Program Report: Dr. Bartley Danielsen: Family Migration, Schools & CPR

Dr. Bartley Danielsen, professor of finance and real estate in the Poole College of Business at North Carolina State University, spoke to the club about his research on the relationships between school choices, economic development, and quality of life.  He received his Ph.D. from the University of Florida and taught at DePaul University in Chicago before moving to NCSU.  Teaching in Chicago and having access to the amenities of one of America’s most vibrant cities was a delight.  But he was living in Napierville, a medium-sized city about thirty miles from his university.  For seven years he endured the commute, until he was diagnosed with diabetes, one of whose major risk factors is long commutes and was a major incentive to moving to North Carolina.

The Napierville story, however, was the impetus for a developing research interest.  Napierville had an increasingly large percentage of young children, five to nine years old.  His research led him to conclude that better schools were a powerful inducement for families to move.  In fact, he concluded that school choice was a more powerful motivator than work location.  People were more concerned about their children’s commutes than their own.

His research has led him to compare communities whose percentages of young children were increasing compared with communities whose young populations were declining, and to figure out where people were moving.  Kansas City was one example he cited for a declining percentage of young children.  Atlanta was another.   Fewer people live in Atlanta today than in 1966.  The greater metropolitan area, on the other hand, has exploded.  Neighboring Orange County is seeing a growth in the number of families with young children while Durham is losing similar families.  He concludes they key to this is how communities and families value education.

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Visitors from UK Tour Durham

Thank You to our Durham, UK Rotary Friends for the honor of hosting you in our Durham.


Program Report:


At the end of the day is a terrible cliché.

But Durham investment guru Dave Kirkpatrick closed his briefing Monday on positive impact investing with a literal reference to the end of the day, when one goes to sleep at night, or attempts to.

For at least some hard-charging investors, sleep might sometimes prove elusive. What’s that hard-earned investment dollar really enabling?

At lunch, Kirkpatrick presented a pathway to investing well and sleeping well with a profit.

And in so doing, he outlined the impressive growth and national success of SJF Ventures, a locally based positive impact growth equity fund where he is a managing director and co-founder. The growing company now operates from offices in Durham, New York, and San Francisco, among other cities. It has big-time partnerships and a book of portfolio companies that are amassing a goodly number of investor checks.

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New Member Induction – Austin Hills

New Member Austin Hills was inducted by Erik Benson of the Membership Committee and was sponsored by Arthur Rogers. In his own words here is a brief biography of Mr. Hills. Please introduce yourself and welcome him to the Club. 

My name is Austin Hills and I am a development manager for Austin Lawrence Partners (ALP). We are a small development firm that tries to fill niches in the market with large, complicated, transformative projects. We developed the Unscripted Durham hotel which opened in July and the One City Center mixed use project which will be delivered in the fall of 2018. My parents, Greg and Jane Hills, started ALP over 30 years ago in Los Angeles which is where I was born. When I was five years old, we moved to Aspen, Colorado.

I first came to Durham in 2008 when I started my freshmen year at Duke University. During my time at Duke, my parents visited pretty frequently. Being a real estate family, we were intrigued by everything that was going on in Downtown and saw an opportunity play a part in this renaissance. After graduating in 2012, I decided to go into the family business and ended up focusing almost exclusively on opportunities in Durham. I have spent the better part of the last five years working on our two Downtown projects.

Outside of work, I enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, biking, running with my dog, and skiing. I am a diehard Duke sports fan and attend nearly all the home football and basketball games. I consider myself to be a foodie and enjoy going out to the many amazing restaurants we have in Durham.

I am excited to join this club for a variety of reasons including the opportunity for continued education through the weekly programs, networking, and making new friends. Most importantly, I look forward to collaborating with my fellow Rotarians in contributing to this community in a meaningful way.

Rotary Minute: Cora Cole-McFadden

Cora Cole-McFadden began her minute by noting that one of her role models in politics was long term Rotarian and City Councilman Howard Clement. Ms. Cole-McFadden’s roots are deep in Durham.  She told how she was born in Duke Hospital before it became Duke Medical Center and also when it was unusual for Blacks to be treated there. She grew up in a neighborhood that was wiped out when the Durham Freeway was built. Her father was a janitor at the Durham County Courthouse and her mother was a domestic caretaker.

She mentioned that she transferred from Hillside High School to Durham High during desegregation to help integrate the formerly all-white school. She has undergraduate and masters degrees from NCCU and made it clear during her minute that she was an Eagle.

As most of us surely know by now, Ms. Cole McFadden is running for another term on City Council. Among other things this means that there is more information about her online than most of our new members. A great source is her current election website. This is not her first campaign either. She is the first African-American women to serve as Mayor Pro-Tem with Mayor Bill Bell. She was also the first African-American woman to serve as a department head in the City of Durham government.

This deep experience makes her a formidable candidate but what she emphasized in her minute was her attraction to Rotary because it touches lives. As she concluded, “Because I’m blessed, I must bless others.” Because of her position many of us have known her but it has been a pleasure to get to know her better since she became a Rotarian back in July.

The website is 

Program Report: Scalawag – Evan Walker-Wells

I went to handy-for-everything Google for a definition of scalawag. Two interesting definitions came up. First was “a person who behaves badly but in an amusingly mischievous rather than harmful way; a rascal.”  The second definition was an eyebrow raiser, “a white Southerner who collaborated with northern Republicans during Reconstruction, often for personal profit. The term was used derisively by white Southern Democrats who opposed Reconstruction legislation.”

Hmm…interesting name for a magazine devoted to telling stories about the South that illustrate and maybe suggest some solutions for its problems without dealing directly with policy. Our speaker was Evan Walker-Wells, one of the founders of the magazine who was introduced by Ari Medoff.

Here in the South, yesterday’s Democrats are today’s Republicans so the title itself carries its own ironic weight. With the baseball field behind him, Mr. Walker-Wells could be forgiven for the hopelessly mixed metaphor when he described the magazine as “batting way above its weight” which he quickly realized and corrected.

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