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