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

April 4, 2012

SPAWAR and The Lowcountry

March 27, 2012: Our historic Rotary Club of Charleston was treated last week to an overview of SPAWAR by the Program Executive Officer, Mr. Chris Miller.

A native of Nashville, TN, Mr. Miller pursued a commissioning in the United States Marine Corps where he served as Intelligence Officer for various Marine Aviation Commands. Mr. Miller left active duty status in 1999 to work for Booz Allen Hamilton in San Diego, CA. While a consultant, Mr. Miller worked on numerous command and control programs for the Navy and was integral in coordinating the Year 2000 transition for the Navy's command and control programs.

In his current role, Mr. Miller currently leads the Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (PEO C4I). He has responsibility for the acquisition and life cycle management for assigned C4I programs.

During his stated lunch hour mission to help demystify aspects of the SPAWAR organization, he told us that “Our job at SPAWAR’s C4I operations is to deploy the latest information technology systems make it possible for all naval personnel to talk to one another reliably.” He spoke to us about three basic aspects of the organization: 1. SPAWAR’s impact on the economy; 2. Cyber technology and specialization; and 3. BRAC’s likely direction.

1. SPAWAR’s contributions to the regional and state economy is huge. It is the largest employer of electronics engineers, responsible for $2.6 billion to the economy, involving a total of about 21,600 jobs in the greater Charleston market. In 2008, the organization created its Atlantic (southeast) structure that now has close to 3,600 employees generating about $5 billion in revenue. “We are focused on delivering the most reliable systems concerned with speed, quality and agility. We are moving toward a sustainable path for continued global leadership.”

2. In terms of the work SPAWAR does related to Cyber initiatives, he reminded us that “a mouse click could plunge a city into darkness.” Everything in our daily lives “is on the grid.” We will continue to rely on the unique abilities of special operations forces that are light, agile and focused.

3. Regarding BRAC issues, he said, “the reality is the outcome is more likely to be more ‘C’ than ‘A.’ As the military streamlines, we will not have the need for such a large real estate, as the forces will be more mobile and versatile. “But this is largely a political issue, and one that will be debated for some time.”

In closing, while Mr. Miller is optimistic about America’s future, he headlined that SPAWAR can’t find enough qualified people to hire and deploy. We, as a nation, need to educate people in the STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) because, bottom line, we are losing the battle in these educational pursuits that stand to secure our future.”

Submittee by Mark Danes, Keyway Committee