Program Reports

The program write ups as they appear in the meeting bulletins.

Program Report – Joe Colopy- Founder of Bronto Software

The Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Annual Tribute Luncheon this month celebrated the start-up culture in Durham. The keynote speaker was the founder of MapQuest, Chris Heivly. Chris is also involved in the start-up culture here and started by asking everyone to imagine themselves as 10 year olds who decide to build a fort. His point was that you didn’t do a lot of planning then, you just went out and looked around and built that fort with whatever was available. MapQuest started as an attempt to improve on the trip planners we used to get from AAA.

Listening to Joe Colopy tell the story of how he started and built Bronto Software, my first thought was that I was beginning to see a pattern here and building forts was a good analogy. Bronto was the leading provider of email marketing software for the top 1000 email retailers from 2014 to 2016. Joe sold the company to NetSuite for $50 million in 2015 and it was subsequently acquired by Oracle. By that time Bronto Grew to over 300 people and $50 M in revenue across 5 offices, with headquarters here in Durham on the American Tobacco Campus and other offices in New York City, Los Angles, London and Sydney.

Before sharing all this, Joe told the story of how he and his wife to be, Karalyn, ended up in Durham. When they were both college students in Massachusetts they headed off to Florida for spring break and Durham happened to be where they stopped halfway down. After college, they joined the Peace Corps.

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Program Report: Art Pappas – Pappas Ventures

Editor’s note: There were technical problems with the camera and I did not get any photos from Monday’s meeting. OK, it was really my failure to notice that the memory card in the camera was full. Anyway, this picture is from a presentation that Mr. Pappas gave at Wake Forest. I’ll retake the other photos. One of the best pictures was of Mr. Pappas, Don Stanger, who introduced him and Paul Feldman, who was a guest of Past President Stanger and has addressed the club twice before and whose company was helped to launch by Pappas Ventures. has more about the company.  -JZ

Club member Art Pappas filled us in on the latest developments in his 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries–including Glaxo, Abbott and Dow–and as a venture capital investor in the life sciences.  After leaving Glaxo-Smith-Kline, Art founded a venture capital business in 1994.  Since then Pappas Capital has managed nearly half billion dollars and invested in more than 70 life science companies.  These companies are developing drugs and devices. to combat and treat melanomas, pneumonia, spinal injuries, among other medical problems.

By focusing solely on life science companies, Pappas Ventures has developed expertise in development, clinical trial strategies and networking to find talent and capital.  Of particular interest are startups or established companies whose products have market potential and are ready for phase one or two clinical trials.  Approximately 70 percent of the venture capital is invested in drugs and the remainder in devices and diagnostics.

The Translational Medicine Initiative was created to help university scientists to translate academic projects into viable licensing products or promising startups.  One of these cooperative ventures is with the medical center at Wake Forest.

Art’s passion is developing and mentoring entrepreneurs and helping them build companies that will make significant contributions to the life sciences.

There are two developments or trends that make the life science field so exciting and promising.  One is the phenomenal growth worldwide that shows no sign of abating.  And, second, groundbreaking strides in science, particularly biology.  Another trend Art noted is the increased outsourcing of R&D by major companies.

Conceding that the San Francisco/Palo Alto/Menlo Park and Cambridge areas are the principal hubs of breakthroughs in life sciences, Pappas is convinced that the outlook for North Carolina is bright.

Responding to a question about the FDA that has sometimes been accused of placing roadblocks to approval of drugs and devices, the FDA, in his view has become more transparent and helpful.

He pointed out that Pappas-assisted products approved by the FDA have accounted for several billion dollars in sales over the past five years.

Submitted by Allen Cronenberg

Program Report: Dallas Stallings and Newman Aguiar – The Rotary Foundation

dallas-stallings-foundation-program-webEveryone who is acquainted with Dallas Stallings knows that he’s a storyteller extraordinaire. On Monday, he charmed his fellow Rotarians with a first-person tale about the birth of the Rotary Foundation. “Conceived in Cleveland and born in Atlanta one hundred years ago,” he began, and proceeded to weave the narrative of Arch Klumph.

At the 1917 convention, outgoing Rotary President Klumph proposed to set up an endowment “for the purpose of doing good in the world.” He challenged his fellow Rotarians to contribute, saying that the interest on the funds could be used to help underprivileged children, preserve clean water, and promote world peace, as well as support other acts of service around the globe. The concept didn’t exactly catch fire; one club in Kansas City contributed its entire treasury – twenty-six dollars and fifty cents – for the distinction of being the first club to show support. A Rotarian from California sent in ten dollars just to get in early on a good idea.

The “grandfather” of Rotary, Paul Harris, encouraged donations to what would become The Rotary Foundation, but after ten years, there was only about $5,000 in the endowment. Nevertheless, in 1929, the Foundation made its first gift of $500 to the International Society for Crippled Children. Created by Rotarian Edgar F. Allen, this organization later grew into Easter Seals.

Sadly, Harris was not around to witness the results of his visionary work, but after his death in 1947, contributions began pouring in to Rotary International, and the Paul Harris Memorial Fund was created to build up the Foundation. Within months, the $5,000 had grown to $1.5 million, and now exceeds $3 billion. The Association of Fundraising Professionals named The Rotary Foundation its Outstanding Foundation of the Year for 2016.

In the years that followed, the Foundation’s programs indeed reached around the world. In 1947, the Fellowships for Advance Study, now known as Ambassadorial Scholarships, were established. Ten years later, the Group Study Exchange and Matching Grants programs were created. In the 80’s, Rotarians took up the charge of eradicating polio worldwide; an early 3-H (Health, Hunger, and Humanity) grant paid for the immunization of six million children in the Philippines, and PolioPlus was born. Today, there are fewer than 30 cases of polio worldwide.

In 1987-88, the first international peace forums were held, leading to the creation of Rotary Peace Fellowships. Today, we’re proud to be home to one of only seven peace centers in the world, shared by UNC and Duke. At any given time, more than 50 students work with our International Committee to promote global peace, education, and grow local economies – “the heart and soul of what Rotary is all about,” says Dallas.

As The Rotary Foundation celebrates its centennial, right on the heels of our club’s own 100th birthday, Dallas challenges us all, as Paul Harris certainly must have, “to make the coming years even more meaningful for the people on our planet.” His words echo those of founder Arch Klumpf, found on the Rotary centennial page ( “We should not live for ourselves alone, but for the joy in doing good for others.”

newman-aguiar-foundation-program-webPast District Governor Newman Aguiar stepped to the lectern to explain a bit about how the Foundation works. “It’s like a crazy Ponzi scheme – magic money that somehow comes back to you,” he laughs. When a Rotarian makes a contribution to the Foundation, the Foundation invests it, and uses the interest earned over the next three years to fund its operations.

After that, half of the money goes back to the district that made the donation (as District Designated Funds (DDF)), and half goes to fund larger programs. Last year, our district got $175,000 back, from contributions totaling $350,000 three years ago. In our club’s centennial year, along with other clubs in our district we were able to leverage that return into over a million dollars of impact locally and globally. For example, Newman cited the Crayons 2 Calculators school supplies drive. When our club was first involved five years ago, we raised about $5,000 in donations and supplies. This past August, the total exceeded $135,000.

“International grants are even more magical,” Newman said. “By partnering with other districts and clubs in other countries to solicit matching grants, our financial impact can be as much as three and a half times what the club contributes. That lets us focus on addressing huge global problems with solutions that are sustainable over time.”

Newman notes that our club has shown a lot of leadership in collaborating with other area and district clubs. “As a Rotarian you should always know that every dollar you give is changing lives around the world in significant and sustainable ways.”

Dallas stepped in to announce a matching Paul Harris program. The Rotary Foundation will match every dollar donated up to $500. “What a great gift for a spouse, or a child, to honor them with a Paul Harris Fellowship this holiday season,” he said. Contact Dallas or Andy Esser to make your contribution.

In closing, Dallas urged his fellow Rotarians to read the commemorative book, “Doing Good in the World: The Inspiring Story of the Rotary Foundation’s First 100 Years.” It can be purchased through this website:

Submitted by: Carver C. Weaver

Program Report: Stuart Albright

Stuart Albright 2 webWhat kind of teachers did you have when you were in high school?   If you were in one of Stuart Albright’s classes at Jordan High School, you would be inspired by his dedication to Durham Public Schools, and to his students in his classes and on the football field.

This was Stuart’s second visit to our club.    Four years ago he spoke to us about his novel about growing up in Durham with a multi-cultural experience.    He has taught creative writing for fourteen years, and considers himself to be a survivor of the rigors and demands of teaching in today’s high schools.    In 2006 he was named the Durham Public Schools Teacher of the Year, and has received the Milken National Educator Award.

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Program Report for July 11, 2016 – Don Schwenneker


Around town, hefty Don Schwenneker is known to many as “Big Weather.”

He’s a former Chicago TV weather broadcaster moved South in 2011. Each morning, something on the order of 250,000 to 500,000 complete strangers tune into ABC-11 to check out his take on the day’s weather.

After being introduced by Monica Barnes, also of ABC- 11, Big Weather cut loose with a big secret.Monica Barnes Introducingweb

If you want to watch him working the show with the on-air talent sporting just a couple of hours sleep, tune in Thursday mornings.

It’s when he wings it.

Typically, you see, he’s up at 2:05 a.m.

While he normally sacks out about 6 p.m., there’s evening swim meet Wednesdays with the kids, and his appointment with the bed often starts after 10 p.m.

By his own admission the next morning on air is a time when things might get frisky.

No matter what time he’s down for sleep, the alarm goes off no matter what. It’s a reality of morning weather and television for the folks who bring it.

There’s a lot of nitty gritty behind each morning’s forecast, Schwenneker said during a 20-minute presentation that focused on much of the technology that usually brings us on-the-money accuracy. By his own admission, he’s hands-on.

“I go in every morning, I write it,” he said.

Schwenneker must be doing things right because he holds a bagful of national awards and seals of approvals from the global news organizations.

He’s also a pro in front of people. He opened up with fun and games – “I’m also one of the fattest weather presenters in the country” – and he closed on entertaining notes too.

Yet he managed to sneak in some serious weather facts, and cautionary notes along the way.


Heat is the number one most deadly weather phenomenon. People lose hydration and it can be fatal. Drink a lot of water.

Keep away from floodwater. Those roiling, stirring, fast-moving rivers of water have mixed with the city sewers. It’s a toxic cocktail you don’t want to touch.

In a lightning storm, trees are a danger. Trees get hit and explode with the splintered fury of a hand grenade. Trees are mainly water, Schwenneker said, and lightning that strikes them superheats the moisture in the sharp wood. Then … bang, people die. Don’t get near trees in lightning storms.

Durham Rotary thanks “Big Weather” for stopping up, for the safety tips, and for lifting the curtain on the magic of meteorology.



Editor’s Note: As if to prove the point about lightning this bald cypress was hit on Beverly Drive in Forest Hills Friday during a storm. The picture was shared on Facebook by Sioux Watson who lives right across the street and was home when it happened. lightning strike

Program Report: Lynn Richardson – The North Carolina Collection

Lynn Richardson and Bill Whichard


The African American Collection in the North Carolina Collection of the Durham Public Library

Lynn Richardson is a Senior Librarian at our County Library, and the person who has almost singlehandedly expanded the NC Collection at the Durham County Library into the extensive collection it is today.

Ms. Richardson was introduced by Rotarian and former North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Willis Whichard, a major supporter of the North Carolina Collection.

For her presentation, she informed us that she would focus on photographs from the collection,

rather than just showing pictures of documents on the screen.   For those of us who are historians, that was an adjustment, since we always enjoy working through all those “old dusty documents”. But the photographs of people and scenes in Durham’s history was certainly more effective as a Rotary program.

Under Lynn’s direction, the NC Collection has added the collected papers of a number of interesting

Durham residents.  She gave credit to our own Lois Deloatch for providing a lot of materials and assisting

in collecting other documents.  Ms. Richardson was able to bring in a large number of African-American collections thanks to a Glaxo Smith Kline grant of $100,000.00.   With an eye toward diversity, she began an outreach program.
The NC Collection at Durham County Library now has over 150 collections, with half of them being African American.

The collection includes such items as photographs, postcards, urban renewal documents, property appraisals, and graduation programs. Specific examples include a photograph of a young Arthur Ashe, who visited the Algonquin Tennis Club in Durham, NC. There are also photographs from the African American Quilt Club, the Corn Club, and one of Hillside High from 1956. Other examples include a photo of the young Mayor Bell,  the first African-American county manager, Jack Bond, and  a visit by Martin Luther King, Jr. to White Rock Baptist Church in 1960.

The relationship of the NC Collection to the Museum of Durham History is interesting.  The MDH does

not collect historical materials, but rather has the purpose of displaying such items about Durham’s history.

it is the NC Collection that keeps such historical materials.   In conclusion, it is obvious that the NC Collection is a treasure house of the history of many families and leaders of Durham.

Ms. Richardson hopes to add many more of these important local history collections.
Contact her at:   The collection can be viewed at:

Submitted by Brady Surles