Newsmaker interview: Water Technology talks with … Jeffrey Gottlieb

Dec. 1, 2013

See how a leader in the water treatment industry makes time to give back.

It’s always great to hear of a company in the POU/POE water treatment industry doing something to give back outside of their everyday business. Jeffrey Gottlieb, executive vice president and CFO of ResinTech Inc., has participated in the Cherry Hill Bike MS: City to Shore Ride fundraiser for multiple sclerosis for several years with his family in New Jersey. This year was special for Gottlieb, however, because he participated with his son, nephew, brother and father, representing three generations of his family.

“My father, who founded ResinTech in 1986, was so excited about this event,” says Gottlieb. “He had faced a difficult year after undergoing heart bypass surgery in August of 2012 followed by several months of recovery. This event was a personal goal that he always wanted to do with all of us.”

In total, the team the Gottliebs participated with raised $67,594.18, and their group of seven (including Jeffrey’s brother’s fiancé and her son) raised $3,055. We caught up with Gottlieb after this year’s Bike MS event to find out what the event is all about, why he keeps coming back every year and how it felt to participate with three generations of his family.

Water Technology: Can you provide some background on the Bike MS: City to Shore Ride?

Jeffrey Gottlieb: The MS 150 (now Bike MS) is organized by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The MS Society runs these riding events nationally. The event is a bike ride; not a race, but rather a tour. The rides can be as short as three miles to as long as 150 miles over two days. While some riders prefer the two day ride, we prefer the one day. Our ride is called the City to Shore: MS 150. We rode a total of about 80 miles. In order to participate in the ride, each person is required to raise a minimum of $300 in sponsorships. In our case, the seven of us who rode together as a family group raised money for Team NFI (National Freight Industries). I, personally, have been participating at some level in the event for the past 10 years. Some years I have raised upwards of $5,000 while in other years I’ve just made the minimum contribution. In 2010, my son David raised $1,500 and was recognized as a VIP by the MS Society.

WT: Why do you keep participating year after year in this event?

JG: It’s for an important cause. Sadly, I have family and friends who are affected by this disease and to help raise awareness and money for a cure, we participate. I originally started riding with friends but then it became something I did with my oldest son, Stephen, who’s now 19. Then the next year my son David, who is now 16, and my father rode while Jack (then 11) and I completed only the last 20 miles. My father moved to Florida a few years ago and became an avid rider, riding between 60 to 80 miles a week. This led to his hope that he could do the event with his youngest grandchildren, which are my son Jack, who’s 12, and my brother Larry’s son Brett, who’s 13. He really wanted to finish the ride with them. We thought it would be very special if we did the ride with the kids and my dad as a group of three generations. It was a unique opportunity. My dad is 73 years old and not many men at 73 can actually ride a bike for 80 miles. Never knowing what the future holds, we thought it was a great opportunity for a great cause and a chance to spend quality time together now while everyone was able, willing and healthy.

WT: How did that feel to have all your family participating with three generations?

JG: It was great. It was a tremendous accomplishment. For my father to be there with his grandchildren and to watch them complete the full 80 miles on the bike was just wonderful. He was and is so proud. Riding from just outside of Philadelphia to the Jersey Shore has its challenges. As you get closer to the shore, the winds pick up making the last 30 miles much more difficult. At the very end you’re riding into a severe headwind and you’ve got to navigate two mammoth bridges — one is called the Ocean City-Longport Bridge, and the other the Ocean City Bridge. By the time you’ve done 75 miles on the bike and you get to the bridges facing a 10 to 20 mile per hour headwind, it’s not easy. Many riders can’t make it and opt to walk their bikes to the top. I think for the kids to be able to make it, and to be there with my dad, and for him to be able to make it, coupled with the excitement of crossing the finish line and ending up on the boardwalk in Ocean City, is a memory we will always cherish.

WT: Why is MS an important cause for you and your family?

JG: To complete the ride and help raise money for people affected by MS are the primary reasons we participate in the MS Ride. As a family we believe strongly in being charitable, both personally and professionally. We make a concentrated effort to support a variety of charities in Southern New Jersey. Both my brother and I serve on a number of local boards and invest our time, energy and resources and give back to the community as much as possible. We believe our commitment to helping others has played a large part in our success at ResinTech. As for “why this event,” we chose it because it is a good cause and we were able to create a special family tradition while raising money. In addition, we are Jewish and both boys, Brett and Jack, are having Bar Mitzvahs this year.  As part of becoming a Bar Mitzvah, which in the Jewish faith means becoming an adult, there’s a requirement that each child performs special projects known as Mitzvah projects. As part of doing something special for a good cause, the boys decided this would be a perfect event for them to participate.

WT: Did ResinTech sponsor you in the event? How does this tie into your work?

JG: Yes, ResinTech sponsored all of us to ride. I don’t see a direct connection to ResinTech, however, we believe it’s important to set an example for our employees in giving back.

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