Detroit Boat Club Crew Homecoming

Detroit – More than 150 friends and family joined the Detroit Boat Club Crew to celebrate its first annual Homecoming Awards on September 23. The event featured alumni racing on the river, a silent auction and a strolling dinner.

The event also honored three individuals for their achievements benefitting the Detroit Boat Club Crew and the sport of rowing.

2018 Honorees: Jim Dreher, Susan Palazolo, and Joe Callanan accept their Achievement Awards with Friends of Detroit Rowing Marketing Chair, Todd Platt
2018 Honorees: Jim Dreher, Susan Palazolo, and Joe Callanan accept their Achievement Awards with Friends of Detroit Rowing Marketing Chair, Todd Platt

Jim Dreher

Jim was seventeen years old when introduced to rowing at the Detroit Boat Club. In 1957, Jim won his first National Championship and took first place in the novice 8+ and 4+ soon after at the Roayl Canadian Henley.

He felt fortunate to have rowed with a group of Detroit rowers who has just come back from the 1956 Olympics where they had won silver in both the men’s double all coached by Walter Hoover a legendary sculler and sculling coach. Jim was coached by Ken Blue, who had been a champion lightweight sculler in his own right and had been the assistant under Walter Hoover.  

Jim attended Michigan Tech to get his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering. He began his career in Detroit working at GM, Holly Carburetor, Uniroyal, and then started his own plastic business, Thermocraft. Jim moved out east to continue his career in the automotive industry in NH in 1971 and there founded the University of New Hampshire’s / Durham Rowing Association  in Durham, NH and in 1978, he started the Durham Boat Club.

Jim Dreher is the President and Founder of Durham Boats, a leader in high performance carbon composite parts and indoor rowing tanks.

Susan Palazzolo

Susan attended Grand Valley State College (1972-77), where she majored in Physical Education and competed on the men’s rowing team under coach Paul Springer.  In 1973 she was recruited by Coach Springer to cox the lightweight varsity men’s crew, and at that time was the first woman in Michigan to earn a varsity letter in a men’s sport and the first in rowing in the Midwest; the following three years she coxed the men’s varsity crew. The following two years she coached under Paul Springer with the novice men’s crew in 1978 and the novice women’s crew in 1979 where they won the Mid-American Rowing Championship.

Susan returned to school completing her B.A. in Journalism / Public Relations at Oakland University in 1990 and an M.A. in Media Arts at Wayne State University in 2006. 

In 1997 Susan responded to an ad placed in a local newspaper by Coach David Loveland who was looking for a coxswain for the DBC Master’s Crew. In the years following she competed with the DBC Master’s as a coxswain for the men’s and women’s crews finding success at the Canadian Henley, Regatta of the America’s, Canadian National Championship, U.S. National Championship, and the FISA World Championship.

For over 13 years Susan has served as an adjunct instructor in film production courses at Wayne State University.

Joe Callanan

Joe followed in his brother Patrick’s footsteps as a Detroit Boat Club rower. A student at University of Detroit High School, Joe began rowing in the late ‘50s. He quickly excelled at the sport, earning medals in the double and quad at the national championships. Upon graduation, Joe began working in Downtown Detroit; maintaining his love of the sport.

In 1960, under coach Ken Blue, DBC crews were invited for the first time to take part in the classic Henley regatta on the Thames River in England. A team made up of Doug Latimer, Jim Plath, Bob Walker, Bill Thorpe, Roger Taylor, Joe Callanan, Al Arbury, Mike Ernesman, and coxswain Bob Kroll placed second to Harvard in the final.

Joe is Principal and Founder of Callanan and Associates, a marketing consulting organization.