August 30, 2007

A Lesson in Leadership

August 28, 2007 : Today Jay Mills, coach of the Charleston Southern University, dazzled us with a presentation that clearly demonstrated his ability to encourage his team members to be more than football players: to be outstanding citizens. He compared The Citadel, with its attention to military standards, and CSU, with its attention to moral leadership, noting that the two colleges have a friendly, meaningful, competitive rivalry.

Now in his fifth year at CSU, Coach Mills previously coached at Harvard, Notre Dame, Boise State, and the University of Minnesota Morris. He and his wife, Kimberly, are the parents of six children ages 10 to 23, and reside in Goose Creek.

Coach Mills enjoins his players to be the best, and to strive to be first, not just on the football field, but in life. He equates success with a faithfulness of purpose, and expects his players to commit to Christian principles. The mission of the football team is to apply the same goals to the game that they apply to their lives, stressing excellence, leadership, service, honor, and duty as lifetime benefits. The team can live with failure [not winning] if they can state clearly that they gave their very best. He says, "Have no regrets; do it right the first time without shortcuts."

His players are committed to family, society, academics, and yes, football. The total picture requires a personal relationship with God and the acceptance of responsibility and leadership.

It is readily apparent that every student who works with Coach Mills will be a winner in life, for he is coaching men, not simply a football team.

Reported by Fred Sales, Keyway Committee

August 24, 2007

Who or What is a Coroner?

August 21, 2007: Today Ms. Rae Wooten, the Charleston County Coroner, spoke to us and shared an insightful view of the Coroner's responsibilities; which is the "voice for those who are deceased." Ms. Wooten was appointed in August 2006 to fill the vacancy of Susan Chewning.

Her enlightening program allowed us to get a realistic perspective of how the Coroner's office operates in the "real" world. The Coroner in South Carolina is an elected official who investigates certain deaths to determine cause and manner of death and, most importantly, represents the decedent and family.

The Coroner provides direct service to the citizens of Charleston County and those who die here. They are charged with investigating violent, traumatic, suspicious, unexplained or unexpected death, as well as, those that occur outside of a hospital, nursing home, and without a doctor's care.

The Coroner is charged with determining the cause of death; whether it was a disease or injury. She and her staff also ascertain the manner of death, including the circumstances in which it occurred, to determine whether it was an accident, by their own hands, by another's hands, or if it is undetermined.

Two other key responsibilities of the Coroner's office is the identification of the deceased and the notification of the next of kin. Because of our beaches and a large number of people vacationing here, there are unique challenges of identification in many cases. According to Ms. Wooten, notification by a Coroner changes life forever for those individuals she goes to see. She feels strongly that this can be one of the greatest services she performs in that very difficult time.

Whether planning for future events or determining what occurred, the Coroner and her staff provide a great service, which many times goes unrecognized.

According to the law, the Coroner must also release a body for cremation. They are the final authority in this endeavor and work closely with area funeral homes.

In addition to service of the deceased, the Coroner has a significant responsibility in disaster planning. Her office takes a pro-active approach in determining what might happen in a disaster and works diligently in developing plans for her organization to respond in the best way.

Submitted by Wayne Outlaw, Keyway Committee

August 15, 2007

A Vision for Excellence

August 14, 2007 : Nancy McGinley certainly has a passion for public education. From her first words, we understood her to be a strong advocate for both teachers and students. Her opening statement: I still wake up every day in awe of the power of public education are the words of an individual who is a product of public education.

Our new Superintendent came to Charleston County School District (CCSD) in 2004 as the Chief Academic Officer and was the person most responsible for driving the work of the Charleston Plan for Excellence. Her appointment in May of 2007 received strong support from the business community, government leaders, and the employees of CCSD, who have come to know her.

Her brief program adeptly outlined her vision for the CCSD. She made an effort to convey to our audience that she was not willing to ask of others what she would not give herself. Because of her leadership, personnel at the District Offices will twice a month be volunteering their time as part of the Leaders as Readers program. In addition, the 60 Second Campaign wisely focuses school personnel on customer service. In this campaign, each and every visitor to the school is greeted and treated in a respectful manner. This initiative reinforces McGinley's statement regarding the fact that parents are the most influential teachers in a child's life. School districts need a sustained effort to make parents feel welcome and respected at their child's school.

Her rallying points such as "Victory is in the Classroom" and "Excellence is our Standard" are exciting to all of us. In her vision, student achievement is the end-goal of everyone at CCSD. From the bus drivers to the cafeteria workers, all are held accountable for student achievement. Within this vision, Dr. McGinley understands that the mindset of the teachers is of utmost importance.

Dr. McGinley strongly believes that if teachers are well taken care of, they will be diligent in educating our children. All teachers in CCSD now have comprehensive Curriculum Guides that took over three years to create. The Curriculum Guides focus on both the State and National Standards and were developed to prepare our students to fare well on State and Exit Exams.

The coming years will see several improvements to the education of children in Charleston County. Three new school choices were announced:

1. Low Country High-Tech High (2010 at Rivers Campus)
2. Math and Science Charter MS/ HS (2008)
3. Advanced Placement Academy at Burke (soon to come)

In addition, CCSD has achieved great milestones. The rate of teacher vacancy is at an all time low, school crime is down 27% for serious incidents, 70% of every dollar spent goes directly to student instruction, and they currently project spending over $400M on new schools over the next several years.

In closing, Dr. McGinley reminded us that, of the 44,000 students that Charleston County serves, over 20,000 children live at (or near) poverty level. This presents an enormous challenge to the school district, the business community, and our area as a whole. We should all be doing our part to help these children receive the education that they deserve.

Submitted by Angie Johnson, Keyway Committee

August 10, 2007

"Where Smart is Fun!"

August 7, 2007: Where do smart and fun meet? At the South Carolina Governor's School for Science and Mathematics (GSSM), in Hartsville, SC! Our club was honored to host Kim Bowman last week, who is the executive director of the school. Ms. Bowman is rightly proud of the school, located in the Pee-Dee region of our state. She is the mother of three children, originally from West Virginia, and has an impressive background serving schools in our state.

The GSSM, not to be confused with the other Governor's schools in our state, has many ties with the Lowcountry area: of the 33 board members on the GSSM, 3 hail from the Charleston area; the chairman is Ray Greenberg, from MUSC; there are donors from the Charleston area; 40 alumni live and work here; 10 GSSM students lived at MUSC last summer to perform research; and 7 out of 128 GSSM students are from the Lowcountry.

The school is composed of an even ratio of females to males, and juniors and seniors. Although only 128 students may enroll at the school currently, it has plans to expand to house 300 students sometime near 2010! Currently the average spent on a student at the GSSM is $25,000 per year, compared to about $8-10,000 per child in a public school. The students at GSSM are asked to contribute $1,125 each semester to help defray the tuition. The faculty to student ratio is 1/10. An amazing 80% of the faculty members have PhD's and 100% of the faculty members have Master's degrees. Many faculty members were professors of higher education at one time.

The students at GSSM have the opportunity to learn in a very special environment at their school. While an amazing 82% of the students play a varsity sport, they are all gifted mentally. The average SAT score on the 1600 scale is 1365. They are challenged with hands-on research projects, such as the ones that some of the students worked on when they stayed at MUSC. The students have the chance to work with adults and learn research techniques specific to their fields of interest.

Ms. Bowman's presentation was enlightening to those who were not aware of the amazing resource right in our state. The GSSM is the first stepping stone in the lives of brilliant researchers, scientists, mathematicians, and doctors. We are delighted that many of these students chose to return to South Carolina to continue the cycle.

Submitted by Jacqueline Grau, Keyway Committee

August 3, 2007

South Carolina's Emerging Aeronautical Industry

July 31st, 2007: Rotarians received an update on the progress of the entities involved in the Aeronautical Manufacturing Operations in North Charleston by Charles J. Jenkins, the 787 Division HR Director for Vought Aircraft Industries, which is headquartered in Dallas, TX. Jenkins is extremely knowledgeable about its operations, as he is responsible for supporting sites in Charleston, Dallas, and Washington. The 90-year-old company is owned by the Carlyle Group. It has been involved with Boeing since 1966 when it assisted in the production of the 747.

The North Charleston location is primarily focused on the design and building of Sections 47 and 48, which are the aft fuselage Sections for the Boeing 787-8. Global Aeronautical, a joint venture between Vought and Alenia, is headquartered here and has systems and assembly responsibility for fuselage sections delivered globally. The progress of construction, production, and results of the venture are nothing short of phenomenal. It was not until March 2004 that the site was selected and the facilities completed in record time. Additional construction continues even today as the facility currently grows and expands. It employs 190 people. That number is predicted to grow to about 240 by year-end and 450 or more by the end of 2011.

Jenkins explained that the facility is not only "state of the art" manufacturing, but it also constructs the most advanced commercial aircraft with much of its capabilities drawn from stealth technology that we see in our military aircraft. The advanced design of the aircraft will not only help it operate more efficiently, but will also help put pleasure back into air travel by offering more head room, larger windows, and very importantly, better seating options (wider seats and aisles). It provides its passenger a quieter flight and even has less noise for those in areas it flies over.

According to Jenkins, on July 8th the employees of the North Charleston facility joined with other employees worldwide to celebrate the Premier of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The choice of 7/8/07 was a very apt date for celebration.

The birth and growth of the Aeronautical Industry in the area has brought with it many "firsts". Vought uses the world's largest autoclave as well as the world's largest cargo loader, which moves the fuselage sections in the manufacturing facility and especially to the Boeing Dreamlifter, which is a 747 customized for the unique job of transporting the Sections.

The prospects for Vought and its partners are very bright, because the current metal-bodied planes we now ride in will be replaced by carbon-fiber aircraft in the future. The Charleston work force is uniquely positioned to provide the labor and expertise to enable Boeing, and its partner that produce aerostructures, to continue to expand the Dreamliner 787 Series. With Boeing's strategic decision to become an aircraft designer and assembler, rather than a manufacturer, has resulted in an excellent opportunity for jobs and a solid presence in the aerospace industry in South Carolina. The Charleston area should play an increasing role in the building of the Dream.

Submitted by Wayne Outlaw, Keyway Committee