September 27, 2012

Clemson Restoration Institute

September 25, 2012:  Our speaker was Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, Director of Business Development, for the Clemson University Restoration Institute.  She is in charge of the construction of a 140 million dollar facility which will evolve from a former structure at the old Navy Base. The institute will encourage entrepreneurs to move from design to reality in two top areas of international concern: ENERGY and WATER.  These are the two chief elements of concern in a world faced with population, business and economic growth.

Clemson University was the first Land Grant University in SC. Such universities are the product of the Federal Morrill Act of 1862 and 1890 which granted federally controlled land to the states to develop colleges which focused on agriculture, science and engineering. Clemson established its first extension office in 1901 in Summerville.

Since its establishment in 2009 the institute has focused on addressing the needs of industry in the areas of WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT, APPLIED RESEARCH, and THE EDUCATION OF WORKING PROFESSIONALS.  Clemson University is ranked 23rd in public universities and has 19,000 students and a faculty and staff of 5000. It offers 70 undergraduate degrees and 100 graduate degrees.

The new center is located on 27 acres that have land, railroad, and sea access including a deep port docking area.  The advisory board consists of representatives from 14 major corporations.  The building when completed will contain over 80,000 square feet of area for applied research, testing, and development. A recent addition is the Zucker Family Graduate Education Center which includes the Low Country Engineering Center, an Innovative Center, will offer advanced engineering degrees and conduct applied research.

With over $140,000,000 invested in the Lowcountry since 2010, Clemson University is a net contributor to the economy of the state of South Carolina.

Reported by Fred Sales, Keyway Committee
September 18, 2012 --  Fred Green introduced the club to the SC Bankers Association (SCBA), its mission, advocacy endeavors, training, and other issues the trade association is working on in the state.  He stated that the association represents over 80 institutions in South Carolina and that all but a handful of the banks in our state are members of SCBA.
The main item discussed by Mr. Green was a summary of the affects of the economic downturn and status of banks in the improving economy, both from a national and state-wide perspective.  Nationally, as the economy has been on the upswing, banks are increasingly seeing less turmoil and their holdings are improving.  Most large banking institutions have had positive growth in 2012 and while not back to pre-recession levels, many are seeing profits.  Statewide institution’s health, for the most part, mirror those of the large national banks.  In SC, the SCBA is seeing banks with significantly less “risky” holdings and are lending is improving as a result.
Mr. Green stated that banks in SC are historically tied closely to the communities they are in.  Where you see a successful community, you typically see successful banks.  Banks in our state are historically very active in supporting community causes. With the improving economy, we will see banks continuing to be active in their community, both from an underwriting and participatory perspective.  The SCBA represents all types of banks, both large national banks and small, one branch banks.  He is glad to report many are in good financial health.  While bank closures are still happening nationally and in SC, the SCBA is seeing a much less tumultuous environment in the banking industry.  Much of this, according to Mr. Green, is a direct result of their liquidating risky loans.
Questions from our membership included an inquiry on the status of foreclosures and if they will remain “on books” until the Presidential election, and why banks do not offer lower interest “pay day” type loans.  Mr. Green stated that he did not think banks were “holding” foreclosures until after the election, but agreed that the foreclosure issue remains a concern.  He also stated that pay-day loans are extremely risky and that he does not see banks getting into this market.  Most banks don’t want to take on ownership of automobile titles, etc
Submitted by Steve Coe, Keyway Committee

September 11, 2012 --  Due to the nature of the date, it was a special day and it seemed appropriate to have Charleston’s newest and first female, Fire Department Chief, Karen Brack, as our speaker.  Chief Brack was accompanied by several of her staff as well as her color guard.  Chief Brack most recently served in Eugene, Oregon from 2007-2012, but she quickly pointed out that she was from the South and was glad to be back where we all talk like she does.  She was originally from Savannah and Jacksonville and served Atlanta’s Fulton County Fire Department before her time in Oregon.  She took a few moments to talk about 9/11 and what it means to firefighters.  She noted that she’s always impressed by the community’s desire to respond in times of such crisis and pointed out that a 3 day boot drive in Fulton County resulted in $500,000 dollars raised.  She had done her homework on Rotary and was envious of our ‘Service Above Self’ motto.  While not exactly the motto of the fire department, it certainly seems that it’s in the heart of all firefighters.

Chief Brack explained that she was recently surprised to discover that many people are not aware of all the responsibilities of a fire department.  She spent most of her discussion explaining these responsibilities and the role a fire department plays in its’ community.  First, she noted that 70-80% of the call volume for a fire department is emergency medical calls.  This is due to the fire department’s ability to usually arrive first on the scene.  Chief Brack was very proud that Charleston’s fire department has had 5 cardiac saves in the past year.  Secondly, she noted that the special HAZMAT and USAR teams are other important responsibilities of the fire department.  The HAZMAT team is responsible for identifying and dealing with hazardous materials while the USAR team is responsible for urban search and rescue.  Chief Brack noted a new role for Charleston’s Fire Department will begin in October when they receive their new Fire Boat.  Lastly, she reminded us of the department’s importance in Community Risk Reduction through their issuance of event and fireworks permits and building inspections.  A question by a member later pointed out that responding to downtown Charleston flooding is also a fire department responsibility.  Chief Brack was quite serious when she noted that 3 jon boats will be deployed next time such flooding occurs downtown.   She is proud of the equipment that the department currently owns and is pleased to be receiving, in addition to the new Fire Boat, a new HAZMAT truck and a new Tiller (advanced ladder) truck.

She is quite proud of her new staff as well and especially of the department’s mechanic that maintains the equipment.  Chief Brack noted that Charleston’s firefighters train rigorously for 26 weeks before achieving their Firefighter 1 and Firefighter 2 certifications.  They graduate with the bookwork for an EMT certification as well.         
She also took a moment to talk about the new Automatic Aid Agreement that was put in place post 9/11.  This allows all of the government departments and agencies to communicate and respond in a more efficient way.  The closest, most appropriate unit is the first to respond regardless of jurisdictional boundaries.  Chief Karen finished by saying that she loves her job and it is an honor to serve.                                 
Reported by Doug Holmes, Keyway Committee    

On Tuesday, September 4, 2012 we had the pleasure of having our District Governor, Ed Duryea, as the guest speaker. District Governor Duryea has been a Rotary member for over 37 years.  He joined the club in March 1975 under the recommendation of Mr. George Forsyth. He is a ten star Rotarian and a member of the Paul Harris Society. He continues to live in Beaufort with his wife of 38 years, Cindy Duryea.

Mr. Duryea gave an inspirational speech and explained why he chose “Peace through Service” as the district’s theme for 2012-2013. He stated that he had made a pledge to himself at a very early age that he did not want to live life with regrets or reach the final stages of life without accomplishing his goals. He said he made this decision after visiting his grandmother in a nursing home. He said he saw many patients that were in their final stages of life. Many were sick and had not had the opportunity to accomplish their dreams.

Mr. Duryea went on to tell 3 more amazing stories about how the Rotary Club has played a significant part in helping him find peace through service.  He stated because he constantly worked on a Rotary committee, performing service projects, or volunteering at a local charity or school, the club became his 2nd family.  Rotary had been there for him during a time when he and his 8-year old son Hunley were in a terrible boating accident on July 4, 1990.  The boat capsized and Hunley’s face was severely injured by the blade on the boat’s motor.  He had to be rush to MUSC for extensive surgery. While waiting in the emergency room, Mr. Duryea said he did not know if his son was going to live or die. During his son’s hospital stay,  Mr. Duryea’s Rotary family was there with him, providing resources and support and gave him a sense of peace in his spirit.

Then he fast forwarded to 2009 when he was able to go on a Rotary mission to Nigeria to provide vaccinations for the polio virus. He said what he witnessed when he got there was remarkable. He saw first-hand how Rotary was changing the world. In Nigeria, Rotary has built bathrooms for local schools, built wells so local villages can have clean water, and provided vaccinations to decrease the spread of the polio virus.
District Governor Duryea completed his speech by asking the audience:  Would you like to have peace in your life?
Then he left everyone with the following charge:
Expand your Rotary Family
Participate in the Rotary (Don’t be a Rhino)
Continue to support the Foundation
Attend the District Conferences
Always keep the 4-way test on top of your mind
Reported by Katie McCravy, Keyway Committee          

August 28, 2012 --  Due to unexpected heavy rains and flooding in downtown Charleston caused by the outer bands of Hurricane Isaac, we were unable to hold an official Rotary meeting. Those who braved the conditions and were in attendance enjoyed a nice lunch with fellow Rotarians and will receive a “free” make-up credit for attending. 

August 21, 2012 --  Our speaker was David Schools, President of the Piggly Wiggly Carolina Co, a retail food store chain with over 100 stores and 6000 employees. Piggly Wiggly Carolina Company was founded by Joseph T. Newton Jr. Originally based in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, Joe Newton and his son-in-law Burt Schools, moved the main warehouse to North Charleston, SC in 1959. In the decade after, he bought out Piggly Wiggly Carolina (based in Columbia, SC), and merged the two companies as Piggly Wiggly Carolina Co. In 1958, Joe Newton’s son-in-law, Burt Schools, joined the business, and in 1962, Joe’s son, Joseph T. “Buzzy” Newton, III, also joined the business.

In April 2007, after 45 years with Piggly Wiggly, Buzzy Newton retired as president and became chairman of the board. Upon Newton’s retirement, David R. Schools, Burt Schools’ son and Buzzy Newton’s nephew, was named President of Piggly Wiggly Carolina Company.

Today the company is 100% owned by the employees a venture which took place between 1986 and 2006. With a slogan “Local Since Forever,” the company focuses on service and partnerships with local businesses be it insurance brokers or local farmers. An example of local support has been the purchase of eggs from Mepkin Abbey, which later became a mushroom supplier. The retail food industry today faces increasing competition: drug stores, convenience stores, national and international companies. The “PIG” thus focuses on service and local support. The company purchased the initial building for the Charleston Crisis Ministry and leased it for $1.00 per year. It continues to be a mainstay support of local charities including schools, churches and the Charleston Symphony.

The company continually surveys its customers in order to determine what items to add or drop and for every addition requires a matching drop of something else. They also encourage local farmers to grow what is locally needed. At the end of his talk, Mr. Schools received a record number of statements of thanks from the members of the club for all that Piggly Wiggly does for and means to Charleston.

Reported by Fred Sales, Keyway Committee  


August 20, 2012


August 14, 2012 --  Passion, character and toughness, those are the three principles that Coach Doug Wojick aims to instill in his players. “It takes a lot of passion. It is hard to do what these students athletes do. You have to have passion. While a lot of my players want to be NBA players, there is nothing wrong with simply being a college basketball player,” said Wojick. “Mentally and physically you have to be tough. You have to be able to balance being an athlete and a student.”

Of all three principles, Wojick values character the most. “It is difficult to recruit an athlete with leadership and character, and it is not an exact science,” said Wojick. “I am a CEO of a small corporation, but my employees are 18-20 years old.  I sleep with my cell phone by my bed.” He said that his players will go to class, graduate and above all, they will have character.

Wojick was joined at the meeting by his wife of 14 years, Lael. They have two sons, Paxson (11) and Denham (9). Wojick said that he and his family feel very comfortable in Charleston and have acclimated well. His sponsor family from his days at the Naval Academy lives in Mount Pleasant, and Coach Chuck Driesell of the The Citadel is one of his best friends. Wojick told the group that no one asks if you like it here in Charleston, as they have done in other places where he has lived. Instead people say, “Welcome to Charleston.  We do not care if you like it here.” Wojick loves Charleston because the history and diversity allow him to recruit players from all over the country. 

Wojick discussed his vision for the Cougars this season and reported that he took the team to Toronto on a foreign exhibition tour last weekend, which the NCAA allows basketball teams to do every four years. He wants his team to play team basketball. “Offensively, I would like for us to play very fast, and I am going to demand rebounds. I want a penetrating defense and I want us at the free throw line,” he said. As of now, he is eight to nine players deep, but hopes to be ten deep. One of the biggest challenges he is facing as a Division I college basketball coach is keeping players on the team. There are 400 players in Division I basketball and 345 Division I teams. “If players are not getting what they want, they transfer,” said Wojick.“I am going to hold my players to their goals,” he said.  “If they want to go pro, they will have to play like pros. I want us to get a large bid to the NCAA Tournament this year.” Out of the 345 Division I teams, only 64 make it to the tournament. With Wojick at the helm, the odds for the College of Charleston Cougars are good. 

Reported by Abby Saunders, Keyway Committee
BMW—Committed to South Carolina

August 7, 2012 -- Max Metcalf, BMW’s Manager for Government and Community Relations, was our speaker.  He started out his presentation stating that the Greenville, SC production plant will soon be launching a new X5 series SUV and said it currently is a Top Secret Project.  Mr. Metcalf would not announce the exact date or any design details, but stated that BMW is committed to South Carolina’s future and was honored to speak to our club.

Mr. Metcalf presented a history of the development of the upstate plant from its inception in the late 1990’s to present.  He said BMW researched the US market and had several reasons for expanding production to the US.  He also explained the main reasons BMW chose South Carolina as its only US production site.

· Established infrastructure

· Access to 3 airports

· Global access with Charleston Port

· Interstate system able to get parts to facility

· Qualified manufacturing workforce…pride in building product

· Centralized location for logistics

· Pro-business attitude in SC

· Technical education system with high willingness to teach methods used in Germany

Currently, the plant employs 7,200 employees on site.  In 2013, they are opening a new assembly line and expect the total number of employees to increase to nearly 8,000.  Mr. Metcalf gave several important statistics regarding BMW’s impact on the SC economy. 

In January 2012, the 2 millionth SC-made BMW rolled off the assembly line.  Currently nearly 70% of BMWs made in Greenville are exported to 130 markets.  The plant is now 4 million square feet and approximately ½ million square feet of office space. 

With the new assembly line in 2013, they plan to invest an additional $900 million into their facility in the next 2 years.  2011 was a record year for the X3 with 276,065 units built.  Presently, 1,100 cars are made a day while working 6 days a week. Charleston plays an important part in BMWs success in South Carolina.  Anywhere from 600-800 cars are shipped out of the Port of Charleston each day.  Each car produced is already paid for by the consumer or the dealership.  192,000 vehicles are exported from SC each year.
Their plant is a state-of-the-art facility with three main areas of production including a Body shop, Paint shop, and Assembly shop.  They are committed to sustainability in all aspects of production, employing aspects such as hydrogen fuel cells, recycling methane gas from a local land fill which cuts 50% of energy usage, solar power arrays, and a new paint process that uses water based propellants dropping the emissions output.  While they are proud of the efforts thus far, they continue to strive toward a zero landfill waste strategy for all aspects of the plant.
BMW supports South Carolina in many ways and helps provide funds for cultural and artistic efforts.  Their Zentrum museum is often made available to non-profit organizations in Greenville for special events.  Over the years they have invested over $1 million toward Spoleto and Piccolo Spoleto in Charleston.

Reported by Steve Coe, Keyway Committee
Orangeburg - Economic Aid to Charleston

JULY 31, 2012 -- Gregg Robinson was introduced as our speaker by Rotarian Willis Cantey.  Mr. Robinson is the Executive Director of the Orangeburg County Development Commission.  Mr. Robinson immediately stepped down from the podium and out into the audience.  His presentation was focused on Orangeburg’s vision to be an economic aid to Charleston and Columbia.  

He noted that Orangeburg’s location between the two cities and its proximity to the intersection of I-95 and I-26 give it great potential to be such an economic aid in logistics.  Mr. Robinson made us aware of SC’s Global Logistics Triangle.  This is a large triangular shaped piece of land bounded by I-95, I-26 and Hwy 301 near Orangeburg, which is served by 7 industrial parks and 2 of South Carolina’s 5 certified Mega Sites.  In general, Mega Sites are served by modern utilities and have easy access to high-volume roads, rail and port infrastructure. Other important features included being as close to shovel-ready as possible and having a large enough supply of high-quality workers to serve the new facility and the key suppliers who will also likely move into the Mega Site. Orangeburg’s proximity to the rail lines of CSX and Norfolk Southern helped the county secure these certifications.  Orangeburg County has also been successful in achieving approval for a new I-95 exit at Santee.  

The audience was provided with numerous statistics in support of Orangeburg’s argument that it remains a valuable logistical player in Charleston’s future economic growth.  Orangeburg County is already host to 11 international companies with 4000 jobs and $900M in new capital development.  While the city of Orangeburg only has a population of 15,275 and Orangeburg County’s population is only 95,152, a population of 214,404 lies within a 30 mile radius of Orangeburg.  Orangeburg has 4 college/universities which include SC State University, Claflin, Southern Methodist and Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College...                                        

Of course, USC is only 40 miles away and Charleston Southern is only 60 miles from Orangeburg.   In summation, Mr. Robinson noted that Orangeburg County has great quality of life, excellent leadership, infrastructure for growth, a positive mindset and vision.  These valuable attributes, position Orangeburg County a key asset to Charleston.

Reported by Doug Holmes, Keyway Committee


JULY 24, 2012 -- It’s all about healthy irreverence and the big idea “But first, this just in…” THE CHARLESTON RIVERDOGS ARE TIED FOR 1st PLACE!

Our own RiverDogs president, Mike Veeck, was introduced to the Rotary Club of Charleston by member Dave Echols, GM of the RiverDogs. And in his easy, comfortable, gesticulating style at the podium, Mike wasted not a second engaging the audience with his quick wit and rapier intellect. On more than one occasion he warned, “Glad you got that one…”

For Mike, success in life is all about a few deceptively simple rules and concepts, but creativity and integrity rule tops in his book.

He walked us through a funny, but poignant short history of life in his home of 9 (“Afterall, Mom and Pop fielded a baseball team.”), where his father instilled in the future sports and entertainment promoter the “Rule of I.” Integrity, Imagination and Incongruity equal Innovation and Income. In other words, push the limits of creativity, within ethical bounds and leverage counterintuitive opportunities to be memorable and relevant.

He shared a big idea with the club that will engage a partnership between the RiverDogs, other baseball enterprises and 12 Navy Carriers to promote a Homerun Hitting Contest off the ships. Why? To benefit veterans and draw attention to their ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. “We should never get off our knees for these special folks,” Veeck genuinely implored of the lunch crowd, saluting the incalculable value our military veterans and active duty personnel provide our livelihoods.

“Ideas matter more today than ever before,” he told the rapt audience. “Ideas are the substance of all we do.” And in business, “service drives the experience, which drives the memories.”

As is his signature style, he masterfully, and unpredictably, syncopates the hilarious and absurd with unexpected, pithy, emotionally touching vignettes that are inevitably stirring and thought-provoking.

“There is also the Rule of O don’t forget,” he added. “Objectives, Obstacles and Outcomes. And always, Overdeliver.” He reminded us the value of “overdelivering” to win the loyalty of your audience. “Life has a way for forcing you to reset your priorities,” he said in context of a story of a dear cousin suffering from lung cancer who, when Mike observed his plight, reminded Mike without saying so that “there are problems, and there are problems.”

In closing, he noted that “Good ends with a D, which is for ‘Differentiate’ yourselves.” 
Mike Veeck is a keen example of living a life of Service Above Self…and then some. Go RiverDogs and Yankees!
Reported by Mark Danes, Keyway Committee

August 19, 2012

A Gambler in Our Midst…Cool Hand Nate

JULY 17, 2012 -- Last week, our club was privileged to hear about the entrepreneurial insights and successes of PeopleMatter president and CEO, Nate DaPore.

Nate captured the interest of the lunchtime crowd at the outset of his remarks by telling us of his early skills in innovation. While in college, he helped raise funds for a project by running a small casino that helped his organization realize its financial goals with positive cashflow “ahead of expectations.”

As the magnetic leader of PeopleMatter, Nate is passionate about changing the way employers and employees interact in the workplace, and making it better. He is driven to provide team members, including his own, with a rewarding workplace experience that values creativity. “I encourage everyone here who is responsible for running a business to toss your vacation policies in the trash; we don’t have one.” His management style breeds loyalty, friendship, adventure, innovation and operational and financial success.

How did he get here?

Nate’s family moved here from Ohio when he was young. He attended Mason Prep, Bishop England, and for college Hampden-Sydney in Virginia. He was successful in each of his career posts starting as a high performing producer at SaaS (Software as a Service). After a stint in Germany, he found his way to Benefitfocus (Mt. Pleasant), where he helped the company  in its infancy realize exponential growth. He then took a break, and during a Carribbean hiatus, he reflected on career directions and realized that he could offer important staff management solutions for high turnover industries. In particular, he saw the niche to provide talent management software to serve four distinct industries:  restaurants, hospitality, convenience stores and retailers.

With an extraordinary track record in sales, operations and marketing leadership in the human resources and benefits software space, Nate is proud of his ability to persist in surrounding himself with the finest talent despite the encouragement of others to “give it up.”

In addition to creating a company that industry analyst firm Brandon-Hall touted as “The only life cycle management solution out there for the service industry,” Nate was recently recognized as the 2011 “Top Up-and-Coming Entrepreneur” by TiE Atlanta—the southeast chapter of the world’s largest non-profit organization for entrepreneurs. Nate is an avid offshore fisherman, private pilot, a member of Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) and a board member for the Charleston Digital Corridor Foundation.

What’s Next for Silicon Harbor?

Nate is bullish on the greater Charleston region’s economic development and education opportunities. As one who has helped fuel the growth of our “Digital Corridor,” he proudly refers to our region as “Silicon Harbor.”  Crediting the joint forces of CRDA, the mayor’s office, SCRA, regional colleges and universities, and all of the efforts of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, Nate underscored our ability to spur international appreciation for Charleston as a preferred destination for businesses and individuals. “But, we must invest in computer science programs at our colleges in the state,” he added

As a tangible display of his workplace philosophy, commitment and creativity, Nate’s company will move in December from North Charleston to newly renovated, expansive space on north King Street. The architecture and design will be eye-catching and inspirational. That move will bring nearly 300 people (or “team members” as he always refers to his company colleagues) to downtown. Clear evidence of his commitment to stimulate the economy and the neighborhood and to bring creativity and innovation to life.  A perfect example of “Service Above Self.”

Nate lives by three simple rules:

1. Get involved. Find something that interests you in society and pursue it. Help others.

2.  Surround yourself with smarter people than yourself.

3.   Persevere to overcome obstacles.

As proof to that latter, Nate reported that despite early cynicism and resistance, PeopleMatter has raised nearly $30 million in several venture capital rounds.

“I’m excited about the future of Charleston and the future of our industry. I am proud to help demonstrate how technology can help mankind be more efficient, productive and creative.”

Blackjack anyone?                                               

Submitted by Mark Danes, Keyway Commi


JULY 10, 2012 -- Our speaker today was Bill Hawkins, Editor of the Post and Courier of Charleston.  Bill joined the paper in 2005 and ultimately replaced retiring Editor and Rotarian, Larry Tarleton. A native of Pennsylvania, he received his degree from Cornell University.  While newspapers in general are struggling, the P&C is in much better shape due to no major competitor and no union contracts. While the paper lost some big advertisers like Circuit City, its mainstay continues to be small businesses.

The entry of the digital world has affected all newspapers but the P&C has retooled to present a lean but effective on line source of information. It is now charging a fee for non- newsprint subscribers and has increased its sales force to provide the best on line information possible.

It recognizes that many people use Facebook, but research is showing that advertisers are not gaining sales from space on Facebook and some huge corporations like General Motors have dropped advertising space. It is apparent that print news is still of great interest to people; it is lasting, can be read again “tomorrow,” and people literally spend more time with their newspapers. One fourth of the 18 to 24 year old group regularly read a daily paper and within the next few years a huge influx of the baby boomer generation will retire and control 70% of the disposable income. And they read the paper!

Over the past several years the Post and Courier has shown leadership in such investigative stories as the Sofa Store Fire, the Hurricane Insurance Costs, the national award to the Wentworth Inn and more is “in the works.”

Warren Buffet just purchased 70 small newspapers recognizing that people want local hometown news, which can best be provided by their daily paper.

Asked what stories will be “front page” in the months ahead, he noted:  The Economy; The Port; The Cruise Lines; Education. On Super Bowl Sunday, more people read the Sunday paper than watched the game!

Submitted by Fred Sales, Keyway Committee

Presidential/Board Transition Meeting

JUNE 26, 2012 -- During Tuesday’s lunch meeting, Rotary President Patterson Smith passes the gavel to incoming 2012-2013 President, Tom Clymer. The District Governor was on hand to induct the incoming President and the new board officers. Tom Clymer announced the theme for the upcoming year as “Service Above Self!”

The event marked an end to a year that was filled with immense dedication and service throughout the community and abroad. The club provided several grants to local organizations, provided free tennis lessons to 22 deserving students, participated in Adopt-A-Highway, provided college scholarships to local high school graduates, and participated in the district’s Water Mission Project.

Patterson Smith ended an extraordinary year by announcing he will be making a personal contribution to the Water Mission project in honor of all the Rotarians who assisted him during his year as President.                                       

Submitted by Katie McCravy, Keyway Committee

The Reasonable Radical says, “Put down that Big Mac!”

JUNE 19, 2012 -- As our club’s guest on Tuesday, June 19, Dr. Greg Cooper, the former owner of the Cooper Spinal Institute and member of the 1992 Olympic medical staff, shared insightful experience regarding the health and wellness of American citizens.

Emphasizing the simple and important health management message we all hear several times a day, Dr. Cooper put into refreshingly simple terms just what an impact simple modifications to our daily diet and exercise regimen can have.

To spotlight the benefits of healthy eating and exercise habits, he illustrated critical cultural differences between the healthcare management resources we have in the United States and those he witnessed in China. Across most of the country, medical providers work with low technology and in poor structures.  “Shocked as I was of this discovery in 1986, more telling was the general health profile of China’s citizens, whose health overall was equal to that of our population despite a mediocre medical industry. How is that possible, I asked?” The overwhelming answer, again, is in diet and exercise.

If healthful living isn’t your priority, perhaps having a positive influence on the macroeconomic picture of the U.S. healthcare financial would be, say, to put a dent in the nearly $3 trillion spending rate we are fueling. That translates to us spending approximately $6567 per person each year on healthcare. By comparison, Italy registers the lowest at about $2520 per citizen, while France, Germany and the Netherlands rank in the mid-range at about $3700 per person, 50 percent of what we spend. What are the big factors (so to speak)?  “We are spoiled and we have a for-profit healthcare system,” he said.

When listing the top ranked causes of death – heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and obesity – he told the luncheon crowd about his theory of the primary contributors to each of these. How could we not get the point, once and for all, with his humorous evolutionary scale slide:  humanoids progressing through the ages from ape to early homo sapien to modern human, ending up today as…swine!

Dr. Cooper’s career path was forever changed by his growing research and findings, and he now operates a thriving corporate wellness consulting business named “The Reasonable Radical.”

So, when hearing those messages on the airwaves each day, “Eat better, Exercise,  Blah, Blah,” Dr. Cooper implores each one of us to “WAKE UP!”

“We can all have a vital hand in making the right changes that will help us as individuals and as a nation to be healthier, happier and more productive.”

As Rotarians, this is a mission we can continue to support. And, remember, do we really want to continue to produce ten year olds with high blood pressure? We can each make a personal commitment to eat good food (broccoli vs. burgers), support the growing family farm industry, exercise in any form, and importantly remain aware and responsible. Life is short; make the most of it.       

Submitted by Mark Danes, Keyway Committee

June 19, 2012

Department of Natural Resources

JUNE 12, 2012:  Alvin Taylor, Director of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources was our speaker. He started his presentation with praise for Chaplain Bob Dewey for all that he does when families face a crisis that falls under the jurisdiction of DNR.

Historically the “department” was started 100 years ago by a group of law enforcement officers and it grew in stages: Law enforcement with respect to game and fishing; Management of wild life; Overseeing the operation of boating in the state; Adding a marine resources division to including fishing on the ocean areas; Finally becoming the DNR.

THE MISSION of the DNR is to protect the natural resources of the state for the enjoyment of the people and preserve those resources for future generations. Currently the department employees 900 persons. The state’s natural resources provide a wilderness solace for people, who otherwise are a part of a busy society, to “get away from it all”. Among the things people most enjoy are fishing, hunting, boating and hiking and these pursuits are the recreation activities in which most people want to participate. As such, this recreation has a huge economic impact on the state to the tune of 30 billion dollars per year.

The marine center at Fort Johnson is involved in many oceanic studies including oyster farming and the establishment of a GPS system to enable boaters and fisherman alike to retain to a precise spot day after day. They also study the effect on marine left felt by vanishing species.

The most important element in the entire DNR program is WATER. He cited the problems currently taking place in Georgia as attempts are made to provide a sufficient amount of water for the Atlanta Metropolitan area. The future of the nation is greatly dependent upon water availability and currently South Carolina is a leader in abundant water. The use of boating in our state is number 8 in the nation. Therefore, the DNR is heavily involved in boating safety and the control of alcohol usage by boaters. There are currently 450,000 registered boats in the state with engines.

Fishing is a sport that anyone can learn and participate in, even without the ownership of a boat. Therefore, the DNR is heavily involved in teaching persons about fishing, just as they teach about the sport of hunting. The DNR today is a far cry from being a “Game Warden”.

Submitted by Fred Sales, Keyway Committee

June 11, 2012

Mayor Swails on Mount Pleasant

JUNE 5, 2012  -- Mount Pleasant Mayor Billy Swails reported today to Rotarians that his town was working together to get things done.

Mayor since 2009, Swails said town council has adopted 296 ordinances since his election. Among some highlights, the town:

* Adopted the Palmetto tree as the city’s official tree.
* Adjusted an ordinance to allow horse figurines to be in front of P.F. Chang’s restaurant. “It was against the ordinance to have them out there.”
* Changed an ordinance to allow win drive-through lanes as the Chick-Fil-A in a shopping center off Highway 17.
* Updated an ordinance to allow food trucks to operate in Mount Pleasant.
* Revised an ordinance to allow “big box” stores to locate on less than 50 acres.

But the last change had consequences, Swails said. Despite the fact that Mount Pleasant attracted Costco, Home Depot and Dick’s Sporting Goods to build across from Town Centre on less than 50 acres of land, the town discovered through an apartment developer that there was a second ordinance with a 50-acre big-box store requirement that officials did not properly amend to lower the acreage requirement for development.

As a result, council became ensnared in a controversy about repealing restrictions to allow the stores to be built as a retail development. Last month, members narrowly voted to repeal the restrictions, but the fate of the development is unclear. Swails lamented the process saying that the stores would bring 700 jobs, compared to just two jobs if the land becomes home to an apartment complex.

Swails also told members that a new roundabout on Highway 17 would function well, despite grumbling from naysayers. Work on Johnnie Dodds Boulevard is expected to be finished by the end of the year, with more highway work on Highway 17 North to be done in the spring of 2013.

Toward the end of his talk, Swails joked about Facebook and Twitter: “Any mayor in the world would want both of those things gone,” later adding that he hadn’t checked his Facebook account since 2009.

Swails also told Rotarians that there were “a lot of exciting things” soon to happen at Patriots Point, but it was premature to discuss them.

Submitted by Andy Brack, Keyway Committee
The New Face of CARTA

May 29, 2012: Today, we had the pleasure of hearing from Elliott Summey of CARTA (Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority); he covered the challenges and highlighted the opportunities in the organization, and spoke to the benefits of mass transit in our community.

CARTA has been is existence since 1995 and operates the only bus service in the city of Charleston and the DASH shuttle service on the peninsula. Summey said as a third generation County Councilman he attempts to operate government like he would the family owned business, maximizing income and managing expenses. The Councilman shared that the primary challenge for CARTA is that the funding mechanism has been chronically broken; he elaborated saying that mass transit is always expensive and does not make money, similar to garbage pick up or recycling, but said the key is “getting the most bang for our buck”. Summey is actively closing lightly utilized routes and redistributing those resources to areas where “we are leaving people on the street”.

Summey reminded the group that all Charleston tax payers are paying for CARTA whether they ride the bus or not, and he explained that as the economy has taken a down turn and gas prices continue to rise more and more people are looking for mass transit. As a community leader, Mr. Summey reiterated that “we have to get serious about our transportation issue. He said: 526 is as wide as it can get and successful mass transit is a serious quality of life component; every major city must provide mass transit options”.

The speaker went on to briefly discuss the working five year plan for CARTA, the number one goal being “get out of debt”. The organization currently has approximately $5,000,000 in debt and the method of retiring it will depend somewhat on state and federal funding. Additionally, CARTA has launched a new cutting edge website allowing riders to go online and plug in destinations and locate the most efficient route. Summey is focused on “Smart Drivers, monitoring fuel efficiency, timeliness, and safety”, he has also upgraded to a paperless management system that allows dispatch to tell a driver the most efficient route to a pick up. It seems that the improvements are beneficial as he reported that year to date ridership is up over 12%, and they are on target to carry over five million customers this year (4.5 million in 2011).

Summey closed by saying that he believes in CARTA, if we make it friendly, clean and efficient, the people will ride!”

Submitted by Elizabeth Burwell , Editor


May 22, 2012:  The Historic Rotary Club of Charleston hosted its annual awards ceremony recognizing four Rotary High School Service Above Self Scholars (seniors) and the 2012 Charleston County Teacher of the Year and Honor Roll Teachers. The student honorees are selected based on the nominations that spotlight their top quality work in academics, athletics and community service. In the spirit of the awards, "excellence begets excellence" said award committee chair Jeremy Cook. The teacher is selected based on distinct commitment to the advancement of education in our community and a clear dedication that is in line with the club's mission, "Service Above Self."  These awards are supported by the added generosity of contributions by The Coastal Community Foundation.

This year's high school seniors receiving the Rotary Scholarship Awards will enter North Carolina State University, Washington and Lee, and University of Richmond.

Submitted by Mark Danes, Keyway Committee

May 21, 2012

Piccolo Spoleto Comes Alive During Rotary Meeting

MAY 15, 2012 -- Piccolo Spoleto organizer Ellen Dressler Moryl encouraged Rotarians to participate in some of the 720 festival events, half of which are free, at the end of the month when the arts season kicks in.

“Piccolo Spoleto has been dedicated to providing access to the festival experience, regardless of people’s ability to pay,” she said reflecting on the34-year-old eventapalooza.  Piccolo, along with its big sister Spoleto Festival USA, pump more than $85 million into the South Carolina economy during the 17-day event, she noted.

“At Piccolo Spoleto, the city is a stage and opera is for everyone,” said Moryl, who heads the city’s Office of Cultural Affairs.

Of the 700+ events, Moryl spotlighted six events for Rotarians:

Sunset Serenade, 8 p.m., May 25, at the U.S. Custom House.  This free event will feature an outdoor rendition of the classic American opera, “Porgy and Bess.” Guest conductor Joseph Young, a South Carolina native, will direct the Charleston Symphony Orchestra in the classic by George Gershwin and DuBose Heyward.

Piccolo Spoleto Children’s Festival: “Once Upon A Time...”, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., May 26, Marion Square.  The children’s event will offer a whimsical day of music, dance, arts and crafts with an emphasis on storytelling and children’s literacy.  Most fun:  The zany Seed & Feed Marching Abominable band from Atlanta.

“Echoes of the Civil War,” 7:30 p.m., May 27, White Point Garden.  This sesquicentennial observance will feature 19th century military band concert with music of the Civil War Era performed by the Eighth Regiment Band of Rome, Georgia. Performing on period instruments, they will be joined by world-class bugle player Jari Villanueva performing "Tenting Tonight" and other well-known songs.

Spotlight Concert Series : Piccolo's signature chamber and choral music series includes programs by Charleston Chamber Opera, Italian pianist Laura Magnani and two special events at Mepkin Abbey .  For more, go online to:

Piccolo Spoleto Festival Finale: 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., June 9, Hampton Park.  More than 11,000 people attended last year’s finale with the popular Motownmadness! performance by the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.  Lots of music will be offered and listeners will leave with a big smile, Moryl said.

Piccolo Spoleto’s Jazz Series.  Organized by Rotarian John Tecklenburg, this year’s series includes four harbor cruises (one of which feature’s John’s band) along with performances by a variety of artists in three other locations.  For more, see the Web site.

The Tuesday meeting opened and closed with toe-tapping Dixieland music offered by the New South Jazzmen, who also will perform on a harbor cruise.

Submitted by Andy Brack, Keyway Committee

May 12, 2012


May 8, 2012: Professor Robert Freer, Visiting Professor of Ethics and Free Enterprise at The Citadel, was our speaker. In addition to years of private practice as an attorney he has served as a general council to government agencies, including the Department of Transportation and the transition team for the Reagan administration. He is a regular columnist to the Charleston Mercury, and currently heads the Free Enterprise Foundation of Charleston.

Although an active member of his political party, his message was not that of a partisan but of a concerned American. His first challenge to all is that YOU MUST VOTE! He spoke of the long term writings of Milton Friedman who worked for the FDR administration and spent 30 years as a faculty member of the University of Chicago. Friedman’s primary conclusion is that a strong nation must manage its debt and operate with a balanced budget. He cautions that when power is concentrated in one organization or theater, failure is lurking in the wings. He noted that so much depends upon the availability of oil that any break in the supply system, such as closing of the Suez Canal or the Strait of Hormuz, can shut the world down and there is nothing that we or any other nation can do about it.

Since the end of the Carter administration the national debt has climbed to nearly 85% of GNP. We are at great risk, with over 40% of our indebtedness being to China, though he does not foresee conflict between our two countries. So, what do we do?

We must regain fiscal responsibility; we must recognize that there is a lack of trust in government; we must recognize that there is a lack of trust in the future of America; and we must beware of accepting MYTHS as solutions:

We cannot grow out of debt with all the many unfunded mandates we have.
We cannot inflate ourselves out of debt.
We cannot tax ourselves enough to end the debt.
We cannot cut our way out of debt as many central services are vital.

The solutions are before us: Create forums for intelligent discussion! Balance the Books! We are free to make choices, but the number one choice is to actively work on solutions! Be ready to study the problems of the nation by establishing forums right at home, yes, in Charleston.

Thomas Jefferson told us to “pay our debts; do not leave them for the future”.

Submitted by Fred Sales, Keyway Committee

May 4, 2012


May 1, 2012: Our speaker for Tuesday was Nigel Redden, General Director of Spoleto Festival USA. Redden has been with Spoleto USA for 36 years. He graduated from Yale with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History. He also is the current Director of Lincoln Center Festival.

Mr. Nigel Redden is responsible for all aspects of Spoleto festival including fundraising, financial administration, marketing, artists’ contracts and board development.

Mr. Redden stated that Spoleto Festival is unique in its own right because it is held on the beautiful Charleston Peninsula. No other festival is held in a city like Charleston. Spoleto starts this year on May25th and runs through June 10. Last year, the festival attracted tourist from 47 states and foreign countries. For the first time ever a newspaper from China will write reviews about Spoleto along with The Wall Street Journal, The NY Times, and other publications.

Mr. Redden stressed the importance of the Gaillard Theater. This will be last year Spoleto performances will be hosted in the old building before renovations this coming fall. The theater has had a profound importance since the start of Spoleto. The new building will be a state of the art theater.

Submitted by Katie McCravy, Keyway Committee

April 26, 2012

Alan Wilson, South Carolina Attorney General

April 24, 2012:  The Historic Rotary Club of Charleston was proud to host the state’s top legal official, Alan Wilson.

Wilson spoke to a packed luncheon crowd, that included a record number of guests and visiting Rotarians. “It must be free lunch day, to see a crowd like this…” Opened Wilson, displaying his wry sense of humor. He then swapped Club flags with President Patterson Smith, underscoring his commitment to the tenets of Rotary. He then reminded us of his deep roots in the tri-county region, including the mention of his five uncles who attended The Citadel.

With a calm demeanor, the 51st Attorney General provided the Club with a concise summary of the structure of the AG office and the primary duties they manage. The Office has grown substantially since its inception in 1698; it the oldest constitutional office in the state. “Our office operates with a healthy blend of politics, policy and the law,” said Wilson. “And I am humbled to be here with you. You are my bosses, I work for you.”

Currently operating with a $16 million budget, the AG office has grown substantially during the last 35 years to include many new areas outside of criminal prosecution: Opinions, Appeals, Civil Divisions.

“As your Attorney General, I work hard to take the politics out of the job. What we do is balance the facts with the law.” As an example, Mr. Wilson told us about the process regarding the investigation of ethics charges into former Lt. Gov. Ard’s activities. “It’s not an easy process in any situation, and that case has been particularly difficult, but in the interest of the citizens we must remain impartial, following the rule of law and guidelines governing ethical behavior in public office.” He provided updates on the other big issues that his office is navigating: the evolution of The Affordable Healthcare Law (Obama-care), The Immigration Law, Voter ID, and the Savannah River Maritime Commission Act.

It was obvious to the Club that Attorney General Wilson is passionate about the well-being of the citizens and the brand of our state.

Thank you Attorney General Wilson; visit again soon!

Submitted by Mark Danes, Keyway Committee

April 22, 2012

Rotary Night at the Riverdogs—Take Me out to the Ball Game!

April 19, 2012: Our Spring Social was a family event held at the Riverdogs game. In spite of the rain and the dreary weather, dedicated Rotarian baseball fans came out and enjoyed what ended up being a nice evening and an even better game. The Riverdogs had a slow start, but a grand slam in the 5th got the ball rolling and they went onto beat the Power 9-8. Rotarians were able to stay out of the drizzle and enjoy a pre-game cookout under the tent at Murray’s Mezzanine. There were plenty of hamburgers and hot dogs for everyone and we were also able to donate the leftovers to Crisis Ministries — thanks to Digit and President Patterson for making the delivery on the way home. A good time was had by all those who braved the weather!

April 13, 2012

Derreberry offers bright business vision

APRIL 9, 2012 -- Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bryan Derreberry gave a pumped-up, enthusiastic vision of the future for the tri-county area.

“Whatever we believe in the future is what we will become,” he said, noting that communities generally take three approaches toward what’s next -- squabbling over resources, envying other communities or taking the bull by the horns to leverage opportunities.

The Charleston area, he said, is taking the third approach, as evidenced by its new $5 million, five-year “Accelerate Greater Charleston” campaign to help business prospects better understand the region’s business potential beyond traditional tourism and other industries. Among top target clusters with big future potential are port/logistics, aerospace, wind/energy, health care/biomedical, military/security and higher education.

Derreberry also urged Rotarians to support a better K-20 education system, including a Chamber focus on working with public education officials to create “career academies” -- places where high school students can get targeted, specialized skills that will help them get jobs in areas that local businesses need help. Three core academies are expected to focus on science/technology; culinary arts and hospitality; and health sciences.

“Upon graduation from these academies, students will be much better prepared,” he said.

When asked how to deal with perceptions that the local public schools face a lot of challenges not attractive to businesses, Derreberry said career academies in Nashville and Pensacola have helped improve graduation rates because students get hooked on areas where they can get jobs. And that, in turn, makes them “much more likely to finish high school.”

Career academies also would provide more opportunities for area businesses to take part in public education through internships, job shadowing and more. “We have to tackle it one opportunity at a time and build it out in the next five years,” he said.

Derreberry also pushed strong leadership, partnerships and integrity -- doing what we as a community say we’ll do -- as keys to future success. He encouraged local leaders to look at 18th and 19th governmental structures, and adapt them to the 21st century.

Reported by Andy Brack , Keyway Committee

April 10, 2012


April 3, 2012: We enjoyed Corporal Bob Beres discussion on the dangers of driving. He has a heart for speaking to teenagers about the dangers of texting and driving and does over 150 presentations a year in the state of South Carolina.

Cpl. Beres is a refugee from Austria. In 1971 he and his parents came from a communist country. He served in the Navy with distinction. Bob joined the highway patrol in 1994. Currently, his role is Public Information Officer of Troop Six. He was recently recognized by the SC House of Representatives with a special resolution honoring his achievements and service to his fellow citizens.

Bob gave us startling statistics. Since January 1, 2012, there have been 186 fatalities on SC road ways. Last year, the total was 800 for the year. This year six of these fatalities have been bicycle related. There has been an increase in bicycle and motorcycle deaths.

Because of the increase in accidents, the Highway Patrol created the SEE Program. SEE stands for "Stop, Educate, and Enforce".

This year there has been 22 motorcycle related deaths compared to last year's total of 16. A few years ago SC implemented the Ride Smart program. When someone buys a motorcycle at a dealership they receive 2 things: 1) a 20 minute DVD on how to ride a motorcycle safely, and 2) a poster with Einsten sitting on a Harley Davidson with a caption saying "Ride Smart". It is thought that the increase in motorcycle fatalities is directly related to the rise in gas prices as more people are using motorcycles for transportation.

This year 126 people have died from not wearing seat belts compared to 140 last year at this time. A total of 300 people died in SC last year from not wearing seat belts.

SC Highway Patrol and Subway are kicking off a campaign called "Wait to Text". The program targets students in the 9th to 12the grade. Eleven teens die everyday in the U.S. from texting and driving. Subway is asking students in SC to sign a "Wait to Text" pledge card. Subway will feed the entire school for free, if the school is one of the top 5 in participation.

The Top 3 Highway Deaths in SC are:
1. Speeding
2. Not Wearing a seat belt
3. DUI

DUI continues to be a problem in our state as 16,000 people were arrested last year for DUI. In the tri-county area over 1000 people were arrested. He reminded everyone that a "DUI" stays on a person's driving record for life. If you kill someone while drinking and driving, you receive 25 years in prison for each person killed in the accident. If you see a drunk driver call *HP for help.

Submitted by Katie McCravy, Keyway Committee