Today’s technology is a strategic asset companies can use to differentiate themselves from the competition, but a business not on board with this philosophy may not survive the future. That’s what Capital Rotarians heard from their March 7 guest speaker, John Eckstrom, Carolina Business Equipment president and CEO. Eckstrom said technology’s marketplace impact includes (1) social media – where two-thirds of the earth’s 3½ billion connected people are on Facebook; (2) Twitter – allowing mobile access to information at up-to-the second speed; (3) cloud computing – that lets users store data elsewhere and retrieve it via the internet from any device; and (4) big data – where companies can analyze their information to look for hidden patterns, correlations, market trends and customer preferences. As these “converging technologies” continue to be applied in the business world, Eckstrom said, “we don’t know where we’re going because we’ve never been there before.” In addition to his career at Carolina Business Equipment since 1994, Eckstrom also serves as president-elect of the Business Technology Association, an organization for office technology dealers nationwide. (ChannelPro Network photo)
Homeschooling is a good option for parents seeking one-to-one, individualized learning opportunities for their children. That’s what Capital Rotarians heard when Beth Martin – high school director for the South Carolina Association of Independent Homeschools – spoke at the club’s Jan. 24 meeting. Martin is a former public middle school teacher who homeschooled her own three children. She said the state association – a nonprofit founded in 1990 – works to ensure accountability for some 22,000 to 33,000 homeschoolers across South Carolina. That includes assistance with curriculum, counseling and class schedules; meeting test requirements; maintaining transcripts and issuing diplomas; providing for special needs students; and college/career planning. Martin said homeschooling can offer young people a superior education – aligned to their own specific needs, learning styles, personalities and interests – at less cost than a private or public school setting. (SC Assn of Independent Home Schools photo)
Westwood High School principal Dr. Cheryl Guy told Capital Rotarians that she achieved a 30-year dream when she appeared as a contestant on the game show “Jeopardy” earlier this year. Guy, the club’s guest speaker Dec. 20, started her “Jeopardy” quest in 1986. A successful audition in Charleston – her fourth try over the years – resulted in a trip to Culver City, CA for videotaping in September 2016. Her “Jeopardy” episode aired in January 2017. She was the top winner that day with a prize of $20,600, but lost to another contestant in a subsequent appearance. Her total winnings were $22,600. Guy noted that the daily syndicated “Jeopardy” is TV’s top quiz show, attracting 23 million viewers a week and winning a record 33 daytime Emmy Awards. Since its premier in September 1984, the program has been hosted by Alex Trebek (in photo with Dr. Guy). Guy, a 1984 University of South Carolina graduate, worked at Camden High and at Spring Valley High before moving to Westwood when it opened in 2012. (Photo courtesy Jeopardy)
Community engagement and educational programs help the SC Philharmonic keep classical music alive, fun and relevant in the Midlands, according to music director Morihiko Nakahara, Capital Rotary’s guest speaker for Nov. 1. Nakahara (shown demonstrating a conductor’s baton signals to the orchestra) has promoted interactive and outreach efforts since joining the Philharmonic in 2008. Some of the most successful include (1) “Conduct the Phil” – an open podium where spectators take their turn leading groups of string players at public events; (2) concerts, youth orchestras and in-school programs to spark students’ passion for music; and (3) a “healing harmonies” project that sends Philharmonic musicians to area healthcare facilities to assist in “soothing the soul while the body mends.” Nakahara says outreach is necessary to “break down the barrier between musicians and the community at large” so the Philharmonic can continue to perform and promote high-quality symphonic music.
Current Capital Rotary president Blake DuBose has been recognized for his achievements and community involvement by Columbia Business Monthly magazine. DuBose, 33, is featured in the magazine’s second annual class of the “Best & Brightest 35 And Under.” The class is composed of 29 young professionals who work for success in the Midlands community. DuBose, a graduate of Newbery College, is president of DuBose Web Group, a website design and development firm he began in 2007. In his Business Monthly biographical summary, DuBose noted that this year’s Rotary International slogan is “Making a Difference.” He said his definition of success includes “selfless acts of kindness, building genuine relationships, doing what you’re passionate about, and making a difference in the lives of others. The bottom line is for all of us to work together to make the world a better place.”
Eight of the state’s central region counties are enjoying the fruits of economic development efforts seeking new business and employment – to the tune of investments totaling over $12 billion and creation of more than 68,000 jobs. That’s what Capital Rotary Club members heard from Sept. 13 guest speaker Mike Briggs, shown talking with Rotarian Andy Markl (back to camera). Since 1997, Briggs has been president and CEO of the Central SC Alliance, a regional public-private partnership dedicated to stimulating economies in Calhoun, Clarendon, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg and Richland counties as well as the City of Columbia. The alliance has been especially successful in boosting global investment. Briggs said more than 22,000 workers in the area are employed by foreign affiliates, and there are businesses from over two dozen countries represented region wide. He said the most important keys to continuing economic expansion are (1) a workforce dedicated to becoming more highly skilled and (2) an abundance of suitable buildings and site locations to quickly accommodate business needs.
Guest speaker Dan Neal (center) shows a sample of rebar used in building Charleston’s new Cooper River Bridge to Capital Rotarians Tony Thompson (left) and Mike Montgomery at the club’s Aug. 16 meeting. Neal, design/management leader for the bridge’s 2002-2005 construction, said it was the largest project in state history at that time. About 80,000 vehicles daily cross the eight lane, 13,500-foot span connecting downtown Charleston to Mount Pleasant. The bridge is 186 feet above the water to accommodate container ship traffic. Neal, a retired Navy captain, formerly was operations director for Richland School District Two and also served a term on the district’s school board.
EJ Newby (second from left) and Carol Caulk (far right) are welcomed to Capital Rotary membership, flanked by their respective sponsors, Craig Lemrow and Ione Cockrell. They’ve both been active in other clubs – Newby in Florence Rotary, where he was a board member and took part in a host of service projects, and Caulk in Columbia’s Main Street Rotary, where she was membership chairman and a board member. Newby is major gifts officer for Midlands Technical College and has been a Sunday school teacher for Northside Baptist Church. He and his wife, Mary, have three adult sons and five grandchildren. Caulk is director of workplace safety and wellness for Agape Hospice and LTC Health Solutions, with an extensive record of community service. She’s a 2009 graduate of Leadership Columbia, the treasurer for First Thursdays on Main Street and a board member for South Carolina’s Employers Advocate Association. She and her husband – Columbia Rotary member Glen Paul Caulk – have three children.
Rotary members make a difference in the world because they are people of action, doing good in the spirit of service above self. That’s the message Rotary District 7770 Gov. Gary Bradham delivered to Capital Rotarians at their weekly breakfast meeting Aug. 9. An Air Force veteran and Rotarian for more than 10 years, Bradham said the organization’s “power and value” is in collective accomplishments that exceed what each club member might achieve alone. His goals as leader of 4,000 Rotarians districtwide include supporting club effectiveness and strength, promoting humanitarian service, and boosting Rotary’s public image and awareness. Capital Rotary was the 26th club Bradham has visited since becoming governor earlier this summer. He and club president Blake DuBose (left in photo) also promoted attendance at next year’s district conference.
Rotary District 7770 Governor Gary Bradham will be guest speaker at the Wednesday, Aug. 9 Capital Rotary Club meeting. Bradham, a retired Air Force officer, has been a Myrtle Beach Rotary member since 2005 and previously served in district posts for membership and finance. He’s a graduate of the Rotary Leadership Institute and received several District Service-Above-Self Awards. District 7770 includes 80 clubs and about 5,000 Rotarians in 25 eastern counties of South Carolina.