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