ends during her college summers, went into the Advertising Department, which is now called Marketing Communications.
As a couple they are so proud to be fourth generation Bards. The company was founded by Pam’s great grandfather Dale Bard in 1914.
He and his wife Otha had two sons, Lawrence and Randolph (Pam’s grandfather). Randolph and his wife Naomi had three children, Jim, Richard and Kathy.
Richard and his brother Jim worked as the third generation in the business and Jim is Pam’s dad.
Bill and Pam are also thrilled that their son James is 5th generation in the company, working remotely out of Atlanta.
Moving into this new position to help raise funds for United Way, whose mission it is to bring the volunteers, needs and resources together to meet the needs of the community, the Steels said they are proud to be a part of the United Way family.
“The reason we give to United Way,” Bill said, “is the simplicity of it and the effectiveness of it.”
“We give to other causes as well, but United Way is a great one to support.” They feel that part of their family vision business statement covers this activity very well.
“We always leave our campsites nicer than we found them.” Bill was an Eagle Scout as a young man and they were taught this concept by their leader.
The Steel family considers whatever community of which they are a part to be their campsite.
They are taking on this role because, as they both said, “We always want to leave our campsite better than we found it.”
Rebecca can be reached at email@example.com