Program Report: Cree, Innovations in Lighting – Greg Merritt

GregMerrittCreeWebGreg Merritt, Vice-President for Marketing at CREE Industries, a Durham founded and headquartered business gave the club a very “enlightening” presentation on the company’s leading role in innovative lighting solutions for residential, industrial, and public uses.  CREE also manufactures semiconductor components for power and radio frequency products.

 Greg, who studied at the University of Virginia and California-Berkeley, joined CREE in 2006.  He and President Don became acquainted when Don gave Greg a tour of a Durham Habitat house.  Greg was impressed by what he saw, so much so that CREE not only donated recessed LED lighting for that home but, in a display of generous corporate citizenship, provides all recessed lighting for Habitat houses throughout the country.

CREE’s origins go back to the late 1980s when NC State University students founded the company and manufactured its first product, a blue LED.  From its initial five founders and employees the company now has 6,000 employees worldwide in design, development, production and sales.  Anticipating sales of over a billion dollars this year, CREE has rung up an enviable 22% annual growth rate since 2002.  CREE’s products—lighting and power solutions—employ semiconductors made in North Carolina.  In a major role reversal, Asia—China in particular—is CREE’s biggest market.  Growth in Asian economies is outstripping supply of electricity, forcing more energy efficiency.

Greg gave us a number of examples of why the LED revolution is occurring especially in this era of sustainability.  CREE technology could reduce power consumption on the U.S. grid by roughly 10%.  About 22% of electrical output in this country is consumed by lighting.  Because of energy lost in transmission, power plants must produce twice as much electricity as is consumed.   Because of its inefficiency, Edison’s bulb—the incandescent lamp—should be called a “heat bulb’ rather than a light bulb.  Recent innovations have produced LED lights that are about 17 times more efficient than standard incandescent lights and nearly as large a margin (with the added bonus of being silent) compared to fluorescent tubes.  Stores could save 65% on their lighting bills by installing LED lights.  LED street lights consume one-fourth as much electricity as standard bulbs—plus they don’t contain mercury or other undesirable materials.

Los Angeles is engaged in the largest LED project in the world.  When completed, the county will have retrofitted 140,000 street lights producing an annual savings of approximately $10 million in electricity costs.  Several corporations, including Walmart and McDonalds, have introduced LED lighting in some locations.

Although upfront costs of LED lighting are significantly higher than conventional lighting those costs can be recouped in a few short years.  Additionally, the long life of LED bulbs—generally decades—means lower replacement maintenance expenses.  Interestingly, some insurance companies are offering discounts on automobiles with LED brake lights.  LED lights come on immediately, saving one-sixth of a second—roughly a car length in braking time—over conventional brake lights.

In the question and comment period following Greg’s presentation several club members applauded CREE for its commendable record of community service and for providing hundreds of Durham citizens with employment.

  Submitted by Allen Cronenberg

Rotary Minute: Connie Campanaro

photoconniewebConnie Campanaro fulfilled a lifelong dream with a trip to Italy, where she visited her grandmother’s village.

Unfortunately, she showed up on a holiday when virtually nothing was open. Fortunately, one of the restaurants was hosting a Rotary event. Though she spoke no Italian, she was able to convey that she was a Rotarian and was welcomed with open arms. Not only were she and her family fed well, this Italian Rotary Club helped her hunt down her ancestral home. “I realized, in that moment, that this really is a worldwide organization of brothers and sisters,” Connie said Monday.

It’s a positive reminder that, as Connie prepares to leave Durham after 14 years here – she’s headed back to Buffalo, N.Y. to become the executive director of the Western New York Grantmakers Association – she’ll always have a home wherever Rotarians are gathered. Connie values home, as she spent her formative years bouncing between California and upstate New York. She was married at 16, a mother at 17. “I had the stability I so craved,” she says.

But she and her husband split, and Connie had to figure out how to provide for her two children. She became the first person to attend college and then got into the business side of the arts world, making connections with everyone from “the Bolshoi ballet to L.L. Cool J.” In 1999 she came to Durham to run the flailing Carolina Theatre. “I’m a sucker for an impossible challenge,” she said. She helped the theater back on firm financial footing before stepping down a few years ago. She’s remained active in Durham, and was joined here by her mother and daughter. But her mom has passed, and her daughter is living in Dallas.

Now, it’s time for Connie to move on. “It’s hard to say goodbye,” Connie concluded. “But it’s even harder to mean it.”

Submitted by Matt Dees

Program Report: TROSA – Kevin McDonald

phototrosaweb“When the history books are written about Durham, and they’re looking for greatness,” President Stanger said about Monday’s featured guest, “this man will certainly be there.”

Kevin McDonald will certainly leave a legacy of helping thousands of people work their way out of lives wrecked by substance abuse. But he made clear Monday that he’s not anywhere close to being done with that work.

McDonald founded Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers (TROSA) in 1994. Prior to coming to Durham, he had spent time in Los Angeles trying to rehabilitate former gang members. “People thought this was a tough town,” McDonald said. “Hell, they don’t know what tough is.”

McDonald let a moving video do most of his talking, with stories of pain that turned into triumph, as people found new lives via TROSA’s innovative two-year residential program. They get counseling to overcome their addiction as well as job skills supporting the myriad businesses TROSA runs to support itself. (It’s a good bet that many of us have had TROSA help us with a move, or at least bought a Christmas tree from them.) “If you don’t have a work ethic,” McDonald observed in the video, in his trademark tough-love gruff, “you’re going to fall on your butt again.”

One of the TROSA graduates in the video, whose addiction drove her to homelessness, said, “Life can come from underneath a bridge in a box to where I am now.” The video got a standing ovation, as some of our club members still dabbed at tears.

Running short on time, McDonald rattled off a few numbers from last year, illustrating the point that the work is far from over: 400,000 meals served, 5,000 volunteer hours logged, 8,000 Christmas trees sold, 5,000 moves made, two new dorms built with 148 new beds, and 85 people got their GED. The best stat: TROSA just celebrated its 1,200th graduate, yet another life restored.

Submitted by Matt Dees

Singing Valentine Fund Raiser

Valentine Singers WebThe Singing Valentines fund raiser is a joint effort of Durham Rotary and Heart of Carolina Barbershop Chorus. A quartet from Heart of Carolina came to Rotary on Monday to demonstrate what a Singing Valentine is like. A portion of every singing valentine sold goes to Rotary to help with its scholarship programs. These will sell out fast, so please make your reservation soon! If you your sweetheart isn’t around, then why not consider sending a singing valentine to your favorite nonprofit to show your love for their cause?

Order online at http://www.hoccmusic.org/singing-valentines or by phone 919-730-3342.

Click this link for more information about the options available. 2013SingingValentinesPoster

Submitted by Shelly Green

Rotary Foundation Mid-Year Report

PHF medal webThe Durham Rotary Club members have been very active with their gifts to The Rotary Foundation this year. Since the beginning of the current club year on July 1, 2013, our club has contributed $21,000. plus to The Foundation. Approximately $14,000. of that amount resulted from the two-for-one challenge offered in late October. The remainder includes a few gifts to Polio Plus . We gained some 35 Paul Harris Fellow awards of which 15 were first-time member contributions. The remainder of the awards were divided between members who qualified for +1,+2,+3,+4 and +5 Paul Harris Fellow status.
Since the first gift given to The Rotary Foundation by our club, The Durham Rotary Club has contributed a total of $426,170.00 to The Foundation. There have been a total 296 Paul Harris or multiple Paul Harris awards given through our club. We currently have 148 members who are current donors toThe Foundation, including 4 major donors. Additionally, there have been 36 persons who are not Rotarians who have made contributions to The Foundation through our club.
We continue to stress the importance of our members becoming Foundation Sustainers. Sustainers are those members who make a total contribution of $100. to The Foundation each year. As we approach the 100th anniversary of The Durham Rotary Club our goal is to have 100% Sustainers. Thank you to all who continue to participate in this worthy opportunity.
 Submitted by Dallas Stallings and The Foundation Committee

Program Report: The Science of Ethics and Honesty – Dan Ariely, Ph.D

arielyWebTalk about a great job.

Studying why people cheat and how they justify it in different places and cultures.  Explaining it in New York Times bestsellers.  Revealing still more in a regular column in The Wall Street Journal.  Even being able to wear bright orange sneakers while captivating, engaging and entertaining  yet another full house of club members during our weekly lunch on Jan. 28.

Dr. Dan Ariely, professor of behavior economics at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, shared  insights about human nature and human mis-behavior across all groups, nationalities, places.

Nobody was spared.  And it turns out most people are much the same everywhere.

“We lie a lot,” Ariely said soon after his introduction by club member Melissa Mills.  “You can tell a lot of things in favor of lying.”

The good news is that Dr. Ariely’s findings show that most people everywhere want to be considered nice and honest people.  People want to view themselves in that frame of life.  In the course of daily affairs, however, they tend to rationalize small misbehaviors to balance lies or cheating with their natural notions of honesty.

“People want to be good but don’t want to do it in the moment,” Ariely said.

He described different tests and methodologies that researchers use to tempt subjects in tests and  measure dishonesty.  Studies in the U.S., U.K., Italy, Israel and even Canada defy conventional notions by some that lies and cheating occur on a large-scale through careful evaluation of cost, risk and benefit. “There are some big cheaters out there,” he explained, “but just a few.”

By contrast, he said, the accumulation of most of the cheating “is a ton of little apples that are rotting just a little.”

Among factors that encourage honesty and better behavior: Being in touch with one’s moral and ideal self as cheating situations arise and committing in advance of situations that present cheating possibilities not afterwards.  Cheat-free outcomes are also more likely when people exposed to temptation are in closer proximity to money, not farther from it through non-cash transactions.

Ariely said that being closer to potential victims, not faceless people in cyberspace, also works against mis-behavior.

President Don closed the meeting by noting that a regular reading of The Four Way Test might be a solution.  With that, our membership recited the four points.  And Ariely moved to the hallway, sneakers aglow, to autograph copies of his books.

 

Submitted by Mark Lazenby