Category Archives: 2. Meetings

Highlights: Year End Rotary Meeting June 30, 2021

  

   The Changing of the Guard, (or as Andrea Kaminski put it, Jorge’s transition to the “famed Past President’s Club and to oblivion, disrespect, benign neglect, etc.”) had elements of commendation, praise, pins, and a plaque . . . Past President’s pin and plaque presented by Jason Beren, Paul Harris Fellow pin AND a heavy gift bag that Past President presenter Donna Moreland hoped was as good as the one she received, the new President’s pin presented by Jorge Hidalgo to Teresa Holmes (comes with a gavel and a big bell), and the Vice President’s pin that Teresa presented to Paul Hoffmann.

   President Jorge held the stage as long as he could, although for the better, sharing the podium with others.  Dawn Crim, Madison Rotary Foundation Vice President, summarize the past year’s work of the Foundation, which provided $749,000 in community support. $45,000 was also raised from our members for the Rotary International Foundation annual campaign.

   Jorge introduced Jenni Jeffress, chair of our Community Projects Committee, who provided highlights of six volunteer opportunities by 51 members, many for more than one project.

   Jorge pointed out that Jenni is among 40 members of the club who served as chairs of committees in the past year and that the majority of the club members made good use of technology to continue participation, as did over half of the 29 fellowship groups that met online.

   Best of all, both Jorge and Teresa shared a few thoughts.  Teresa’s were prospective, promising fun, change, and even better food—and more information will be shared in her inaugural speech on July 14th

   Jorge’s view was retrospective:  full of thanks for committee chairs and many hands of help and especially for Jason Beren and Brian Basken for their heroic video work for every virtual meeting.  (Jorge failed to thank them for their thoughtful documentation of Jorge Bloopers we were shown). 

   In his “swan song” (thankfully he didn’t actually sing), Jorge attempted to salvage his reputation, citing a few reasons why he should be remembered and proclaiming himself to be our Club’s “best . . . “ (wait for it) . . .”virtual president”.  He closed with his plans for the future, including making cold calling to sell Medicare supplemental insurance and reverse mortgages for retirees. 

   Thank you, Past President Jorge, for a challenging job well done.  And congratulations, President Teresa, on the promise of your vision and your willingness to serve.

   Our thanks to Ellsworth Brown for serving as photographer and summary article writer. Visit our club’s blog and facebook page for more photos.

TREK Thrives Even Under Adverse Conditions

Steve Malchow, Trek Bicycle’s Vice President of Operations, Engineering and Sourcing, had to move fast in the last three years to avoid hitting—or being hit—by three “black swans”:  Tariffs on Trek’s principal supplier of bicycles, from China; the pandemic, which shut down production facilities; and the combination of these two factors to create a third swan, the exploding demand for bicycles.

Trek is a billion dollar a year company with 4,000 employees, business in over 100 countries; race teams; comprehensive analysis of market share; and nimble, aggressive adjustment to the retail side of the business. 

Trek is also an enlightened company headquartered in Waterloo, Wisconsin, that is committed to healthy lifestyles for customers and employees.  Facing rising health insurance costs, it built its own clinic in 2014 and has not raised insurance costs since and serving 4,000 visits last year.  Trek’s chef serves its Waterloo employees healthy three meals a day.

600,000 bikes per year manufactured in China had to be relocated to non-tariff sources, including parts (about 300 in each bike), manufacturing supply chains, and delivery.  Trek used to back order 73,000 bikes, now 3.9 million as new orders jumped from 1.5 million to 3.8 million per year.  Even the ship that blocked the Suez Canal still contains a large order of undelivered bicycles.

And yet Trek thrives, aggressive on the elements of manufacturing and delivery, moving plants out of China to a total of 7 different countries world-wide including Taiwan and Cambodia, and expanding their BCycle city program to dozens of American cities.

Trek is also a leader in its largest market, E-bikes, a fleet of which are being tested in Madison now, even as the universal shortage of digital chips presents the latest delay.

Steve considers Trek successful and lucky under the circumstances.  Most of us would say “not lucky, just really good”.

Our thanks to Steve Malchow for his presentation this week and to Ellsworth Brown for preparing this review article.  If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here:  https://youtu.be/PNS0-1ZSRjM.

Addressing Response to Sexual Assault on UW-Madison Campus

Curran Sattler Walsh June 2 2021 Rachel Sattler, Kim Curran, and Kate Walsh comprised a panel supplying a fast-moving presentation about the largely unaddressed scope of problems and possible solutions to sexual assault of UW-Madison women. Statistics are startling:  26% of UW-Madison undergraduate women have experienced unwanted contact, 20% have been assaulted, and 6.8% have suffered violent attacks.  The use of alcohol by men and women plays a large role in these abuses. The consequences are several and can have life-long symptoms:  rape victims often experience PTSD, depression, and substance abuse disorders. School dropouts occur. The panel agreed that responses to sexual assault are unsatisfactory because a highly functioning, systemic, coordinated, multi-agency source of physical and medical, psychological, and legal services does not exist. This problem is magnified by most victims’ lack of knowledge about these services, their sources and their unknown and disparate locations, the absence of transportation, and the lack of an advocate who could knit all of these together, provide a single point for reporting, and accompany a victim to the services. One result of the absence of coordinated services is that only 2% of the victims report an assault to the University, and very few are reported to police. The panel is deeply involved in ways to address the shortcomings described above.  A U.S. Department of Justice grant has been awarded to hire a campus advocate who can begin to connect services, provide continuous and establish an example that can encourage the hiring of more advocates. A multi-agency virtual portal is also being developed for reporting and coordination of services, to help with the connection not only between agencies but also among survivors. At the close of the presentation, President Jorge asked what we as Rotarians can do to help.  The answer:  contact foundations you know for financial support of advocates or mental health programs or make personal contributions to these initiatives. Our thanks to Kim Curran, Rachel Sattler and Kate Walsh for their presentation this week and to Ellsworth Brown for preparing this review article. If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here: https://youtu.be/Fe53FRvN7R0.

Accessibility for Everyone in Downtown Madison

   The speaker at our April 7th meeting was Jason Beloungy, Executive Director of Access to Independence, which is one of eight such organizations in Wisconsin.  It serves Columbia, Dane, Dodge and Green counties.  Today he spoke of the collaboration between his organization, the Downtown Madison’s Beyond Compliance Task Force, and the City of Madison’s Disability Rights Commission.

   The goal of this alliance is a fully inclusive and accessible downtown which includes entrances to buildings and within their interiors such as restrooms as well as the accessibility to outdoor events and parking opportunities.  Achievements of the last three years began with conducting a survey of persons facing barriers to accessibility that help prioritize the group’s efforts.  From this, two separate guides have been developed.

   The first was for streetory which involved entrances to buildings and the way to provide the best accesses to and within outdoor dining areas.  The second guide developed is for festivals and outdoor events.  The current project centers on “Well Built Conferences” which addresses designs and best practices for buildings.

   Jason feels that individuals and organizations can help by getting directly involved with the Disability Rights Commission; getting input from those with disabilities; hiring people with disabilities; and by promoting accessibility and inclusion.

   Our thanks to Jason Beloungy for his presentation this week and to Larry Larrabee for preparing this review article.  If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here:  https://youtu.be/IGFkTbDrKD8.    

“How Can We Make Madison More Vivid?”

Zach Brandon made an inspiring presentation at our March 24th meeting of the Rotary Club of Madison.  As the president of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce and past Deputy Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Commerce, he is well qualified to speak to us about Madison’s present and future in his titled address, “There is Light in the Darkness.”  He structured his presentation around the intervening years since his prior Rotary presentation in 2018 which was his third.

The year 2019, as he showed, was full of positive indicators with Madison having the largest percentage of millennials moving to a new city, leading city in increased percentage of high digital skills positions and high stability in those jobs.  2020 began with more positive signs of Madison as a tech growth center in the Nation.  But then, covid-19 struck, and all conversation and attention stopped which muted the story of Madison.

Then the issue became, “How can we make Madison more vivid?”  Zach feels a part of that is to target the work force of the future in terms of gender, diversity and equity.  As he says, the data suggests the wind is still at our back, especially when national surveys consistently predict Madison to make the fastest recovery from the covid-19 down turn.

He concluded that Madison’s goal should be developing and attracting top quality workers to the right mix of jobs in the Madison economy.

If you did not attend the presentation and would like to feel good about your community, please view his presentation on our Rotary Club’s YouTube Channel.

Our thanks to Zach Brandon for his presentation this week and to Larry Larrabee for preparing this review article.  If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here:  https://youtu.be/Fp1PFHlnaSQ.

The 2020 Election’s Effect on US Foreign Policy

   Professor Pevehouse then went on to outline some of the largest foreign policy facing us now:

Jon PevehouseThis week, UW-Madison Professor Jon Pevehouse provided an analysis of the Trump Administration’s major foreign policy initiatives and how the outcome of this past November’s election is affecting American foreign policy going forward. The Professor started by commenting on the two overarching differences between the present administration and the last: 1) Staffing: President Trump understaffed diplomatic roles and left many gaps, signaling our priorities. President Biden has since ramped up diplomatic staffing; and 2) Stability: Under the last administration, foreign policy could change with a tweet. Under the current administration, that will not be the case, which will lend itself to increased foreign trust.

   Professor Pevehouse then went on to outline some of the largest foreign policy facing us now:

  • China – Tensions between the U.S. and China are higher than they have been in some time, due to the self-proclaimed Trade War that President Trump imposed. Currently, we are part of Phase 1 Deal, as China agreed to buy certain supplies from America. They have not kept their part of the bargain to date, so President Biden needs to consider next steps. He will likely try to work with other countries to get help, rather than go it alone. Other issues around China include security in the South China Sea and Human Rights violations.
  • Middle East – There has been much back and forth regarding our involvement with the Iran Nuclear Deal over the past administrations, and Prof. Pevehouse sees this continuing into the future, since incentives to reach an agreement going forward simply aren’t there for Iran.
  • Europe – Although it would seem natural that America and the EU would have better relations than we did under the Trump Administration, it likely won’t be lockstep immediately. The EU and China have a deal that allows them a leg up on investing in China, which they’d need to give up if they wanted to work closer with the U.S. again. Hopefully over time, this will improve.
  • COVID-19 – The World Trade Association is trying to find middle ground regarding importing and exporting vaccine, as they hope to balance intellectual property and access. They are currently looking at licensing the vaccine to other countries so they can be manufactured locally.

   The presentation today really illustrated the connectedness of the world and helped to illustrate the different perspective of the respective administrations.

   Our thanks to Prof. Jon Pevehouse for his presentation this week and to Jessika Kasten for preparing this review article.  If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here:  https://youtu.be/aXgm9YdoHe8.