This week we are interviewing a new face in the IBP office. Merritt Rohlfing is our new Operations Manager. Learn more about Merritt and stop by the office to welcome him!
What drew you to work in a nonprofit?
I got into nonprofit because I didn’t enjoy working in corporate America, and as someone who works creatively as a writer as well, working with people whose passion for the job comes from wanting to do it rather than just the paycheck is important to me. I like being in a place where the whole organization has a goal that’s not just make this quarter better than last year. Plus it’s an offbeat way to make a living and I don’t like doing things the normal way.
Why the International Book Project?
I was drawn to the International Book Project because it is driven to push knowledge on those who don’t know they don’t have it. I am a writer by hobby so the ability to spread the written word in this novel way that we do was very attractive to me.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
I get to work in a warehouse AND help people. I like warehouses for some reason, I worked in one several different times throughout my life. It’s neat. There’s a pseudo chaos to it all, and the energy of it is exciting.
What’s your favorite book and why?
I don’t really have a favorite book, but if I had to identify a favorite author I’d go with David Halberstam. He writes nonfiction and was formerly a reporter. He’s done a pair of great books on basketball, The Breaks of the Game and Playing for Keeps that were ostensibly about the 1978 Portland Trailblazers and Michael Jordan respectively, but his style of telling all the sides and sources of a tale made them effectively books chronicling the history of the league told from two inflection points for the game. He had an ability to get people to open up like few I’ve ever seen. He was a wordsmith and a historian, the guy was an American treasure.
What’s your favorite children’s book and why?
My favorite children’s book is The Happy Man and his Dump Truck. My mom read it to me a lot as a little kid, and the joy the animals in the book have sliding down the truck bed when the happy man tips it is just wonderful.
Where do you most want to travel, but have never been?
I’ve always wanted to go to India. The civilization there is thousands of years old and the empires that have risen and fallen fascinate me. If the pictures of ruins are amazing, I can’t imagine what it’d be like to experience them firsthand. Ancient tales of swords and sorcery are simply oral histories of those dynasties. Combined with the massive population and the wide ranging, colorful culture there’s a magic to the place I need to experience.
If you could have any super power for one day, what would it be?
If I could have one superpower for one day, it’d be telekinesis. I’d be able to fly, not have to exert a lot of energy and I could rally do whatever I wanted. As long as it’s not that weak telekinesis like Jean Grey or the Invisible Woman where they’re always unable to hold it for much longer. If that’s the case, teleportation.
Unlimited happiness or unlimited money?
If I had to decide between unlimited happiness or unlimited money, I’d take the money. I’m a pretty happy guy anyway, and being only ever happy would make it so you don’t know what that means anymore. As they say, sunshine doesn’t matter without a little rain. Unlimited money means no material worries, and I could buy the Cleveland Indians too. Which would make me happier.
What advice would you give to your 10 year-old self?
I don’t know what I was like when I was 10. I think I did things pretty well. Maybe get into stand-up comedy a bit earlier. I’ve found it so much fun I know younger me would have, too. But that’s advice for like 20 year old me. Ten-year old me should keep doing what he’s doing. Maybe talk to girls more.
What was the greatest television show of all time?
Greatest TV Show? The Wire. Wonderful characters, amazing setting, the narrative is grand and the story is poignant.
BONUS: What celebrity should play you in a movie about your life?
I’ve been told I look a bit like Robert Pattenson. He’s a good actor, Twilight notwithstanding.