New Member: Robb Cadwallader

Please introduce yourself if you don’t already know Robb Cadwallader like many do, and welcome him to the club. Robb was sponsored by Elisabeth Wiener. He introduced himself and demonstrated his good humor and a compatibility of character that will make him a great Rotarian and then provided the short bio below outlining where his business career has taken him.

During his career, Cadwallader has been involved in the growth and development of several companies, both public and private, in various industries. In the healthcare sector, at both United Emergency Services and Coastal Healthcare, Cadwallader was a member of the executive management team that set strategic direction and led the capitalization efforts.

In the real estate sector, Cadwallader oversaw development and secured financing approaching $100 million. In partnership with Lincoln Harris, he collaborated with the Research Triangle Foundation to redevelop Park Center within the Research Triangle Park.  In partnership with the NC Treasury Department and State Employees Retirement System he created a program to develop public schools throughout North Carolina through Public Private Partnerships.

He specializes in setting strategic direction, capital formation, mergers and acquisitions, and mentoring of both financial and operations management in public and emerging growth companies.

Cadwallader was President/CEO of United Emergency Services, a privately-held healthcare services company. During his tenure he guided UES’ growth, both organic and through acquisition, and oversaw its recapitalization. Preceding UES, he was EVP/COO of Coastal Healthcare Group. As a member of the executive management team he was an active participant in the IPO and subsequent financings and oversaw mergers and acquisitions and investor relations.

Before Coastal, Cadwallader was Managing Director/President of Montrose Capital, a privately-held merchant bank. He was responsible for overall development and financing of large scale real estate developments including Robert Trent Jones Golf Club/Lake Manassas, an 1100-acre mixed-use development outside Washington, D.C. and Gwinnett Progress Center, a 1500-acre business park outside Atlanta, Georgia.

Cadwallader began his career as a commercial banker with the predecessor of Bank of America, ultimately leaving as a SVP and large profit center managing executive.

Cadwallader holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of North Carolina Kenan Flagler Business School and a Bachelor of Arts from Duke University.  He is married, has one son and one daughter, and five grandchildren.  In addition, he has three step-daughters.

Program Report: NCCU Chancellor Johnson Akinleye


North Carolina Central University Chancellor Johnson Akinleye highlighted the university’s growing national academic and athletic stature and massive local economic impact during an update Monday. He also called for added local investment in and around the school’s growing campus by area businesses and institutions.

“This is what we need,” said Akinleye. “We want investment in NCCU and investment in areas around NCCU.”

NCCU has entered its second century of service, and in 2016 was named “HBCU of the Year.”

But Akinleye looked largely forward.  He told a full house of Rotarians that the university works to refine and expand academic programming in combination with work to create new partnerships with academic institutions, businesses, non-profits and other institutions. The goal, he said, is to help connect the school and its students globally as part of its mission to create “market-ready” graduates who have academic credentials and real-world work exposure and experience.

Akinleye said regional economic surveys have quantified the university’s regional economic impact at $563.7 million. Many of the school’s graduates remain in the RDU area he said, as do many of its 30,000 alumni. In 2017, NCCU graduated 1,215 students, the largest class in its history. Average starting salaries for 2017 graduates exceed $40,000, in contrast the U.S. median starting salary of more than $28,000 per year.

“We are actually soaring as an institution,” Akinleye said, noting the university’s increasing national profile not only in academics but athletics. NCCU is growing in new areas of research, research grants and spending, he said, noting a $16.3 million grant from a division of the National Institute of Health (NIH) for a new research center focused on health disparities and a $1 million grant by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina in NCCU’s nursing program.

Among current-year expansions on campus are a new school of business and a new student center at Cecil and Fayetteville Street that will include a 1,400-seat auditorium available not only for academics and students but to the city of Durham. 

Concurrent with physical expansion are current-year goals to expand partnerships with institutions to recruit, support and employ students and create new strategies of economic development to promote campus and campus-area investment.

Akinleye said during questions and answers that the school is diverse in faculty, staff, students and nature of its service to the city, “one of our priorities,” though NCCU has taken is place among the premiere drivers of excellence among the nation’s historically black colleges and institutions.

Akinleye received his doctorate from Howard University in Washington, D.C. Following a stint as acting chancellor, Akinleye was named chancellor in June, 2017, by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors. He has been an administrator, consultant, motivational speaker and writer. He was introduced by former Club President Lois DeLoatch, who noted “strong ties” between Durham Rotary and NCCU.

We thank Dr. Akinleye for his update.

Submitted by Mark Lazenby

Rotary Minute – Mark Higgins

As President Seth pointed out Mark may be well known as the best dressed rider of a small scooter around town, but he showed in his minute that his interest in art and art history is at least as great as notable as is skill in suit, tie and helmet.  He also invited us to bring him along to share his insights when contemplating a museum visit. Here are Mark’snotes.

  1. My Passion – visual arts. Ironic & surprising for someone who hated museums as a child and has no natural talent.
  2. In the last 20 or so years have visited around 170 museums. Incredible learning journey. Once you start seeing the works of specific artists and being able to recognize works from one museum to another, it sparks curiosity and becomes exciting.
  3. So how can a non-artist develop an interest in art? Start with what appeals to us. For me impressionism. Later, my first trip to Italy opened up the renaissance world and the great baroque period. Initially turned off my abstract art – the kind we look at and exclaim “how can THIS be considered art?” This changes as genres of art come alive upon discovering why certain styles emerged, their historical context and upon discovering a few artists like Giotto & Caravaggio who redirected art toward new & unimagined ways.
  4. Suggestions How to visit a museum: First go online or to the gift shop and buy a dozen or so postcards. Explore elements of art work – composition, color, line, balance, harmony & movement.
  5. Go to a museum and lose yourself in beauty & wonder. Objects of art will become old friends. Art is essential to life itself as the works are nutrients to our souls.

Paul Harris Fellow – Jenny Levine

For her service to the Club and the Community, Dallas Stallings, Area 7 Foundation Chair, presented Jenny Levine her first Paul Harris Fellowship award.  Jenny was a recent Rookie of the Year and has been active in many projects including the Tree Planting and Books on Break. Congratulations Jenny.

Program Report: Dr. Becca Kane and Dr. Diane Catalano – Hearing Loss

Dr. Kane

While introducing Duke audiologists Dr. Becca Kane and Dr. Diane Catalano,  Meg Solera described a journey very familiar to me and I’m sure many others in an audience with its share of gray hair and old ears.  In fact, with a little practice I think I could have delivered the presentation, but without the charm and good humor or the weight of the degrees and experience these two possess.

But stories like Meg’s and my own make the list they presented of the signs of hearing loss look like a check list of symptoms that we’ve dealt with. Require frequent repetition? Yep. Have difficulty following conversations involving more than 2 people? Yep. Think other people are mumbling? Yep. Have difficulty in noisy situation? Yep? Answer inappropriately in conversations? Well, I’ve had some funny looks but usually a smile, frown or raised eyebrows will get you through, unless it’s a direct question. (Why is your zipper down?) Read lips or more intently and watch people’s faces when they speak with you? Yep, but I’m not giving that up even with hearing aids, because people give you more credit than you deserve for sincerity and focusing on what they are saying.

Have a family history of hearing loss? Yep, grandmother, mother and sister. All of them were a little vain about it. One of my grandmother’s bratty grandchildren would say totally inappropriate things to her just to watch her nod in agreement. Medications otherwise known as ototoxic drugs? Whew, missed that one…I think. Diabetes, heart, circulation or thyroid problems? One out of four is still bad. Exposure to very loud sound? Yeah, but I’ve stopped begging my friends for an occasional Duke basketball ticket. The last time I went, I literally had to pull the hearing aids out of my ears and stick in my fingers. As our presenters pointed out, hearing loss makes it more difficult to tolerate loud sounds.

Dr. Catalano

If you find yourself nodding “yep” as you go through these signs, you might need to go for an ENT consultation. (In my case this saved me a few bucks because it also covered the cost of hearing aid test and consultation and was covered by insurance.  If you have ringing in your ears, you’re in the right place with an AuD.

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Program Report: Josh Vaughn of Mercedes-Benz of Durham

While growing up, my mother drove a squat, boxy Mercedes sedan that was a nice car, but fell far short of the sporty vehicle that a teenager aches to drive on Saturday nights (lucky for her). When I entered the dealership this past Monday for our weekly meeting and program, I joked to fellow Rotarians that I currently own the best car there is – the kind that is paid for. That didn’t stop me from oohing and aahing at the sleek and shiny new cars in the showroom, the kind that any teenager would give up a month’s allowance just to climb in behind the wheel.

After hearing from General Manager Josh Vaughn, however, it became clear to me that the stunning Mercedes-Benz cars are only the second most exciting thing at the Southpoint Auto Mall.  Since Performance Automotive moved their operations to the site last month, this location is now the second-largest, most premier auto mall destination in North Carolina – the biggest one being outside of Charlotte at the Concord auto mall. Both are owned and managed by the Hendrick Automotive Group, also well-known throughout the Carolinas and the country for their auto racing dynasty.

The real key to success? The people-centric culture that permeates all Team Hendrick operations.

Because it’s not the property, it’s not the products, it’s the people who make it exceptional. And that’s what gets Vaughn and his team excited about coming to work in the morning. The culture of continuous improvement, encouraging creativity, and creating exceptional customer experiences are closely mirrored by Team Hendrick’s Core Values. Vaughn explained, “We are students of the game. We are always listening and learning.”

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