Category Archives: Rotary Club of Madison

Club President Teresa Holmes: In Her Own Words

Today is our official kickoff to the Rotary year so I wanted to share a bit on my personal background, Rotary journey, and what you can expect from me during the evolving aspects of our year together. 

I am the oldest of three children born to a mother who worked in various areas of law enforcement and a father who served in the Navy.  Over the years, I’ve tried to make it a habit of asking for what I need so if I sounds like I’m telling you instead, please don’t take it personally; giving others instructions is a part of my history.  I’m a native of Milwaukee and for years lived one block away from the core of the original site where Juneteenth Day is celebrated. Most of my family members still live in Milwaukee so my other home is not far away.

I often refer to myself as a twice transplant to Madison, as I initially moved here in 1989 to work for what was is now Alliant Energy but moved back to Milwaukee after only 5 years. At that time, I would’ve been known as a Gen Z, and my mom, who by then had transitioned into the Human Services field, encouraged me to follow my heart knowing that I had aspirations for changing the dynamics of how users experienced working with computing professionals.  By the time I was 23, I had several experiences with initiating change within teams, systems and corporations in the US and in other countries through the use of my natural gift to simplify tedious processes whether manual or technological.  I had no idea that I’d return to Madison 20 years later after creating my own firm, now Exponential Endeavors. I lead a team of Solution Architects, who have backgrounds in either engineering, technology or creative arts and are identifying efficient and innovative ways to transform manual processes thru technology or reduce the time it takes to implement technology engagements.  I can speak tech English, folks! Right before the pandemic, I was asked to utilize my business model to assist a company in Madison with rapid redesign of its entire technology infrastructure and because of the need to pivot quickly when the stay-at-home order began in March of last year, my team and I were able to do the same for companies locally and throughout the Midwest while leading them into resiliency during the COVID year.  So, change and doing things sooner than initially planned is ‘in my lane’.  Did you know that I was supposed to be your president – next year?  

My Rotary journey began only 5 years ago in May of 2016 after being invited to attend the Scholarship luncheon by then Rotarian Derrick Van Mell.  I had been asked to join the organization before but declined because of what I believed was not present in the room.  Attending one luncheon can make all the difference and after seeing the scholarships awarded to 25 local students – I said Yes without hesitancy.  Service is a part of my DNA as I come from a long line of WI and Texan public servants and prior to that experience lacked the awareness I now have of the Rotary Club of Madison.  

My first year of my Rotary service, I attended the international convention held in Atlanta, Georgia, and couldn’t believe what Rotarians were doing locally and internationally and have dug in my heels since then to Connect, Grow and Serve where led and often asked to do so. I’m a person with a deep sense of Faith and belief in the ability to dream and live well throughout the process of evolving circumstances.  A few of you have cautioned me not to use the podium as my ‘pulpit’, fret not. I don’t need a pulpit when an expansive mission field is right before me.

The accelerated transition to VP caused me to get to know many of you in ways that I’ve enjoyed while also growing in the understanding of the traditions this club and Rotary International hold near and dear. I’m looking forward to spending time with many of you, while walking, dining, at local activities that combine those two or a fellowship or community event.

As we serve, the evolving aspect of changes we’ll all be affected by and journey through are not intended to harm or hinder our organization from continued success and service – rather meant to create more continuity within the organization while better positioning our service teams – our committees to execute their creative ideas throughout our community.  The ideas presented and approved by leaders w/in this club are meant to be seen and experienced far beyond a single term of the presidency so our club’s VP-Paul Hoffman and others who follow him will carry the torch of ideas forward and brightly! Throughout the year, I’ll lead the way in communicating and navigating the various aspects of how we’ll enhance what we’re doing.

Being President of our club wasn’t what I thought I’d be doing at the end of my board term.  As I reflect while dreaming, I realize it has become an extended part of my journey of Service above Self!  I’m honored and humbled to serve as our club president. Thank you for such an opportunity!

Rural Broadband: The Economics and Relationships Needed for “The Fix”

  

Brittany Beyer, Chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Broad Band, presented The Economics and Relationships Needed for “The Fix”.

Today’s mashup of acronyms, mastered by Beyer to her credit, demonstrates widespread and as-yet relatively uncoordinated efforts to advance universal broad band access, but a growing awareness of their importance.

Embedded are fundamental elements of equity, diversity and inclusion, the divide between sparsely settled rural and densely settled urban environments, outdated mapping of coverage and profit disparities attendant to the commerce of coverage, and the profound need for universal collaboration and coordination.

Beyer framed the fundamentals as access, affordability, and adoption.

Access is best and almost universal in urban areas, but the rules of measurement—mapping population together with broad band coverage—tilts systemic access heavily to cost-efficient urban areas while omitting high-cost, less efficient access to rural areas.

The resulting dilemma is captured in the subject of affordability, which requires a collaborative and systemic mix of commercial, government, philanthropic, and personal funding that is moving slowly toward the need to address the growing acknowledgment that, like electricity and rural mail delivery, broad band access has become a universal necessity and equalizer.

Adoption, the third leg of the stool, highlights the need to educate and aid those yet unfamiliar with the technology and capability that can be available to them.

There are test models and examples of successful local or at best regional well-led initiatives that work—in Reedsburg, WI and surrounding towns, for example; in Iowa County, a leader in a systemic mapping of service needs and population density; and in Brown County, where a model expansion is underway.

Today’s program was but a piece of the story.  Two complementary Rotary programs will present other facets of the quest for a systemic approach to universal high speed broad band service, one in July and one in August.    

   Our thanks to Brittany Beyer for her 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/HiLfVKXGTLA.

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.

Every Veteran is a Story

Every veteran is a story, Rotarians were told May 19 by Chris Kolakowski, Wisconsin Veterans Museum Director.  The Wisconsin Veterans Museum is an educational activity of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs.  Kolakowski’s latest book is “Last Stand on Bataan.”   

Kolakowski told how military service ripples in families beyond an individual service member. Their research finds many children emulating their parent’s example over the past century. Sometimes this legacy of service extends into grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Just as some families run a commercial enterprise over generations, for others the “family business” is the U.S. military. 

Chris overviewed some facts about the museum:  There are over 26,000 artifacts in the collection; there are over 2,000 cubic feet of archives; there are over 2,600 interviews in the oral history collection; and they have over 150,000 photographs.  Many members may not be aware of so many events having a Wisconsin connection, so Chris encourages members to visit the museum to view these collections.  The museum typically has over 90,000 visitors each year.

The museum has been holding events virtually and in-person including Curators Conversations twice a month, movie night, and they also hold events for Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

Here is a link to the museum’s website stories:    https://wisvetsmuseum.pastperfectonline.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&search_criteria=family&searchButton=Search  

Our thanks to Chris Kolakowski for his presentation this week and to Valerie Renk for preparing this review article. If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here:  https://youtu.be/XjWRO5oYllk.

Cannabis Legalization: Should Wisconsin Do So?

Angela Janis 5 12 2021Dr. Angela Janis discussed the basics of medical cannabis at the May 12 Rotary meeting. Janis is a Psychiatrist at Mendota Mental Health Institute.

THC, the most active ingredient in cannabis, gets you high, but it also decreases pain, nausea, and helps you sleep. CBD doesn’t get you high, is not addictive, but probably decreases inflammation, anxiety and pain. CBD may counter the effect of THC.

Cannabis forms include flowers, edibles, concentrations such as vapes/oils, tinctures (to put under your tongue) topicals (for skin) and nasal spray. Onset of effect differs in these forms; for example effects from eating is slower than topicals.

Wisconsin is behind in legalizing cannabis; we are surrounded by states who have, led by California in 1996 (with medical use). Thirty-five states have fully legalized; many more allow medical marijuana. Several have decriminalized.

“We may be one of the last states to legalize” Janis said. “Nationally, we are behind on medical research; it’s the only drug where the national institute on drug abuse has to supply the material.” Janis said the institute gives research cannabis only to a small number of studies; 96% of studies receiving material are looking for harms.

“Their mission is about abuse, which may direct their research interest,” she said.

Most people use medical cannabis for pain, muscle spasms, nausea (especially for cancer), seizures, PTSD and end of life care. Since PTSD doesn’t have a proven treatment, anecdotal support for cannabis is accepted; there is good data for the other issues.

Janis reported cannabis does not take away pain like an opioid, but it has a much higher safety rate.

She added, “Don’t listen to someone who says, “Nobody is addicted to cannabis,” but the risk is much lower, similar to caffeine and lower than tobacco.” As with all drugs, the younger you begin using the drug, dependence is higher. Youth use is the biggest risk. Treatment includes behavioral therapy and possibly gabapentin.

When asked how legalizing cannabis would affect Wisconsin’s tavern industry, Janis reported alcohol sales dropped only slightly when cannabis was legalized in other states.

Our thanks to Dr. Angela Janis for her presentation this week and to Valerie Renk for preparing this review article. We also thank WisEye for streaming our meeting this week. If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here: https://youtu.be/IiibynhFL7w.