BBRC Reveille


Hirohiko Kirita, Owner & Head Sushi Chef, Chiso, will discuss the history of sushi and the difference between Japanese and American sushi. [Fischer]
Jack Welch, former head of GE, said: "An organization's ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage. "

Jay Abraham said: "If you're attacking your market from multiple positions and your competition isn't, you have all the advantage and it will show up in your increased success and income."
View this week's slideshow.
View this week's slideshow.
In memory of John Armenia, PhD
In memory of John Armenia, PhD
Invocation & Introductions
Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club
Morris Kremen & Joellen Monson
Joellen Munson began the meeting with a quote from St. Francis de Sales: "Make yourself familiar with the angels, and behold them frequently in spirit; for without being seen, they are present with you." She then led the club in a moment of silence in memory of the late John Armenia, an important and dearly loved member of the club who died this past week. She then offered a well-known prayer (usually attributed to the great American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr) that has brought her comfort:

God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference

Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club
Frank Young
Morris Kremen introduced the visiting Rotarians and guests. Our perennial friend Frank Young, from the downtown Bellevue club, rose to offer a wistful meditation on the end of summer in short pants and blue blazer. Asked to name the highlight of his summer, our eponymous hero conjured his grandchildren, revealing that his granddaughter is now learning to drive. Imprecisely, or perhaps even proleptically noting that we were celebrating the last meeting of the summer, he prochronically promised to be back in slacks the next time he visits. Also from the downtown club, local business legend Kemper Freeman was also present. His favorite memory of the summer was sartorial in nature, as he recalled wondering what Frank will wear next. The youthful Young may indeed be more "free man" than his contemplator.

Guests of the club included Olympic Gold Medalist and celebrated local oarswoman Anna Cummins, who has submitted an application for membership. Richard May, brother of our own Larry May, was visiting from Cincinnati. Rourke O'Brien introduced David Han, who was visiting for the third time. Also visiting was John Sherry, who will be inducted into the BBRC next week. Steve Lingenbrink announced the first visit of Dr. Gabe Nadel, a local chiropractic physician, and John Martinka presented Dave Shapiro.
International Trips
Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club
John Martinka
John Martinka told about next year's trip to Antigua with the kids from Newport High School. The American students will teach classes on computer maintenance to the local students.

Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club
Wendi Fischer
Wendi Fischer, BBRC member and Executive Director of America's Foundation for Chess, added that we are adding chess as a learning activity on the trip, using her foundation's program, First Move. Wendy noted that she will make a scouting trip to the paradisal island "to work with the teacher."
Exchange Student: Claudia Rodríguez
Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club
Claudia Rodríguez & Ann Norman
Ann Norman presented our charming new foreign exchange student, Claudia Rodríguez, from Santiago, Chile. The señorita from the far south spoke in English carefully but with confidence. She will attend Sammamish High School and will play volleyball there.

Ann explained that the correct pronunciation of Claudia "is to start with Cloud, which you can remember because we have lots of clouds in Seattle. But she actually has a very sunny personality." Her last name is pronounced with stress on the í, thus CLOUD-ee-ah ro-DREE-ges. (The "gu" is pronounced like a hard G and the "z" is pronounced as an "s".)

Wendi Fischer then talked about the calendar of activities for Claudia. She called attention to a green paper on the table with a list of activity ideas and a calendar grid for signing up to spend time with the exchange student.

Claudia's contact information and calendar will be available to BBRC members on the home page of the Members Only area, as soon as you login. You can also contact Ann to ask if Claudia is available.
In Memoriam: John Armenia
Steve Roberts
Steve Roberts spoke to a bereaved club about details of John Armenia's death. Having struggled valiantly in a long bout with lung cancer, John was working at his desk when he died at the age of 72. Roberts remembered John as a talented educator who was a Ph.D. from Washington State University and a Fulbright scholar. He was first the person to be named faculty emeritus at City University.

In a very full life, John served an assistant golf pro and baseball coach. A longtime Rotarian, John served as president of the Gig Harbor club. He received Rotarian of the Year honors in Gig Harbor in 1992, and joined our club in 2006.

Sayoko Kuwahara
He excelled in his work with the Group Study Exchange (GSE) teams. Sayoko Kuwahara shared at length about how much help he had been to her in helping her get involved with GSE teams. She told the story of working with John and immediately recognizing his experience and passion for the program. As she became further involved, she said, "He guided, coached, and encouraged me every step of the way."

Steve mentioned that in 2007, John gave a memorable talk on business ethics to our club. He noted John had "loved and lived by" the Rotary Four-Way Test, and in his memory the club members and guests stood to read the 4-way test aloud. Funeral details were shared, and members were encouraged to post memories on our website.

  • john01.jpg

The following obituary was published in The Seattle Times on September 5, 2010:

John William ARMENIA, PhD 7/13/38 ~ 8/28/10
Born July 13, 1938 in Spokane to Rosemary and John A. Armenia; John died August 28, 2010, in Bellevue, WA. He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Brenda; sister Diane Wolfe-Lurus of Spokane; 6 sisters-in-law, 3 brothers-in-law, many nieces and nephews, and several godchildren.

John grew up in Spokane, graduating from Gonzaga Prep and Gonzaga University. In 1984 he received Gonzaga University's Alumni Merit Award. He earned his doctorate in Educational Leadership from WSU in 1978. John had a long and distinguished career in education as a teacher, administrator, and professor. He was passionate about teaching and learning, and mentoring other educators. Upon his retirement as director of City University of Seattle's Educational Leadership Program in 2008, he was awarded the title of Faculty Emeritus. He served as President of the Washington State Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa from 2004-2009, and in May was elected to the board of directors of PDK International.

John worked to provide service to others in the larger community through his active membership in Rotary International. From 1983-2006, he was a member of the Rotary Club of Gig Harbor. In 2006 he joined the Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club.

A funeral mass celebrating John's life will be held at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 9460 NE 14th St, Bellevue on Thursday, September 9, at 11:00 am. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to The Dr. John Armenia Scholarship Fund at City University of Seattle, 11900 NE First St., Bellevue, WA 98005.
Foundation/Major Grants
Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club
Fred Barkman
Fred Barkman spoke to the club about major grants. Five months ago we presented our major grant recipient, Housing at the Crossroads, a transitional housing effort for newly homeless in the Totem Lake area. The organization received a $15,000 grant from our foundation.

The club will sponsor a work project on Saturday, September 25, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. We will be tearing off dilapidated siding from a building, removing single pane windows, and tearing down an exterior staircase.

Please RSVP to Lee Smith if you can attend. More information is forthcoming.
Sergeant At Arms
Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club
Elena Howell
SAA Elena Howell appeared, greeted with the traditional half-hearted boos. Adopting her best Russian accent (which, being a native Russian, she managed with her characteristic aplomb), she noted the need for spies for her KGB-inspired Intelligence Agency and Secret Service. (Given American sensibilities about freedom of speech, it should be acknowledged that your otherwise bold and faithful reporter has seen fit to exercise a bit of prudent self-censorship here as to the details of these programs.) Desperate for revenue and seeking new agents, she administered an intelligence quiz to the fear-stricken and ostensibly ignorant members. Questions (and answers) included:
  1. In what city was the first non-English speaking Rotary club established?
    Answer: La Havana, Cuba
  2. In the center of the Rotary emblem is a keyhole. In what year was the keyhole added to the Rotary emblem?
    Answer: 1928
  3. In 1999 a human chain of children lined up to support the fight against polio. How many children formed the human chain?
    Answer: 3 million
  4. The first woman club president was Sylvia Whitlock of the Rotary Club of Duarte, California. Which convention did she attended?
    Answer: Philadephia,1988
  5. How many pints of beer are consumed by BBRC members at the Rock Bottom every year?
    Answer: 704
A good fine was paid by all.
BBRC Poker Night THIS FRIDAY! September 10!
Mitch Freedman has scheduled the next BBRC poker night for Friday, September 10, 7:00 pm, at his home in Bellevue, 16838 NE Place.

Food and fun! Everyone is a winner at BBRC Poker Night!

Please RSVP to Mitch (Ph 425-401-9759).
Fun Way to Learn More About Rotaract
Joellen Monson
There will be a District 5030 Barbecue & Picnic on Sunday, September 19th, from 1:00-6:00 pm, for all Rotarians, Rotaractors, and their families and friends. The location is Crossroads Park, 16000 NE 10th St, Bellevue.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for kids, and $10 for age 12 and under. Your support will contribute to District Rotaract development and service projects.

DG John Matthews shared information about this barbecue/picnic, with the suggestion that our club use this great opportunity to bring our new members, Red Badgers and their families along, to enjoy the fellowship.
Hope you can make this and learn more about how our own club can become involved in Rotaract!
Special October New Member Meeting
Norm Johnson, Chairperson, New Member Committee
Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club
Your October meeting of the New Member Committee will be a pizza social, with members and partners, on Tuesday, October 5th, at 6:00 PM. It will be at the home of BBRC President Chuck Kimbrough and First Lady Nancy, 128111 NE 34th Place, Bellevue; Phone: 425-885-5891.

Please enter this into your PDA, your contact tracking system, and your Day Timer, if anyone still uses such a system.

Oh, and don't forget to tell your partner, for these are truly social events and a good opportunity to meet other new members.
"Creating Relative Competitive Advantages When You Need Them Most," Tim Johnstone, President & Chief Executive Officer, Johnstone Advantage Consulting Group, Inc.
Tim Johnstone

"Husky Bob" made a fashion statement in introducing the speaker, sporting shorts and a U-Dub golf shirt. He noted that Tim Johnstone, a regular member of our club, is an accomplished businessman who holds a BA in Economics from Oregon State and an MBA in finance. Prior to starting the Johnstone Advantage Consulting Group in 2006, he was a President/CEO of a shoe company, having previously worked for Chase Manhattan Bank and other major corporations in senior executive positions.

Whether non-profit or for-profit, organizations and individuals of all types are fighting for seemingly non-existent dollars — and blaming the economy when they don't come. Yet some are thriving, despite the misery everywhere else. Why?

The answer is that they have developed clear ways of not only differentiating themselves but demonstrate why they are the only choice worth considering. Johnson presented six steps to follow to strengthen, develop and extend your own set of competitive advantages, and win those scarce resources for yourselves.

Johnstone personalized the issue of competitive advantage by noting that his daughter's father-in-law is his biggest competitor, because he competes for grandkid time. Apparently, competitive advantage is not a topic that goes away at the end of the work day. He pointed out that famed investor Warren Buffet will not invest in companies that do not have sustainable competitive advantages. Things are changing fast and they are now fleeting. "Einstein put it best when he described relativity," he said. "Everything is relative. When I sit on a hot stove, a minute is eternity. When I sit on a bench next to a pretty girl, eternity seems like a moment." Things are even more relative now, as new technologies create an ever more competitive market.

Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club
Bob Houser
Henry Ford invented the assembly line for auto manufacturing, creating a competitive advantage, but people figured out how to compete with him. He offered any color as long as it was black. Others came along and offered colors. That allowed them to beat what seemed like an unbeatable competitive advantage.

In describing the current situation, he personalized the subject to the club, pointing out that "your business was born, and through your efforts, the market grew and grew. Then a recession came along, and it grew." Accordingly, "we have to figure out how to move our business back to the center of the marketplace."

Johnstone then offered six lenses for looking at relative competitive advantage:

Markets Served
Sales/Distribution Method
Resource Advantage
Intellectual Property/Technology
Brand Recognition
Product or Service Superiority

He encouraged the group to look at the worksheet he offered and consider their businesses in each category of analysis.

1. Markets served: "The shoe industry knows how to segment customers," he explained. "Men on average own 8 pairs of shoes; women on average own 22. However, the high-end fashion shoe people target a very specific group of women: professional, young, with an average age of 38, who own 72 pairs of shoes." To establish competitive advantage with regard to the markets we serve, we must know our customers and their wants and needs.
He then told anecdote of a local ladder maker, who provided an engineered ladder service to aerospace and paper industries. He also had a specialty ladder for the wine industry that allowed them to store their barrels better. He was making 65% of his profit from this 10% of his sales, but he wasn't marketing it. Johnstone encouraged him to increase this business by putting more attention on that product, and greater sales resulted.

2. Sales: "Mary Kay Cosmetics is known for pink Cadillacs," Johnstone remarked. "So, Mary Kay became most known for how she distributed her product. It's hard for competitors to overcome individuals selling to their friends." He pointed out further that Walmart has a competitive advantage because of their global distribution network that is second to none. How do you and your competitors deliver your product?

3. Resource Advantage: "Weyerhauser owns millions of acres of timber land, while competitors have to buy timber from others," Johnstone said. Microsoft has lots of financial resources. "In marketing, they try everything because they can afford it," he noted. Some have celebrity as an advantage, such as Wolfgang Puck, the great chef. The last gas station for 240 miles across the desert has a location advantage.

Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club
Tim Johnstone & Steve Roberts
4. Intellectual Property and Technology: Coca Cola has a distinctive bottle and a secret formula. Merck owned the patent on penicillin. "This was a huge competitive advantage when it was the only antibiotic," said Johnstone. He also mentioned an accountant firm that developed a paperless approach and Toyota, which was legendary for market share because of its automated assembly process.

5. Brand Recognition: Kleenex became a household name. Their name became synonymous with the product. Starbucks also has a great brand. Nike basketball shoes have an advantage because of Air Jordan.

6. Product or Service Superiority: "Armani," the speaker offered, "is a high-end brand distinguished by making the very finest clothes, from the finest materials, with the best fit." In contrast, he noted that Men's Warehouse has a slogan, "You'll love the way you look: I guarantee it." "Superior product," he added, "doesn't necessarily mean the brand is gold-plated. It could be best price for a reasonably good product." Starbucks, on the other hand, changed what the product was in the coffee industry. They offered not just coffee, but an experience, an emotional overtone that people enjoyed.

"The key to all this is to find the right combinations of things," he concluded. "Having one area of competitive advantage is great. Two is better. Three is fantastic." He went on to discuss how Southwest Airlines changed the way air travel was distributed and in doing so, created a brand that made people happy to stand in long lines. "Apple Computer is not just about buying an iPod, but about buying cool."
Web Fun
There, I fixed it!
White-trash-repairs-A Bit Too Literal
see more There I Fixed It
white-trash-repairs-Car Trouble Where You Least Expect It
see more There I Fixed It

white-trash-repairs-The Holiest of Unions
see more There I Fixed It
Poker Night, September 10
Poker Night, September 10
Summer Celebration Barbecue, August 28
Rotary First Harvest Work Party, September 11
Rotary Academy Applications Due September 24
Rotary Academy Applications Due September 24
This week's editor
This week's editor
This week's photorapher
This week's photographer

Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club