By Larry Austin:

Professor Patrick Tutka from Niagara University visited the Island Ship Center team at Thanksgiving time and brought an inspiring message about the importance of authenticity and honesty.

Tutka is an assistant professor of sport management at Niagara, a graduate program coordinator at the school, and executive director of Niagara Power Baseball. In the last five years, Tutka has developed a business partnership with Seema and Fahim Mojawalla, owners of the Island Ship Center on Grand Island’s Whitehaven Road, that is based on core values of honesty, authenticity, and caring.

Check out the video at located on the Island Ship Center YouTube channel.

Professor Patrick Tutka Visits ISC

Tutka began his pep talk to the ISC team by saying how much he appreciated “the opportunity that Fahim has provided me with many times over.”

Tutka explained, “One of the things that I’ve always believed in, and I’ve believed in for a long time, is that people are put in your life for lots of reasons. Sometimes you don’t know what they are at the time.”

Tutka said he met Fahim five years ago through his wife’s job at the branch where Fahim does his banking, and the relationship grew as Fahim’s son, Yusuf, was looking at Niagara University for college.

“Fahim talks about integrity, talks about honesty, talks about being who you are and being real. I can’t stress that enough. To me, being real, and being who you are is, I think, the greatest gift you have,” Tutka said 

“But that’s also part of who he is and part of who they are, which is that they care so much about their customers, they care so much about their guests, they care so much about who they represent all the time that it has taken over their existence in many regards,” Tutka said of Seema and Fahim. “And when you believe in something so much that you own it 24/7/365, it’s not a job anymore. It really isn’t a job.”

For more about the philosophy of caring and service at the Island Ship Center, see last week’s blog post at

“The Niagara Power for me, it’s not a job,” Tutka explained. “I love it. It’s what I do for fun. It’s my passion. I love working with students. I love seeing students be successful. I love seeing growth. And I truly, truly love the opportunities that I get to know the community. I get to know the many business partners that we work with.”

Among the business partners of the Power is the Island Ship Center. An advance in customer service with the Niagara Power “doesn’t happen without the energy of people like Seema and Fahim and their willingness to support us these last couple years and do things,” Tutka said.

Tutka said these advances came even though Seema doesn’t know that much about baseball.

“I asked her to help me fill out a batting lineup card and some other things. She looked at me more than once, like, ‘Are you serious? Are you sure you really want me to do this?’” Tutka said. “We had some growth opportunities along the way.”


Tutka said “being real and knowing who you are and what you are” is part of “owning your authenticity every day.”

“You have two choices in life. There are two paths that diverge. In many regards, there’s a path of being authentic and being who you are and representing what you truly believe in, and there’s a path of what everybody else wants you to be. And oftentimes those two things really do not go together.”

Tutka described how he had to choose between diverging paths in his own life, one of which provided little financially in the short term but which stored treasures in authenticity. He chose the path to Louisiana for education rather than money, a path that took him “and went in a completely different direction because authentically I believed in what I was going after. And that goal was to go work in facility and event operations in sporting events.”

Tutka said he later turned down a job offer because his current job at Niagara allows him to “do things that are fun for me, like being involved with a baseball team, work with people like Fahim, and engage in those type of things that are authentic to who I am as a person.” He said his job at Niagara allows him “to care about students in a level that I wouldn’t get to care at a big university.”


Another important element of success for Tutka is honesty. “It’s not cool. You’re gonna get criticized all the time for it,” he warned the ISC team. “And some people get mad at you. You’ll lose friends, you’ll lose people, but the people who are real, they’ll handle it. The people who get you and understand you and care about you, they’ll appreciate it.”

“But being honest is really hard. You’ll find that out in life if you haven’t already. People don’t like honesty. They’d rather you sugarcoat everything and tell them what they want to hear instead of what actually needs to be said.

Honesty is part of the business relationship he has with the Island Ship Center, he said.

“We always are very honest with each other, and we’ve been very honest with each other from day one,” Tutka said. “I think those people who can handle it, those people who can respect you for telling them what they need to hear, not necessarily what they want to hear, are the people you want in your life.”

“Fahim will talk about that I helped him do ABCD,” Tutka said. “Fahim’s been equally important, if not more important to me, in talking about life, talking about pushing myself in ways that he doesn’t understand that he’s helped me push myself. And I truly am humbled and appreciative of the fact that he and Seema both have helped me immensely in my time here in this region, and I truly cannot thank them enough.”

Post By Larry Austin