Mike Semler was an outgoing and talented businessman, say colleagues and friends. He could have gone anywhere, but he chose to stay in Wichita and get deeply involved in civic life.
Mr. Semler, who helped run the Royal Caribbean cruise line contact center in Wichita for 13 years, died suddenly over the weekend.
He was found alone at his west Wichita home, said Wichita Police Lt. Doug Nolte. No foul play is suspected, although an investigation in such situations is routinely conducted.
His death was a blow to colleagues. The company was offering grief counseling Tuesday to anyone who wished to share their feelings and stories about him, said Rita Stolze who, as director of Royal Caribbean Trade Support and Service, split management responsibilities with Mr. Semler. Mr. Semler managed the Celebrity support division for Royal Caribbean.
We are more aware today than ever just how friendly and easy-going and approachable he was to all of the employees here, she said. There were a lot of great stories being told about him. One of the agents talked about what a really cool guy he was. He always made people laugh. He was always available and had a open door.
Mr. Semler was from Texas and worked 15 years for American Airlines. When the division in which he worked was sold by the company, he decided to take a year off and travel. But then he got a call from Royal Caribbean.
He was in Wichita two weeks later to help run its brand-new Wichita contact center.
He helped develop the center as a key part of Royal Caribbeans ability to handle the needs of its rapidly growing guest base. Today, the center has more than 400 employees handling almost 4 million calls per year.
Mr. Semler became the cheerful face of Royal Caribbean in Wichita. He chaired or served on the board of the Kansas Chapter of the Make a Wish Foundation, United Way of the Plains, the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Community in Schools and Go Wichita Convention and Visitors Bureau.