October 28, 2021
Pickerington Online’s Meet the Candidates
“Overall, I like the direction that the community is taking,” said Bob McCracken, candidate for Pickerington City Council. “Preserving the charm and ‘hometown’ atmosphere of Old City Pickerington while encouraging business development and growth. However, there are still things that need to be improved upon.”
McCracken believes the city should provide more public spaces, including parks, bicycle paths and other recreational amenities, and he would like to improve the city’s administrative services.
“To take one example, as a small business owner, I work with the city to obtain approvals for renovation and build-out plans,” McCracken said. “The timelines are lengthy, and often (after review) changes need to be made to the original plans which requires more time and expense. Providing greater clarity at the beginning of the process would reduce the time and money expended by both the city and the business.
McCracken plans to work with city leaders to streamline approval processes.
“To continue with the example above, the city currently uses a third-party provider to review plans,” McCracken said. “Adding more third-party providers would improve the timelines for approval. The city administration can and should be more responsive to the residents living and working in Pickerington.”
Another issue that the city needs to resolve is that the volume of rush hour traffic going into and out of the city on Interstate 70 is steadily increasing and will continue to do so, as Pickerington and the surrounding towns grow.
“I think it is time we begin working on this problem,” McCracken said. “I believe that building an interchange at Taylor Road would help ease the rush hour traffic, and I intend to work with Violet Township trustees and state officials towards accomplishing that goal. I will also work with Fairfield County and Violet Township officials to build the Route 33 to I-70 connecter which would also redirect and reduce rush hour traffic volume.”
McCracken said that he likes and respects all the candidates running for city council.
“However, I am the only candidate who brings the experience of running a small business in Pickerington, where I employ and interact with residents of our town daily. I understand the frustration that myself and other residents often experience dealing with local government both as a resident and business owner. A vote for me is a vote for a community resident and leader that will work hard to streamline, innovate, and improve local government administration for the benefit of us all and for a candidate that has the experience and skills to get it done,” McCracken said.
“Pickerington is a wonderful place to live; the community has been very good to my family, has supported my business, and made us feel welcome and a part of the town from the moment we moved here. We owe the town and the people who live here so much, and I felt it was important for me to give back to the community by serving on the city council.”
McCracken said that the “backbone of our democracy” is the principal that citizens should be involved in the government.
Citizens who are able to do so have an obligation to serve their communities,” McCracken said. “At this point in my life, I have the experience to contribute, and the desire do what I can to improve the city and its residents, who, like us, have chosen to make Pickerington their home.”
McCracken believes that more than 40 years of managing businesses has provided him with a framework for solid decision making.
“Logical, pragmatic and effective decisions evolve from listening to and involving stakeholders from the very beginning of the process, listening to subject experts, and carefully researching and studying the data, the options, and the alternatives,” McCracken said. “It is only by working with others that we can accomplish our common goals.”
What are people saying about Bob McCracken?
Ohio Representative Jeff LaRe has known Bob McCracken for the better part of a decade and has gotten to know Bob both personally and professionally.
“Throughout the pandemic, I have had the opportunity to work with Bob in my capacity as a State Representative,” LaRe said. “He has an impressive eye for detail. He has a strong grasp on key components of business operations and has demonstrated admirable skill in absorbing complicated subject matter quickly. Through working with Bob, I find his rational, pragmatic approach to leading very effective. Time and time again, I have watched him tackle situations with tact and care.”
“Bob has played a strategic role in the growth of his businesses and ensuring their continued success. Having someone as diverse and knowledgeable in business is crucial for the betterment of the city.”
“Bob works diligently, ‘rolling up his sleeves’ to get the job done. He has demonstrated sustained energy and effort to move his priorities forward. Bob is a loving husband and father, and I am grateful to call him my friend. He is always willing to lend a hand and looks out for the better good of everyone around him. He would be a fine asset to Pickerington City Council and anyone that has the privilege to work with him.”
Scott Rogers met Bob back in 2013 when he and a group of his business partners purchased the Rule 3 where Rogers worked.
“As you can imagine, this was a stressful time for those of us who saw this job as a career and not just part time work because none of us knew what it meant for our position with the company being under new ownership. Bob made it very clear from the beginning that he had the faith in those of us that worked here to continue doing our jobs without interruption. He also made sure we knew if there was anything that he could to help us be more successful at what we were doing that he was happy to do what he could to help us out.”
“Over the years as I have gotten to know him better, those facts have remained true to this day. If somebody is struggling with something, many business owners look at making changes, but Bob has always preferred to try to develop peoples’ skill sets and turn them into the best version of themselves that they can be. This is obviously beneficial for the business, but more importantly, it is incredibly beneficial to the individual he took the time to work with, because they will carry that skill on with them the rest of their lives! I have never worked for a more fair, and compassionate person at any job I have ever worked at. I truly believe Bob wants me to be successful in whatever I do in life, whether that is working for him, or in something else that I may have interest in. Many business owners are just interested in what I can do to benefit their business, whereas Bob genuinely cares about what I can do to better myself for the future.”
“The other trait that I have gotten to see of Bob over the years, that I think will translate very well into his role on city council, is his ability to make well thought out and educated decisions on a topic. Many people have a tendency to make decisions in their lives based on their emotions, which in many cases is not the best judgement. Bob has always been incredibly meticulous in doing research and obtaining all of the facts he can before making a decision that can affect people, whether they be customers or employees here at work. Along with doing the research to make the best decision on a matter, he has also been very open to the idea of finding a compromise that best fits any situation. Many decisions have two answers, one of which will appease one group of people, and the other which will appease the rest. But instead of just accepting that a decision has two possibilities, he is the first one to consider a third option that possibly appeases both sides to an extent, instead of making some people happy and some people upset. This ability to think outside the box and see solutions that may not have originally been thought of could very well prove to be a valuable asset for a city council member.”
“The most important thing I think I can say about Bob as a person is that he genuinely cares about everybody that has the pleasure of meeting him. I know that if I ever needed something, whether it be advice on a personal matter, or help with something outside of work, he wouldn’t hesitate for a second to help me in the best way he could. Unfortunately working in the customer service field, we see far too often how compassion and generosity are lost on much of today’s society, and I can say with 100% confidence that Bob will never fall into that category. Even in situations where somebody has given us every reason not to like them because of their actions or words, he has always taken the high road and been willing to listen to their concerns to see what caused them in the first place.”
“Bob is an incredibly intelligent and open-minded decision maker, who will do his best to make educated decisions to determine what the best course of action would be for any given topic. In my eyes, this is exactly what you are looking for when voting in a member of city council!”
Who is Bob McCracken?
“I grew up in western Pennsylvania – my family is originally from Pittsburgh,” McCracken said. “We were living in Massachusetts when my father died and my mother moved us to Greensburg, near Pittsburgh, where we had family. My mom was 35 and I was 10 years old when my father passed away, Mom never remarried and raised three children on her own. I have two sisters; Dale is a retired engineer from Boeing Satellite Systems and lives in southern California with her husband and son. My eldest sister Carol is also retired; she and her husband Michael live part of the year in Philadelphia and part of the year in a small town in southwest France.”
“My father was graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and a World War II veteran. My mom eventually moved from Greensburg to Washington DC to work for the Department of Health and Human Resources. After retirement, she moved to Pickerington where she lived until she passed away in 2006.”
Bob worked as a district manager for AMF Bowling and was transferred to Ohio in 1988.
“I settled in Pickerington and managed bowling centers in Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ontario, Canada. I was forced to leave the area when I was transferred again, but my wife and I loved living here, and as soon as we were able, we returned and in 1998 my partners and I purchased and began to manage several bowling centers in greater Columbus,” McCracken said.
The family enjoyed Pickerington’s “warm small-town atmosphere and relaxed, unhurried lifestyle” despite Columbus and its amenities only being minutes away.
“To us, it’s an ideal place to live,” McCracken said. “Most of all, we like the people who live here. We are so very fortunate to be surrounded by lovely neighbors and longtime friends we have met though our activities in the community.”
All of his children and grandchildren were raised in Pickerington, and as a parent, McCracken served as a PYAA basketball coach for his daughter’s team.
“I think most Pickerington residents know me as a local businessman who owns and manages the Rule 3 Family Entertainment Center. I have also played a central role in developing our local high school bowling program and have served as the Commissioner for Central Ohio High School Bowling, and as Tournament Director for the Ohio High School Bowling State Tournament Finals.”
Bob and his wife, Bonnie, grew up together in Greensburg. Bonnie currently works for Chase Bank.
“Both of my kids are now young adults,” McCracken said. “Our daughter Jay has two young daughters and lives in nearby Canal Winchester. Our son Phil was recently married, and he and his wife Erica live in Pickerington. We are a close-knit family, we see each other often, help each other when a helping hand is needed and support each other through the inevitable rough spots.”
“Not surprisingly, bowling is one of my hobbies, and I also enjoy golf; I play both for fun and competitively. I love to read and follow college and professional sports. I grew up with pets, so we always have a dog around; our rescue dog Lucy is the current canine family member!”
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