Friday Oct 30, 2015

"Weathering Economic Storms - Two stories"

Katherine De Stephano / Cary Kopczynski

Founder/Owner- CEO Escape Outdoors / Cary Kopczynski & Company

Scribe: Bob McKorkle Introduced by: Bob Holert

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Speaker Program

BBRC members Katherine De Stephano and Cary Kopzcynski were the program talking about their companies and how they were impacted and overcame the recent economic downturn. “Weathering Economic Storms” – Two stories.

Katherine owns Escape Outdoors that started in 2000 and has multiple locations.  Because of some foresight and adept maneuvering, they came out okay.  Staycations became popular and they were able to tap into that.  She pointed out that you have to be ready as the storm will come.

Cary’s story was much different.  Cary owns Cary Kopzcynski & Company (CKC structural engineers) and he started by asking who knew what a structural engineer does.   Half the room raised their hand.  He promptly challenged the response saying that most who think they do actually do not.  Yours truly was guilty as charged.  Cary’s company designs the spines of buildings.  That part that holds it up.  He had many examples of current and former projects.  He was hit because commercial building stopped due to both lack of demand and financing.  His story was one of downsizing, making hard personnel decisions and outsourcing.  While he is back to where he was before the crisis, his business has forever changed.  He is a poised to be a lot more nimble when the next storm comes.

Club Stuff

The meeting was presided over by past president Jim Zidar as President Paul was traveling.

Traci Tenhulzen handled the invocation and pledge. Kim Shrader introduced the visiting Rotarians and guests.

Scott Sadler and Margie Burnett made a pitch for the Rotary Foundation. November is Foundation month and all members are urged to sign up. Margie gave a testimonial on the work of the Foundation. She has been on several trips around the world helping out and seeing the good work the foundation is doing. The club currently has 82 Paul Harris Fellows.

The anniversary party was moved to January. The party scheduled for November 14th was cancelled due to lack of sign ups.

Carmela Ramaglia had video of the adoption party which according to Chuck Kimbrough was a fantastic success.   There were 40+ children at the party.   The room is set up as a fun event for the kids. The prospective parents can then watch or interact with the children.   The video gives a great inside look for those that have never attended.

SAA Ann Norman got little time so the club came away unscathed except for Alan Pratt. She did say November 20th will be “dress for teams” day. It was also reiterated that scooters must pay.

Acting president Jim awarded the speakers with 1,000 pounds of fresh produce to Rotary First Harvest courtesy of Fred Janssen and Janssen Consulting.

Thought for the day: In business or in life, don’t follow the wagon tracks too closely. H. Jackson Brown, Jr.




About the Speaker

Katherine De Stephano is the Founder and Owner of Escape Outdoors.

Cary Kopczynski is Senior Principal and CEO of Cary Kopczynski & Company (CKC), a structural engineering firm with offices in Bellevue, San Francisco, and Chicago. For over 25 years, CKC has provided design services for major urban buildings throughout the United States and beyond. The firm has won over 50 regional and national awards, and has twice been selected by national trade associations as a top structural engineering firm to work for nationwide.

CKC has designed over 20 notable building structures in downtown Bellevue, including Lincoln Square Expansion, a 2.6 million square foot mixed-use development currently under construction at NE 4th and Bellevue Way; The Bank of America Building and The Hyatt Regency Hotel at Bellevue Place; and The Spring District Apartments, which is located at the new 36-acre urban development on the site of the former Safeway distribution center.