• BBRC WEEKLY NEWSLETTER • VOL 23, NO 17, OCTOBER 26, 2010 •
IN THIS ISSUE
"Election 2010," Kirby Wilbur, a former morning talk show host with KVI Radio, 570 AM, for 16 years, will be discussing the November 2010 election and his thoughts as to what will transpire. Kirby is a graduate of the University of Washington with a BA in History. He considers himself an amateur historian, with particular interest in the American War for Independence and the Civil War.
Kirby was named several times in his career as one of the Top 100 Talk Show hosts in America by Talker's Magazine, the leading talk radio trade journal. Before becoming a talk show host, Kirby was a real estate appraiser and owned his own firm Liberty Consultants. [Brooks]
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
President Chuck sent the members out to their final workday of the standard business week with "a quote from a publisher named Ben Franklin: "An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest."
Brian Evison & Norm Johnson
Norm Johnson began the meeting with the following tribute to a legendary basketball coach. "The onset of the college basketball season will soon be on us, and this calls to mind one of the greatest coaches of all time, John Wooden. John passed away in June after 99 years of service. He is gone, but his quotes of wisdom remain."
Johnson continued, "It was John's belief that material possessions, winning scores, and great reputations are meaningless." He cited another quotation from Wooden, "You cannot live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you," summing up his tribute with the judgment that "John would have been a good Rotarian." Johnson then prayed:
Lord, we ask you for your guidance as we strive to have the perfect day. Allow "Service above Self" to be a guiding beacon in our daily live, not just in matters of Rotary. Service to others is the rent we pay for our room here on earth. Again, our material possessions, our winning scores, and great reputations are meaningless in your eyes, for you know who we really are an all that really matters is our service to others. Amen.
The invocation was followed with our time-honored tradition of saying the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag. Patriotic hearts beat faster while the few non-citizens in the club observed the ceremony with respect and affection.
Brian Evison recognized visits from itinerant Rotarians Frank Young, Bill Prater, and Mark Gardner, all members of nearby clubs who like to occasionally visit this club, now reputed to be "number one among the best Rotarian clubs in the world." (Is that the new formula? Your reporter can't seem to be past a certain memory of being the best club, even if a "darn" one. In any case, it's all in good fun.)
There were an additional three guests besides the visiting Rotarians.
Members were reminded that it would be good to give Bill Rambo a call or send him a card.
It was also announced that popular member Wendi Fischer, who is president of America's Foundation for Chess, would be appearing this week on the NBC Today Show. Heads up, Sergeant at Arms! That has to be a fineable offense!
President Chuck Kimbrough
After sharing announcements, Club President Chuck Kimbrough donned his leadership mantle to share a few aspirations with the members. President Kimbrough began by informing the club that the District Governor recently asked him several questions. A verbatim rendering of their conversation follows, as reported by Kimbrough:
District Governor: Is there anything that the club does where 100% of the membership participates? For us at Mercer Island, it's our half marathon and EREY (Every Rotarian Every Year) to the Annual Fund. I'd like to know what these are, if any, and how people feel about participating in them. If the club doesn't have any 100% participation events, what might make a good event to start with?
President Kimbrough: BBRC's strength historically has been and still is the broad diversity of its members (the obvious-ethnic, religious, where raised, etc., + economic + embracing, not just tolerating, differences), and their individual passions (interests) combined with our members willingness to engage in making everything we do fun plus good leadership teams. In my opinion, all are important, but "sense of service (doing good works) while having fun" and excellent and entertaining programs at each meeting is critical. BBRC is close to being 100% on EREY. We have made it some years but not every year. BBRC has always exceeded the individual average goal amount ($100) by nearly 3x (about $350 per year) for several years. BBRC is also close to 100% in participation in Rotary First Harvest, that includes physical and financial participation. For the last several years BBRC has won the "Golden Donut Award" for having the greatest number of Rotarians and guests, in a year at work parties. Even in a down economy we had success in getting a substantial percentage of BBRC members to physically and/or financially participate, to a significant degree, in BBRC's two fund raisers, the Bellevue 5K Run (now 10K - about 75-80%) and BBRC Charitable Golf Classic (about 50- 60%). We strive for 100% and have implemented some strategies to increase financial participation, but frankly I doubt with the diversity of interests (passions) and backgrounds (including economic) that we will get 100%, but we will incrementally increase the percentage and expect to significantly boost the gross $$ raised.
District Governor: How does the club have fun today? Is there something special that no matter who is involved, it's just plain fun?
President Kimbrough: BBRC regularly employs a changing variety of tactics using: Sergeant Arms (2), "BBRC band," BBRC "singers and piano players" — leading in occasional song and/or antics, spider monkey, skits, etc. We try to put some "different fun" in every meeting. BBRC also has at least one social event each month. From 3rd Thursdays each month, to two annual Newbies pizza parties, to Valentine "dine a rounds" each Feb, to regular annual parties — Rotating Wheels, Anniversary, Annual Planning Retreat-(a type of working social event) most with "in house or outside" entertainment. We work at a heavy dose of fellowship in many forms. Over time we work to make certain that there is change (newness or freshness) in our meetings, parties and projects!!
District Governor: When you think about your club, what are you most proud of? What do you think your members are most proud of?
President Kimbrough: The great number and range of "good works" BBRC has done each and every year, both hands on and by donation both locally and internationally. Our Centennial Year project, raising $1 Million dollars to develop a park (Bellevue Spray Park) where all children could play together (whether physically or mentally handicapped or not) in partnership with Bellevue Park Dept. was the biggest in both dollars and publicity. Yet each and every project of the many, from the Family Fest Adoption parties to $50K to help the YMCA build a new facility at Newcastle, to Turkeys at Thanksgiving, to solar powered water facilities in Kenya, to Computers for Antigua school children etc. is something special to each member(s) who promoted it, provided the leadership and pursed the project to completion.
District Governor: What areas does your club set the standard for the right way to do it?
President Kimbrough: (1) Fellowship into everything, a great mix of younger and older members, year to year well organized administration and continuity of good leadership teams; (2) BBRC Mission, Vision and Values, plus filters through which BBRC analyzes each activity or project we undertake to insure maximum positive change locally or internationally; (3) Newbies committee meetings once a month for a year, which teaches, trains, engages and integrates new members into BBRC and Rotary. (4) Wide variety of and substantial number of projects ranging from about $20K in annual Scholarships for very worthy past and present Sammamish High School student (15 years or more), to Rotary First Harvest, Computers for the World (recently children of Antigua,including giving a dictionary to every 3rd grader in the country), Family Fest Adoption Party, annual "Ron Healey" hands on Rotary service project for the elderly or disabled, and many, many more.
District Governor: Do you have Charter members still in the club? Who are they?
President Kimbrough: Jim Owens, Dick Brown, John Smolke, and Doug Cameron (my neighbor and sponsor)
Kimbrough concluded his conversation with the District Governor by saying, "I hope this gives you a good peek under the BBRC rug, a better feel for our great club, and [a sense] that BBRC is getting ever closer to emulating the motto 'The Best Darn Rotary Club in the World" — a tool or slogan which we use for internal motivation, self-measurement and occasional humor.'" No offense or undue rivalry was intended, the reader may be sure.
The well-appreciated club leader also shared a number of goals with the club. He began by reminding the club that "the Rotary International Themes [for last year and this] are: 2009-10"The Future of Rotary is in Your Hands" and 2010-11 "Building Communities Bridging Continents." He went on to enumerate his 2010-2011 BBRC goals and their corresponding action plans:
1. Develop and insert into BBRC culture and systems the concepts of Teamwork, Collaboration, with a focus on the Continuous Improvement of each and every BBRC activity.
2. Develop and insert in to BBRC culture and systems that encourages training Club Leadership at all levels while doing a single or repetitive project to more complex year or multi-year projects such as fund raising, so BBRC will always have several trained leaders "available" for each Officer, Director, or Committee chair position.
3. Encourage development of a BBRC culture and systems where all members think of and regularly express there ideas of how to continuously improve all aspect of BBRC administration, operations including "fund raising." Apply this to all committees, subcommittees, projects or events and continually test what BBRC does against Rotary's 4 way test and BBRC's mission, vision and values to ensure they are aligned.
4. Find and match each BBRC member's interest/passion to a specific position, service, activity, project or task.
5. Develop systems to continually encourage each member to participate in the BBRC tradition of Fun, Humor and Music at every meeting, event and/or project.
After announcing his goals, the president turned the meeting over to the the Sergeant at Arms, who did not immediately appear. "Is she lost?" he mused aloud? Sergeant Elena Howell called out from the audience, "Wishful thinking, President Chuck. I'm not lost and I have something for you."
Appearing at the lectern she introduced three volunteers holding the numbers 1, 2, and 3. Helpers distributed papers to the club for an exercise. Each volunteer then stated for the record, "My name is Brad Baumann." The assignment was to identify the real Brad and the real names of the other two. The Sergeant at Arms menacingly announced fines for all tables who were not able to identify all three helpers.
L-R: Brian Hardy, Brad Baumann & Kevin O'Brien
"I think we should make sure Elena knows our names," catcalled one member. "Good try," said the unflappable pseudo-military personage, "but I did my homework!" Howell then identified the volunteers as Brian Hardy, the real Brad Baumann, and Kevin O'Brien. "How many got it right?" chirped the irrepressible Russian. Three tables had succeeded. All others paid a $1 fine per unrecognized volunteer.
In another SAA business, our newly reclassified Norm Johnson (Club Espionage) discussed an invitation received by his wife Carolyn to learn about important issues involving wealth, living trusts, and estate planning, sent from no less a personage than the inveterate BBRC member Steve Waltar, Esq. Sadly, there was no "Rotary pin" on the invitation. Furthermore, there was an article in it with no mention of Rotary.
Steve came up and indicated that he was indeed wearing a pin, and that Alan Pratt was on page five of the same newsprint item bearing no Rotarian insignium.
Elena offered to reduce the $25 fine to $10, but because of Waltar's proprietary bookmarks that had been placed on the tables that day, the club objected strenuously. The fine was nevertheless fixed at $10 despite protests from the club, and the honorable officer of the court duly paid it.
Student of the Month Estafany Figueroa-Alvarez & Brian Hardy
Brian Hardy introduced Estafany Figueroa-Alvarez, Student of the Month, from Sammamish High School. Alvarez, an impressive honor student, took three Advanced Placement classes last year and four this year. She is involved with community and her church, where she serves as a catequist.
As for her future plans, Estafany declared, "I'm planning to go out of state to Arizona State University or a private college in Southern California."
A warm round of applause was offered by the club.
Tamara Dean, Tim Leahy & Doug Cameron
Professional auctioneer Tim Leahy, along with Tamara Dean, came to the podium and talked about several donations of wine, spiced rum, and other baskets of potables from the Seattle Wine Company, located at Northup and 130th.
Bidding began at $50 for each item, and club members responded enthusiastically and generously. Items sold at prices ranging from $70 to $175. In addition, a box of 2 cell phones sold for $50 each.
Bob Holert introduced the scheduled speaker, George Erb, Editor in Chief of the Puget Sound Business Journal. Holert noted that Mr. Erb has been a journalist since 1983 and is a Past President of the Society for Professional Journalists. He went on to add that the distinguished guest holds a bachelors' degree from Hanover College and a Masters degree from the University of Oregon. At that point, someone in the club called out "I didn't know that school had masters degrees!" Past President Jenny Andrews loudly and angrily remonstrated, "I beg your pardon!" A wave of sympathy engulfed the club.
Mr. Erb then thoroughly validated the quality of his fine alma mater by presenting an eloquent and highly relevant talk on the Puget Sound Business Journal (PSBJ) and its approach to business journalism today. "This is a momentous time in my industry that is relevant to all of us." Recognizing that there has been "a sea change in the [news] industry, he stated "the PSBJ is changing too. It's inescapable." He then went on to explain "what has changed completely and what hasn't changed at all." In short, he stated that how media outlets deliver their news has changed remarkably, but he asserted that at the PSBJ, "the quality has not changed."
The talented story teller then illustrated the changes in his industry with an anecdote from this personal life. In the Spring of 1982 he was 28 years old, earning $14,000 a year and trying to break into journalism. "The Times Weekly hired me as a sports stringer," he reminisced. He got paid $15 per story, before the advent of computers, cell phones and the internet. His tools, he remembered with apparent fondness, "were a pen, a typewriter, and a car." "There were telephones," he remarked, "but they were not used much. One of my most important tools was a 1974 Chevy Nomad, color Vaguely Avocado." The car had 90,000 miles on it (which he estimated to be the equivalent of a quarter-million miles on today's cars).
Bob Holert makes the introduction.
"The sports editor assigned me to cover Foster High School girls' basketball team that was playing for the state championship [playoffs]," he continued. He drove to Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, "where Foster pounded Okanagan and made it into the finals." "I was driving home on I-5 and composing the story when something caught my eye," he said. His odometer light was blinking. It got brighter and brighter and took on an orange-yellow hue. Then it stated getting hot. The odometer filled with smoke. Small flames started licking at the odometer. "Smoke went pouring out of the passenger compartment," he said, as he got out his fire extinguisher, opened the hood, and found no fire there. "So I ran to the open door, leaned in, and pulled the handle on the fire extinguisher, successfully quenching the flames. His first emotion was relief; his second thought: "I gotta file this story!"
The nearest lights were at a Black Angus restaurant, but the destination was too far for him to walk and be able to file story on time. "So I started the car again and drove to the restaurant with no lights. I wrote the story on bar napkins and called it in to the editor." The next day, he had the car towed to a repair shop.
Having vividly and picaresquely reminded the club members of the technological transformation that has occurred during our adult years, he went on to spell out what has changed. Reporting tools are different. Typewriters and pay phones are no more. Computers, cell phones and the internet and Wi-fi connections have replaced them. "Reporters don't have to come into the office, he said, "and many don't."
Erb went on to describe the current activity of the PSBJ. He noted that the Business Journal is still printed but is also on the web. He talked about TechFlash, a technology news blog sponsored by the paper. It generates a million page views per month, he noted, along with the PSBJ website. Offering an interesting and ironic element, he noted that instead of just chasing the news, "We now follow our readers and report the news to where they are through social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter." He also mentioned that the journal delivers news round-ups by e-mail twice a day to some 18,000 subscribers. "None of these were imaginable in 1982 when my Chevy burned up," he quipped.
"The blog is more conversational, but still newsy," he offered. Referring to other changes, he noted that "we used to not cite other media outlets, but now we link to them freely. We want to be the place where people come to discuss the business news of the day."
President Chuck Kimbrough thanks George Erb for his presentation.
Moving on in his entertaining and informative lecture, he said, "On the other hand, some things have not changed one bit." Chief among these factors was his statement, "Journalism values have not changed." He asserted that the PSBJ remains committed to fair reporting, and it is "still committed to helping our readers understand a complex world." Posters at his office ask, "What does it mean?" "We want our reporters to think about that and put it in their stories," he said. Erb went on to say that news values have not changed. "We still ask the same questions about whether to cover a story."
The Puget Sound Business Journal is clearly a national leader in its field. Erb cited a long list of awards which the paper and its reporters have garnered in recent years, including 12 national awards from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, and others from other agencies. The paper has also earned12 first place awards from its corporate parent. Impressively, the PSBJ was recently a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize, a distinction no other business journal has achieved.
Further discussing the values of the PSJB, Erb stated that they are committed to building community. One of the ways they approach that goal is through a quarterly speaker series. "Our ownership, The Business Journals, makes it easy for us to maintain our vision and standards," he said. He added that their corporate parent is the largest such group in the country. The affable journalist continued by discussing the local mission of the PSJB, which is committed to (1) be the best provider of information; (2) connect business leaders with each other; (3) provide a strong sense of community; and (4) aim to help make the region stronger.
Concluding his program by finishing his earlier story about the Chevy Nomad, he remembered that a short had caused the fire. "Incredibly," he said, "insurance covered [the damage], but the car was never the same. Fire extinguisher powder is very corrosive and goes everywhere." The effects of the powder spread and, over time, ruined the electronic circuits of the vehicle. He lost the radio eventually, and finally gave the car to a school district for its auto repair class. "When you send the title back to the state," he finished, "you have to write the word 'destroyed' on the title. I did."
The guest remained at the podium for a few final moments and graciously responded to questions from the floor with wit and intelligence.