New Member: John Blanton

John is an 8 year resident of The Triangle. He is passionate about causes that aid underprivileged children, most recently volunteering with Habitat For Humanity and The Ronald McDonald House of Durham. John’s professional background is primarily in sales, currently serving as a Senior Sales Executive at Randstad Technologies. In addition, John is the Founder of Peak Capital Group — a growing value-add real estate investment firm supporting Durham and surrounding counties. He began his career coaching and mentoring youth athletics with a focus on baseball and performance training. Throughout his sales career, John has held many different production and leadership roles supporting Fortune 500 clients throughout The Triangle. John is married to Jordan and they have two young daughters. John is Co-Sponsored by President Todd Taylor and PDG Newman Aguiar. Welcome, John!

Paul Harris Fellows

Nancy Marks made Paul Harris Fellow presentations to the following individuals from United Methodist Retirement Home:

DeWitt Howard (not present) – Executive Director

Stacy Dobson – Chief Financial Officer

Jonathan Erickson – Regional Operations Manager

Nancy’s daughter, Sarah Marks, was also present and assisted with the presentations. We welcome this group to our growing list of Paul Harris Fellows.

Paul Harris Fellow: Vince Simonetti

Vince Simonetti (L) receives his award from Wade Gresham (R)

Vince Simonetti has beeen a member of our club since 2003 and the only person to own the classification of a music shop owner.  Vice also owns the largest privately held tuba museum in the world.
He still shows off his musical talent especially when he and Meg hang out at Wal Mart playing and singing, probably raising more money for the Salvation Army than anyone else in our club.
Vince is a dedicated Rotarian joining in many activities of the club as well as leading our Rotary Singers as they present special music at various meeting.  His wife, Ethel who attends meetings often, also frequently sings with the group. He and Ethel can also be seen working together for Rotary at Centerfest.

Presentation: Betsy Kessler – DPAC Group Sales

Following an invocation from Rotarian Kim Blair, the awarding of Paul Harris Society honors to folks integral to Croasdaile Village Retirement Community and finally the Rotary induction of John Blanton by fellow Rotarian Eric Benson, the day’s speaker, Betsy Kessler from DPAC group sales was introduced by Rotarian Carver Weaver. 

Carver Weaver introduced Betsy to the Club

Betsy and her DPAC team are behind the group pricing rates that the Rotary Club has been able to secure and allow more than 20 children from East Durham Children’s Initiative and several International Rotary Youth Exchange students to attend the Aladdin performance this past autumn. 

 Originally from the Philadelphia area, in 2008, Betsy became the first hire at the DPAC as a sales representative. In November that year, DPAC opened with four shows and has grown that number into 8. Since its inception, it has consistently ranked top 10 in the nation in sales and ended 2019 ranked third.  [Read more…]

New Member: Brian Alvo

Brian Alvo is the Founder of NextGen Center. The concept of service is the cornerstone of Brian’s career path. That service began as a civilian analyst with The United States Marine Corps — and then as Executive Director of a nonprofit educational foundation in Nicaragua. With an MBA from Duke University, Brian has over 10 years of diverse professional experience spanning multiple industries. As a Director of Corporate Development at LabCorp, Brian led strategic teams to realign and grow divisional business into national programs. He was also the VicePresident of Business Development and Strategic Accounts at one of the fastest growing technology companies in Durham – where he helped grow the company from 14 to 50+ team members in less than 2 years’ time. Brian is sponsored by Elisabeth Wiener. Welcome, Brian!

Paul Harris Fellows: Peter Jacobi and Katina Rogers

L to R: Dr. Peter Jacobi, Katina Rogers, Anna Jones, Kay Gresham


Dr. Peter Jacobi practiced family medicine in Durham for decades before recently retiring. He joined Rotary in 2017. One more great thing that Andy Barada did for our Club was to bring Peter to us. When Peter was inducted, he said one of the things he likes – REALLY LIKES – about Rotary is that we are an organization that wears our patriotism and tolerance on our sleeve. He believes the Rotary Foundation teaches us that anyone can be a philanthropist. He appreciates that the Foundation affords us the opportunity to combine and multiply our resources then bring those combined resources back to our local community.

Katina Rogers joined our Club not quite a year ago. However, she attended her FIRST Rotary meeting at the age of 14 with her Fatherand helped translate for him as he received an honor from a Rotary Club in Omaha. Katina now has a home renovation companyand also a handcrafted purse and accessory line in Durham. She has been very active with our Club this year. It’s always exciting to award our new members, as is the case with Katina.