Human interest feature article from The Business News (NE Wisconsin edition)

Community role fits ‘Mr. Optimism’
Allan Jamir serves numerous organizations — with a smile

Allan Jamir

Volunteer extraordinaire
Allan Jamir

By Mike Dauplaise
It’s a good thing Allan Jamir was blessed with a big, bright smile, because the man people call “Mr. Optimism” is seldom without one.

Jamir spreads sunshine wherever he goes, based in an unflappable attitude rooted in his beloved Optimist organization’s positive creed. “Jammer,” as he’s known from the mispronunciation of his last name (correctly hah-MEER), is involved with no less than nine different organizations.

His commitment to the community, especially its youth, is so much a part of his identity that Rick Chernick, CEO of Camera Corner/Connecting Point, recently changed Jamir’s title from vice president of corporate sales to a more appropriate vice president of marketing and community relations.

“Al is one of the most sincere, happy, energetic human beings you’re ever going to meet,” Chernick says. “He’s almost a perfect person. He represents Green Bay, our company and himself very professionally in everything he does.”

Born in Manila, Philippines, and raised in Burlington, Wis., Jamir’s smile jumps out from his dark complexion as he races from seemingly one commitment to the next. As district governor for the Optimist organization in 2000-2001, Jamir traveled throughout the Northern half of Wisconsin to promote its “Friend of Youth” philosophy.

“Everything I do, someway, somehow, positively touches the lives of kids,” Jamir says. “When you see me, you might not know what group I’m representing. I like to think I represent all. I’ve gotten a reputation as a community resource.”

Among the many boards Jamir sits on are the United Way, Scholarships Inc., Heritage Hill Foundation, Horizons Community Credit Union (chair), Big Brothers/Big Sisters (past board member), Brian LaViolette Foundation, and an ambassador for the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce. That’s in addition to the time he donates to projects with the Greater Green Bay Optimist Club.

Jamir and his wife Penny are role models in the lives of many young people. While they have no children of their own, the couple has nine godchildren, Penny teaches second grade at Langlade School, and Al reads to the kids every week.

“One of the reasons I went to work for Rick (Chernick) is because Rick’s philosophy is very much in sync with mine,” Jamir notes. “We both love our customers, and we’re both so involved in the community. It’s like a match made in heaven.”

Jamir actually called on Chernick as a territory rep for Hewlett-Packard prior to joining the Camera Corner/Connecting Point team in 1991.

“Business is not all about making money, and there are only so many boards I can be on,” Chernick states. “Al still sells for me, but I need a guy that can help me in the community. He’s the guy.”

Jamir’s love of dealing with kids blossomed when H-P moved him to Green Bay in 1988. He served as an assistant coach for a youth baseball team (ages 9-11) coached by his neighbor that year, and was struck by how the kids responded to instruction.

Despite often feeling as though his words were falling on deaf ears, the infielders turned a picture-perfect double play in the league championship game that made it all worthwhile.

“That’s where the spark started. I learned that I absolutely loved helping the kids and serving the kids,” he says, crediting his high school science and band teachers for priming that part of his persona. “I thought, ‘You know what? I’ve got a lot of things I can teach kids and share with them.’

“If I can do something that makes people move forward positively, then I feel I’ve done my job.”