Welcome to a very special blog highlighting our current board chairman, Andrew Warrington. Andrew has been serving on United Way of Lake County’s (UWLC) board since January 2014 and has been board chair since May 2017. Read on to learn more about Andrew and his connection to UWLC!
What inspires you to serve on the United Way of Lake County Board?
The mission and work of United Way of Lake County is inspiration enough. Helping kids to get the best possible start in life is what we do through our Success By 6, Reading Success, Stay in School and Safe and Stable Families Programs. Often children and parents in Lake County need the essential help and support of our programs to make sure that kids get off to that essential good start that is proven to support everything else they do in life. It’s an amazing privilege and a massive inspiration to be a small part of that work.
What does education mean to you?
When I was an early teenager I found myself in “remedial class” for a number of subjects including mathematics. I always wanted to be an engineer but, with my poor performance in math, it seemed this was not in the cards for me. My mother convinced my uncle, a talented math teacher, to come to our house every week and give me one-on-one tutoring. After a lot of effort on his behalf and, I confess, somewhat reluctant compliance on my end, my grades improved. Eventually, I went to community college and then later to university. I earned both bachelors and PhD degrees in engineering. I credit that action of my Mum’s to a lot of the success I have been lucky enough to enjoy in my adult life.
What is your professional background?
I am an engineer, who grew up in a former mill town called Rochdale, close to Manchester in England. My grandfather was a successful businessman who started a business in 1938 to make aircraft parts. He started it on his own. In 1940, he employed 400 people (half of whom were women) making parts for the aircraft Britain that desperately needed to resist Nazi invasion. My grandfather and the cool things his business did for their customers were my inspiration to become an engineer. For the past 30 years I have enjoyed working for manufacturing companies.
Which of United Way’s programs do you connect to most and why?
All four of the programs we have are important and closely interlinked. However, to me, Success By 6 is where it starts and arguably, without it the other three don’t mean much if kids are not ready to attend formal education. Success By 6 focuses on developing the age-appropriate social, emotional and intellectual skills needed to begin school ready to learn such as remembering letters and numbers, writing your name, sitting in class, paying attention and listening to the teacher. This sets the children up for a lifelong habit of education, which makes everything from then on possible. Sadly, many children without our help would not get a good start and their success would be much riskier.
What does United Way mean to you?
I enjoy working with the amazing and passionate staff at United Way. They are truly dedicated to UWLC’s mission. We are very lucky to have such a great team. Our Board is also full of amazingly talented and generous people from all walks of life. They are all outstanding individuals and big thinkers who get what we need to do. I am also lucky enough to get to meet teachers and volunteers in the community who work with kids directly. It makes me feel very grateful to play a small part in this amazing organization.