Spend 24 Hours in Midland with Jeff Rekeweg

Between serving as Executive Director for the Greater Midland Tennis Center and co-owner of Frick’s Sports Bar, Jeff Rekeweg is a busy guy.

Rekeweg first moved to Midland with his family back in 2010, when he accepted the head men’s basketball coach position at Northwood University - a job he held for 10 years.

During that time, he became very involved in the community, serving on several non-profit boards and advisory committees.
Greater Midland Tennis Center Executive Director Jeff Rekeweg chats with participants in a tennis camp.
Rekeweg credits the relationships he made in Midland over the past decade for landing him the roles he has now.

“It was from relationships I had the pleasure of developing that led to the Tennis Center opportunity,” he explains.

Although he considers himself only a casual tennis player, his passion for sports, leadership skills and community-building mindset were the winning combination that inspired other community leaders to recommend him for the job.

Meanwhile, he grew to know the prior owners of Frick’s Sports Bar, Francis “Frick” and Alta Smith, when their daughters played volleyball together over the years. This connection eventually led to his and his business partner’s decision to purchase the restaurant.

Rekeweg relies on his partner, fellow Frick’s co-owner Kurt Busard, to tap into his vast hospitality experience, while Rekeweg brings his own skills to the table.

“Culture has always been important to me, and I have had a role in helping how we coach culture and the importance of our customers having a great experience every time they choose to spend time with us,” he says.

Each day can be quite different from the next, but Rekeweg shared how he often balances his duties on an average day in Midland.
Jeff Rekeweg chats with Isabella Zielinski of Georgia, 7, a participant in a youth tennis camp.

9 a.m. Stop at Coffee Chaos on the way to work

Although he most often will bring his own coffee from home, Rekeweg does on occasion stop at Coffee Chaos, conveniently located just minutes from the Tennis Center, for a caffeine infusion.

9:30 a.m. Check in with Tennis Center staff and members

In between meetings, Rekeweg often walks through the facility and checks in with co-workers and members of all ages.

Last week he chatted with a youth tennis camp participant, Isabella Zielinski, on what happened to be her 7th birthday.

10:30 a.m. Weekly meeting with Kurt Busard
Frick's Sports Bar Co-owners Jeff Rekeweg, and Kurt Busard, chat about restaurant business during their weekly meeting.
Rekeweg and Busard meet weekly to discuss any pertinent restaurant business. Topics can include ideas for new features inside the business, staffing updates, and upcoming events.

This week, the pair discussed the possibility of purchasing a vending machine-style breathalyzer device for patrons to use after inserting a few coins.

12 p.m. Lunch at Molasses

While he often will enjoy a meal at Frick’s if he is there on business and feeling hungry, Rekeweg says he also enjoys stopping at Molasses in downtown Midland for a bite.

2 p.m. Meeting with Jared Flick
Jeff Rekeweg discusses ideas for a future youth program with Director of Junior Tennis Jared Flick.
Rekeweg often checks in with Jared Flick, who serves as Director of Junior Tennis at the Greater Midland Tennis Center.

At a recent meeting, Flick shared ideas about how to keep parents better informed about their child’s progress as they learn essential tennis skills.

The pair also discussed the potential for a future event that would allow parents and young children to learn the sport together.

3 p.m. Facility tour with WHAC Commissioner

During a recent workday at the Tennis Center, Rekeweg welcomed Eric Ward, commissioner of the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference, and gave him a tour of the facility.

Ward is looking for a new venue for the conference’s annual tennis tournament, and was impressed with the amenities available in Midland.

Rekeweg helps open up umbrellas on the back patio at Frick's.
Evening - Dinner at Frick’s and sporting events

Rekeweg and his wife, Rebecca, have six daughters, two of whom are still in high school at Midland High and both involved in sports.

“A lot of evenings it involves volleyball, basketball, or track,” he said. “I try to spend time at the Tennis Center for some of our evening events and stop by Frick’s to visit with our guests. My wife and I like to take the dogs to the dog park for a walk when we can.”

Though not a Midland native, Rekeweg and his family have certainly made this place their home. “We left family and friends thirteen years ago to make this move, but our kids and our family were quickly welcomed into this community,” he said.

“I have lived in a number of places, and none better than Midland and the Great Lakes Bay Region.”

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Read more articles by Katy Kildee.

Katy Kildee, a Flint native, is a freelance photojournalist and she teaches part-time at her alma mater, CMU. She was the staff photographer for five years at the Midland Daily News. She hopes to further develop her passion and skill as a visual storyteller while continuing to learn as much as she can about the world around her.