Category Archives: 2. Meetings

Ten-Year Journey of the Wisconsin Union

–submitted by Andrea Kaminski; photo by Pete Christianson

Mark Guthier 10 18 2017

Rotarian Eric Salisbury with Mark Guthier (center) and Rotarian Mary Ellen O’Brien

Mark Guthier, Director of the Wisconsin Union at UW-Madison, filled Rotarians in on the 10-year journey of reflection and growth that has resulted in restored, renovated and enhanced facilities for Memorial Union and Union South. He emphasized that the project was “our journey” because there were so many people, including students and many Rotarians, involved in its completion.

The Master Plan for the project was completed in 2004 and announced at the Memorial Union’s 75th Anniversary. Two years later a student referendum approved a student fee of $96 per student per semester in support of the project, and a capital campaign was launched in 2007. Operating revenues will cover the remainder of the $220 million budget.

In 2012 the Wisconsin Union Theater, Hoofers and Craft Shop facilities were closed. The “saddest period in the Union’s history” was when the Terrace was closed for several months, Guthier said. But now all of these facilities – and more – are open and operating and serving the University community. The crowning event was the recent opening of Alumni Park.

There were three goals for the project: infrastructure improvements to update deteriorating or obsolete facilities and meet new student expectations; increased space for student programming, meeting rooms, food service and production storage; and mission enhancements to serve the entire campus better and re-energize the Union’s status as a membership organization.

The project had a new Design Committee appointed annually, including nine students, two alumni, two faculty and two staff members. The Committee was always led by a student and Guthier himself had just one vote. In addition there were multiple advisory groups to ensure that the new facilities would meet the needs of the community.

The Committee abided by design principles that ensured the buildings will be “people magnets,” will advance student programming, and will be timeless and enduring. They strived for green construction and sustainability. Their goal was to achieve LEED Silver status for both buildings, and the prospects look good. Union South has received LEED Gold status, and they are still awaiting the rating for Memorial Union. In addition, the project aimed at making the buildings complementary of each other and welcoming of all University community members. Finally, they wanted the buildings to tell the story of the Union, student leadership on campus, and the state of Wisconsin.

Goals for ongoing operations are to “make every day an event,” operate according to sustainable principles and build community for the entire campus. The Unions must have a customer-first perspective because they rely on program revenue for their existence.

Guthier closed his presentation with a slide show of the renovated facilities and the many celebrations that marked the Union’s 10-year journey. He invited Rotarians to attend two upcoming events: a November 10 celebration of the Memorial Union being on the National Register of Historic Places and the November 11 re-dedication of the Gold Star Honor Roll.

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here.

Wisconsin’s Economic Outlook

–submitted by Bill Haight; photo by Jeff Burkhart

Tom Still 9 20 2017

Tom Still pictured here with Club President Donna Hurd

This week’s speaker was Tom Still, President of the Wisconsin Technology Council, a non-partisan advisory group to the governor and legislature. In addition to policy development, the council’s activities include facilitating collaboration between companies and investors.

In promoting Wisconsin as a place to invest and locate business, Still cited the state’s many advantages such as affordable housing and water in strong supply, both of which can be big drawbacks in other states. He also pointed out that despite a perception of being a “high tax” state, Wisconsin’s taxes are steadily decreasing. Also, Wisconsin is finally getting on the national investment community’s radar, with numerous startup hubs, particularly in smaller cities like Eau Claire and La Crosse.

Wisconsin’s high quality of education is another plus. And in recent years the UW System has become more nimble to react to the type of graduate needed in the new economy. “The Ivory Tower is giving way to a more inclusive approach toward business,” he said.

On the state’s possible incentive for Foxconn, Still said: “I think it’s well worth pursuing.” We should ask “How much would you pay to essentially rebrand the state AND create jobs that support families while attracting young workers and offering underemployed workers a chance to retrain?” The Foxconn investment is less than one percent of the state GDP for one year – but spread over 15 years, he noted.

Possibly more important than the 13,000 promised Foxconn jobs are the indirect effects on the supply chain. “For example, a new glass factory or other manufacturer might spring from Foxconn’s material needs,” said Still.

In closing, Still invited the audience to check out 45 new companies presenting to investors at the November Early Stage Symposium (www.wisearlystage.com).

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here.  

 

Will Madison Win the Nation’s F-35 Competition?

–submitted by Dave Mollenhoff; photo by John Bonsett-Veal

Col Erik Peterson 8 2 2017

Col. Erik Peterson with Club President Donna Hurd

Will Madison be selected as one of two Air National Guard bases where the nation’s newest and most expensive fighter jet, the F-35, will be stationed?  That was the question that Colonel Erik Peterson, the Commander of the 115th  Fighter Wing at Truax Field, addressed in his talk to Rotarians.  Already Madison made the first cut from 18 Air Guard bases to today’s five.

Peterson argued that Madison meets and exceeds all Air Force criteria for this major strategic decision.  We have the capacity to handle F-35s with today’s F-16 hangers and support facilities.  We have cost advantages over other sites because just four minutes away—at F-36 speeds!—are 30,000 square miles of practice air space and a target range.  Four minutes may not seem important, but for an aircraft that costs $40,000 an hour to fly, having everything nearby will be a strong cost argument for locating the squadron here. Another cost advantage is that we already own the necessary hangers and support facilities.  We will not adversely affect air quality and the F-35’s will be no noisier than today’s F-16s.  Finally, Madison has always given the 115th Fighter Wing strong community support.  That’s a strong resume, said Peterson.

Zach Brandon, the President of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce and a project supporter who attended the meeting, reminded everyone that Madison has been an Air Force town since Truax was founded during World War II.  Remember, Brandon continued, when 9-11 happened, it was F-16s from Truax that scrambled to protect O’Hare Airport.  This is the proud job of the National Guard.

Peterson said that if the F-35 wing is stationed at Truax, its economic impact based on payrolls and purchased services will be $100 million per year.  Another benefit that few realize is that the Air Force pays for the fire-rescue program at Dane County Regional Airport.

Pevehouse: International Order is Costly But Necessary

–submitted by Valerie Johnson

Jon Pevehouse 4 5 17Jon Pevehouse, UW Political Science Professor, asked and answered the question, “How should the Trump administration balance power with constraint to maximize our legitimacy and prosperity?” at the April 5 Rotary meeting.

With graduate student Ryan Powers and Carnegie Foundation grant-funded opinion polls, Pevehouse has a wealth of information on what Americans want in international trade policy:

  • The last 5-6 years have found more people interested in trade barriers
  • Older, non-college educated people are more interested in trade barriers (these tend to be Trump supporters)
  • People want to keep jobs in the US, a platform Bernie Sanders also ran on as evidenced by the many “NO TPP” signs seen at the Democratic convention
  • Most American still want free trade (12% margin) even with job losses
  • Both political parties are pro-free trade; Hillary Clinton ran on this and Bill Clinton began NAFTA
  • Interest in trade barriers follows the economy; people like trade better than trade agreements.

Trump has indicated an interest in re-negotiating NAFTA.  Wisconsin has a positive balance of trade with Mexico, even though US does not.  The rules of origin Trump complains about were already re-negotiated by Obama as part of the TPP, but Trump threw that out; it would increase the percent of product manufactured/labeled required to be created in Mexico (for example) from 65% to perhaps 85%, decreasing what can come from China.

The concern is the Trump administration likes the power of the US economy, but not the traditional constraints we have used with other countries, such as the foreign ad Bush quietly used or the traditional tools such as the World Bank, WTO, etc.

“But without constraint,” Pevehouse said, “the fear is our power endangers our foreign policy.  International order is costly, but gives us legitimacy, as we have had with the last 60 years of prosperity.

Professor Pevehouse’s research in the areas of international relations, international political economy, American foreign policy, international organizations, and political methodology. Topics on which he has recently published include regional trade agreements, human rights institutions, exchange rate politics, and international organizations. He is the author, with Joshua Goldstein, of International Relations, the leading textbook on international politics. He is currently the editor of International Organization, the leading journal in the field of international relations.

Pevehouse has a Ph.D. in Political Science from Ohio State University and a B.A. in Political Science from University of Kansas.

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here.

New Member Event at HotelRED

–submitted by Mary Romolino; photos by Jorge Hidalgo

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Photo 1: Charles Tubbs and Jeff Quinto; Photo 2: Haley Saalsaa, Jason Ilstrup, Karla Thennes, Leslie Lochner & Craig Bartlett; Photo 3: Leslie Overton, Jennifer Weitzman & Mary Romolino

20161213_080843It was a game of Find the Member Who… that had experienced Rotarians and new club members alike learning fun facts about each other’s unique and sometimes quirky life experiences at the new member event on December 13 at HotelRED. Thanks to Jason Beren, who organized the game, attendees mixed with literally every person in the room in order to match the experiences listed on our game sheets with the Rotarian who lived that experience. It was a terrific way to get to know our newest members and learn surprising facts about those we’ve known for years.

With members like ours, it’s no wonder our club is so dynamic! For instance, new members Jorge Hidalgo marched in President Reagan’s Inauguration Parade, Chris Rich saw a ghost at age eight, a sighting confirmed later in life by his mother; and Jennifer Weitzman has donated a kidney. Leslie Overton started at UW Madison as a music major but instead became a CPA and lived in Washington D.C. for years before returning to Madison.  Jeff Quinto’s family motto is “Often wrong, but never in doubt,” while Karla Thennes’s Minnesota-dwelling parents gave their children names beginning with the letter K. By the time Karla was due they were running low on names. Luckily Karla’s dad saw Miss Minnesota on TV and you guessed it, her name was Karla with a K.

When you meet a new club member, please extend a warm welcome and discover the experiences which led them to where they are now and to our club.  And, thanks to Jason Ilstrup and HotelRED for hosting our event.

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One of 63 Talks: District Governor Dean McHugh

–submitted by Valerie Johnson; photo by Jeff Burkhart

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District Governor Dean McHugh pictured here with Club President Michelle McGrath

Dean McHugh, District Rotary Governor, addressed the October 12 meeting of the downtown Rotary as one of his 63 talks of the year.  Dean is from Holmen, a club of 38 members and ten years old, where he runs an excavation business with his father. Dean shared three stories, powerful to him, that illustrated why Rotary is important.

Dean’s first story was that he was asked to Rotary meetings twice before he attended, because he didn’t see the value proposition immediately.  They didn’t give him the complete story, so he declined.  Having been a foreign exchange while at UW-LaCrosse, he was in Colombia for 7 months.  He came home with a greater understanding of the world, with a love for a second country and with a second family.   “Holmen Rotary tapped that interest, asking me to help with our exchanges, so I joined,” he said.

Second, Dean told the story of a signature Rotary project that caught his attention.  Holmen Rotary raised $7,000 for a project in Lima, Peru.  This was turned into a $25,000 through Rotary matching funds.  They used bio sand water filters to give 15,000 people clean water.  They have now done five clean water projects impacting up to 50,000 people.  “It’s powerful to go see what one small club can do in the world,” McHugh said.

For his third story, McHugh told of trying to recruit Scott Ryan, a friend of 40 years, to join Rotary.  Ryan attended eight meetings before joining, thinking he wasn’t qualified.  Scott joined, but didn’t really become a Rotarian until he went on a Peru trip.  His daughter sent him hair clips to take to people he met. When distributing them, the girls hugged him; he saw they appreciated his caring and he wept.  It was a real Rotary moment.  Scott went on to become youth exchange officer and then club president.  He started four new clubs and is now a district officer.  McHugh says, “I’m proud I gave him the gift of Rotary.”

Dean warned 10% of members drop out each year and challenged the club to bring in at least 50 members.  He closed with, “May Rotary friends and Rotary ways continue to help you serve.”

If you missed our meeting this week, watch the video here.

Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Taken

–submitted by Linda Baldwin; photos by Will Anzenberger

Good, Better, ____.   Never let it _______.  ‘Til your Good is _________.  and your Better is _________.  Fill in the blanks from Carl Olson’s presentation this week.

Carl, “our bring your kids to Rotary today” speaker was a terrific hit with all, young and old.  Clap Once.

He’s a motivation speaker, magician and all around positive guy with this message…Young folks can be whatever they want to be…with self confidence, being around great folks and being ready to take on the world.  Clap twice.

He entertained us with a message…with card tricks, fire in a book, and best of all, the magic plastic glass…Clap 3 times.

Check out the photos that follow.  Sorry you missed it.

And if you missed our meeting this week, watch the video here.

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