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