News & Notices

News from the club and its members and notices.

Program Report: Raleigh Durham International Airport – Michael Landguth Director

Landguth WebMy introduction to RDU, and the Triangle for that matter, was a series of trips to visit the three ACC schools here in 1962 as a football recruit. I don’t remember much except, and I swear, each time, someone looking a lot like Ralph Rogers and his family were on the observation deck watching the planes land and take off. The airport didn’t look a whole lot different then, than it did in the photo shared from the thirties by Michael Landguth the RDU Director who began his tenure about 18 months ago.

Mr. Landguth began by joking about how unimpressed his teenage daughters where as he was preparing his presentation the evening before. I think we should invite them to come along next time. Dads are often heroes to their daughters but are often taken for granted too. On this day they would have been struck by the scope and importance of the organization their dad commands.

Indeed it is easy for us to take RDU for granted. Like a utility it quietly does its job and no one pays much attention until something goes wrong.  It is also a very good example of regional cooperation that is owned by the counties of Durham and Wake and the cities of Durham and Raleigh. It generates over $8 billion annually in economic impact and over 20,000 people are employed by the airport and the companies and services dependent on it.

We’re fortunate to be served here by 8 major airlines flying to 40 destinations with 107 daily departures. Unlike Charlotte which is dominated by Delta the competition helps with fares and availability.  Airports have several sets of customers that they serve the most obvious ones being business and pleasure travelers. However, the shops and other businesses at the airport also must be cultivated. Mr. Landguth noted that the airlines are also customers and there is a continual effort to work with them to secure new routes and market the Triangle as a destination. I was a little surprised that 43% of RDU’s revenues are derived from parking and another 16% from car rental companies.

Mr Landguth shared some insights about the airlines’ transformations of their business plans in the wake of years of massive losses post de-regulation. In short, they have shifted their primary metric from market share to return-on-investment. This has resulted in fewer routes, fewer planes and the a la carte pricing that seems to drive everybody nuts. This, of course, has an impact on the airport. Departing passengers peaked a few years ago at a little over 10 million and has been flat at about 9.2 million since then.

Mr. Landguth graciously took a few questions and Ralph Rogers, who has documented much of the area’s history, shared how in the early days of the airport families would gather on the observation deck to watch the planes take off. I can remember doing that as a kid myself in Richmond.  I also remember a few years ago helping RDU produce a video when the noise of takeoffs was briefly an issue. I stood with a video crew taping at the end of the runway as the jets barreled down towards us and then abruptly pulled their noses up and passed over us a couple of hundred feet in the air. This was the ultimate observation deck I suppose and a good way to appreciate logistical and engineering miracles that modern aircraft and airports are.

We are indeed fortunate to have had a well led international airport working in tandem with Research Triangle Park as such a powerful economic engine for the region.

Submitted by Jay Zenner

Emily K Scholarship Winner – Geraldo Cruz Garza

EmilyKBrownScholarshipwebGerardo Cruz Garza is holding the plaque Durham Rotary created for the Emily K Center to present to him and acknowledge his achievement at their year end celebration. Geraldo just graduated from Cedar Ridge High School.  He attended the Emily K Center’s Scholars to College program for four years, and will be matriculating at Guillford College.  He plans to double major in French and Spanish as well as complete pre-med courses to further his goals of becoming a physician.  He received the Brown Family Scholarship, which honors the memory of Fred (a former Durham Rotarian) and his wife Shirley, who believed in supporting the educational advancement of deserving economically challenged students in our community.

Geraldo is pictured with former District Judge Craig Brown representing the Brown Family and Meg Solera, Durham Rotary Vice President.

Program Report: Duke Baseball – Coach Chris Pollard

DukeCoachPollardWebSecond year Duke Baseball coach Chris Pollard is breathing excitement and heightened promise into a program whose fortunes have languished in the last few years.  Rob Everett laced his introduction of the coach with some impressive statistics of Pollard as player and coach.  It wasn’t just his prowess as a coach that led Duke to name Pollard, but what Athletic Director Kevin White cited as Pollard’s commitment to Duke’s “standards of excellence in the classroom and in the community.”

At his alma mater, Davidson, Pollard holds many records as a pitcher.  After serving as assistant coach at Davidson, Pollard resurrected the fortunes of Pfeiffer and Appalachian State.  Appointed baseball coach at Pfeiffer in 2000, Pollard turned around a program that had suffered three losing seasons.  In his final season at Pfeiffer, the Carolina Virginia Athletics Conference named him coach of the year.  Joining the Mountaineers of Appalachian State in 2004, Pollard again coached teams with winning seasons capped in 2012 with a Southern Conference championship and a bid to the NCAA championship series.  He lost count of the number of times “Omaha” came up in conversations with Duke officials during his whirlwind visit to campus that resulted in his hiring.

Pollard’s first year Blue Devil team got off to a fast start, beating Florida in Gainesville in the season opener.   The twenty-six games Duke won, including six against ranked teams, was a school record for a first year coach.  Prospects for the forthcoming season are good.  Most of last year’s players including the two top pitchers are returning.  Ten Duke players saw action this summer in the Cape Cod league regarded as the best amateur league in the country.

Pollard says the opening of school is the beginning of the new baseball season especially for recruiting.  Last year the recruiting class was in the top fifty, not where the coach wants to be.  His aim for 2014 is to be in the top twenty to twenty-five.  He praised the university’s support for the baseball program.  He is also excited about the expansion of the ACC.  The looming addition of Louisville, Pitt and Notre Dame—each with outstanding baseball programs—presents challenges but will make for even more exciting baseball in the ACC already the strongest baseball conference in the country.

Pollard takes pride in his athletes’ commitment to academics and community service.  Twenty Duke players maintained at least a 3.0 grade point average, earning them a spot on the ACC Academic Honor Roll, more than any other team in the conference.  Duke players also make time for community engagement.  Duke and Carolina partnered to fight pediatric cancer and to raise funds for the Vs. Cancer Foundation.  At the end of the last game of the Duke-Carolina series players from both teams shaved their heads to demonstrate their support for children battling cancer.  (For more information, visit http://vs-cancer.org )  Duke players are also involved in local youth baseball leagues including the traditional Little League; the Miracle League for special needs children with a dedicated park in Cary; and Long Ball, a program founded by Pat James to foster the baseball interests of boys aged 13 to 18 and to prepare them to live, work and play in a world of rules and regulations.

Pollard’s wife Stephanie is also a Davidson graduate.  They have two children in elementary school which keeps the Pollard family connected to the school system.

Submitted by Allen Cronenberg

Visting Rotarian from Turkey

Turkey Visitor webOne of the old customs of Rotary is to exchange banners when visiting a distant club. Last Monday we were visited by Haluk Saltan. He and President Bill exchanged banners at the meeting.

New Member: Andy Esser

Andy Esser WebPast President Don Stanger introduced new member Andy Esser to the club during his induction.

Andy joined Edward Jones in 2008, leaving the practice of law to serve individuals, family business owners and professionals with retirement preparation and investment concerns.

Andy’s professional background lies in finance and law. In 2007 he was a lawyer for Schell Bray Aycock Abel and Livingston, a NC-based firm specializing in estate planning, business law and real estate transactions. While in law school, Andy worked for VA-based Walsh Colucci PC. He also clerked for the Hon. Marcia M. Howard, a federal judge in Florida. Prior to his legal career, Andy worked in Williamsburg, VA as a legal assistant, loan officer and on-air radio personality.

From 2009 to 2011 Andy was President of the Chapel Hill Jaycees. In 2009, he was a Fellow in both the E.A. Morris Fellowship for Emerging Leaders and the Institute of Political Leadership. Currently he serves on the investment committee for the NC Bar Association Foundation. An Eagle Scout, he coordinates Eagle Scout boards of review in Durham. He is also a member of the Kiwanis Club of Durham and sits on the council of Christ Church in Chapel Hill.

Andy earned his JD and BA from the College of William & Mary. He holds the AAMS designation from the College for Financial Planning. He was admitted to the NC Bar in 2008.

Andy lives in Chapel Hill with his wife Elizabeth, daugher Mary Alice and rescue dogs, Ginnie and Browning.

 

Program Report: Plans for the New Rotary Year – President Bill Ingram

BillPresentationCropwebGood news from President Bill Ingram during the club’s annual 2013-2014 New Rotary Year kick-off presentation:

Expect more streamlined meetings and briefer announcements.  Enjoy more time to listen, pose questions and interact with top-flight speakers who continue to enliven and enrich our Monday meetings.

Look for interesting new locations to socialize and network with colleagues at our popular Rotary After Hours program.  Speaking of networking, expect even better membership listings to promote professional and personal contacts.

Know that net membership growth is steady and up just a bit.

But these are only the appetizers – local goals to enhance the Durham Rotary Club’s membership experience.  This year’s leadership will work faithfully to make them happen.

The key goal is bigger:  Engage Rotary and help people.

It was a message stressed by Ingram across a detailed presentation of service goals and opportunities at our Monday meeting. By participating actively in our club and supporting the Rotary Foundation, members have access to and can be part of organized service opportunities now underway with partners across town and across oceans. As Ingram phrased it, “local contacts and global reach.”

Members know that this year’s Rotary International theme is “Engage Rotary, Change Lives,” the theme around which the presentation was organized.

“We need to make sure that every Rotarian has a meaningful role to play,” Ingram said as he outlined member opportunities to be part of programs ranging from helping generate literacy in Durham schools to promoting water purification and economic development in Africa and India.

Remaining as high local priorities are the Reading Rangers program at YE Smith Elementary School, Sister Cities of Durham, Crayons To Calculators, and Salvation Army bell ringing – among many others.

Activities by our international committee also had big billing. “Rotary is on all seven continents,” Ingram said, recalling one of many lessons learned during his recent attendance at Rotary International’s global conference earlier this year in Lisbon.  “There are two clubs in Antarctica.” (He entertained members with other lessons learned about baggage reliability at Air Portugal.)

Durham Rotary is actively planning a local Centennial Commemoration planning that will be supported by and sequenced by “100 acts of service above self” – what Ingram called the “big idea” now developing as a foundation for the historic upcoming date.

Ingram opened the annual presentation by showing a popular quotation circulated by 2013-2014 RI President Ron Burton: “All of us came to Rotary to get involved and to make a difference.  That’s when you find the inspiration, the excitement and the power to truly change lives.”

While President Bill described his opportunity to serve as president as a major personal accomplishment, we’ll take this opportunity to thank him for leading.

(Submitted by Mark Lazenby)