The Rotary Club of Westfield announced this week the induction of five new members.

“Our club is such a dynamic group of caring individuals,” said club President Liz Ensslin. “We are able to accomplish so much in our community and globally because Rotarians truly put 'Service Above Self' and we are excited to welcome our newest members.”

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On Tuesday, Oct. 13, via Zoom, Jessica Arkel, Lauren Barr, Brendan Bertsch and Jeff Pravlik were each inducted. On Tuesday, Oct. 20, Dr. Rene Garcia was inducted. 

Jessica Arkel, a Westfield native, is currently the development coordinator for Children’s Specialized Hospital Foundation. Arkel is a graduate of Ithaca College and received her MBA from Fordham University.

Arkel was raised in Westfield, where she attended and graduated from Westfield High School. Seven years ago, she and her husband Jack Mason, their two sons, Owen and Eamon, along with their two dogs moved back to Westfield from Maplewood, NJ. They live in the very home where Jessica grew up. Owen and Eamon attend UCVTS in Scotch Plains.

Lauren S. Barr is the owner/publisher and editor-in-chief of The Westfield Leader and The Scotch Plains-Fanwood Times. Barr grew up in Westfield and is a Westfield High School graduate.

For 10 years she worked and volunteered as an emergency medical technician. She currently serves on the board of directors for the JCC of Central NJ and Temple Beth O'r in Clark. She and her husband, Jon-Henry, live in Clark with their four children: Ainsley, Leah, Elizabeth and Gregory. In her free time, Barr enjoys gardening, writing and chauffeuring her kids to their various activities

Brendan Bertsch and his family have been Westfield residents for 18 years. Bertsch holds a BS from SUNY Albany and an MBA from Columbia Business School. He has spent the past 25+ years working mostly in the health care field, and pharmaceuticals and is currently the vice president of market access & pricing/trade & distribution at Mesoblast Inc, an Australian-based biotech company focused on developing innovative cell therapies.  

Married to Lyn Bertsch for 21 years, they are parents to three children. Their daughter is a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and their two sons attend Westfield High School and play soccer. The family has been heavily involved with the Westfield Soccer Association for years, where Brendan spent numerous seasons as a coach.  

He also enjoys running and watching English Premier League soccer games. This is driven by both his love for the game of soccer, and that he is a life-long Jets fan. 

The Bertsch family is rounded out by their dog Bailey, a Beagle/mix who helps keep them active. Besides various other ad hoc volunteer activities he participates in, Bertsch is also a member of the Westfield Board of Health and is focused on helping the community weather the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Jeff Pravlik, originally from Western Pennsylvania, is a graduate of the University of Dayton with a degree in Economics. He spent the first 20 years of his career working on Wall Street in equity sales and trading and over four years working in finance and operations for a technology company in Bridgewater, NJ. Pravlik has lived in Westfield since 2001 with his wife Kerry and their two children. He has been an active volunteer coach with numerous Westfield youth sports teams over the last 10 years. 

Dr. Rene J. Garcia, a graduate of Scotch Plains/Fanwood High School, class of 1991, attended Bloomfield College for the pre chiropractic program and eventually moved on to Parker College of Chiropractic in Dallas, TX where he received his doctorate in chiropractic.  After graduation in 2003, he interned in New Mexico before making his way to Texas where he opened his own practice.  

Garcia returned to New Jersey to take care of his ailing father. This past August, he purchased Bonsall Chiropractic in Westfield. He loves treating patients with every ailment and challenge that is presented — he shares that from the time he was in middle school, he knew he wanted to help people and it has become his passion and his calling.  

His hobbies include running half marathons, kayaking, hiking, rock climbing, white water rafting and sky diving. With his roots are budding in this community, he looks forward to growing long-lasting relationships personally and professionally.

The Rotary Club of Westfield meets the first three Tuesdays of the month at 12:15 p.m. Currently, most meetings are virtual via Zoom. Guests are always welcome. Contact Secretary Michael Hart at drmhart@yahoo.com.

For more information about Rotary or to become involved with Rotary Club of Westfield please visit http://westfieldrotary.com.  For membership please contact Elena Herskowitz via email at eherskowitz@childrens-specialized.org