Saltwater Portrait

Andy Lewis of Lewes is super volunteer with focus on kids

Games and sports are important part of his life
July 19, 2011

It’s another day at the office for super volunteer Andy Lewis. He’s up early to groom the Lewes Little League fields for the night’s games. He then heads for work at Lewis Research and later takes time to look over piles of paperwork to prepare for the monthly school board meeting. He’s then back out to make sure everything is running smoothly at the Little League park. Later that night he takes time to look at some game proposals as part of his second job.

If nothing else, Lewis has become a great time manager.

Lewis has two thankless volunteer jobs that occupy almost all of his free time. Not only has he stepped up to the plate as president of the Lewes Little League, he is also vice president of the Cape Henlopen School District Board of Education.

There seems to be a central theme that Lewis has embraced: he wants to help kids.

He moved with his family to Lewes from Hockessin in 1994 to run Lewis Research, set up by his uncle Bob Lewis, who had a beach house in Lewes. As soon as he moved to Lewes, his uncle, who is still involved with the business, moved to Idaho.

Lewis Research, located at Wescoats Corner, is a niche company that specializes in wear and friction testing of plastics used in moving parts. The company has clients all over the world and also sells equipment Lewis designed to allow others to perform tests.

And here is something you probably didn’t know about Lewis – he’s vice president of GMT Games in Hanford, Calif. With a keen interest in historical war games since childhood, he became a games tester for the company in the early 1990s. His expertise became evident, and by 1996 he had developed his first game and was named vice president in charge of finding new games. He now makes decisions on which games the company markets and assigns developers to design them.

For the most part, it’s a virtual business done over the phone and internet. Lewis said the five principals of the company have never all been in the same room at the same time, and he has been to the California office only three times.

Lewis got his bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware and his master’s in chemical engineering from the University of Idaho. He also did three years of work toward a doctorate at the University of Maine.

Lewis and his wife, Carrie, have two sons, Danny, 14, and Wes, 11, who share a love of sports with their parents. Last week, Wes was playing in a Pat Knight baseball tournament, and Danny was taking part in an Olympic development soccer camp.

It’s an understatement to state that the Lewis family is crazy about sports. It’s not unusual for the family to take long weekends and attend three or four Minor League games at ballparks in the region.

Lewis said the Wilmington Blue Rocks is his favorite team, and he has only missed one opening-day game in recent memory because it coincided with Lewes Little League opening day.

It’s a safe bet that if a bat is sounding in Lewes, Lewis, as well as his family, has something to do with it. At times, he is a one-man operation that not only helps get the league up and running each spring and watches over it during the early summer, he is also chief groundsman and tournament director as well.

He also follows Lewes ballplayers as they participate in travel-ball tournaments and is on the District 3 staff helping to coordinate tournaments and maintain the district’s website.

Lewis admits some might think he goes overboard with his Little League involvement. “It’s something I choose to do. I choose to be at every game if I can. I really enjoy going to the field,” he said.

Lewis got his first taste of Little League 10 years ago as a coach of his son Danny’s team. It wasn’t long before parents were asking him to take over as president of the league.

“I told people if I became president things would be different and the focus would change,” he said. “It’s not about winning but about the kids having fun and learning. It’s not about the parents and coaches.”

Parents must have embraced his philosophy because he’s still president six years later. Many of those same parents urged Lewis to run for the Cape school board.

He said he doesn’t necessarily know all the parents, but he makes it a point to know all the players. “All the kids on every team are my kids,” he said.

He carries that same philosophy over onto the school board. “The focus has to be on the kids. We have to constantly be asking ourselves is what we are doing what is best for the kids,” he said.

School board observers say Lewis is like a bit of fresh air on the board because he asks thoughtful questions. Lewis is now into his third year on the board.

Lewis said running for his first elected office was an eye-opening experience. “I told people I didn’t have an agenda; it was just me and nothing was hidden. I had a hard time convincing people of that,” he said.




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