Heartland Founders Joe & Diane Bast
By Nancy Thorner -
The Heartland Institute — in what must have been the only event of this sort held by a respected and well-known national and world-wide think tank — held a Pre-Super Bowl Party Thursday evening, January 26, 2018, as a way to draw sports-minded individuals together, while at the same time as a venue to roll out its game plan for achieving some big victories in 2018.
Eighty liberty-loving friends joined together for drinks, Super-Bowl-like food, and insight into how Heartland aims to tackle the big issues to push back against the crushing big government agenda, knowing that fighting for freedom is a rough sport.
As participants entered Heartland's Breitbart Center, playing on a screen in front of the room were highlights from many past Super Bowl games, which undoubtedly prompted some private discussion about Super Bowl LII (52) in Minnesota on Feb. 4th when the Philadelphia Eagles take on the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. Some of the Heartland’s guests proudly wore jerseys emblazoned with their favorite sports teams.
Heartland lays out its own Super Bowl plan for success, 2018
Highlighting the evening were tributes and toasts to Joe and Diane Bast, the welcoming of Dr. Tim Huelskamp who will now lead the future of Heartland as its new president, and the introduction of a new chairman of Heartland's Board, Chuck Lang.
Having reached his 80th birthday, Herb Walberg decided it was time after 24 years to step down as Chairman of the Heartland Board during which time Heartland had grown in so many ways.
Although Mr. Lang joined the Heartland Board only three years ago, he envisions how the economic impact of the policies coming out of Washington, D.C. will in time favorably impact the country, to enable Heartland to secure more money to do more things.
Retiring Joe and Diane Bast honored
Beautiful tributes were directed toward Joe and Diane by Wanda Davis, who was hired by Joe Bast when the need for an assistant became apparent when moving the Heartland Headquarters from Chicago to Arlington Heights in August or 2015. Although Joe Bast noted that he wasn't all that religious, Ms. Davis used a Biblical reference (Matthew 5:1) to reflect the impact Joe had on those around him. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
The new Chairman of the Board also honored Joe and Diane Bast with a framed picture taken at President Trump's Rose Garden event on June 1, 2017, when Trump announced that the United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris Accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposed on our country, which also included the ending of the nationally determined contribution to the Green Climate Fund, which is costing the United States a vast fortune. Joe Bast had the honor of attending this Rose Garden Event and was able to spot himself in the framed photo.
In addressing guests and staff, Joe commented about the long goodby for both he and Diane, but now it is for real. It was noted that Joe and Diane will be working full time out of Heartland's Arlington Heights Office until the end January, after which they will vacation in Cancun for a week. Upon returning, Joe will spend 3 months working on a Heartland-related book at his home in Wisconsin. Only then will Joe's ties be cut with Heartland.
Joe spoke of coming to Heartland as a young kid to work for Dave Padden who founded the Institute in 1984. Joseph L. Bast at age 26 became Heartland's first employee and remained Heartland's first and only president and chief executive officer until his recent retirement and Dr. Tim Huelskamp was hired to fill Joe's shoes. For the first 10 years, until 1995, Padden was the Chairman of the Board.
Joe applauded the 5,000 donors to Heartland, many of them small donors, some who have regularly given small amounts for a period of 30 years. Joe years. Joe than spoke about the loyalty of Heartland's 12 board members. Attendance at almost all board meeting is 100%. All members donate lots of time, energy, and money to fulfilling their roles.
It was at a board meeting on Thursday, January 25, when Dr. Tim Huelskamp received the title of both president and CEO of the Heartland Institute. Up until January 25, Joe Bast had retained the title of CEO Bast is now listed as a Director and Senior Fellow.
Retiring Head of Board Salutes New Heartland President and CEO
At the same board meeting, Chuck Lang was elevated to Chairman of the Board to replace Herb Walberg. As former Board chairman, Walberg had the honor of introducing the now president and CEO of The Heartland Institute, Dr. Tim Huelskamp.
Huelskamp spoke of moving from Kansas to Illinois with his family from Kansas to take over the reins of Heartland. Huelskamp called Joe Bast a true giant; he now stands on the shoulders of a giant. In traveling around the country Huelskamp has found that Joe Bast has already been in contact with those he is charged to meet, which is paving the way for continued good relationships with Heartland. Huelskamp wants to stay involved in changing the hearts and the minds of people, recognizing that "freedom makes lives better."
Heartland's Mission and Future Success is Assured
Heartland feels pride in that so many of its employees have remained at Heartland for an impressive number of years. Jim Lakely, Communications Director at Heartland, started working for Heartland as a consultant in 2008, coming full time to Heartland in 2010. As Jim related: “In Washington, D.C. business cards are out of date after only a few months. I have had the same business card for many years." As to why staff remain at their Heartland positions, "It is because they have a passion for what they are doing."
May this passion to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems only grow stronger at Heartland in future years.