Friday, July 8, 2011

More Sheboygan PMP news.... good news!

From the Sheboygan Press:

A driving force: Mark Reinemann starts new career path after cancer bout
Written by

Deanne Schultz 

11:28 AM, Jul. 1, 2011
Editor's note: This was a Special Report print-exclusive story that ran Sunday and is now available to online readers.

Mark Reinemann opened Cruise Control Driving School, LLC, with a pretty straightforward goal – to show people how to become safe, defensive drivers, teaching them skills they can take on the road for years to come.

During his first class, Reinemann filled the whiteboard with diagrams of traffic patterns, explaining the process the students will go through once they take the wheel.

"My goal is to get you to be safe, safe drivers," he told them. "I'll be teaching you to scan, identify problems, predict what problems may arise, decide what to do, and execute. That whole theme will be carried on through your training."

Things took a more serious note when 
Reinemann showed a DVD of some of the hazards teen drivers face, including how inattentive driving plays a role in increased crash rates. The class as silent during the movie, but Reinemann didn't let things stay that way for long — his goal is to make class and behind-the-wheel fun and informative, teaching students skills they can take with them for the rest of their lives, something Jessica Moyer can attest to. "Thanks to Cruise Control, I'm having fun in the classroom while learning to drive safe and responsibly," Moyer said. "Mark … puts a lot of work into the lessons to make class interesting."

Reinemann's career started 25 years earlier, and the only thing it had in common with a driving school was the company car McDonald's gave him, a car he used to drive thousands of miles back and forth between the north and south side restaurants he managed in Sheboygan. His teams earned him awards as he logged in some pretty long workweeks.

"I loved my crew and my customers," Reinemann said, "and truth be told, I had it very nice —seven weeks (of) vacation, a new company car every other year, a very nice salary, but they expected a lot. I was in $3 million restaurants, and they wanted a 5 percent increase on top of that. There was a lot, a lot of stress." Reinemann also found time to serve as a volunteer baseball coach at Sheboygan South High School, work he enjoyed. 
Then in February 2009, Reinemann's appendix ruptured; within it lurked a tumor. His kidneys started failing, and doctors at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee started him on a regimen of immunosuppressants and cyclophosphamide. Four months into the treatment, he submitted a urine sample to have his body's protein loss measured, and that same evening, the doctor from Froedtert called.
"He said 'when, not if, you start passing blood, get yourself to the emergency room because you only have hours to live,'" Reinemann recalled. Thankfully, that didn't happen, but more was just around the corner.

A CT scan in February 2010, showed abnormalities in his abdomen, and doctors diagnosed pseudomyxoma peritonei, a rare tumor characterized by extensive mucus accumulation within the abdomen and pelvis.
"The microorganisms from the tumor started to grow on the outside of my internal organs. That wasn't good," Reinemann said. "The tumor gets sticky on the outside of your organs. Once it hardens, you're in trouble because it cuts off the blood flow to your major organs."

Not one to sit back, Reinemann began his own regimen, daily bike rides of 15 miles to strengthen his cardiovascular system and bulk up for what he knew was coming.

One of the people who helped Reinemann through the ordeal was the Rev. Jim Hollister, senior minister of First Congregational Church, UCC, in Sheboygan. The pair biked together and Hollister held a "laying on of hands" during one worship service. "Mark's body was very weak for a while, but his spirit was strong," Hollister said. "His eyes lit up with life and joy during these preparations … prior to what he called his 'mother of all surgeries.'"
Reinemann and his family flew to see Dr. Armando Sardi, director of the Institute for Cancer Care at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, arriving, surprisingly enough, with "a sense of peace. I didn't fear death," he said.

There, on June 15, 2010, he underwent a 10-hour surgery performed by three surgeons who "had to scrape, cut, laser, burn, whatever they could to get the tumor off," Reinemann said. "I had hot chemo injected in me and I was swished around like a washing machine for 90 minutes to hopefully kill all the microorganisms." The surgery realigned his digestive system, removing his appendix, spleen, gall bladder, half of his left kidney, a foot of colon, umbilical cord and omentum, basically leaving him with an internal structure that would hopefully be unable to harbor microorganisms.

"My body may have been failing, but my spirit and mind were getting sharper and sharper," Reinemann said, pausing as tears filled his eyes. "I had such support from family and friends." Scott and Barb Stangel, members of the softball team sponsored by First Congregational Church, UCC, organized a fundraiser for Reinemann.

Scott Stangel said at the time of the game, "Mark was in Baltimore recovering. We were able to Skype him from the park and all his church teammates were able to talk to him. It truly was a great night."

During all this, Reinemann had plenty of time to contemplate his future. Going back to McDonald's would have been easy, but something else nagged at him.

"This had to have some meaning," he said of his medical ordeal. "Why did it happen?"

Hollister said he and Reinemann "had some good talks about his career options … He prayerfully considered many options, including returning to work at McDonald's."

Reinemann, 51, who won awards for leadership at McDonald's, had long enjoyed working with youth, and had a sense that he needed to find a new career dedicated to helping others.

"This may sound weird, but I woke from a dream and it was in my head," Reinemann said of the idea to create a driving school dedicated to teaching "kids to become safe, defensive drivers, something they can utilize their whole lives."

Working with the Division of Vocational 
Rehabilitation, Reinemann submitted a business plan for Cruise Control Driving School, and was awarded funding. This past January, he took classes at Advanced Driver Training in Green Bay, becoming licensed and certified by the Department of Transportation.

McDonald's wasn't forgotten, though — Reinemann incorporated philosophies from his quarter-century of employment there into his new venture.

"I'm focusing on service. At McDonald's, it's giving quality service, cleanliness, and quality of food," he said. "Here, it's going to be 'are the kids catching on? Am I relating to them, reaching them? One of Ray Kroc's sayings is 'none of us is as good as all of us,'" noting that he's applying that team concept to Cruise Control, including the parents as part of the driving team.

"The parent is key to the child driving safely," Reinemann said. "They're the first instructor."
Cruise Control Driving School
» Owner/licensed instructor: Mark Reinemann
» Address: 1534 Ohio Ave., Sheboygan
» Phone: 920-803-2553
» Website:
» Email:
» Cruise Control Driving School also provides driving instruction to adults 18 and over who have their temporary license and are preparing to take the road test.