December 17, 2013

Rotarians Deck the Hall's

Dec. 17, 2013:  Rotarian Bill Hall and his family hosted our annual Holiday Luncheon at Hall’s Chophouse on King Street. It was a packed house!  Rotarians and their guests enjoyed a spectacular lunch while enjoying holiday music.  It was a festive event that got everyone in the Holiday spirit!  A huge thanks to Bill, his wonderful family and staff for making this such a special way to celebrate the holidays!

December 10, 2013


Dec 10, 2013: Kyra Morris introduced our speakers Bryan Derreberry and Steve Warner by telling the club how fortunate we are to have two men so dedicated to their work serving in their roles: “Bryan Derenberry, as President & CEO of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, and Steve Warner, as Vice President, Global Marketing / Regional Competitiveness, fully believe in their work and do a tremendous job, in making Charleston a wonderful place to live and work.”
Derreberry and Warner’s mission is “to focus on what our economy is doing to assist business leaders by utilizing data and metrics to inform decision making for regional businesses.”  They have been tracking data since 2005, using Austin, Texas and Raleigh, NC as benchmarks.  While they use Austin and Raleigh as model metros, they are looking at data related to 386 metros in the country.  They report that “Charleston’s regional economy is performing well overall, while also undergoing a significant transformation into a more diversified, knowledge-based economy.”  Their research reveals the following:

Gross Regional Product Growth from 2005-2011:26.2%.
This number is well above the state average and similar communities in the  Southeast.  We are competing against 386 metros nationally.
Earnings per worker growth from 2005-2011: 21.5%.
High skill, innovative jobs are continuously being added, to include the grow ing IT sector and aerospace industry (Boeing).
Regional Employment Growth from 2005-2012: 11.5%.
This is double the growth of Charleston’s peer group.
Exports Share of GRP, 2012: 14.5% or 3.9 billion.
Charleston ranks among the Top 25 Metros in United States for Exports.

According to the 2013 Regional Economic Scorecard, our future success depends on four (4) competitiveness inputs, which are: human capital, innovative activity, entrepreneurial environment, and quality of place.

Human Capital:  The Charleston Metro area is competing nationally based on talent.  They reported that Charleston trended positively during the Great Recession.  We need more highly skilled high school graduates with a focus on science and mathematics.

Innovative Activity:  This is the lifeblood for the economy and the only ranking in which we are below the national average.  Our main challenge is finding the capital to fund startups: “The bright spot in these numbers is that we now have a higher percentage of IT jobs than both Austin and Raleigh.  The Angel Investor Act is helping tremendously.”

Entrepreneurial Environment:  This is one of our best numbers, primarily due to Boeing. For this number to improve, “we must ensure that South Carolina’s regulatory environment continues to support business growth.”

Quality of Place:  We rank well nationally, “which is a step up although there is still room for improvement.  We have seen a decrease in crime in the region however our crime rate remains high compared to other metros.”
Derreberry and Warner believe that our challenge areas are: Population growth, housing affordability and travel congestion.  We have outstripped growth in the United States and are the second fastest growing metro behind Austin, Texas.  Forty new people are moving into the region every day, with an anticipated one million people in the Charleston metro area by 2027.  With this population growth, we now rank #68 with regard to congestion. 

Derreberry and Warner said that transportation infrastructure must be addressed in addition to the following sustainability factors:  Education, Innovation, Talent.  “We have fierce competition, considering that Virginia and North Carolina, in close proximity, are some of the most productive states in the nation.  Thus, we have to focus on talent.  The Charleston Aerospace Industry and IT workforce are among the fastest growing in the country. We have made investments in talent, with a long term pipeline of talent.” “Jack Jones at Boeing will tell you that they are making fifty year decisions and have to know that Charleston will have talent for the years to come.”  This would not be possible without the hard work, knowledge and insight of Brian Derreberry and Steve Warner.
For more information, visit: 

Submitted by Abby Saunders, Keyway Committee

December 3, 2013


Dec 3, 2013: Rotarians were entertained by a string quartet from the Charleston Symphony Orchestra (CSO) at our meeting on Tuesday, December 3.  Playing traditional holiday music before President John rang the bell got us all in the mood for the next of our very-close-together 2013 holidays and ready to hear a wonderful presentation from keynote speaker, Yuriv Bekker, Concert Master and Acting Artistic Director of the CSO.  As an additional joy, Mr. Bekker and the string quartet performed one of the violin concertos, “Winter,” from Vivaldi’s much loved Four Seasons.

Mr. Bekker’s resume as an internationally known artist is worth a trip to Google where you would learn that this talented violinist has performed all over the world.  A native of Minsk, Belarus, Mr. Bekker is now a proud citizen of the US and has served as the Concert Master of the CSO since 2007.  He also currently holds the title of Acting Artistic Director of the Symphony and is widely credited as having served as a driving force in leading CSO through some of its most difficult times to its current position as the premiere example of Charleston’s vibrant art community.

Concert Master Bekker is clearly pleased with the successful innovation that CSO has introduced into its repertoire, noting the popularity of acrobats and other unexpected artistic combinations designed to ensure relevance of the symphony to our community. New fiscal policies have resulted in CSO being “in the black” and having one of the most responsible orchestra business models in the country.

Rightfully proud of expanded community attendance and support, it was clear that one of Mr. Bekker’s passions is impacting children with the magic of music and the ability to use various instruments to create it.  Noting that there is an unarguable correlation among math, science, geography and music proficiency, our CSO leader has implemented a multi-faceted education program to develop a love for, and possible skill for playing, orchestral instruments.  CSO has reached out to the broader business community to develop collaborative programs for students that range from early classroom introduction of musical instruments by accomplished performers to high school competitions allowing promising musicians to “Share the Stage” with professionals for a real performance.  Concert Master Bekker was especially enthusiastic about a new National Young Artist Competition for high schools students who send in videos of their work and hope to be one of 6 semi-finalists—and ultimately one of the 3 selected musicians—who will perform as a member of the CSO in a special concert. 

Submitted by Cheryl Kaynard, Keyway Committee

November 26, 2013


Nov 26, 2013:  The Historic Rotary Club of Charleston was treated to a lunchtime treat of exceptional improvisational comedy, courtesy of the renowned “Have Nots” of Theater 99.
The ingenius improv team was led by Brandy Sullivan, a founder of The Have Nots! Comedy Improv Company (1995) and Theatre 99 (2000). She has performed in over 1400 improv shows in 26 states and she is a Co-Producer of Piccolo Fringe and The Charleston Comedy Festival. She was joined by Andy Livengood, John Brennan, Larry Perewiznyk and Jennifer Buddin, who all had the crowd in stitches.

Skits included on-the-spot-made-up renditions of a bike taxi run amok, the dentist’s office (and ob-gyn clinic), assembly of a gas grill, and “Forward n Reverse.”

The final act featured an interview with our club’s own Hilton Smith, which quickly fed the troupe’s improve machine with material from killer tennis to troubles with dog waste. You were a great sport Hilton! 

Submitted by Mark Danes

November 19, 2013


Nov 19, 2013:   Kathryn Basha has been a senior planner with the BCD COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS since 1997. A graduate of Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia, she has degrees in historic preservation and land use planning.  Prior to her arrival in the Charleston area she did planning and development work in the state of Virginia.

BCDCOG is one of ten regional councils in South Carolina and encompasses all of the towns, cities and communities that make up Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester Counties.  Its mission is to support member governments in efforts to preserve and enhance the quality of life for the citizens of the BCD Region. It is made up of 56 members representing every part of the BCD area.  Its objective is to prepare plans, to provide technical assistance to local governments and promote coordination and cooperation among public programs in the Region.

Services of BCD include Grants Administration, Community and Economic development assistance, Revolving Loan Fund Program, Transportation and Land use Planning, GIS projects, Water quality management and Workforce development. Households in the region are expected to increase by 88,000 by the year 2040. This increase will affect the port, the airport and the expansion of Boeing and will affect costs, transportation, quality of life and affordability to live in the region. Thus the Region has a five point vision:
1)Planning future transportation options
2)A vital economy with good jobs, schools, healthcare, and affordable housing
3)A protected environment with clean air and water
4)Diverse low country communities
5)Cooperative caring atmosphere at the intergovernmental level

Trends are being studied to determine where growth will be and where the open spaces and corridors will be located. Computer models include the number of miles a typical person drives in a day, how many road miles are driven and where the points of congestion are located. New town centers must be planned for as well as transportation corridors. Also important is the preservation of open spaces for recreation purposes.

By 2035 the population of the BCD Region is expected to reach 900,000.  The future of I-526 is still not clear,  but it does seem likely that the Glenn McConnell Parkway will be extended.   

Submitted by Fred Sales, Keyway Committee

November 12, 2013

Dr. Alex Sanders - Baseball United Post Civil War America

Nov. 12, 2013:  Rotarian Dave Echols introduced The Honorable Alex Sanders.  Judge Sanders, the first Chief Judge of the South Carolina Court of Appeals, discussed how baseball has united America since the Civil War.

Judge Sanders has been a lawyer, appellate court judge, and president of the College of Charleston.  He is also one of the founders of the Charleston School of Law where he currently serves as Chairman Emeritus. He has taught law at the Harvard Law School and the University of South Carolina School of Law.

Sanders began his remarks by saying he was not going to talk about law and education.  “I am sick of all that.  I am going to talk baseball.”

Sanders’ grandfather was a Confederate soldier and he uses his grandfather’s shotgun every dove season. 

The Civil War, in which his grandfather fought, involved baseball.  Right in the middle of the war, the largest crowd ever to attend a sporting event at that time, 41,000 people, gathered together on a remote island off of the coast of South Carolina.  The date:  December 25, 1862.  The location:  Hilton Head Island, where Union forces kept Confederate prisoners.  Escape from the island was virtually impossible. This baseball game was truly “an extraordinary event,” chronicled by military records. 

Before the Civil War, baseball was played primarily in the North and “the game was reserved for gentlemen,” Sanders said.  However, during the war, officers and enlisted men played side by side.  Almost every soldier, Union and Confederate, learned to play baseball during the Civil War, “thus, linking baseball with patriotism.”  The popularity of baseball quickly spread throughout the South. 

Judge Sanders discussed an old acquaintance of his, “Shoeless Joe Jackson,” whose records in baseball surpassed players of his day as well as today.  After 1921, Shoeless Joe Jackson was stripped of all of his records.  He traveled the country playing “outlaw” ball under an assumed name before returning to his hometown of Greenville, South Carolina after all efforts at reinstatement were denied.

Sanders concluded his remarks by saying, “It has been 150 years since Americans went to war with one another yet Americans are still struggling to understand one another.  However, we have one single thing in common and that is baseball – all across the South – in every state that was a part of the Confederacy.”

Submitted by Molly Blatt

November 5, 2013

Capt. Jay Fahs: Navy nuclear power training

Nov 5, 2013:  In the second installment of our Military Series, Captain Jay Fahs provided a wonderful overview of the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command in Charleston. Captain Fahs graduated with honors from Duke University before obtaining a master’s degree from the University of Colorado. He has served as executive officer on a number of ships and has been recognized with many awards for his performance. Prior to becoming the commanding officer at the NNPTC, Captain Fahs served as officer in charge of the Nuclear Propulsion Examining Board at the US Fleet Forces Staff Command in Norfolk, VA.

Captain Fahs explained that the Navy has utilized nuclear power since 1955, and it now fuels 44% of the combatant fleet . This technology provides 75% of the US’ warhead capacity, but only uses 35% of its budget.  Nuclear powered submarines can run over 30 years (about a vessel’s useful life) without the need for re-fueling.  This provides our armed forces the extraordinary flexibility to maintain a presence anywhere in the world. In fact, with water treatment and oxygen generators on-board, often the only reason a submarine must return to port is to procure more food. Naval subs can even travel beneath arctic ice. With the capabilities nuclear power provides, our fleets are able to position themselves to leverage nuclear fire-power, take out an enemy’s land to air defenses ahead of an airstrike and eavesdrop on regions of interest. These abilities are critical to the US military’s ability to protect our country’s interests around the globe.

The NNPTC mission is to qualify naval officers and enlisted personnel in the operation, maintenance, and supervision of naval nuclear propulsion plants in support of Fleet operations. It is the largest command in Charleston with 3,000 students and 500 staff.  This unit’s numbers will increase under an emerging program structure in which more graduates return to Charleston for further training. Only the top 10-15% of those entering the navy qualify to enter the nuclear training program. Applicants will need more than just intelligence and aptitude. The nature of the mission demands only those exhibiting the highest levels of character and integrity are accepted. Students can earn 2 years or more college credit depending on their status and previous education.
executive officer on a number of ships and has been recognized with many awards for his performance. Prior to becoming the commanding officer at the NNPTC, Captain Fahs served as officer in charge of the Nuclear Propulsion Examining Board at the US Fleet Forces Staff Command in Norfolk, VA.

The NNPTC runs a $3.1 million annual budget creating a net income of over $170 million for staff and students.  Its overall impact on our local economy is much greater. In fact, the navy is only second in overall economic  impact to the Port of Charleston. The NNPTC awards nearly $1 million in contracts on site..   

Submitted by Will Thames, Keyway Committee

October 29, 2013

Dr. Gene Budig - Athletics in Education

Oct 29, 2013: Dr. Gene Budig has served as both University President/Chancellor (Nebraska, Illinois State, West Virginia, Kansas) and as the President of Major League Baseball’s American League. He is also a Retired Major General in the Air National Guard. Now a part owner of the Charleston Riverdogs and local resident, Dr. Budig joined us this week to talk about intercollegiate athletics and their role in higher education.

Dr. Budig emphatically stated that intercollegiate athletics are “hopelessly out of control” and we, the fans, are the problem. Citing a new $8 billion cable television contract for college sports, he stressed that the money being paid for tickets and fan gear, as well as coach’s salaries, is outrageous. These spending patterns subsequently drive big money to schools for televised games.

He affirmed that college Presidents understand how alumni and athletics positively impact the bottom line, yet athletics aren’t the budget solution at many schools. Dr. Budig proposed that when schools say athletics draw attention to the school and help it financially, that is “utter nonsense”. He feels only 12 – 15 of the major programs actually make money on their athletics. The expense of building infrastructure and programs to entice key players and coaches as well as alumni is rarely met or exceeded by the revenue generated by the games. He predicts that the top universities (by size) will attempt to create their own exclusive conference and not share the benefits by playing outside that group, rationalizing that it’s a fair and competitive approach. In other words, why should the schools who draw the crowds (and money) share the proceeds with those that don’t?

Dr. Budig then turned to education in general, saying we should never minimize the importance of a community college. If a community is serious about economic development they better have a well-oiled community college, such as Trident Technical College. He also reminded the audience that the term “state-supported school” is now a misnomer. At best, our colleges and universities can be considered state-assisted. Most institutions now receive only 6 – 9% of their budget from state funding. Tuition and fee increases have made up the difference and this trend is likely to continue, albeit on a smaller scale.

Feeling strongly that education can’t be valued only in terms of dollars and cents, Dr. Budig stressed that it’s only right for our children and grandchildren to have the advantage of a good formal education, whether community college or university or both. He is a strong advocate of the humanities and fine arts as part of the curriculum, stating that is what sets us apart from other parts of the world. He also sees great potential in the health services fields, both as a source of research money and of jobs and is concerned about a deficit of interest in rural health programs. Finally, Dr. Budig encouraged higher education opportunities for older, non-traditional students.   

Submitted by Tammy Louise Coghill, Keyway Committee

October 25, 2013

Southern Cooking with Nathalie Dupree

October 22, 2013:  Ms. Nathalie Dupree, best-selling author, television star, and founding Board Member of the Charleston Food & Wine Festival, was the guest speaker at the Historic Charleston Rotary meeting on October 22, 2013.  Ms. Dupree is a prolific author, and her latest book, “Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking”, earned her a third James Beard Award.  Rotarian Mike Sabo (another founding Board Member for the Festival), who introduced Ms. Dupree, noted that when any major food industry writer, chef, or restaurateur visits Charleston, their first stop is always Ms. Dupree’s house.  She has been featured in the New York Times, and various other major publications, and has performed segments on all of the major morning shows such as Good Morning America in addition to her own cooking shows on various networks. 

Ms. Dupree noted that she had two main messages for the day, first she wanted to address the issue of “food deserts” in Charleston and then discuss Southern Cooking.  On the issue of “food deserts” (holes in an urban environment where traditional grocery stores are not present – thus forcing local residents to shop for food at available convenience stores) Ms. Dupree reported that she was working with the Charleston Food Bank, as South Carolina has 80 food deserts in the state, to try to help facilitate lower-income folks being able to get better food than available at convenience stores.  She drew the comparison of food to power – indicating that to have control of access to food was power, and that lack of availability leads to poor choices when it comes to shopping.  She also challenged everyone to try to shop for their staples for their families by taking a taxi or a bus so that they could see just how hard it was to effectively procure what you would need in a weeks’ time.  She also linked misuse of assistance programs like food stamps to lack of availability of shopping options.  She reported that she was working to get a bus for the Food Bank to facilitate donation pick up and taking people who need food to locations where they could get it.  She stated that we need to make sure that we are working to feed “our entire community”.

Ms. Dupree then shifted her focus to the Southern Cooking Movement, noting that she had participated in the Cook It Raw event held that week in Charleston.  She stated “Southern food has a rhythm of its own”, and by her estimation Charleston had the richest cooking history in the nation. She recounted owning her first restaurant, for which she grew her own food and had to locally source what she could find.  This led to an ever changing menu, but she learned she could put anything together understanding the basic methods of Southern Cooking. 

Biscuits were a trouble for her at first.  She said that she would watch a woman who worked for her, Kate, use a wide bowl to mix her ingredients, realizing the wide bowl allowed for an even mixing of the ingredients and a consistent combination of them – which led to “a perfect symmetry of liquid and flour resulting in a perfect dough, formed into perfect biscuits”, but that it took her a long time to observe and understand it all.  “It took forever to make biscuits like Kate”, she said.  Ms. Dupree suggested that if you want to learn how to make perfect biscuits, that you get a $10 bag of flour and lock the door to the kitchen until you have perfected it.  Her quick recall of the recipe for Best Biscuits is as follows:

Whipping Cream
Self- Rising White Lily Flour

Combine in a 2:1 ratio & mix (in a wide bowl)
Pat out
With ½ inch thick dough – cut out your biscuits
Place close together in a baking pan

Ms. Dupree also discussed fried chicken and why she did a book on it. “No one knows how to cut up a chicken anymore”, she said was the reason why people don’t cook it themselves.  Also, grocery stores don’t sell small chickens that are easy to cut up.  When talking about pre-cut chicken she said, “Those legs haven’t ever seen each other before!”  She stated that she was next going to focus on Low Country Cooking as her next project.

She directed the audience to look for a Charleston Magazine story next month on the history of baking in Charleston and its rich story.  When asked about her favorite Charleston restaurant, she demurred, “I hate to list them, but I can tell you that I have never had a bad meal at Hominy Grill or SNOB”.  When asked how a chef puts their signature on food in a big restaurant she said, “It’s hard, I’m not sure, but I’ve had three restaurants – and I’m over it!”

Author’s Note-Ms. Dupree’s Books are available for sale at the Charleston Preservation Society, and she will happily sign it for you if you place an order there.

Submitted by Christine Wilkinson

October 18, 2013

Representative Horne - Focusing on Issues Affecting Senior Citizens & Children

October 15, 2013: South Carolina Representative Jenny Horne was elected in 2008 to represent House District #94 (Dorchester and Charleston Counties). Currently in her third two-year term, she also has an employment and family law practice in Summerville. Representative Horne serves on a number of House Committees, is a Liberty Fellow, and has been named Legislator of the Year by several organizations.

A former Rotarian, Representative Horne kicked off her remarks with a nod to the Rotarian Service Above Self commitment. She feels her service has continued with her work in the State House. After acknowledging the many distractions that can bog down the legislative session, she stressed her particular focus on issues affecting senior citizens and children. Calling these groups our citizens with the least amount of power, Representative Horne discussed several key initiatives.

Education Funding Reform – A proponent of equalizing per capita funding across school districts, Representative Horne encouraged changing the state’s 30-year old school funding formula to provide each child the same opportunities for success. Our schools should reflect the global marketplace that today’s graduates encounter, yet many schools still lack basic technology tools. She emphatically stated that the success of our education system is a critical labor supply issue for the business community.

Child Welfare – After queries stemming from constituent complaints regarding the Department of Social Services (DSS) went unanswered for a year, Representative Horne asked for an audit of DSS operations. She is concerned about a failure to act, overreach of control by the agency, and outsourcing of risk assessments.  Essentially, she feels that DSS is not meeting what she considers one of the most basic functions of government, protecting our children.

Sex Education – Humorously introducing the subject by saying we learned in the 1960’s that “ ’just say no’ doesn’t work”, Representative Horne spoke about the public health and poverty impacts of teenage pregnancy and the bill she hopes to pass next year that will require a medically accurate focus in the sex education curriculum. She stressed that community health statistics improve with reductions in teen pregnancy. This is also an economic issue, as the current Medicaid cost for teen pregnancy is $200 million per year. She concluded that “knowledge is power” - data shows the more educated a young person is regarding sexual activity and its consequences, the less likely they are to display risky behavior.

Home Health Providers – Noting that in-home health care providers are the only health care service that is wholly unregulated, Representative Horne described a bill she has sponsored that would require licensure. They are currently not required to have workers compensation or liability insurance or to conduct background checks on employees. Speaking from personal experience, she urged the audience to only hire a licensed, bonded and insured caregiver, to protect your loved one and yourself.

Ethics Reform – Representative Horne briefly noted her service on the House Ethics Committee. She acknowledged that the proceedings are generally confidential but only until probable cause has been determined. She anticipates an ethics reform bill to be presented in the fall.
Audience questions continued the themes of teen pregnancy, public education, Medicaid and home health care. Representative Horne then gave a call to action for women to run for local or state elected office. She concluded with a proposal for a state Children’s Bureau and asked for suggestions from professionals working with children on how this should be structured.

Submitted by Tammy Coghill, Keyway Committee

October 11, 2013

SC Ports Authority - Important for Charleston and the Region

Oct 8, 2013:  This week Rotary Club of Charleston welcomed James Newsome, President and CEO of South Carolina Ports Authority, to share his insight on the role of the Ports Authority on not only Charleston but on regional and national levels. Mr. Newsome received a bachelor’s degree in Transportation and Logistics in 1976 and an MBA in Transportation and Logistics in 1977 from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and became CEO of South Carolina Ports Authority in 2009.
Mr. Newsome’s discussion highlighted not only the importance of the port for Charleston and the region but also the strategic benefits the port offers relative to other ports and transportation hubs.  The Charleston port is the 10th largest US container port creating 1 in 10 jobs indirectly as a huge growth engine for global sourcing and manufacturing.  The port is also a major economic development engine for the state. Mr. Newsome pointed out the a major deciding factor for BMW’s locating in South Carolina was the port, as Nebraska was also being considered as a potential site.
He went on to explain that the port represents about $2 Billion in investment from both the State Ports Authority ($1.3 Billion in improvements) and the State ($700 Million for harbor deepening, new port access road among other projects).  The private sector is also investing heavily in the local economy as well with companies such as BMW, Adidas, Harbor Freight, Michelin, Amazon, Bosch (and the list goes on) having a significant presence in South Carolina. This also illustrated the importance that companies place on ports for global business.
Charleston is uniquely positioned to grow its cargo base. Charleston as a location is ideally suited to serve the Southeast which is the fastest growing region in the US in population, consumption, and manufacturing.  The future for the port lies in the Post Panamax vessels which require 50’ minimum depth in harbor. Currently only New York, Baltimore, Norfolk and Miami are authorized to be 50 feet. The Southeast needs a 50’ deep harbor and Charleston can provide that. Savannah, for instance, can only go to 47 feet deep. 1’ of draft equals the ability to handle 100 containers.
Additional strategic upgrades include the inland port in Greer with overnight rail from Norfolk Southern, the intermodal container transfer facility, more short haul rail, and distribution centers making the Port of Charleston the logical South Atlantic port for the Post Panamax era.

Submitted by Don Baus, Keyway Committee

October 4, 2013

Duffy: Third branch of government important, too

Oct. 1, 2013 -- This past week, the Rotary Club of Charleston was pleased to share time with United States District Judge Michael Duffy. Judge Duffy is a native Charlestonian and Citadel Graduate.  He was appointed to the federal bench in 1995 by Bill Clinton and has worked on significant cases throughout the US.

Judge Duffy helped to shed light and insight into the trials and triumphs of the United States judicial system.  He informed us that the United States is highly fortunate to have an independent judicial system.  We were reminded that our founding fathers specifically sculpted a system with inherent checks and balances to ensure this critical independence.  Judge Duffy also explained that the success of this system resides upon the intrinsic trust of the American people toward our judicial system.

From this unique perspective, Judge Duffy also informed about the ‘creeping dangers’ to this essential branch of US government and society.  He let us know that our judicial system is facing several hidden dangers that could undermine this essential aspect of our society.

An interesting nuance is that our judiciary system is the one branch of government that does not have official constituents. Because of this, our judicial system does not have votes like the other branches of government.  This particular issue makes our legal system vulnerable to the ‘blame game’ in Washington, particularly from other branches of government.  Judge Duffy reminded that attacks and undermining tactics from the political sphere can easily chip away at the public’s inherent trust of this system.  Once the public trust is eliminated, we no longer can have a fully functioning judicial system.

Judge Duffy closed by reminding us all that we cannot take for granted our system of government and an independent judiciary.  And we cannot allow intrusion from the other branches of government that at times try to undermine this system for their own purposes. 

-- Submitted by Elinor Averyt, Keyway Committee

September 27, 2013

Davidson: NOAA and global climate issues

Sept 24, 2013:  On Tuesday, The Historic Rotary Club of Charleston was treated to a lively and eye-opening discussion led by Margaret Davidson, Director of the NOAA Coastal Services Center, on the subject of climate change and sustainability issues.

A Fulbright Scholar with more than 13 years experience with the Sea Grant Consortium (, Ms. Davidson clearly demonstrated her command of climatology by walking us through the possible impacts of global warming and rising sea levels. 

“What we are about to cover are not the views of my agency; these are my assessments,” said Davidson, setting the stage for a direct and candid perspective of likely scenarios. “So, the question is, what is your individual tolerance for risk? I’m sure a few of you have wonderful properties on the water that I’m sure you want to leave to your grandchildren. What do you think you’ll be leaving them? I’m just saying…”  She added that by most projections, we can expect about a 5 meter growth in tides over the next twenty years -- “that’s ‘meters’ not feet, you’re with me right?”

Her data citation included a chilling table showing the dramatic increase in the number of billion dollar disasters (financial impacts) that once numbered a few per year, now number close to 14 per year for a total impact nearing $200 billion. (Source: Western Kentucky University) “So clearly, the number of weather related major events has grown substantially; this is not a short-term cycle.”

“Sandy was a major turning point and wake-up call,” said Davidson, commenting on how we need to change the way in which we interpret meteorological data and our response strategies.

Commenting on what seems to be some degree of apathy by the public, she argued for the importance of tools that provide strong visualization of the climatic impacts. “When you can see the potential in living color and the animation of risk, it has a different effect.”

Insured values of properties will be changing for coastal properties. She shared an actuarial table showing, by state, the estimated costs to replace properties. For South Carolina, ranking at the midpoint of all states, that value in 2007 is $192 billion.  (Source:  AIR Worldwide)


If we scan the globe for case examples, the Dutch jump out as among the more visionary land use and water management architects.  “See how they take a 10,000 year view,” noted Davidson. “They lead the way with compelling examples of berms, forestation and other strategies that are what we call ‘Design with Nature.’”

We need to increase our public/private strategies. The costs and logistics are too great for any enterprise to bear alone. “And, the most important thing we need to do is hold gatherings like this one. We need to step up the dialog and have a clear understanding of what we can and should do to mitigate the risks and preserve our good quality of life.”

“We should not wait for a disaster to achieve better resilience today,” said Davidson, imploring the group to think now about tomorrow. “The need for change is here, the time to act is now.”

Thank you, Ms. Davidson, for sharing your urgent perspective of our pressing geologic and atmospheric challenges. There is succinct and concise. And then there is your direct counsel, “we’re just saying…” We are grateful for your expertise and clarion call for discussion and innovation. You are welcome at our club any time!

-- Submitted by Mark Danes, Keyway Committee

September 20, 2013

Field trip to Water Missions International

Sept 17, 2013: It was a field trip meeting for Charleston Rotarians this week as we met with leadership and staff of Water Mission International in North Charleston. Michael Saboe got the full attention of a packed house with the following facts: Almost 1 Billion people drink microbiologi-cally unsafe water everyday. 2.5 Billion people-37% of the world’s population- live without adequate sanitation. Every 21 seconds a child dies from water related disease. Lack of safe water and sanitation kills 5,500 people everyday.

These sobering statistics kicked off a very informative overview and presentation of the work and amazing success of Water Mission International (WMI), a nonprofit, Christian engineering organization based in Charleston. WMI grew from the heartfelt concern of Rotarians George and Molly Greene for those whose lives and homes were devastated by Hurricane Mitch which hit Honduras in 1998. Owning General Engineering Laboratories gave the Greenes the ability to design, construct and deliver six drinking water treatment units, each capable of producing safe drinking water at the rate of 10 gallons per minute. Within three weeks of the hurricane, sixteen volunteers from the company were in remote locations of Honduras setting up these water treatment units. This initial effort was called "Project Living Water" and the water treatment unit became known as the Living Water Treatment System. After selling their company, George and Molly founded Water Missions International in 2001 and it has now improved and saved lives in 49 countries.

Seth Womble, engineer and WMIs Program Director, vividly described the water sanitation crisis in Peru and the irony that villagers often have individual cell phones available but not clean, safe water. By installing WMI water treatment equipment, villagers can reduce time searching for water sources and concentrate on farming, raising livestock and improving their living situations

Jay Cook, Water Mission International’s Director of Operations, continued to educate us on how a lack of clean, safe water impacts the health and economic viability of communities. According to his data, one-half of all hospital beds globally are occupied by patients with diseases caused by unhealthy water. Jay is not a man looking at the half-empty glass of clean water! His enthusiasm is deep, genuine and totally contagious. Volunteers from all over the world have come together in remote villages, Jay says, and "saved those babies." Jay’s photographs of smiling children made the point better than any facts and we can take special pride in seeing a plaque in one village with Charleston Rotary’s name as a sponsor for their new clean water and sanitation equipment.

President John noted that our Rotary club gives WMI a $5,000 check each year but encouraged all Rotarians to get personally involved, volunteering at WMI or supporting it financially on an individual basis. To further demonstrate Charleston Rotary’s commitment to WMI, a check for $2,500 was presented along with special acknowledgement and gratitude to George and Mollie Greene.

Rotarians toured the Water Mission International (WMI) facilities and saw first hand the state of the
state of the art engineering and production techniques and equipment that WMI leaders say have brought relief and hope to more than 2.4 million people across the globe.

Submitted by Cheryl Kaynard. Keyway Committee 

September 13, 2013

Mayor Joe Riley
 Sept 10, 2013:   Our speaker, Mayor Joe Riley, was first elected Mayor of Charleston in 1975 and is currently in his 10 term. He has been called America’s most visionary public official.  His visions for the future of the city continue as he summarized current and future plans:

Plans are nearing completion for a new African/American Museum to be built on a site between the Aquarium and the parking garage. The board of directors includes many national figures.

The Gaillard Auditorium is on schedule for completion in December 2014 with the first concert to be held in March 2015.  95% of the removed materials have been recycled and 30% of the workforce has been women and minority workers. The finished structure with a world class performance hall will have 3 million pounds of Indiana white limestone on its exterior.

The Horizon Project is being planned for open space between Fishburne, Spring, Hagood and Lockwood. It will include research facilities for MUSC, and have new streets and available space for innovative start-up companies.

People Matter, a renowned software company has completed its headquarters on upper King Street and plans a second facility on Morrison Drive, and area expected to become a digital corridor.

The Market Street drainage project is now 1/3 complete. Deep shafts will carry rain water away and a new streetscape with underground utilities is part of the overall plan.The first phase of the Crosstown Expressway is complete with the second phase about to begin. It will include a 12’ tunnel that extends 120’ into the ground.

Three new Fire Stations are underway with a new central headquarters at King and Heriot Streets. This station will be equipped to serve as control of emergencies and disasters.

The Battery will be constructed as a 2.6 million dollar renovation gets underway. The first phase will include a temporary coffer dam to keep the water away from the construction. In the second year all new blue stone will be installed.

The Municipal Golf Course is the most heavily used in the state and will soon get a new irrigation system.

A new Water Taxi pier is to be built at Waterfront Park with an additional location planned when the relocation of the cruise terminal is complete.

Re-development is also underway at Midtown in the area of Spring and King, to include hotels, restaurants, apartments and retail stores.

The list of projects is impressive as is the continuing vision of Mayor Riley. 
Fred Sales, Keyway Committee

September 6, 2013

Col. Jamie Fontanella, USAFR—315th Airlift Wing Commander

Sept 3, 2013:   For the second installment in our Military Series, Colonel Jamie Fontanella, Commander of the 315th Airlift Wing, discussed our Citizen Airmen – the men and women who are a part of our Air Mobility Command.  These Citizen Airmen are men and women who work alongside us each and every day.  Colonel Fontanella is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and commenced his career as a Navy helicopter pilot upon graduation.  In 2001, Colonel Fontanella joined the Air Mobility Command flying the C-5, and spent most of his time training other Airmen.  He assumed duties as deputy operations group commander of the 349th Operations Group in 2007.  Today he oversees the 2,500 Charlestonians who are a part of the 315thAirlift Reserve Wing. 

The 315th Airlift Reserve is very involved in our community. One of its core values is Service above Self, which all Rotarians can identify with.  While most think that being in the Air Force Reserve involves a commitment of “one weekend a month, two weeks per year,” Colonel Fontanella explained that the men and women in the Reserve give so much more.  Their Reserve job is a part-time job, but just one of their three jobs.  Citizen Airmen must balance being in the Air Force Reserve, being a citizen and having a family life.  Reservists are business owners, teachers, and sometimes our bosses.  They buy homes, vote, pay taxes, and send their children to local schools. 

In the past, most Air Reserve personnel were trained as Active Duty Soldiers.  However, due to the economy, the retention rate is at an all-time high for those Active Duty Soldiers.  As a result, the Air Reserve is now being forced to train its own.  Many of the Air Force Reserve pilots are airline pilots.  These pilots have the same requirements as active duty pilots, typically consisting of about 6-7 days per month on average to stay current.  This training is critical so that the Air Reserve will always be combat-ready. The 315th Airlift Wing is combat-ready with rapid mobility.  The Air Force maintains the weapon systems as well as the equipment and the Air Reserve brings the people to the equipment.  In conflict, the Air Reserve asks for volunteers.  Charleston has not had to institute involuntary service since 2003. These Air Force reservists work with Active Duty Officers. 

There is total force integration between the Air Force, Air National Guard, and the Air Reserve.  The retirement age for these reservists is typically delayed until age 60. 

In addition to being combat-ready, the Air Force Reserve provides humanitarian and disaster relief worldwide.  Colonel Fontanella remarked that when there is a crisis and the United Nations is there, you will see a C-17 with a Charleston Tail Flash – often Charleston Air Force reservists bring the United Nations personnel to the disaster.  The Charleston Air Force Reserve also provides emergency medical services.  Within 24-36 hours of injury, they can get a medical team into combat.  If the medical personnel are there within 24 hours of combat injury, then there is a 95% chance that the Soldier will survive. 

These brave men and women exemplify service above self in a way that is invaluable to our country.  In addition to leading busy lives just like we do, these Citizen Airmen make enormous sacrifices every day to protect each and every one of us. 
Abby Edwards Saunders, Keyway Committee

August 30, 2013

Mike Veeck-Charleston Riverdogs
 August 27, 2013:   This week’s luncheon was served up with a side of fun, courtesy of Mike Veeck, President and Co-Owner of our own Charleston Riverdogs baseball team. Mike is known for his message of “Fun is Good” and didn’t disappoint with a presentation full of entertaining stories about baseball and his legendary promotional events. However, along with owning multiple baseball teams and being a sought-after motivational speaker, Mike is also a savvy businessman and advertising professional. In between tales of Free Vasectomy and Free Funeral promotions, exorcism at a ballpark/sacred burial ground, and Beer Milkshake recipes he shared some key components for personal and professional success.

A steady theme throughout was the importance of the team you assemble - what they bring in terms of passion, values, and fun. Concurrent with this is the importance of recognizing your team for their efforts. Mike had ready praise for the players not on the field for the Charleston Riverdogs. Dave Echols, Josh Shea, and John Schumacher were credited frequently for their creativity and passion. He also stated that “life is just a series of teams and we should try to get along”, suggesting that our workplace should reflect the teams that we idolize.

As important for success to Mike as passion and fun was also Dave Echol’s commitment to foster a feeling of community for all who enter the park and how Dave pushes that throughout the organization. The Riverdogs have seen great success with this focus, to include being on target for an annual attendance record of 300,000 (if not for five pesky rain-outs this season). Additionally, the Riverdogs (along with the Charleston Battery and SC Stingrays) were recently credited by Smith & Street’s Sports Business Journal as making Charleston the 11th best sports market in the nation (2013).

For Mike and many in the room, baseball and its traditions evoke memories of family, simpler times, and just plain fun. As a final encouragement and reminder, Mike provided a hand-out that reads, in part:

If nothing else, do this:

Take your work seriously, not yourself.

Reduce stress with visual beauty and fun.

Find your passion, bring it to your work.

Finally, put some fun in the day and take yourself out to the ballgame to cheer on the Riverdogs for their final two games of the season, Sunday September 1st at 5:05 (Kids Club Sunday) and Monday, September 2nd at 6:05 (Season Finale Fireworks and $1 hot dogs and beer). Go Riverdogs! 
Tammy Coghill, Keyway Committee

August 23, 2013

John Smith—Sparc
August 20, 2013:  Our program was presented by John Smith, the Chief Evangelist of SPARC. Prior to joining SPARC, John served as the CIO of Benefitfocus and as CEO of PeopleMatter. SPARC was recently named the 14th fastest growing private company in America by Inc. 500 with three-year revenue growth of 12,862%! The company is in the business of making people better which they fund through their software.  SPARC is a leading software product development company and was awarded SC Best Place to Work.  SPARC develops software and mobile applications for the government and commercial sectors, specializing in health and benefits systems, intelligence security, employee recognition, green energy management, big data analytics, and mobile application development.

John began his energetic and compelling presentation by asking the audience, “Who is in the business of taking people and making them their best?” After nearly everyone raised their hands, John described how the right culture helps achieve this common goal. In this way, culture should be considered another tool to grow your business. John used the “Engagement Effect” to describe how it works. John believes that it all begins by hiring the right people. He suggested that we should “Hire culture”, before intelligence and skill. This is partly due to the fact that the world is now innovating in accelerated 9-month cycles and thus the skills of today may not be as valuable in the near future. Culture and the ability to adapt and learn new things are more sustaining and should accordingly carry more weight.  After hiring the right people, you should envelop them in a culture that makes them happy. John urges executives to ask their employees what is important to them, not to assume. You might be surprised by what you find out. For example, at SPARC, one of the biggest “multipliers” of happiness was a comfortable chair. When you hire the right people and have created a culture that makes them happy, they become engaged. This phenomenon creates a feedback loop that continues to fuel itself. The output generated is energy and a positive brand. Energy is the only thing in the world that can create time, the most valuable commodity of all. When employees are passionate and speak highly about a company, the company’s brand gains value. John stressed that great culture does not develop overnight. Those who obtain it invest time and resources through a core belief that in the long-run the right culture will help their business grow.  
Will Thames, Keyway Committee

August 16, 2013

Rotary Harbor Cruise

 August 14, 2013:  An evening Harbor Jazz Cruise aboard the Spirit of the Lowcountry was held in lieu of our regular lunch meeting this week.  Those members and their guests who braved the weather and made it through the flooded downtown streets were treated to a wonderful cruise around Charleston harbor while enjoying delicious food and listening to jazz music featuring our own President John Tecklenburg on the keyboard.  A special thanks to Katie McCravy, Tammy Coghill, John Tecklenburg and the entire social committee for all they did to make this such a delightful evening for all of us.  As you can see from the below photos, those in attendance were actually dry and having a fabulous time!


August 9, 2013

Rotary District 7770 Governor Lou Mello

 August 6, 2013  - It was an honor to get a visit from our outstanding Rotary District Governor, Lou Mello.  Lou once coached high school football and basketball in Ohio and graduated from OSU.  At one time, Lou farmed 225 acres in Ohio.  Lou and his wife Teresa have lived in Mt Pleasant since 1999 and he joined Rotary in August 1999. 

Lou reminded us that our new Rotary International President Ron Burton’s theme is to ‘Engage Rotary, Change Lives.’  Lou gave us six priorities to work on in our club to accomplish this

First, we are to work on enhancing our brand.  A study was done and they found 4 things that set Rotarians apart from most service organizations.  1)We act differently because of the 4 Way Test.  2)We think differently because we come from so many different professional backgrounds. 3)We have great passion and perseverance. 4)We do community service on a global scale. 

The second priority is the future vision.  We are entering a new and exciting Future Vision for our Foundation, a new Grant Model and most importantly, an expanded District Grant program giving the Clubs more money to do great local service projects.

The third priority was to enhance our public image.  Lou encouraged us to email pictures of Rotarians in service to the district website at

The fourth priority is to increase membership.  However, Lou reminded us not to chase numbers, but rather to chase good people. 

The fifth priority is youth service.  Three years ago, the New Generations program was started and has become Rotary’s fifth avenue of service. Every year, thousands of talented and dedicated young people, ages 12-30, have an incredible experience in a New Generations program.  As Rotaractors and Interactors, they serve in communities at home and abroad. Through Rotary Youth Exchange, they explore new cultures. And as Rotary Youth Leadership Awards participants, they learn skills that will help them succeed as future community leaders.  

The sixth priority is to embrace and engage the family members of Rotarians.  We should try our best to include the family members of Rotarians in our social events and our service.

Finally, Lou reminded us that we are fortunate to have the 2014 District Conference here in Charleston on March 28-30, 2014 .   

Submitted by Doug Holmes, Keyway Committee   

August 2, 2013

ColONel Richard D. McComb

 July 30, 2013  - Colonel Richard McComb spoke to the Rotary Club on the topic of Sequestration and its impact on personnel under his command. Colonel Richard D. McComb is the Commander, 628th Air Base Wing, Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina. As host to 53 DOD and Federal agencies, the Wing provides unsurpassed installation support to a total force of over 79,000 Airmen, Sailors, Soldiers, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, civilians, dependents and retirees across both the Air Base and Weapons Station.  In addition, the Wing provides mission-ready expeditionary Airmen to Combatant Commanders in support of Joint and Combined operations worldwide.  As the Commander, Col McComb is responsible for $5.3 billion in base property and capital assets and controls an annual budget exceeding $172 million.

Colonel McComb began his discussion giving an overview of Joint Base Charleston (JBCHS) and its importance to national defense.  JBCHS is not only strategically important to the Department of Defense and the nation but is also unique in that it is comprised of airlift, sealift, and prepositioning (army strategic logistics) capabilities as well as being the home for naval nuclear propulsion training and the Naval Weapons Station (which provide IT and cyber warfare support to soldiers around the world).  JBCHS is unlike any other installation in the DOD.

The Sequester has been blamed for many challenges and failures and although a reprieve was granted in January of 2013, sequestration was implemented in March of this year.  Sequestration is a product of the Budget Control Act of 2011 initiated for deficit reduction of $917 Billion from FY 12-FY21 and $1.2 Trillion in Budget reductions.  As a result JBCHS is in week 4 of furloughs that affect 800,000 Air Force employees. Air force employees are furloughed 16 hr/week resulting in a 20% pay cut for civilian employees in 2013 with potential for continued furloughs and layoffs possible in 2014.  JBCHS has 1320 employees subject to furlough including 22 exempt child care workers and 101 line of duty police officers on limited schedule (55hr) equating to 112,827 furlough hours.  In addition JBCHS has absorbed $2 M in operation and maintenance sequestration reductions.  The impact to the local base includes the reduction of Local Training flights by 20%, Reduction in aerial port training for reserves and guard units, decreased grounds and facility maintenance and custodial services and elimination of afterhours equipment repair.  Reductions such as these can not only compromise preparedness but contributes to a slowdown in many areas. Equipment and vehicles must wait for parts (59 vehicles are currently parked), decreased morale and recreation services (hobby shop is closed, pool hours and season are reduced, library hours reduced) and reduction in customer service due to reduced staff.  Although all of the reductions are contributing to a general slowdown, “the wheels aren’t coming off” according to the Colonel.

Not to focus only on the negative impacts of sequestration, Colonel McCombs indicated that there are positive things happening.  Infrastructure improvements and additions are still underway.  Projects include the new 9000 ft runway (44million project) which has a ribbon cutting on August 7.  Other projects pending include, Air base privatized housing -335 units, new fuel tank farm($26M), Weapons station visitor center($740k), and  a Spawar lab($1.6M).  Additional projects projected include the NEX student store, NPTU P99/P190 expansion, Air Base visitors quarters and air base passenger terminal expansion.

Out of all of this JBCHS is working harder and smarter to minimize the impact on personnel.  In response to a question, Colonel McCombs indicated that there is concern from a readiness perspective. They need to continue to train and foster development otherwise personnel will either leave or will not be as ready as needed.  In his opinion, it would take about 3-5 years of these cuts before you would see ill effects resulting from them.

Part of his job has been to look at options to run leaner operations and with Sequestration it has been good to continue thinking in those terms.  The challenge, however, is to maintain this thinking without allowing readiness to lapse or personnel to go untrained.  Colonel concluded by reiterating that JBCHS has had a lot of success but it is in large part due to the support of the greater community.
Submitted by Don Baus, Keyway Committee