Written by Deb Vinci
TC James was invited by a friend to attend a Friday Wine Taster’s Happy Hour in August 2019. What she experienced that night was great conversation, good food, dancing, and quality adults who give back to the community. TC, a recent widow, felt welcomed and became a member of Wine Tasters immediately.
TC’s youth was largely spent in southwest Michigan. With two older brothers, she wanted to play and excel in every sport they did. Her parents, however, were more selective and introduced TC to golf, water skiing, tennis, card games, and dance. TC was also business-minded. Her parents instilled the value of hard work and an appreciation of money management through a reward system for household chores. At the age of nine, TC learned she could finish her chores as well as the chores her brothers neglected and pocket her own allowance plus her brothers’ allowances. Ever creative, TC also added interest payments to her brothers’ tab.
This sharp mindset was an asset for TC in college and in business. She began college at Western Michigan University and met her husband. They moved to Tulsa Oklahoma where TC completed her B.S and M.S. degrees from Oklahoma State University. She enjoyed a very successful career in Human Resource Management and as the only female manager in the Oil Division of Union Carbide in Tulsa, she planned and organized company social and executive functions in addition to her Human Resource duties. She accomplished all of this, as well as work travel to six satellite locations while juggling the responsibility of raising two sons.
Although the marriage of her youth didn’t last, TC later met and married the man of her dreams and they enjoyed 28 wonderful years together, moving to Florida upon his retirement.
TC intends to maintain her high activity level with golf, tennis, beach walking, and her true passion, dancing. She also plans to put her experience as a volunteer for many charities to use and assist Wine Tasters of Naples as Social Coordinator.
by Carolyn Pitt
Joseph Badway brings his knowledge and experience to the treasurer’s position of our organization. His earned degrees include a BS from Providence College and MBA and MST degrees from Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island. Professionally, he is Chief Financial Officer for RMC Group headquartered in Bonita Springs. RNC is a conglomerate of related businesses providing insurance, risk management, retirement, real estate, and actuarial consulting services. As CFO, Joe is responsible for anything financial within the company. As a registered CPA in Florida, he personally serves 40 to 50 clients, including Wine Tasters of Naples. In order to maintain his CPA status, Joe must complete an additional 80 continuing education hours every two years. He explains with a laugh, not only does law require this, but his son-in-law is a prosecuting attorney for the State of Florida overseeing CPA’s; no room for negligence here!
Life is not all work and no play. Family is of primary importance, and Joe treasures time spent with his two daughters, granddaughter, and grandson. He plays tennis, walks and enjoys travel.
What does he see in his future? Maybe a little more time for tennis and travel. He would especially like to visit Lebanon, from where his family emigrated. Meanwhile, members of Wine Tasters will enjoy continuing to get to know Joe on Friday evenings at our various venues.
Written by Rita Sullivan
Whether you’re a regular or drop-in to Wine Tasters Friday night Happy Hours, more often than not you are greeted by the man who, since 2014, has not only arranged the event but assiduously works the room to ensure that everyone has a good time. That’s Al Beatrice, who as Vice President of Wine Tasters, scours Naples to identify restaurants that he feels Wine Tasters members would particularly enjoy, then negotiates with the owners to ensure the evening is memorable. He says he’s been forced to sip wine and taste hors d’oeuvres at literally hundreds of local restaurants.
Al grew up in Philadelphia, the oldest son of second generation Italian immigrants, and the first of his family to attend college. He was a normal kid, he says, except that unlike his friends, he didn’t want to play football for the Eagles. No, he had a burning desire to land an airplane on an aircraft carrier — he wanted to become a Navy pilot. And the best route to achieve his dream was to shoot for entry to the Naval Academy. No easy task, but he was an honor graduate of one of the largest parochial high schools in the country, Northeast Catholic High School, and active in student government. This along with laudatory recommendations from teachers led his Congressman to nominate him to Annapolis.
At the Academy Al excelled at math and science and upon graduation passed the entrance tests which allowed him the opportunity to study to become a Navy pilot. One day, after over a year of rigorous flight training, his instructor said, “the plane is all yours Al. Land it on a friendly carrier!” Al took the plane up to 20,000 feet, alone, and, looking down at the aircraft carrier, which seemed the size of a postage stamp, said to himself, “This is what I’ve dreamed all my life.” He pushed the plane’s throttle forward and dove for the bobbing, weaving carrier moving fast in an expansive ocean. And nailed it. In retrospect, he says, it was the scariest moment of his life, and the most satisfying.
Al spent eleven years in the Navy, four in Annapolis and seven as a pilot. Leaving the Navy, Al worked for 25 years in technical sales for Allen-Bradley, which designs and manufactures automated control systems. He settled in Naples in 2001, where today he’s a successful mortgage banker.
Al has always been community minded, even winning election as Class Treasurer at Annapolis. Locally he held positions as Co-chair of the Naples Board of Realty Charity Golf Outing and as Treasurer of Collier County Honor Flight, which raises money to fly veterans to Washington DC for the day to see their war memorials. He was also a past president of the charity board of the Military Officers Association of SW Florida. Not everyone can say they achieved their childhood goal. Al can. Next Happy Hour, see if you can say hello to him before he warmly welcomes you.