525 East Genesee Street, Frankenmuth MI, 48734
A Special Board Meeting, followed by the Regular Board Meeting, will be held March 11, 2024, at 5:15 pm and 6:00 pm, respectively, at EFR, location to be determined.
The agendas will be posted on March 8th.
William “Bill” Rustem is a 1967 graduate of Frankenmuth High School, where he served on the Student Council his freshman year, was Sophomore Class President, Junior Class President, and President of the Student Body his Senior Year. He lettered in Football and Baseball, and was a member of the debate team that narrowly lost to Detroit Country Day in the State High School Debate Championship.
From Frankenmuth, he proceeded to Michigan State University, where he joined Delta Tau Delta fraternity, was elected Junior Member-at-Large to the Associated Students of MSU (ASMSU), and then went on to serve as Chairman of ASMSU. He holds Bachelor’s and Master’s
degrees from that institution, and remains a proud Spartan today.
In 1971, he was invited to join the staff of newly sworn in Governor William G. Milliken as an intern. He held a variety of posts in the fourteen years of the Milliken administration, including assistant press secretary, consumer protection advisor, environmental advisor, speech writer, and chair of the Governor’s Policy Council.
In 1976, he took a leave of absence from the Governor’s office to coordinate the collection of 400,000 citizen signatures to place on the November statewide ballot an initiated law to ban throwaway beverage containers in Michigan. He then served as campaign coordinator of the successful effort that resulted in passage by the people of the Michigan Beverage Container Deposit Law (The Bottle Bill). He was also involved in the development and passage of numerous landmark laws, including the Michigan Consumer Protection Act, the Automobile Repair Law, the state’s Generic Drug Act, the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, and the Michigan Wetlands Act, among many others.
In 1980, he again took a leave of absence from the Governor’s office to coordinate the successful campaign to protect the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund in the state’s constitution.
When Milliken left office in 1982, Rustem became the first Executive Director of the Center from the Great Lakes in Chicago, where he pushed for regional cooperation among the Great Lakes States to prohibit the diversion of Great Lakes water to the West.
In 1985, Rustem joined the Lansing-based public policy firm Public Sector Consultants (PSC). After retiring as President and CEO of PSC in 2011, he served as Director of Strategy for Michigan Governor Rick Snyder until 2014, where he again was intimately involved in the development of public policy, including revisions of the state’s tax laws, helping the City of Detroit through its bankruptcy, and assisting in the approval of the now-under-construction Gordie Howe bridge between Michigan and Ontario.
He has served on a number of boards, including Crystal Mountain Enterprises, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the Michigan League for Public Policy and the Great Lakes Leadership Academy. He is currently vice-chair of the state’s Natural Resources Trust Fund Board.
Rustem has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the William Milliken Leadership for the Common Good award from the Great Lakes Leadership Academy, the Michigan Boating Industries Leadership award, the Distinguished Service Award from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at MSU, the Thomas L. Washington Award for a lifetime of conservation achievement from the Michigan Natural Resources Commission, and a Special Conservation Award from Ducks Unlimited. In 2016, he was inducted into the Michigan Conservation Hall of Fame.
His wife of forty-six years, Brenda, passed away last spring after a long bout with Leukemia. They have two wonderful daughters, Stephanie (Lee) Rustem Ziehm of Lake Ann, Michigan, and Kimberly (Rick) Rustem Silva of Detroit, Michigan.
Let’s start with some background information. Both G and Paula were born in Patrica, Italy, which is a little town about 30 miles south of Rome. G’s family immigrated to Flint in 1954. Paula’s family immigrated to Sault Ste. Marie, Canada in 1967. G and Paula both grew up working in the restaurant business: Paula for her aunts in the Soo and G for his cousins in the Flint area. In 1975, G and Paula were married. They have two children, Mike and Christina. They opened their first restaurant in Bridgeport in early 1977 and within 6 months they opened
daVinci’s here in Frankenmuth.
Life in the restaurant business is hard and requires long hours but when Mike’s little league baseball coach got transferred in the middle of the season, G took over and started coaching the team. Both Paula and G coached numerous baseball and softball teams.
DaVinci’s hosted field trips for Kindergarteners where youngsters would make their own pizzas. Paula presented certificates with each child’s name that assured them they were little chefs. This is still done at daVinci’s today with area preschoolers.
G coached little league baseball and softball, middle school track, freshman football, freshman & JV girl’s basketball, JV softball, and assisted with varsity softball, boy’s high school basketball, and girl’s high school basketball. Paula made up season scrapbooks that were personalized for each athlete for softball, boy’s high school basketball and girl’s high school basketball teams. She also provided snacks before practice for the players that maybe forgot to bring something and regularly volunteered to take home players whose rides fell through.
Some of the memorable events that were initiated by G and Paula:
Now for some Storytime:
One special night, Frankenmuth was playing Vassar in girl’s basketball. Our girls won a thriller at the buzzer in Bad Axe. It was rather late heading home and the Grossis asked the bus driver to go through Reese where they owned Pompei Pizza. They asked the staff to reopen the restaurant and fed all the players, families, and the fans that were on the “spirit bus” before coming home.
In the early 80’s, the Grossis purchased one of the first Beta video cameras, maybe one of the only Beta video cameras. They would record little league games, football games, and other special events. Then they would invite the youngsters and their families to watch themselves on the big screen TV located in daVinci’s.
After the Pistons became the first NBA franchise to purchase their own airplane, the Roundball One, G approached the middle school teacher from the art department about creating a picture of a large airplane to be displayed along a hallway. Then G, along with other parents, took action shots of the players. It took some assistance from the parent-run stunt crew, but every player had a photo dunking the ball. They then displayed those photos along with some other memorable game photos on their very own “Roundball One” at the middle school.
In 1989, G coached the EF Rittmueller boys basketball team. He had 29 boys on that team and every player played in every game. To maximize practice time, G and Ralph Munger would open the gym every morning before school so that the boys could play basketball along with any of the dads that wanted to come in. Gym time was so well attended that for years from November until the end of the school year, G opened the gym 5 days per week.