February 14, 2019
GALERIE CANDY & GIFTS
Since he was 15, Richard Ross has been involved in the candy industry, first as a buyer for his mother’s gift and candy store in Dayton, Ohio, then as a distributor and retail entrepreneur and finally as owner and CEO of Galerie Candy & Gifts.
“I love making people happy,” he explains. “Also, my father was a dentist. I wanted to ensure his job security,” he jokes.
Born in Columbus, Ohio on May 26, 1961, to Helen and Allen, Rick grew up with brothers Dave and Marc. He graduated from Fairview High School in Dayton in 1979 and enrolled in the University of Cincinnati, majoring in business. At 19, he took a leave of absence from school to become distributor for Jelly Belly Candy Company in Alhambra, California.
Ricked opened his first Jelly Bean Factory store in the mall in Salem, Ohio in 1978. Two years later he launched his first permanent store in Cincinnati’s Union Terminal, followed by a larger-format outlet in Cincinnati’s Westin Hotel, Galerie Au Chocolat, featuring premium chocolates and an automated bean-dispensing wall fixture offering shoppers a choice of 72 flavors.
Eleven major stores in major cities followed in short succession. By 1981, Rick was featured as a “mogul” on the front page of the Wall Street Journal (by age 20). Orders from other retailers for the company’s novelty offerings eventually drew Rick from retail to wholesale and ultimately to the founding of Galerie, which designs and fabricates more than 1,500 gift and novelty items annually, including premium private-label confectionery items.
Under his leadership, Galerie has been ranked among the Deloitte Cincinnati USA 100 Best Places to Work five times and earned the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce International Trade Award of Excellence in 2008 and it is Economic Vitality Award in 2001.
Further, he has actively supported the United Way, the Alzheimer’s Association, AIDS Volunteers of Cincinnati, and is a founding member of the national and local chapters of the Human Rights Campaign.
Rick was the National Confectioners Association (NCA) State of the Industry Conference Committee Chairman for four years, and a member of the association’s Executive Board. He has also served three terms on its board of trustees.
In addition, he is involved in the NCA Young Professionals Network, as an ongoing mentor to the industry. Locally, Rick has served on the HRC and Cincinnati Women’s Health Board.
Recently, to diversify the business portfolio, Rick has invested in Snooze, an all-natural sleep drink sold locally at Jungle Jim’s.
Doug Bolton introduced Rick by saying, “We just HAD to hear from the recent inductee to the Candy Hall of Fame!” (Yes, especially on Valentine’s Day!) Rick began his career by opening a jelly bean store as a very young man (age 17) that he parlayed from one store with many varieties of jelly beans to stores with every kind of jelly bean (and then some) in 32 department stores throughout the country. He mentors aspiring candy entrepreneurs in Cincinnati. He regrets the changes to retailing that eventually drive them out of their retailing dream. For example, after he began his company in Union terminal, 33 other candy competitors challenged him. Before long, the industry folded down to just three candy companies.
Rick told us. “I never thought jelly beans would get me to where I am.” His innovations include developing new candy colors as well as packaging candies in new and different ways. In the beginning, I financed my business with an SBA (Small Business Administration) loan with a 23.5% interest rate. Although I was in school, my deliveries went from just 3 weeks to 83 weeks to retail stores throughout the country. I was overwhelmed and not well focused on my studies at UC. Repaying that loan took all of my attention.
In June 1993, I got a call from Target. It was the best call of my life! At first, though I must admit I had to ask, who are they? They replied that they are a lot like WalMart. We forged a partnership and the rest is history: sales grew 100% for the next five years and by 5% each year for 5 more.
By this time, I decided to drop out of school. I began renting space to house my products. I went from a room in Oakley to Red Bank at McAlpin’s distribution center. Unemployment in Cincinnati was about 3% so finding workers was challenging to say the least.
I am pleased to say that I have grown without losing ownership of the company. I was told that it was impossible. I was very fortunate to forge a mentorship/friendship with an attorney. I met with him every single month until he died.
Today we are in Hebron, Kentucky in a 270,000 sq. ft. facility. We offer 1,400 SKUs every year. We learned to do what no one else was doing. We contract with the major candy companies to package their same candy in our many colors. We do not change their candies, just the look of their candies.
Early on, we sold to retailers who required us to buy the candy back if it did not sell. We began to package our products so the retailers could see our products and sell them by putting orange color on the corners of the package. We also took advantage of local sourcing.
We have a business in Toluca Mexico. Early on, it began by outsourcing from Cincinnati to Mexico. We decided to bring jobs back to the local community. Outsourcing has created many opportunities. We also outsource from China and then package it here in the US.
Our business model involves innovative design, custom gift packaging, diversity for every occasion, and trusted partnerships. We are committed to quality. We have integrated our manufacturing process. Food safety is certified. We have an expansive distribution process. We offer team packaging and we digitally customize many products like the Easter eggs that are found in our gift sacks. It took about 2.5 years to develop our digital capacity to customize. At first, we were only able to customize about 1,000 eggs per hour. This was too slow. After some tweaking, today we customize about 12,000 per hour. Personalizing is done in Cincinnati.
Today Macy’s, Kroger, Hersey’s, and Walmart among others sell our products. We have a new brand called Kinderex (could not hear so may be incorrect). Since no non-food item is allowed in food products as mandated by the FDA, we decided to put the item outside and directly next to the food product.
We have entered into a joint venture with Topps. We have been licensed by Star Wars for 19 years and with Pixar. We have 96 items on the shelf at Target. Jungle Jim’s offers our new sleep drink called Snooze.
Our purpose is just to make people happy. I took a 12-month course on leadership for five hours a week so I could study how to get us to the next level with new generations. We have to practice changing our brand. There are 14 new leaders being trained similarly. Unfortunately, only 10% of the people do 90% of the work. We are trying to restore and jump-start dead weight. This has energized us. My challenge is to mentor these leaders at least one hour per month — no more, lest they become needy.
If you would like to get in touch with me, write me at
email@example.com. We are located at 3380 Langley Dr. in Hebron, KY.
1. How has NAFTA duties impacted your business? We did not have any duties to bring back. It is meant to help American companies to get the help they need.
2. Cash Flow Cash Flow Cash Flow!!!!! Cash Flow is King!!
February 7, 2019
TATTOO REMOVAL INK
After retiring from a 30-year corporate career from AT&T, Jo Martin started volunteering at the Kenton County Detention Center, tutoring GED subjects.
That tutoring experience led her to start a non-profit, called Tattoo Removal Ink or TRI.
TRI provides free tattoo removal for the formerly-incarcerated, the formerly gang-involved, and for human trafficking victims who want to redirect their lives. Removing offensive visible tattoos from hands, neck, and face removes a significant barrier to good employment.
Because of her work with Tattoo Removal Ink, Jo was named one of Cincinnati.com’s “Women of the year in 2017.” She is also the mother of five grown children and 12 grandchildren.
Doug Bolton introduced Jo Martin to the club.
It all started, according to Jo Martin, with an invitation to tutor GED candidates at the Kenton County Jail. She told us she did not really even want to go into the jail, but because they needed her, she relented. Before too long, she learned that students with tattoos faced even greater barriers than just passing the GED.
Her mother had always taught her the words from Proverbs 3:27 “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.” She was three years into tutoring when her best friend called and asked if she could temporarily move into Jo’s home until she could regain her employment. She and her best friend had many conversations about their experiences each day. Jo told her friend about all the various tattoos she was seeing on her students. The best friend happened to mention that she had seen on television a priest named Fr. Greg Boyle who lived in California who spent his time educating in the area of mental health and helping by removing tattoos. Jo called him to learn about his program and he said, “Come to California.” Jo told him, “I live in Kentucky.” He again said, “You need to come to California.” Jo listened and invited her best friend to come with her. They decided to visit for two days. They toured his facility. On the way home Jo became convinced that tattoo removal was what she should do for the students with whom she was working. Tattoo removal is very expensive. Jo told us even a tattoo the size of a postage stamp costs upwards of $50 per treatment and the person could expect 5 – 10 treatments depending upon how healthy the individual was. (Fewer treatments were needed the healthier a person was.)
Upon her return from learning about the facility Fr. Greg Boyles had created, Jo immediately applied for and got non-profit status. Then with the life insurance money her husband had provided when he died eight years earlier, she decided to buy a $55,000 laser. Suddenly she realized that she was committed to removing tattoos.
She proceeded to hire two doctors and her daughter who managed the social media component. She also hired a nurse and a financial director. All were “hired,” but actually were volunteers. The maintenance cost of operating the laser machine was expensive.
The treatments themselves last a few seconds. They are done every six weeks so the entire process with the usual 10 – 12 treatments may take as long as several years.
The benefits to the student without tattoos: they face much better job prospects. They can be accepted into the military. Actual military policy states that tattoos are not allowed upon entering the services, but once a person is in the military there is no restriction on obtaining tattoos. There is greater community acceptance and as a result increased personal self-image.
The only places to get tattoos removed for free or for a nominal cost is in NY and in CA. When she decided to go into the tattoo removal service, she told us she had trouble getting the process okayed by the Kenton County Detention Center. Apparently, there were conflicts with liability insurance.
Finally, after she leaped the legal hurdles, she realized that another laser machine was required because of the constant maintenance: one could work while the other was being serviced. She looked into the cost of the second machine. Even a used one cost $60,000. She told the retailer that she would have to think about it. When she called back, he told her he would donate the laser machine to the cause. Jo said she could not believe it and literally cried.
She needed one last piece of equipment. It was from Zimmer USA. It would prepare the skin prior to the laser removal. When she called the company to buy it, once again she was in shock at the price. Within one hour, the company called Jo back and told her they would donate it because they really liked what her website described her service to be. Once again, Jo said, “I cried!”
At this time Jo Martin has been “in the business” of removing tattoos as a service for three years. She said she has done it for approximately 350 – 400 people and has done thousands of treatments. She said she only does tattoo removal on a person’s face, neck, and hands that is visible because it would wear out her machines prematurely since more and more patients are coming for help. Most recently, she has helped people from Dayton, OH who come for treatments.
Jo said she was surprised by her recent honors . She was named one of “Ten Women of the Year in 2017.” She was featured in Success Magazine because of helping people get from jail to jobs.
1. Tell us about some of your patients. One was an XU freshman who made a mistake one night and served a prison sentence for the next 26 years. During that time he obtained multiple tattoos, the most offensive of which were the swastikas. I removed them. Another man was the Grand Wizard of the KKK in Ohio. I removed his as well. Tattoo removal is very painful. I had one guy who is 6’5” who literally cried during the process of removal on his neck. Sex workers have tattooed numbers on their breasts or their upper arm.
2. Dress for Success helps in many ways, but not with tattoos.
3. The first fundraiser was on the Gary Foster television show entitled, “Laugh Your Tatts Off.”
4. There are no regulations on tattoo artists. One guy had a tattoo on his face that said, “I am a teenage porn star.” He said he could not even get a driver’s license. I am in the process of removing his tattoos. He is thrilled.
January 31, 2019
Kevin Finn, President/CEO
Strategies to End Homelessness
Doug Bolton introduced Kevin Finn. He said, “Kevin is a warrior for the homeless in this region. He is the ‘Go-To’ person locally.” The Enquirer in 2016 described Kevin Finn as “One of 16 to Watch in 2016.” Kevin said his goal is to change the world by helping Cincinnatians to help with thousands of strategies to end homelessness.
Kevin began by saying, “You may not know my firm because we assume a role that most assume doesn’t exist.” Most see non-profits that help the homeless as islands that do not really interact with one another: having little or no communication or coordination among them. There are actually 30 such organizations that provide direct services to the homeless. It is our job to help them communicate so they can get the resources they need to do their work. Some of these organizations are the Talbert House, the Bethany House, the Salvation Army, and one in OTR to name a few. Our purpose is threefold: to prevent homelessness, to assist those who are in the throes of homelessness if it cannot be prevented, and finally if they are homeless, we try to provide housing support. We apply for and use $23M in funding from local, state, and federal funds. It is a best-kept secret that 410 communities are funded and there are 7 in Hamilton County.
Who are the homeless? We are one of the first communities to have agencies that communicate their homeless data.
Summary statistics include the following:
There are 7,197 homeless in Hamilton County, either on the street or in shelters. Of those, 979 or 14% are unsheltered. We are able to shelter 93% of the homeless. This does not add to 100% you will notice because the population moves between and are often double counted. 452 moved back and forth. The numbers have declined by 42% since 2013. The homeless camps have moved from out of sight to greater visibility. There are 14% of the population who are homeless in Hamilton County as compared to 34% nationally. There are 551 families and 1,700 children. Most people think homeless people are single, but instead the fastest growing population among the homeless is families. This is also a predicted future trend in homeless camps.
I used to work in street outreach to teens living outside. Hamilton County has four very good programs to reach them.
Help vs. Authority
We provide “carrots” to the homeless by giving them housing or places to sleep. Then, in contrast, the police come and give them sharp admonitions, or the “stick,” asking that they move along. Both have their place in moving the homeless to a better place. This year the police, whom I support in every way for their efforts, pulled back. The City offered to clean up the area if the homeless would pick up their belongings. This made the homeless think it was ok to be there. As a result, many homeless from other areas came to the downtown encampment. Thus was the cause of the situation that was reported in the news last year. As the groups of homeless were forced to move from place to place, their numbers began to shrink: some accepted shelter, others treatment, and for the luckiest ones, housing.
The homeless population, statistically speaking, is found to be “three times as likely to die” as the general population if they live on the street or in a shelter where they face uncertainty nightly. They are “ten times as likely to die if they get no help at all.” Laws give the right for the homeless to sleep outside. If you were to call the Homeless Coalition, they would say they are full. This is true. They are at capacity because they will not turn anyone away. Therefore, in the discussion regarding the homeless and their rights, all parties are correct.
Why are people homeless? The majority of the homeless are without a place to live because:
46% are in poor physical health.
38% have multiple chronic conditions.
29% have substance use disorder.
26% age out of Foster Care.
25% are severely mentally ill.
11% are alcohol dependent.
The one thing that is universal however, is the lack of affordable housing. We are surrounded by people spending 50 – 70% of their income on housing. This puts them at risk when their hours are cut or they are laid off from their source of income. I say, “The number one cause of homelessness is the lack of affordable housing.”
What is the cost of homelessness? Prevention services have the best outcome. By spending $1,300 per person, 85% never become homeless. This amounts to a total cost of $955,000. In sharp contrast, once a person becomes homeless, the cost is $3,800 per person. In this case, the law requires a person to already be homeless to get any assistance. The federal funds available are $18M. Prevention is three times as effective as caring for a homeless person. By spending only 4% of $23M (the amount we oversee from federal, state, county, city, and the United Way), we could cure homelessness. If only these two buckets could share their resources. Hamilton County is very generous, but is not involved systemically.
1. How many homeless are veterans? With the help of 3CDC, we conducted a survey of panhandlers. We found that 2/3 of panhandlers are neither homeless nor veterans. Therefore, to answer your question, the number of veterans is 7 – 8%.
2. If I were to meet someone like I did at my local grocery store in Montgomery, who should I call to help them? If you call
381-SAFE (or 7233), you can get information regarding shelters, but the volume is up in the last few months. They must prioritize who gets in each night.
3. Why can’t we give housing vouchers as an entitlement? Getting Section 8 housing is like winning the lottery. Instead, a person has to wait five years, and then in an appeal process, must wait several years more. Housing is not easy to get, so vouchers are not able to provide assistance due to the scarcity of supply.
4. How long is a person homeless? We have learned that 90% who find themselves homeless, exit on their own. They find a place often with the help of family or friends. Most homelessness is a short-term crisis, usually just a few weeks. We try to target those who get stuck in it.
5. What can we do as individuals? First of all, do not give money or anything (like a McDonald’s coupon) that can be monetized. Instead, give a sandwich, bottled water, or a granola bar. If any gift is monetized, think that it will be spent on either alcohol or worse, on heroin laced with the unknown or unforeseen fentanyl so that your small gift might be an unbeknownst death sentence.
If you would like to know more or want to contact Kevin Finn, here is his contact information:
January 24, 2019
President and Chief Executive Officer
Cincinnati Bell, Inc.
Leigh Fox is President and Chief Executive Officer of Cincinnati Bell, Inc. Mr. Fox has been with Cincinnati Bell since July of 2001, most recently as President and Chief Operating Officer. In that role, he is responsible for overseeing all aspects of operations, sales, and customer care for both the Entertainment & Communications Segment and the IT Services & Hardware Segment. Mr. Fox also serving as the company’s Chief Financial Officer from 2013 until September 2016, was responsible for all aspects of finance, accounting, and treasury.
Prior to 2013, Mr. Fox had increasingly larger corporate responsibilities as Chief Administrative Officer, and Senior Vice President of Finance. He spent eight years in senior roles within the company’s technology services business.
A native of Cincinnati, Mr. Fox holds a bachelor’s degree from Miami University and an MBA from the University of Cincinnati. He is on the boards of the USA Regional Chamber, American Red Cross, and Anthony Munoz Foundation. He is a member of the Cincinnati Business Committee and the Business Leader’s Alliance.
Mr. Fox is chairing the ArtsWave Community Campaign in 2019. It is the 70th annual arts fund drive to be held in the Greater Cincinnati region.
Doug Bolton made the introduction of Leigh Fox. He said Leigh was a hometown boy: born and raised on “the West Side,” in Price Hill and later, on Colerain Ave. Leigh went to Miami University for his undergrad degree in Geology. (Leigh told us that he actually worked in the field for several years.) He obtained his MBA degree from UC.
Leigh said he and his two sisters were reared by a single mom, all of whom served to “raise his IQ several notches.” Above all, I was raised to work hard and to be considerate of others.
I have become the CEO of a company that has operated for 145 years. Many of the employees with whom I work have 50 years or more of experience with the company. I have had conversations with the “first women in technology” who began their futuristic work back in the 1970’s.
My wife whom I met at Miami University (another “Miami Merger”) agrees with me that Cincinnati is great for raising our kids whose ages range from 8 to 15 years.
I have been CEO for 18 years. Cincinnati Bell, Inc. (CB) is more of a tech company than it is a telephone company. We do provide the access line for homes, although that has dwindling demand (due to the rising aggravation from Teleprompters so amply noted by Rotarians during the Question period at the end). Today CB is a tale of two companies: entertainment and fiber. Fiber is the future. Our mantra is “Fiber everywhere.” Did you know that 55% of our city is provided “fiber coverage to the premises?” Cincinnati has the highest penetration of any city in the United States. This is a rarely measured statistic. It makes Cincinnati unique from a technology perspective.
Cincinnati Bell is also a tech services company that provides tech information/help to business customers all over the world. Our services are Voice Over IT, the Cloud, IT Professional, and Hardware. We are a massive business company. When we were looking to team up with a Bell company in Hawaii, I was asked “if I had a condo there?” I said, “No, I don’t. In our industry, scale matters.” We are considered small but we are “the best operators in the world; that is, we are the best at what we do.” We are often asked for advice and give it to large telcos. “WE ARE GOOD!” Hawaii may be laid back, but they talk about hometown service, just like we do in Cincinnati. We are both very family oriented. Culture beats strategy. We will grow because we relate well. We believe that if we give back to the community, it will enable us to be present there with their unique issues. We respond to everything. We compete through localization. For example, I do not manage our Hawaii partner from Cincinnati. Instead, we have put a local team in place. They know their community best.
It is very important to be in a vibrant community. As Chairman of Arts Wave, I am hearing from all business leaders how important it is to attract and to retain talent. It is ALL about talent here. The challenge we all face is how to keep our youth here, and not have them take off to the coasts for more creative work. We present them three tenets: meaningful work, life balance, and personal balance in Cincinnati.
Whether it be the music or the arts, Cincinnati spends less than the national average. Austin, New York City, Dallas, and the coasts spend exponentially more than we do. Quality of life is often defined by the arts. We must spend more to retain talent. Philanthropy is good for business and families. All boats rise. Every CEO is compelled to give back to a community when their business is performing well. However, their attention turns inward to fix it when their business is down. Each individual at Cincinnati Bell is encouraged to give 40 hours each year to community service. We have said, “Just give back and then tell us.” They have asked me why they should have to tell about it. I replied to them, “I want to brag!” As a result, CB has given more than 8,000 community service hours. This goes well beyond giving money. It is incredibly good for my business. It provides us second and third chances in case we screw up.
After Stephanie Byrd became CEO of the Red Cross, I asked how CB could help the Red Cross. She said, “What if your technicians install smoke detectors?” Because of the partnership not only did the Red Cross meet its installation goals, it ran out of smoke detectors! In addition, the Red Cross could not train fast enough all the technicians who wanted to be a part of the program! One detector can save many lives. I remember when the Finance team heard about the 40 service hours away from the job and had a problem with it. They have come to see that goodness cannot be measured!
1. How many employees work at CB? 4,300.
We are a $2B Revenue company.
2. At one point in time, CB was the main sponsor of the streetcar. Is CB doing anything now behind the scenes to support it? We are the streetcar’s biggest investor. Not so long ago I asked to see their financial plans in an attempt to see whose “throat to choke.” I strongly suggested they appoint a CEO and after 90 days, I would like to talk. We are not pulling the plug. We believe in this city; however, we are just as divided as the city in this matter. The streetcar is here: we want it to work. We admit there were some preplanning hurdles that were not planned for. It is like IT hacking in that if there is a way, the bad guys are going to get in. It is a BIG problem. The FCC is dealing with it, but the bad guys can manage to work around it.
3. What is CB’s biggest disruptor? 5 G technology. We do not know what it means for our business. There are more than 20B IOTs (internet of things). It is a $3T industry.
Ultimately, we are going to get rid of our TV service. We know we have to have the best data management to meet whatever the future demands.
4. Presently I cannot use my landline because of the annoyance of so many telemarketers. Unfortunately, it is spreading to my mobile service as well. What can be done about this? We will build service for our customers’ needs.
January 17, 2019
STEPHANIE WRIGHT BYRD
AMERICAN RED CROSS, CINCINNATI-DAYTON REGION
Stephanie Wright Byrd is no stranger to the local non-profit community. She is the Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross, Cincinnati – Dayton Region, appointed in May 2018. In this role she is responsible for the local operation of this 27-county, highly respected, “there when you need them” national organization.
Byrd has an extensive background in the non-profit and health care communities. As Senior Vice President for Early Learning Strategies at United Way of Greater Cincinnati (UWGC), Byrd implemented the Success By 6 Kindergarten Readiness Strategy in the 10-county UWGC region, which included leading the $10 million Winning Beginnings Campaign to expand effective early learning strategies, and increased kindergarten readiness scores across the region.
In her role as Founding Executive Director of Cincinnati Preschool Promise, Byrd planned and implemented the start-up of this $15 million, school levy-funded preschool initiative. She spearheaded the 3-year strategy to pass the November 2016 ballot issue and was responsible for implementing the program within 9 months of passage. Byrd stood-up the organization by forming the Board of Managers, hiring the initial staff, establishing the enrollment and payment systems and overseeing back office functions provided by United Way. The program created a network of 80 preschool providers and enrolled 1100 children in the first year of operation.
Prior to joining United Way, she held executive positions at Drake Center, Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati, HealthSpan, and The Christ Hospital.
Byrd holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from Miami University and a Master’s degree in Health and Hospital Administration from Xavier University. Among her many awards, Byrd has been recognized as Cincinnatian of the Year (2017) by Mayor John Cranley, Champion for Children by 4C for Children, Outstanding Achievement Award from the Cincinnati Women’s Political Caucus, and as a Career Woman of Achievement by the YWCA. She was appointed by Governors Kasich and Strickland to the Ohio Early Childhood Advisory Council. Byrd has served on several community Boards including the YWCA of Greater Cincinnati, the Wellness Community, Teach for America, and the Pete Nadherny Scholarship Trust. She is a Leadership Cincinnati Class 28 alumna and is a member of the Cincinnati Chapter of the Links, Inc. and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Trish Smitson introduced Stephanie Wright Byrd who is the present CEO of the Red Cross for the Greater Cincinnati – Dayton region. Stephanie said she has been at the helm eight months and is so very pleased to call attention to her Red Cross colleagues who are in attendance at Rotary today: former CEOs Sara Peller and Trish Smitson as well as the present CFO, Steve Drefahl.
The mission of the Red Cross is to alleviate human suffering. This make it very easy to come to work each day. Clara Barton justified the need for the Red Cross in 1881 and by 1905 it was deemed “official” by then President William Howard Taft. It was founded to mobilize volunteers into service during emergency situations. Today 90% of our workforce is volunteers. We have a congressional charter to assist the military in helping those facing emergencies. We are part of the 190 Red Cross agencies around the world. Every one of them has committed to the mission of uplifting people in their time of need wherever that may be. There is one Red Cross per country around the world.
The Greater Cincinnati – Dayton Red Cross serves 27 counties. To do so there are three chapters in this region. There are over 230 chapters in the US. Our services include humanitarian disaster support, training, bio-medical service or blood banking. We do this elsewhere because we are able to partner with Hoxworth Blood Bank here. In 2018, we offered 97,800 work hours with approximately 63,800 volunteers on call. Thanks to the volunteers, we provide many services that otherwise we couldn’t begin to pay for. Every 8 minutes the Red Cross responds to a disaster. We must be ever-ready with supplies, partners, and infrastructure. Our many partners include Baptist ministers, the United Way, and ___?__.
Last year we had many significant weather-related disasters. We served 8.2M meals, provided 290,000 shelter nights, and
offered 2.2M relief products like diapers and coolers of water. $0.91 of every $1 goes to provisions for those services. Hurricane Florence was my first hurricane last year. It dumped 10 trillion gallons of rain on North Carolina in 24 hours. We got people into shelters. We gave food, water, and provisions to the emergency victims. We stay until the victims can return to clean up their homes.
From the California fires to Hurricane Michael, each requires a different response from the Red Cross that is unpredictable. Our planning follows a militaristic response. This makes us more efficient.
Last year, in March, 2018, Cincinnati experienced flooding that hit communities along the Ohio River from Aurora, IN to Portsmouth, OH. We provided 9,600 blankets and over 500 meals. Many victims need medications and medical devices. Red Cross nurses help them. When a region is hit by a tornado, the responsibility is on the local resources, but we lend our support. We responded to the 5/3rd shooter by helping the first responders with food and drinks. We did similarly in Las Vegas when they had a shooter at a concert.
Of all disasters, fires are the Red Cross’s first response. 36 suffer injury per year on average and there is approximately $7B in property damage. We have programs in which we educate the public. We provide free fire alarms and map out escape routes to citizens who attend our programs. We teach family members a two-minute readiness plan for their residence. The fire alarm program costs $100,000 across the US. During the program we spend two weeks each year going door to door installing fire alarms. We need volunteers to help canvas and schedule appointments. You may remember a family of 13 in Avondale. Because the house was under renovation, it did not have any fire alarms. We installed one on every floor. A fire did break out in the home after the installation and the father said, “Without the alarms sounding, we might have lost our children who were asleep on the third floor.” This program started here in Cincinnati and has now spread country-wide. We have saved approximately 511 lives thanks to the program.
Another Red Cross service is our support to the families of deployed military. If an emergency occurs at home and a military troop needs to return home suddenly, we can go in and verify the need and provide help.
The International Red Cross administers measles and rubella prevention. We had eradicated measles, but recently some have chosen to omit the vaccine for their children. Tragically, measles has had a resurgence. We try to educate families about the importance of the Geneva Convention’s rules. Another International service by the Red Cross is online where we provide a website to help families connect with one another when crises like war scatters them.
As you might imagine to accomplish all of this, it takes a lot of volunteers and resources.
1. Do you act in connecting children with their parents when they come into our country? Unofficially, we tried to do logistics. We put a process in place, but weren’t asked to activate it.
2. Is the Red Cross all over the world? Yes, we are in 190 countries.
3. Do you connect and/or partner with FEMA? In the aftermath of a disaster, it is gray sometimes where we start and FEMA ends, since we both do the same thing. We respond to emergencies to help people get back up on their feet. Unfortunately FEMA is never fast enough. Hurricane Katrina taught us a lot about climate change. There is considerable evidence that the number of disasters is increasing. The Red Cross has a Disaster Operations Center that predicts where we should be. There are more Level 7 hurricane disasters. We are prepared for 2 Level 7s or 3 Level 4s each year. We’ve surpassed this so we are overwhelmed and must spend more time planning.
4. Are some volunteers people from the Coast Guard? Yes.
5. Our public education involves an update of our national strategy every day. The Red Cross is at its best when it is in disaster mode.
January 10, 2019
The Director’s Office works with the Board of Park Commissioners to set and implement policies and work programs of Cincinnati Parks and the management of approximately 125 employees.
Wade Walcutt, a graduate of Ohio University serves as Director of the Cincinnati Park Board. In this role, he is responsible for the oversight of the 5,000 acre-plus, award winning, system containing some of the best professionals, programs, parks, gardens, trails and facilities in the country.
Prior to joining the Park Board, Wade most recently served as the Director of the Greensboro Parks and Recreation Department in North Carolina, where he was recognized as one of their 40 leaders under 40. During this time, Wade successfully coordinated and led the city’s effort on the presentation and passage of the Parks and Recreation Bond package of $34.5M with a 72% approval rating. Wade has served in several other leadership roles with the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, National Audubon Society in Columbus, Ohio, and helped secure the National Gold Medal Award as a manager with the Westerville Parks and Recreation Department in Westerville, Ohio.
Wade has been recognized as a parks industry leader and education presenter at the state and national level for parks and recreation agencies, engaging with participants on: Leadership and Management; Introducing Organizational Change; Interpersonal Communication; and Personal and Professional Development.
He also serves on the Board of Regents as an instructor for the National Supervisors Management School, sponsored by NC State and the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA). This two-year, curriculum-based school is dedicated to improving the management and leadership skills of the country’s mid-level parks and recreation managers.
Wade and his family love being active in Cincinnati Parks and being a part of the wonderful Cincinnati community.
Doug Bolton introduced Wade Walcutt to Rotary today. Wade said he felt so fortunate to be employed exactly where his passion led him. He said he has always been involved in some way in our Ohio parks. He did take a detour, however, to Greensboro, NC because he and his wife thought how nice it would be to be “just four hours away from either the ocean or the mountains.” Yet he told us that he never had the amount of support he enjoys in CINCINNATI, OHIO!!!
Wade said, “Right after we passed the bond levy to take care of park infrastructure in Greensboro, I saw a job description and saw the support system of the Cincinnati Parks. I just HAD to apply!” Soon thereafter Wade Walcutt was selected to become the new Director of the Cincinnati Parks. In this capacity, I travel all across the country. Cincinnati always comes up admirably in conversation. Did you know that Cincinnati Parks is ranked in the top three parks in many categories and in the top 7 in the rest! Not only is that noteworthy, but also Cincinnatians have made my family feel more a part of the community than anywhere else has.
Ok, now I want to ask you Rotarians, “What comes to mind when you think of the Cincinnati Parks?” Our answers came readily: golf courses, trails, Sharon Woods… We need to market our brand better. This was good, but we have no golf courses and Sharon Woods is part of Hamilton County Parks. Great Parks of Hamilton County get no county funds. They have their own budget and Board of Directors. Think instead of Krohn Conservatory, Ault Park, etc. What do these mean to you? We said, “History. Flowers.” How about experiences like music, plays, etc.? It is hard not to smile when you think of your past experiences in our Cincinnati Parks, isn’t it? They mean many things to many different people.
“To enhance Cincinnati’s public green spaces for all.” We want to be leaders in the US by offering the best experiences. We are in the business of creating better lives, which means a better Cincinnati.
There will be no change “for change sake” with me. We want parks that are “clean, safe, reliable, enriching, and (above all) beautiful.”
Our Core Foundation
… whether it be operational or foundational. Cincinnati Parks create economic value. Economic impacts benefit economic value.
Secondly, park economies attract residents and retain them.
Third, we advanced conservation by having a seat at the global conservation table in Italy on November 18, 2018, where the first Urban Forestry Forum convened. Yes, we did discuss climate change, but also we discussed how to improve policies such as employing environmentally clean shipping containers because oftentimes wooden pallets introduce insects from one country to another. Remember the Emerald Ash Borer? We were invited because “Cincinnati submitted a film entitled Trees in Trouble to the International Film Festival associated with the Urban Forest Forum AND …………out of 23 films submitted world-wide, CINCINNATI WON!” This enables us serve on the national level as well as the local level.
Fourth, we want to rejuvenate Cincinnatians’ personal health and physical fitness by making trails more available for runners and by providing a respite to sit and enjoy our beauty.
Fifth and finally, we want to sustain social equity by removing barriers that exist in and among our physical abilities, demographics, and geographies.
The long and the short is that these five pillars spell C.A.R.E.S. because we do care! 99.8% of our team did not sign up for a job that runs 9AM to 5PM. They went to school to impact their communities through parks. We are here to serve the public and each other. All of this is part of our social equity plan. In the past year and a half, we have built a stronger relationship with the Cincinnati Parks Foundation who raised $1M. The foundation has contributed to Westwood’s Town Hall Park, to Ault Park, to Tom Jones Commons, and $250K for picnic tables at Eden Park to name a few. Other recipients are Lytle Park as well as the many trails throughout. You may be surprised that there are more than 60 trails, some of which go back to the 1900s. Some are in severe disrepair and neglect. We need even more advocates to help us reclaim the trails that will connect communities. Currently we have 2,000 repair projects and 3,000 preventive maintenance projects. Come join the effort.
We have survived the Butterfly Heist where someone stole a butterfly and in the escape ran over a member of the staff.
We have also survived flooding. This was thanks to the prior planning and saving of funds for emergencies where we removed a piano in one location and saved a comfort station under the Roebling Bridge. Hundreds of other things were saved thanks to the foresight of our previous leaders. An example is when we planted hundreds of bulbs by the Ohio River that faced being flooded and washed away by the river. The team placed emergency sandbags around the beds and all have survived. In another instance, the floodwater residue covered the lawn space for national events. As it has turned out, the fields have become their very greenest because of the fertility provided by the floodwaters.
In conclusion, we will do a better job off telling our story. Thanks for all you do, Rotary!
December 20, 2018
REV. DAMON LYNCH, JR., CHAIR OF THE BOARD OF THE NATIONAL UNDERGROUND RAILROAD FREEDOM CENTER
Rotarian, Doug Bolton, led a Q& A Session with the Rev. Damon Lynch, Jr., pastor of the New Jerusalem Baptist Church and chair of the board of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. The Freedom Center in 2019 will be celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2019 as a concept and the 15th anniversary of its actual opening. Rev. Lynch was co-chair and founding board member of the organization. The Freedom Center is financially strong, and is being rejuvenated under a new leadership team led by Dion Brown. Rev. Lynch at nearly 80 years of age is an iconic Cincinnati civil rights advocate, dating back to the 1960s. Rev. Lynch serves as a Director of UC Health at University Hospital and is a Great Living Cincinnatian Award recipient. Rev. Lynch is a man of God, first. His church has grown from 65 members to more than 2,000 in his 58 years as pastor. A native of Georgia, his family moved here when he was young. He graduated from high school and served in the U.S. Marine Corps. Upon return from the service, he started working at a barbershop and attended Bible College. He would later earn an MBA and brought Billy Graham to Cincinnati in 2002 as part of the healing process following the 2001 downtown riots. He is known for taking strong positions on very public issues, sometimes contrary to what many people would expect from an African-American pastor who was shaped by the civil rights movement.
Doug Bolton described Rev. Lynch as a “man of God who has saved the souls of many citizens.” He has also done much for the Freedom Center.
Reverend Lynch reminded us of the problems Cincinnati faced some twenty years ago. A riot broke out around the presence of the Ku Klux Klan who demonstrated on Fountain Square. To add to erupting feelings, Marge Schott, owner of the Cincinnati Reds fueled the fires with “off the chain comments.” She thought, “More is expected of you because you live in Cincinnati.”
The National Council of Christians and Jews undertook many changes in order to make Cincinnati a place that would garner great respect. They decided to form around the history of the Underground Railroad. They wanted to make what it stood for live in today. When slaves sought their freedom by crossing the Ohio River, it was likened to crossing the Jordan River in biblical times.
As the Center was gaining favor, many other cities up and down the Ohio wanted it, but Cincinnati got it.
The idea of the Freedom Center was being “spelled out.” so to speak, and Rev. Lynch told us it took a full year and a half just to agree on the spelling of center: whether it would be the Freedom Center or the Freedom Centre. Today over 25 years later, it is hard to believe there was such squabbling. We agreed that we did not want a slavery museum, but instead we wanted a freedom museum. We wanted it to be a dynamic place, not one that is static to match the predecessors who were people as slaves “on the move” because both dogs and men were constantly in pursuit. Even when they reached the banks of the Ohio River, they still were not free. Others were waiting to catch and return the arrivals.
Along the way, on Channel 9 News, a picture was shown of the Underground Railroad. It gave us a sense of pride.
Now fast-forward to what has been accomplished. For the first ten years, the Center was located at 312 Elm St. where the Enquirer housed us free. Oprah came to the Center to offer $1M. We had the Freedom Award induction ceremony and named Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush, and the Dali Lama into the ranks for inspiring freedom around the world.
The Freedom Center remained down “in the mud” for ten years due to squabbling between Hamilton County and the city of Cincinnati. We were finally able to stand without our neighbors and applied for a federal designation.
Local museums banded together to get Union Terminal out of its transportation origin and into being a living museum.
Most of what we do today involves informing about human trafficking. We went to India to the “red light district” and spent 11 days there. Now our focus is up and down I-75 and I-71 at truck stops. I think we have the wrong idea about the gospel if we think it stands back. Jesus is in the front row of life. Let me see what this is so I can tell people that human trafficking is real. This is where my background as a Marine is serving me well.
I am thankful to meet with you Rotarians today and I am particularly thankful for the Freedom Center and for what it does.
1. What is the annual attendance today at the Freedom Center? Proctor and Gamble helps by bringing in school kids from all over Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana. Attendance is probably close to 1M. We have a new director today.
STEVE BECK, PRESIDENT AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE MILITARY BOWL
President & Executive Director of the Military Bowl, Steve Beck, also joined us for our meeting. Beck is responsible for overseeing all aspects of preparation for the bowl game known as the Military Bowl, including serving as the liaison between the teams and conferences, guiding the team selections and negotiating all contracts. Since Cincinnati’s Bearcats will be playing in the game on December 31, 2018, against Virginia Tech, it will be great to get the inside scoop on the operations of the Military Bowl.
Steve Beck told us the selection committee was locked in on Virginia Tech. There had been some discussion about Boston College meeting Duke in the Bowl, but because they had already met during the season, the match was voted down. The selection call came at 3:15 to 3:45. University of Cincinnati would play Virginia Tech. There were no ACC members present.
On the day of the game, December 31, 2018, there are many activities prior to the match including parachuting into the stadium.
Although football is our focus now, our passion involves supporting the USO that services Walter Reed Hospital. Three years ago, we purchased a large farm in Maryland for caregivers and families to come. We will also let other non-profit organizations use the facilities. We provide participants with suitable activities.
December 13, 2018
Rotary Club of Cincinnati Holiday Program
This week’s meeting was a wonderful way to celebrate the holidays! The program featured a performance by the Hyde Park 6th Grade Elementary Choir (Jill Sunderman, Principal) under the direction of Mark Messerly.
Hyde Park School encourages academic achievement and supports individual social development. Students thrive in the positive environment. STEM Classes are offered as well as Latin, Tutorial & Enrichment, Electives, and Gifted Services. Their lives are enriched as they participate in field trips, watch a Tower Garden grow, or learn an instrument in Band or the Suzuki program.
Mark Messerly directed the choir and told us that music is part of everyone. From archeological digs, we find constant sources of evidence that music was part of people’s lives through the ages. It’s “just who we are!”
As the students learn to work together in our choir, they learn to read music notes and rhythm. They also learn the joy that one feels when music is in their life.
The 6th Graders wowed us with rhythmic songs from Latin America. Finally, even we were drawn into the program with a round of Deck the Halls with boughs of holly Fa La La La.
Everyone left feeling the joy of the season.
Thursday, December 6, 2018
Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park
Cincinnati King Records
At Thursday’s meeting, we learned about the world premiere of Cincinnati King, which the Playhouse has been developing for six years. Blake Robison, the Artistic Director at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, said this about the play in an interview with the Cincinnati Business Courier, “When I first got to Cincinnati, we commissioned my colleague, KJ Sanchez, Associate Artist at the Playhouse, to create a play about the King Records story. It is a play with music, and the music is drawn directly from the King Records catalog. It tells the story of King Records, including behind-the-scene stories, such as the conflicts between Syd Nathan and some of the many musicians who worked there. It deals with local history, music history, and the racial history of Cincinnati and the area.” Cincinnati King shines a spotlight on the Queen City’s music roots including such artists as James Brown.
Blake Robison has 25+ years of theater experience. He has been the Artistic Director at the Playhouse since 2012. Blake worked on Broadway and at theaters across the United States. He has directed internationally in Germany, Austria, and France.
Blake grew up in the small, New England college town of Middlebury, Vermont, where he did plays in his garage and played every sport available to him. He lives with his wife and two children in Mount Lookout.
Don Hoffman introduced Blake Robinson. Don told us that Blake is a passionate fan of an English football team known as Chelsea.
Blake Robinson said, “I look around the room today and see friends, patrons, and sponsors.” Today I want to tell you about the play, “Cincinnati King” and about the construction of a new theater at the Playhouse.
We are very excited about the actors who portray the icons of King Records: Richard Crandall, Broadway actor, and Christian Carol. You may not realize that King Records was the first racially integrated and the sixth largest record company in the world. It put roots music (racial) and country together with the blues as a single song was portrayed in each of the three styles. Some felt strongly when they were cheated out of royalties. Others saw it as being on the creative edge leading to the birth of a new form of music: rock and roll.
The play began as a documentary when a team of journalists, drama students, and the like began talking to relatives and living musicians. One evening in Washington Park, we attempted to show the documentary in the middle of a downpour of rain. Afterward it took on a feverish passion and since then it has become a musical. Today we even have an integrated band on stage during the performance. This is a shared experience for us to learn about Cincinnati history that extended from WWII to Watergate.
We are constructing a new stage for Cincinnati’s National Theater. The Marx Theater was built in 1967 and since then, the only new thing it has to boast about is its new seat cushions. It stands today as the oldest unrenovated theater in the country. The Marx Theater will be replaced entirely. The building just can’t be saved. Yet we can’t vacate the building for a year. We do more than 100 performances per year. There was no other place that we could go to temporarily relocate. We turned to the designers and asked them to figure out how to build the new theater without our leaving the premises. What they decided to do is to continue performing in the Marx Theater while the new one is being built. We will be out of the Marx for the summer only. The new theater will have better sight lines, acoustics, staging, and so on. Currently there are no wings for scenery to come on stage. We bring it on stage through the floor presently. Once the new theater is completed, we will be able to share productions with other theaters. We can try out productions pre-Broadway. Having a start in Cincinnati rather than as per usual now in Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Chicago will put Cincinnati into a new theater plane.
We want the design of the building to be harmonious with the park’s setting. We will use stone, wood, and slate just like what you might find in the park. The exterior front wall looks like it is constructed from tree bark. The present theater has 14 different levels. The new theater will have two. The theater will have a bigger, faster elevator to the Shelter House.
The Shelter House will remain where it is and will get 50 new seats to hold 225 in the theater.
The cost is $40M. We are already over halfway there in raising the funding. By next fall, we will enter the public giving phase. This is not an art project, it is a civic project. Life will be improved for all. Cincinnati will become “an attraction that punches way above its weight.” The Cincinnati Shakespeare Theater cost $17M by way of comparison. We will be able to have over 400 performances per year after all is said and done.
Some have said, “It doesn’t look like you need a new theater.” I take that as a compliment. What they do not see, however, is that backstage we are being held together with duct tape and pipe cleaners.
The new theater will open in the fall of 2021.
1. Cincinnati King is an oral history told among native Cincinnatians.
2. The new theater will have a thrust stage for even more intimacy with the audience and a proscenium stage. The scenery will enter from both sides of the stage. At present, it enters from under the center of the stage.
3. An improved Parking Garage would have cost another $8M so we had to compromise by putting the focus on the theater. Parking will therefore remain as it is now, but we are looking into adding shuttles and vans to help transport people quickly.
4. How would you account for Cincinnati “punching above its weight?” This city puts great value on financial security. Cincinnati pays as it goes. The Playhouse has been “in the black” for the last 26 years. By doing this, it gives the chance to take risks. By thinking bigger over the course of 20+ years, the impact has been a more adventurous art scene and more loyal customers. Today we have over 17,500 season ticket holders. That is the same as the Cincinnati Reds. It is the most subscribers of any theater in the Midwest.
5. Tell us about how the Playhouse works to attract young people. We reach about 180,000 in all our performances. Of these, we have 60,000 students. We go to schools, rec. centers, township buildings, and even assisted-living centers who invite their children and grandchildren to enjoy a performance together. We provide a lot of exposure at an early age.
In addition, the city spends a lot to attract young professionals (YPs). The sweet spot in attendees is forty year olds. Many started as kids themselves. Over their lifetime as they are increasing their disposable income, they want to get back to the theater.
We are committed to a multi-generational focus where the Playhouse can serve as a bridge between youth and their grandparents.
Finally, you may be surprised that the median age of Playhouse attendees over the past seven years has dropped. You are not getting any younger!
6. What is meant by Cincinnati Playhouse as a “national” theater?
The Playhouse has won two Tony Awards due to Ed Stern. It’s the theater other theaters look to try out new plays. “Native Gardens” was originally produced in Cincinnati at the Playhouse. We have become a national leader in this genre.
Thursday, November 29, 2018
FIREFIGHTER RECOGNITION DAY
Join us this Thursday as we honor four members of the Cincinnati Fire Department for their individual accomplishments and their service to our community.
Administrative Award – Captain John Raterman
Bravery/Valor Award – Firefighter Camela Turrin
Community Service Award – Firefighter Alexis Rodgers
Self Improvement Award – Captain Matthew Flagler
Assistant Fire Chief Anson Turley introduced the day’s honorees and brought us up-to-date on the latest happenings in the Cincinnati Fire Department.
Barry Evans introduced the program. He asked, “What does it take to be a fire fighter? It takes ongoing, intense physical training, “special situation” training, and emergency health care training. We saw a video demonstrating the variety of special situations fire fighters have to navigate at a moment’s notice. Some of these situations involve carrying a person down a ladder, pulling someone out of a flaming room to safety, lugging heavy hoses, and donning a facemask to breathe as they charge into a fiery doorway. After the video, Barry told us that fire fighters spend 85% of their time providing emergency health care at victims’ homes.
Barry introduced Assistant Chief Anson Turley as having a 31-year career entirely in firefighting. He was born and reared in Cincinnati. He is a graduate of Walnut Hills High School and in the summer of 2019, he will graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Northern Kentucky University.
Assistant Fire Chief Turley
As some of you may have noticed, I am not Chief Winston. I guess it is kind of like finally getting that ticket to the upcoming Broadway play, Hamilton, and realizing that you will not get to see the original cast. Chief Winston wanted to be here today, but unfortunately, family obligations prevented that. On his behalf, I would like to thank the Cincinnati Rotary Club for hosting this annual event. Not only is this an event that is a highlight for the department staff, but it also reaffirms the special relationship that the Fire Department and the Rotary Club have enjoyed for many years. This relationship will continue long into the future.
We are gathered here to recognize the accomplishments of certain members of the Fire Department. Firefighters every day do things that are worthy of recognition, but today we have chosen to highlight a few exemplary individuals who have risen above and beyond the usual call of duty. These remarkable individuals truly live up to the Rotarian value of “Service Above Self.”
One of the awards highlights the importance of community. I found a quote on your Rotary website that exemplifies this value for both of our organizations. “Rotary members see a world where people unite to create lasting change.” Examples of this Rotary commitment are: Condon School formed in 1925 to help disabled children. In addition, Rotary was inspired to immunize 2.5B children against polio. It is clear Rotarians understand the importance of community.
The Fire Department was organized under an old “service” model where we acted as “insurance.” We come to your aid on the worst day of your life. The Fire Department’s mission has not changed, but the world has. Attacks on firefighters while helping the public in Las Vegas and now in Cincinnati make us turn to the military for help with proper protection. Today Fire Departments across the country are budgeting for the use of new equipment like the Mose ballistic helmet and vest. No one is immune. These are challenges that no single organization can face alone.
The Cincinnati Fire Department Strategic Plan stresses the importance of community outreach. The following are a few of our new programs: Hamilton County Opioid Task Force, Stop the Bleed, Fire Academy in the Schools, and Smart 911 Cincinnati (check out on google) to name a few.
The awards are as follows.
The Fire Department names Firefighter Alexis Rodgers for the Community Service Award. Rodgers joined the Cincinnati Fire Department in 2014. In that short time, she has been engaged in departmental activities and has contributed greatly. This past year, she led the Fire Cadet Program with distinction. Firefighter Rodgers acted as an instructor and role model for the youth who participated in the program. She taught them what it takes to be a firefighter and has helped them become more involved in the community through service projects.
Rodgers is an active member of the Cincinnati African-American Firefighters Association and participates in community service projects through the organization. Recently, she joined the Mayor’s Gender Equity Task Force to address the work environment for women in the city. She has demonstrated great love of the fire service and for the youth of Cincinnati. For this, she is receiving the Community Service Award.
For the Administrative Award, Fire Captain John Raterman is a 29-year veteran of the Cincinnati Fire Department. In his current role, he is one of three Safety Officers for the department where he puts his knowledge and experience to use daily. In the past year, he developed systems for tracking administrative issues and has improved the safety and health of firefighters on the fire ground.
Captain Raterman has written the job duties and procedures for all fire captains and has personally trained each individual captain on those roles and responsibilities. He has developed systems to efficiently track sick leave and the verification of overtime. Most importantly, Captain Raterman has implemented additional accountability measures within the Safety Officer position that insures the Incident Commander and Accountability Officer knows exactly which fire companies are operating at the fire scene and tracks where each firefighter is serving in a fire.
Cancer within the fire service has become a major concern as recent studies have shown that firefighters have an increased risk of cancer because of occupational exposure. Captain Raterman has championed the department’s preventive efforts by writing the department is Fire Ground Decontamination Policy and has implemented a hood exchange and cleaning program to keep as many carcinogenic materials away from our firefighters as possible.
For his many contributions to the improvement of the Cincinnati Fire Department and for protecting the health and wellness of Cincinnati Firefighters, Captain John Raterman is receiving the Administrative Award.
Captain Matthew Flagler is an 18-year veteran of the Cincinnati Fire Department. He has spent that time continually seeking to better himself as a firefighter and as an individual. He stays current with industry best practices and has built a network across the country among the firefighting community. Captain Flagler earned a bachelor’s degree in Fire Science from the University of Cincinnati. He took his fire service education a step further by pursuing and obtaining certification through the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program. Captain Flagler not only continually strives to stay abreast of industry best practices for himself, but he is also an instructor and regularly teaches courses to share his knowledge with other firefighters.
Flagler has recently enrolled at the Cincinnati Christian University to obtain a Master of Divinity degree. He has responded generously when asked to put his passion for the department and his current educational journey to work to provide the benediction and invocation at numerous CFD (Cincinnati Fire Department) events. His deep understanding of the fire service and the time he has devoted to his spiritual development are evident in the sentiments he has shared at these events.
Captain Flagler’s passion for the fire service and his dedication to increasing knowledge in the field as well as his own personal development and care for others are the best. For that, he is receiving the Self Improvement Award.
Firefighter Camela Turrin responded to a fire at 633 Forest Ave. in early August, 2018. Upon arrival, the company received reports that residents were trapped inside an apartment above the fire. Due to the apartment’s proximity to a smoke-filled hallway and a poorly sealing door, the residents were in heavy smoke conditions. They were coughing, crying, and pleading for help. They were trying to stick their heads out a window to breathe, but that was becoming almost impossible due to the swirling smoke.
Responding firefighters believed the residents were close to making a choice between jumping out of the window and being rendered unconscious by the smoke. As soon as a ladder was placed, Firefighter Turrin quickly ascended to reach the residents. She spoke calmly to the panicking residents, reassuring them and informing them of the rescue plan. One of Firefighter Turrin’s fellow company members remarked later that he had never seen a firefighter work so quickly and efficiently to gain a victim’s trust and compliance as they struggled to breathe.
Firefighter Turrin’s ability to connect with people along with her calmness and clear thinking, make her a true asset to the department and a role model for young firefighters. Her dedication and clear thinking in the face of a fire emergency led to the best possible outcome for the victims that day. For this, Firefighter Camela Turrin is receiving the Valor Award.
We cannot solve all these problems alone. We need you to partner with us to meet this vision. If we work together to make change, there will be good for all of us. Thank you for inviting us today.
1. Any chance of “ride-alongs” in the future? Yes, just call us to make an appointment. We will be happy to have you!
(NOTE: After the meeting, I learned that firefighters so often face emergency medical runs that they have little time to cook. As a result, they are eating cold sandwiches on the run. If you should decide to go, consider taking 3 two-topping pizzas from LaRosas with you to share…… (Bob McElroy says they cost approximately $22.) It seems this would be GREATLY appreciated. You might ask about this when you call to make your reservation, just to be sure.)
2. How has firefighting changed over time? Today 85% of our runs are emergency medical. In addition, there are times when we face shooters who threaten our effort to help the public. We are being forced to make ballistic helmets and vests standard equipment. Finally, the additional health hazards firefighters’ face are causing medical costs to escalate for our members.
3. What can we do to help the people with addictions and/or who overdose? The opioid crisis touches us all. It has increased our workload. We carry Narcan (an antidote) to reverse the response.
We have formed the Hamilton County Task Force to bring doctors, police, firefighters, sheriffs and the like together to solve this crisis. We all agree that we must deal with the issues prior to overdoses happening. We need more transport units and they need to be used more often. We need more education on this issue in schools. We need to tap into all our perspectives to get ahead of this crisis.
4. Have you seen much change in our urban architecture? I am not an expert. Luckily, in our region we do not have to deal with wildfires. That is a completely different kind of firefight.
In our area, there are improvements like widespread installation of sprinkler systems.
5. Tell us about the recruitment of new firefighters. Today more than 3,000 apply, but once upon a time, it was more than 6,000. Hamilton County is hurting presently. This happens when we have a good economy. We hire 40 people per class. We have an established eligibility list. There are two to three classes. We restart the process after a freeze in hiring and/or after many retire.
November 15, 2018
VETERANS DAY PROGRAM
DR. JAY JOHANNIGMAN
Colonel, U.S. Army Reserve and
Director, U.C. Institute Of Military Medicine
Dr. Jay Johannigman, a Colonel in the United States Army Reserve and Director of the UC Institute for Military Medicine, joined us to share the exciting news about the recently announced partnership between the U.S. Armed Forces and the University of Cincinnati Health System which will provide specialized medical training to Active, Reserve and Guard personnel from all branches of the service. Jay shaed the details of the program called S.M.A.R.T. (Strategic Medical Asset Readiness Training). Major General Michael O’Guinn, the former Deputy Surgeon General for Mobilization and Readiness, said this about the program, “This will insure the readiness of our soldiers and our nation to help save and sustain lives on the battlefield.”
Johannigman has been a member of the University of Cincinnati Trauma, Acute Care Surgery, and Surgical Critical Care service since 1995. In addition to his work as a UC Health trauma surgeon, Johannigman is also a professor of surgery at UC College of Medicine.
Jay is an Honorary Rotarian, native Cincinnatian, and a graduate of St. Xavier High School. He did his undergraduate studies at Kenyon College and graduated from Medical School from Case Western Reserve University.
As part of our Veterans Day Celebration, we honored 41 Club 17 Veterans. We will also hear about what is happening at the USO, and will enjoy a spirited, military-themed performance by our chorus.
Tribute to the USO
The USO was organized under President FDR during World War II to garner support for our troops. It was organized as a 501-3C so it gets no tax revenue or government funding as it serves our nation’s guard and their families. No matter where troops may be serving, the USO will be there for them. The USO’s mission is to provide a connection back to soldiers’ homes and to the country.
Cincinnati is a charter center going back to 1966 and serves 65 counties. There are USO lounges in all the local airports; e.g., Greater Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, and even at Wright-Patterson AFB. At Wright-Pat we have a Thrift Store for E-6 (enlisted service people) and for ranks below to help with basic living expenses. We support our local troops and try not to turn down a request for help. We get many donations that help. One such opportunity presented itself and we made a regular tradition out of it. We get many unused wedding dresses. We decided to make “the day” special for each service woman. She is given a never-worn wedding dress to wear. In addition, we can help when their babies are born. As the children grow up, we provide a week at camp on Kelly’s Island to give military kids the chance to learn from one another and to make lasting friendships.
Sherry Ems can be reached: firstname.lastname@example.org
For the past 15 years, we have held an annual tribute to the local USO at the Montgomery Inn Boathouse. It will be September 1, 2019 and you, Rotarians, are invited. It began as a “give back” to returning veterans who are severely wounded. We raise money to help with Walter Reed Hospital expenses since a veteran’s average stay is 30 months. In addition, we have built a “state-of-the-art” USO Center at Walter Reed. It has all the technology (Wi-Fi, television, etc.) and entertainment (entertainers, crafts, etc.) features to give vets a place to heal. Physicians drop by to “keep an eye on” their patients.
Dwayne Hickerson can be reached: Duane.Hickerson@halo.com
I have gotten to travel all over the world with the US Army including landing on aircraft carriers. I have even gotten to go to Guantanamo Bay. I am an advisor on the battlefield. On Thanksgiving Day in 2008, I addressed the troops telling them (quickly because of sharp-shooting enemy looking down from the mountains on our troops in formation) about our support and appreciation for what they are doing.
The US wants battle readiness such that we want our troops to have an unfair advantage over the enemy. We are in the process of building a new force. We presently have 350,000 troops, but we want to get up to half a million. Anytime you see recruiters, help them find the best recruits. We give the best scholarships!
There is a new combat-ready physical fitness test. It will be introduced to the nation in Cincinnati first from January 21 – 25, 2019, at UC. We will be training the physical fitness trainers. UC Medical School has been a big support of this program. Please note, there are 20 spots open for the public to come have a try.
Dr. Jay Johannigman
Dr. Jay showed a military picture of his mentor who served with his father in Korea, Gus Juengling, a Rotarian. He said, “Both are gone now, but their memory lingers with me.”
After 37 years with the USAF, because he could not deploy directly to the battlefield, Dr. Jay Johannigman petitioned to “defect” to the US Army. His request was passed by General Matis in a day, signed by President Trump, and was passed by Congress. He became Col. /Dr. Johannigman in the US Army in the Medical Corps.
He found himself working at FOB Fenty near the Kyber Pass in Afghanistan. He served with seven enlisted tech/nursing graduate trainees. They did triage out front of their makeshift operating room and then moved patients inside. Our job was to triage each one and then move them by night to the military base hospital in Bagram.
Since 1916, during WWI and the Korean War medical teams gave “whole blood” transfusions to wounded soldiers from the lines of battle. It was considered “the best” for the soldier. Even as late as 1952, if you had a civilian accident here in the states, you would have been given a “whole blood” transfusion. Soon after, scientists began separating the blood to keep it from deteriorating (within 3 weeks).
In Afghanistan, the way we get blood is from my medical team and the base troops who act as the “whole blood’ blood bank. If we are short a specific blood type, troops may be awakened in the night to give a pint. It works well in Afghanistan, but until last year, it was not possible to get “whole blood” in Cincinnati. I could not imagine that we did not do it here in Cincinnati. Finally, it is happening here in Cincinnati too. From start to “miracle”, it took 40 minutes in Afghanistan. Today Cincinnati is the sixth of eight centers that use “whole blood” in conjunction with Hoxworth Blood Center.
Cincinnati is at the epicenter of military medicine. I defy any of my east coast or west coast friends to “fly over” and say there is nothing down there! I dare them to keep up. For example, Trauma Centers have been operating in Cincinnati since 2001. We train CCAT teams in Cincinnati, and then send them on to Bagram. Young nurses train to become “Patriot” nurses here. Since 2010, a little-known force out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky called the Invisible Night Stalkers, are trained here.
Congressman and Rotarian Brad Wenstrup started SMART (Strategic Medical Asset Readiness Training) here. All local military hospital personnel come here for two-week training. Cincinnati is headquarters.
Coming up in February 2019, the Army will expand again. Training will be needed and they will come to Cincinnati.
Dr. Jay showed a picture of two wounded army soldiers. He said, “These guys are the nation’s greatest resource. These two men: wounded warriors are the real heroes here. Never feel sorry for them. They are living large. One is a quadriplegic, Travis Mills, who runs the Travis Mills Foundation.”
November 8, 2018
Ohio Supreme Court Justice
Sharon L. Kennedy
On November 4, 2014, Justice Sharon L. Kennedy was re-elected to a full term on the Supreme Court of Ohio in a decisive victory winning all 88 counties and garnering 73 percent of the vote. Justice Kennedy first joined the court in 2012, having been elected to fill an unexpired term.
Prior to her term on the Ohio Supreme Court, Justice Kennedy served at the Butler County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division beginning in 1999. From 2005 until December of 2012, Justice Kennedy served as the administrative judge of that division. During her time as administrative judge, she improved the case management system to ensure the timely resolution of cases for families and children. Working with state legislators, she championed a “common sense” family law initiative to reduce multiple-forum litigation for Butler County families.
When Butler County faced tough economic times, Justice Kennedy organized concerned elected officials in a countywide Budget Work Group. Seeing the need to bring private sector financial expertise to the government, she worked to create the Advisory Committee to the Budget Work Group. Justice Kennedy served as the facilitator and led discussions between county officials and private sector leaders to analyze county finances, to study and implement cost saving measures, and to present business driven fiscal policy to the county commissioners.
In 1991, after obtaining her law degree from the University Of Cincinnati College Of Law, Justice Kennedy ran a small business of her own as a solo practitioner. While in private practice, she served the legal needs of families, juveniles, and the less fortunate. As special counsel for Attorney General Betty D. Montgomery, Justice Kennedy fought on behalf of Ohio’s taxpayers to collect monies due the State of Ohio. As a part-time magistrate in the Butler County Area Courts, Justice Kennedy presided over a wide array of civil litigation and assisted law enforcement officers and private citizens seeking the issuance of criminal warrants for arrest.
Justice Kennedy began her career in the justice system as a police officer at the Hamilton Police Department. She was assigned to a rotating shift, single-officer road patrol unit working to protect and serve the citizens of the City of Hamilton. From the routine, to the heart pounding, to the heart breaking, she has seen it all. During her time as an officer, Justice Kennedy also worked in undercover operations, implemented crime prevention programs, and later, as a civil assistant, assisted in drafting police policy and procedures for the Accreditation Program.
Throughout her career, Justice Kennedy has served on numerous boards, developed and facilitated programs to address the needs of young people, and worked with judges across the state. As a dedicated jurist she has received multiple awards of recognition including: The National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution Silver Good Citizenship Medal, May 5, 2018; The Ohio Community Leadership Award, 2016; The University of Cincinnati College of Law Nicholas Longworth, III Alumni Achievement Award, May 17, 2014; Northwest High School Distinguished Alumnus Award, April 25, 2014; named “One of 13 Professional Women to Watch” by The Cincinnati Enquirer, March 17, 2013; For Excellence in Public Service, June 2009; as Judge of the Year, 2006; Above the Fold Award, 2002; and the Furtherance of Justice Award, 2001. Justice Kennedy was also featured in Trends in the Judiciary: Interviews with Judges Across the Globe, Volume II, published by CRC Press in February, 2015.
Ali Hubbard introduced Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon Kennedy to our club. She said Sharon’s law career began in 1991 when she obtained her law degree from the University of Cincinnati. After a storied career in law enforcement, she became the 154th Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court.
A Look At the First Amendment, At the Founding Documents, and At What They Mean
I will have to be brief because there is so much material to know about this that in Law School there are classes on these subjects and there is one entire class devoted to the First Amendment alone.
The First Amendment has just 45 words. These are some of the most powerful words ever written. Sadly, two-thirds of Americans have been found unable to list even a single protection covered by the First Amendment, yet they can list all five names of the Simpsons from television.
The First Amendment lists the freedoms of speech, press, peaceable assembly, religion, and the right to petition the government against grievances. It is the first of its kind: a constitutional supremacy.
Consider only the freedom of speech because of our short time together. Can you yell, “Fire” in a crowded theater?
Why do most Americans believe the First Amendment is the most important amendment? Probably because it is first.
Historically there were more than 210 Amendments proposed, but they were eventually reduced to 12. George Washington sent out the 12 for approval and only 10 came back approved by the citizens of the new nation. What were the two that failed? Originally, the early framers thought we should have one representative for every 40,000 persons. They, of course, would have no way of knowing that one day the size of the US would become over 300M. If so, today we would have over 6,000 representatives.
The second that failed was when they were deciding whether Congress could vote themselves a raise. Originally, it failed. After many attempts, this became the 27th Amendment in 1992. It was not the first amendment, but it did not matter. Because I ask, “Does rank order determine an amendment’s importance?” Not at all.
Some still believe that the Freedom of Speech overrides all. What is speech? Is it all covered? Speech is spoken. It is written. Someone’s conduct can be speech. For example, what if someone burns the American Flag? In addition, symbols can be speech: think of tattoos, artwork, billboards, and Twitter. It even matters where it is spoken. If I grandstand or am in the public square, I am exercising my right to speak. In contrast, if I am standing in my front lawn, I am not. What about in the workplace? Can I really stop a person’s First Amendment right to speak? The first words of the First Amendment state, “Congress shall not …” which means No, unless that person is a representative of government that is if they are a “government actor.” Individuals have the right to speak, but what about corporations? Yes, they, too, have the right. This was decided by the Supreme Court who answered that a corporation was the equivalent of an individual with free speech, especially since corporations are taxed at the individual rate (LLCs).
What about an animal: does it have the freedom of speech that humans have? This was decided based on a case in 1983 in Dalton, GA involving “Blackie the talking cat.” The cat’s owners were showing him and making money off his abilities. The town of Augusta, GA attempted to shut him down. The judge decided that “Blackie was just a cat.” with no right of speech.
What about music? Crafts?
Is the Business Courier protected? Yes.
If you take a leaflet, or read a blog or tweet, are you covered? A source has no protection under the First Amendment.
Who is the press?
Does the First Amendment protect in a boycott across America? Take for example an album by Madonna. On several late night couches during television interviews, she claimed that fans were boycotting her First Amendment right. A judge later determined that fans were simply saying, “We don’t like your product.”
What if we were to boycott coffee shops like Starbucks in support of a specific cause? Does my $2.10 cup of coffee impinge on their freedom of speech? No way.
Therefore, the important question is “What does the First Amendment protect? Ask yourself these questions: Who, When and Where? Those are the First Amendment’s protections.
It is only when we fail to educate ourselves that we will lose these freedoms and eventually our country itself. We must engage to improve. You can change course by educating into the future.
1. What are the rights of speakers who are invited to speak at college campuses? It depends upon whether the campus is public or private. Can a campus invite and then disinvite a speaker? Yes. Even if I hate your speech, even if you feel violated, but you live in America where freedom of speech is allowed. More speech is indispensable to a free society. It allows us to redefine ourselves. Self-development occurs with more conversation, not less. Is becoming isolationist better?
2. What is the trend of the Second Amendment? It protects every person’s right to own a firearm. The government has the right to limit conversations everywhere. Because of the Fifth-third Shooter, should I not have the right to own a gun?
3. Do private entities like Facebook and Twitter have the right to provide a platform for even hateful speech?
Think of the Declaration of Independence and the clause, “the pursuit of happiness.” The Bill of Rights keeps the government from trampling our rights.
A fundraiser for veterans on Facebook was banned calling it hate speech. When things like this occur, over time competitors will pop up and provide additional forums. Alternatively, eventually there will be divisions for Facebook. Whatever the platform, it should not limit my speech.
Truth. We do not know what truth is. We hear about millennials who are becoming outraged when they only read the headlines and then rant on Facebook about it, not realizing there was more to the story.
Remember my opening question, “Can you yell, “Fire” in a crowded theater?
Yes, if there is actually a fire.
Or, if you’re an actor and you are reciting a line.
Or, if you yell, “Fire!” and you think there is a fire, but you are mistaken.
Otherwise, “No, you may not.”
November 1, 2018
DR. AL TUCHFARBER
Political, Economic, and Social Change
Building Blocks for a New Era
Dr. Al Tuchfarber, Professor Emeritus of Political Science – University of Cincinnati, Owner – Tuchfarber Political-Economics, LLC, and Blogger – TuchfarberReport.com was our speaker on November 1, 2018.
The world is clearly in transition to a new era. The post-WWII era has ended, but we do not yet have anything other than a fuzzy picture of where we are now and where we are going. Dr. Tuchfarber will not attempt to completely define the new era, but will discuss, in practical terms, some of the major building blocks that will help shape the new era.
1. The meaning and consequences of the “America First” foreign policy
2. The coming economic stagnation and decline of China
3. Worldwide populism and nationalism
4. The dramatic effects of demographic changes
5. The rapidly changing American political party coalitions
He will also give Rotary a sneak peek at how the Nov. 6 elections might turn out.
Al Tuchfarber is an academic and entrepreneur who has had a successful career as a teacher, researcher, senior administrator, campaign manager, political analyst, organizational strategist, and writer. He holds a PhD in political science and has well over 100 publications.
• Al’s intellectual and practical interests are very wide-ranging. He has spent his career both in the arena of ideas but also in the “real-world” where the rubber hits the road…where things must work. Areas of special interest to him are American politics and political-economics, global politics and global political-economics, political polling, campaign and organizational strategies, demographics, and societal change. Tuchfarber founded the Ohio Poll and directed it for a quarter century. The Poll established a remarkable record for accuracy in predicting elections and has been rated one of the nation’s best. Al brings that experience and skill-set to his weekly blog — the Tuchfarber Report, as well as to his consulting, speaking, and writing.
In 2014 and 2016 Tuchfarber predicted the American election results with great accuracy, unlike a large majority of the pundits. He did so because he has a deep understanding of the voters’ priorities and thinking, as well as of the rapidly changing coalitions that make up the American political parties. His predictions are 80 to 95% accurate because they are based on facts, data, history, and common sense…NOT on ideology, partisanship, or hopes.
As a political-economic analyst and author of the Tuchfarber Report, Al brings you insights and forecasts that you will not find elsewhere.
Where is the world headed, near and far term?
American Foreign Policy: America First!
This terminology has meaning for the President. It does not involve well-being or the US’s place in the world. It does mean, “He will do what’s best for America’s middle class, from the lowest to the highest. He means the average citizen. This excludes the elites who have dominated US politics for a long time. It also excludes what is good for US corporations.
President Trump has started 12 trade wars: China, Europe, Japan, Canada, Mexico, etc. He has done this with a massive purpose in mind. Each time he makes a new deal; e.g., South Korea, Canada, and Mexico, etc. you may have noted they are not “all that different from what they were.” The rhetoric, however, is “Everything will change!” Because we have been bested in the past, we need the deals to be changed. Eleven of those trade deals will be over in the next six to twelve months. Only China’s tariffs will remain. We have a full-blown, across-the-board economic war with China that does not involve an aggressive military like we had with the Soviet Union.
Another point, President Trump is committed to “not getting the US into a ground war with any countries other than two regions: we would come in and fight in northern Europe because NATO exists to fight Russia. Additionally, we would fight in S. Korea. We will not fight in Iran or Iraq. If there is a war, we will fight it using air and naval power, logistics, and technology.
In the late 1970’s China adopted a top down approach to capitalism where the government’s regulations govern from the top. This is in sharp contrast to the US, where we encourage entrepreneurship and the individual regulating/empowering instead from the bottom up. China is very predatory cheating on trade, requiring technology transfer from every company operating inside China, and regularly slants trading equality with currency manipulation. If the Yuan’s value is down relative to the US dollar or the European Union for example, then trade increases because Chinese exports are cheaper.
Comparing China with Japan, the Japanese economy grew rapidly from the 1950’s to the 1990’s. Yet from the 1990’s to the present, Japan’s GDP has only grown at approximately one-half of 1%. China has adopted the same model as the Japanese. In fact, all the Asian Tigers have followed them. Presently each country’s economy is in decline. China, on the other hand, has been buying its GDP growth by increasing debt on all fronts: government, corporations, and individual households. Chinese debt was 150% of GDP, whereas today it is 300%. This amounts to $3.5T annually being added to the debt. Their economic miracle is on the verge of collapse. I have been predicting this since 2012. President Trump’s policy is trying to force this.
Economic Populism and Nationalism
The “isms” are sweeping the world presently. First, what is populism and nationalism? Populism is the revolt of the little guy vs. the elite. Nationalism is putting the nation, its culture, and its sovereignty above globalism (top-down elitism). Globalization refers to economic activity integrating all countries through trade. Notice all recently elected figures; e.g., Bolsinaro in Brazil is right wing. Same with Enrique Peña Nieto in Mexico. In France, the people elected Emmanuel Macron, a left wing, centrist populist. In Italy, Napolitano and Berlusconi are right-wing centrists. Angela Merkel, Germany’s Chancellor, is forced to step down. Finally, BREXIT is another step in this direction.
Demographics show a population slow-down across the world EXCEPT in sub-Saharan Africa. China’s workforce is poised to decline, reaching its peak in the next few years. India is peaking. In contrast, the US population will grow to the end of the century as will its workforce. These trends result from “native women” having more babies and the continued increase in the number of immigrants.
Upscale white women and blue-collar men are experiencing great change in their voting habits according to the WSJ yesterday (Wednesday, Oct. 31) on the front page. The core of the white working class has abandoned the Democratic Party.
There are three significant changes.
First, upscale, white, suburban women were 60% Republican 40% Democrat.
They are now 30% Republican 70% Democrat.
Second, upscale white males have remained Republican.
Third, a major growth surge has occurred among the Hispanic voting population.
Remember when Bush and Gore were tied? We couldn’t imagine that could occur. Yet, it occurred again in 2016. These three groups are changing the parties. 99% of the professional pundits got it wrong in predicting the Presidency, the House, and the Senate.
What will happen on Tuesday? I predict the 500 lb. gorilla’s base will…… First, the economy has given a gift with its recent unemployment rate at 3.7%. There is no “unpopular war” and no accompanying pictures on television of body bags. Polls indicate, “If less than 30% of the voters are satisfied with the party in power, the party in power will do poorly. Today the number who is satisfied is 38%. So….. rather than seeing a Blue Wave, I predict Democrats will gain 5 – 20 seats in House, but will still be short of control. In the Senate, Republicans will gain 3 – 8 seats.
1. How will President Trump speed up the trade war in China? First, the trade war will go on. The Chinese know they have a debt bubble. It will eventually burst. When it does, it will bring down the country. They do not know what to do about it right now, because they realize that it is too late.
2. What happens if the Chinese sell off their investment in our treasury securities (US debt)? Their debt is intra-debt. When it collapses, they have to cram down on their own people to pay it off. $1.4T of China’s investment is in US treasuries or approximately some 40 – 50% of their investments. Their investment is approximately 6% of our treasuries. Therefore, if they were to sell out of their investment in US treasuries, they will be hurt significantly.
3. What about the 2020 election? I predict there will be at least three dozen contenders for the Democratic nomination. They will be celebrities, corporate leaders, and a few well-known politicians like VP Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren. Despite such a slate, there is an 85% likelihood that Trump will be re-elected.
I do not know who will win the Ohio Governor’s race this year.
To be beaten an incumbent needs two of the following:
Jimmy Carter was bland. He was beaten by the recession. He made a significant blunder in Iran. Finally, he ran against a charismatic Reagan. Look at Bush vs. Clinton. Clinton was charismatic. He was perhaps the best political player I have ever seen.
Another gift to the Republicans is the 5,000-person immigrant caravan coming to the border. Television shows the caravan to be comprised of 70% young males. The visuals corroborate Trump’s threats.
4. When do you expect a recession? Recessions are caused by an imbalance in the economy usually brought on by debt, war, or some other external events. We will likely see another year of increased productivity, probably in the range of 2.5 – 3%, not the 4.2% or 3.5% of the previous quarters. Two variables directly lead to increases in growth in our GDP. The first is a growing workforce. The US workforce has grown at one half of one per cent per year. The other variable is productivity, which is based upon improving technology, capital availability, and investment. Growth in each results in increasing productivity, which I predict, will remain positive in the next few years.
5. Where is the US debt level? It was 250% of GDP and today it remains at 250% of GDP. Where government spending is increasing, corporate debt is decreasing, as is the debt of individual households.
6. What will President Trump do with the tariffs if China retaliates with soybeans? The Chinese not buying US soybeans hurt some soybean producers. They are buying instead from Argentina and Brazil. Yet Argentina and Brazil cannot produce all that the Chinese market requires so they will supplement their soybean output with US soybeans. Soybeans are a commodity that is fungible just like oil. It does not matter from where it comes. It is all the same. This is a top-down macro-strategy to guarantee that the US is #1 in the world soybean market for the next 50 years.
7. What are the ramifications of the Chinese collapse? Let me show you with Japan. Japan collapsed in 1990. In 1982, their real estate market collapsed and in December of 1989, their stock market tanked which brought down consumer confidence in the economy. At the time, Japan was the #2 economy in the world. Eventually the Soviet Union came apart, which offset each other. When China goes, world GDP will decline to 2.5%. Only 6% of US exports goes to China while they export 4% to the US.
The countries who will be hurt by China’s collapse will be Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. Not only their currencies, but also their commodity markets will turn upside down.
8. Who else will the Chinese collapse impact on an even greater scale? A 1% decline in world GDP amounts to approximately $1T. Australia will be a debacle. Japanese electronics is mostly assembled in China. It will be hurt.
We are less dependent on China than they are. We will experience secondary and tertiary reactions.
9. If you have invested in China, as of November 1, get ready for a change. The Chinese government has the right to all information of any corporations doing business in China.
China has become even more militaristic and totally totalitarian than ever before.
9. Who is calling the shots in the Trump Administration? Mark Leonard, the Director of the European Council of World Affairs. As reported in the Financial Times, two or three months ago he went to Bejing to talk with senior Chinese politicians and intellectual elites. He learned that they are scared of President Trump who is a master tactician and strategist. Trump prepared himself by studying Sun Tzu who was a Chinese general, military strategist, writer, and philosopher who lived in the Eastern Zhou period of ancient China. The Chinese recognize him to be the very best Chinese master strategist of all time (past 2,000 years).
10. Twenty years ago you predicted Northern Kentucky’s growth, the importance of the airport, and the merging of Dayton and Cincinnati’s economies. What do you see in these areas now?
In a few years, the Census Bureau will combine Cincinnati and Dayton into one SMSA (Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area).
When Delta pulled out of the CVG airport, look what happened. DHL moved in and now so has Amazon. Both will reenergize Northern Kentucky, which will spill into Cincinnati and southeastern Indiana. Then add to the mix UC acting as a driver of technology by partnering with more and more corporations, these are the keys to the future in our region.
October 25, 2018
NEVILLE G. PINTO, PHD.
University of Cincinnati
Neville Pinto serves as the 30th President of the University of Cincinnati. He took office on Feb. 20, 2017.
As UC’s president, he has led the development of the university’s strategic direction, NEXT LIVES HERE, a new paradigm for university planning that the university launched in February 2018. NEXT LIVES HERE is a 10-year vision that allows the university to be nimble and responsive to the world’s changing landscape. It focuses on becoming a leader in innovation and impact with three main platforms of academic excellence, the innovation agenda and urban impact. As a part of these efforts, Pinto established a position for the university’s first Chief Innovation Officer while the university is poised to launch its 1819 Innovation Hub and to open its first Staff Success Center.
Dr. Pinto is the first UC president to rise from the ranks of UC’s faculty since Herman Schneider, the founder of cooperative education (1928-1932). Pinto has spent his entire career as a university teacher, researcher, and administrator. Just prior to returning to UC to serve as president, Dr. Pinto served as acting president and Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Louisville. Before serving at the University of Louisville, he served for 26 years on the faculty in Chemical Engineering at the University of Cincinnati, where he established the Adsorption and Ion Exchange Laboratory, which focuses on research in biochemical and environmental engineering. His research includes purification of genetically engineered drugs, the study of bio-membranes, and air and water purification. His laboratory attracted over $6 million in external research funding and trained 32 graduate students including 16 PhD students, many of whom have moved on to become leaders in industry and in academia. He was admitted to the US Society of Inventors for his patents and other contributions.
Pinto was born in Mumbai, India. He was educated at the Indian Institute of Technology, in New Delhi, where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering. He earned an MS and a PhD in Chemical Engineering at Penn State University.
NEXT LIVES HERE
The University of Cincinnati is celebrating its bi-centennial this year. I want to stimulate thinking about higher education and its role in our students’ future. I take this responsibility very seriously. We’ve inherited a “great” university. Two hundred years ago UC and UVA were founded. The University of Virginia was positioned just outside the “hub of Washington, DC;” while UC sprung up in a small, frontier town.
I came to UC in 1985 as an Assistant Professor. It was different then: enrollment was 24,000. UC attracted federal money to the tune of $34M in research. There were 5,000 graduates. Today the university enrolls 46,000 students. Its research expenditure amounts to $190M. UC has been recognized nationally by the Carnegie Foundation. UC is one of 115 such research universities in the nation. In Ohio, only Case Western Reserve University, Ohio State University, and University of Cincinnati have obtained this level of federal support for research. “Truth comes from a good education.” UC has gone from graduating 5,000 in 1985 to 11,000 today. The average ACT score is 26. This ranks UC as being among the top 17% in the nation. We have become a destination. The faculty are scholars themselves in preparation for teaching these students. UC is first a public institution, but it is also a Tier 1 Ranking research institution.
What forces are facing UC and other higher educational institutions? What about over the next 30 years to approximately 2050? Are we asking the right questions? Yet, we might not be measuring the relevant metrics. Ohio once led the nation in manufacturing. Ohio’s families lived well with a good work ethic. At its peak in 1969, 1.4M Ohioans were employed in manufacturing. Today that number is 600,000. A lot of it went overseas. Other states attracted Ohio’s manufacturers to their business – friendly climate. But by far “the biggest contributor to this decline was technology.” Today one person can do what four once did. We have the same output as China. We are very efficient. The question is, “What is the mix that will employ our citizens fruitfully with jobs for all?”
Technology is shaping our society and will continue to do so even more into the future. The most common job today is truck driver. Automated vehicles are soon to replace human drivers. What is already a reality, like delivery of groceries or refrigeration from manufacturer to warehouse, will be a threat, but also an opportunity for those who will seize it. We must be prepared by leading the way.
A Cyborg (reference to Star Trek) had a camera implanted in its brain once in science fiction that today is now a reality for a young man who with a camera device is able to teach himself to see color by a system of vibration recognition.
Will students be ready to compete?
The second major force on civilization is urbanization. 50% of the population lives in urban areas. The economy is changing from national analog to a global digital concentration in cities where knowledge-based jobs are forming the future. In a book entitled, New Geography of Jobs, the author Maretti says, “Cities and countries thrive on talent, education, innovation, geography, and creative spaces.” If we can get it right, we can create five jobs in the future for every one that we have today.
UC is committed to this new era of innovation and impact. Business forces impact economic outcomes. Since business is already doing it, business will create strength in the present economy and it will educate the ones for tomorrow. The Top 21 are in the 99th percentile. This has been happening every year since 1990.
Academic Excellence: UC is Investing in Innovation
The 1819 Hub connects the present to the past by being housed in the old Sears building. This is “the front door” to innovation at UC. It is an I-Hub that facilitates collaboration between corporate innovators and the university in a creative collision. Research is powering innovation. In fact, innovation can’t happen without research. The digital future is powered by innovation.
We already host three major corporations and we are on the cusp of adding a fourth. Kroger, P&G, and Cincinnati Bell are already in the old Sears building. Each company is tasked with bringing their “real world” problems to our students. Next lives right here!
1. How is UC dealing with the rising cost of college tuition? How should we prepare for the future pricing of a college education?
First of all, we all must plan early. Secondly, education goes for more students. More will strengthen the region. The biggest hindrance to learning is a student’s financing of his/her tuition. Many are working long hours. This impacts their preparation for learning in the classroom experience.
We have to be creative. We need to build corporate partnerships with students. Corporations hire students and then help pay tuition of these employees. The corporations benefit as much as the students in this “win – win” approach. We are tailoring the co-op program for corporations to hire students on a temporary basis who focus their work on strategic corporate problems. Talent is sought out. Lack of talent worries corporations most. This may be a way to fund education better in the future. UC must educate students so they will be sought after for their talent and their training.
October 11, 2018
RAPTOR, Inc. is an acronym for the “Regional Association for the Protection and Treatment of Raptors.” For over 40 years, this non-profit has rescued and rehabilitated raptors of all kinds, from bald eagles and hawks to falcons, owls and vultures right here in Cincinnati. In addition, they provide raptor and conservation education, presenting 350 ‘live bird’ presentations annually to schools and organizations across greater Cincinnati. Our program speaker is the RAPTOR Board President, Marc Alverson. Marc will speak to us about the origins and growth of their organization (with a few live birds for us to see!). And, specifically, how they’ve developed an expanded mission to create a new public-oriented destination and attraction in Cincinnati.
Marc is a graduate of UC in Electrical Engineering. He went on to work at GE for 35 years. He and his wife, the Executive Director of the Raptor Center, have two sons and live in Cincinnati.
Marc told us that he became interested in raptors after going to a photo seminar. The photos he saw captivated him and his wife. Not long afterward, the Raptor Center was incorporated in 2000 to help injured birds. Marc became a volunteer. He rehabbed birds, educated the public, and helped to maintain their facility. Early on Charley Harper designed the Center’s logo.
What is a raptor exactly? It encompasses hawks, owls, eagles, falcons, and osprey. All of the birds hunt and kill live prey.
The Mission of the Raptor Center is to rehabilitate and return injured raptors to the wild. At the same time, the Center educates the public on the importance, support, and preservation of habitat.
The History. In the early 1970’s in southwest Ohio, two guys began helping injured birds regain their health in their backyard. In 1978 they founded the center as a 501-3C. Finally in 2012, the center opened. It was located where it still is, next door to the Cincinnati Nature Center in Milford. The organization began working with the public and with schools. Today the organization has a nine-member Board of Directors. There are 70 volunteers and there are two paid staff members, one of whom is my wife. Seven local veterinarians volunteer their services. The annual budget is $150,000 to cover food for the animals, utilities, and the two person staff. Today there are approximately 350 Raptor members.
Volunteers spend their time rehabilitating injured or sick birds. In addition, they climb up into trees to gaze upon nests and band the new baby birds before they learn to fly. (Surprisingly it is a misnomer that a human’s scent will repel the mother bird from tending her babies. Question asked after the meeting.) Birds are often taken into schools to serve as ambassadors and to encourage students to respect their needs. Finally, the most highly trained volunteers are sent to pick up injured birds. Their training enables them to disarm panicked birds who might be dangerous when they are unable to fly away. Other volunteers spend their time feeding, building, and fixing whatever makes the “Fix It” List.
In our current facility, we have some room to educate and to house injured and sick birds.Our space is improved, but nonetheless limited. There are few programs at present to display the birds in residence.
Outreach. We have increased our educational outreach to 368 programs for 22,577 people. Recently a call alerted us to an owl caught in a school’s soccer net. The school asked us if a science class could come watch the rescue effort. As it turned out, the entire school came out to see and to learn from the event.
Raptor Sponsored Research. Several studies are underway at this time. The first, involves the Red – Shouldered Hawk and how it is adapting to the urban environment. The second, involves a local Ph. D. candidate who has obtained a grant to conduct a clinical trial and blood test for the West Nile virus on local area birds.
Proposed Expansion. We have drawn up plans to expand our facilities on our existing property in order to better message conservation and an appreciation of nature. The plans include a larger building and a raptor trail where participants can see raptors and learn about each kind while exploring the trail. We will have much better parking so we can begin to house school busses when we invite schools to bring students to our site.
Why Study Raptors? Nature is about balance. Birds in general and raptors in particular act as indicators about the health of the environment. Raptors’ source of food is mice and rats. To live they must hunt and kill their prey. Birds can’t save themselves. Neither can they can wreck the environment. They need our help. Hopefully we will be able to do even more with the new raptor facility. I am reminded of a Native American Proverb that says, “We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”
1. Are vultures part of raptors? I’m not sure exactly. Vultures are more social, while raptors are solitary. Vultures, like storks, carry dead animals they eat as food. Raptors feed on live prey. Raptors have bigger talons.
2. Are any of the raptors native to our area? Yes, the Red-tailed Hawk.
3. What are the common injuries that occur to raptors? They can be hit by cars. They often land on the median along highways. There are no chemicals there so the area is rich in mice, rats, and snakes. Their wings get broken. To heal them, their wings are put into a cast. They often get head and eye injuries.
It is a challenge to know once they are healed, when to release them to the wild once again. Usually we let them fly and if they are not breathless and can land easily, they are ready to go. If they can’t catch prey, possibly their eyesight is impaired or injured. If a bird is young when it gets hurt, it is an inexperienced hunter so its hunting ability will likely be stunted. In captivity it is unable to learn.
In captivity while they are healing, we feed them dead animals. It takes them awhile to learn to eat dead animals.
4. What is the life span of raptors? Typically it is 10 – 15 years, but a Great Horned Owl set the record at 28 years of age.
Smaller birds live 2 – 3 years. A barn owl lives two years, but we have one that was injured so is living in captivity that is 11 years of age.
October 4, 2018
Founder of Sensory Logic
Author of Famous Faces Decoded
Dan Hill, Ph.D., is the founder and president of Sensory Logic, Inc., which pioneered the use of facial coding in business beginning in 1998. As an expert facial coder, Dan is the recipient of seven U.S. patents related to advanced methods for the scoring and analysis of facial coding data. He is also a certified Facial Action Coding System (FACS) practitioner. Dan has done consulting work for over half of the world’s top 100 B2C companies. Among his five previous books is Emotionomics, chosen by Advertising Age as one of the top 10 must-read books of 2009, which featured a foreword by Sam Simon, co-creator of The Simpsons in its second edition. Dan’s TV appearances have ranged from ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Al Jazeera, Bloomberg TV, CNBC, CNN, ESPN, Fox, MSNBC, NBC’s “The Today Show,” and PBS, to The Tennis Channel. For radio, Dan has been interviewed by the BBC and NPR’s “Marketplace”. Print and digital coverage of Dan’s work has included: Admap, Advertising Age, Adweek, Allure, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, The Financial Times, Forbes China, Inc., Kiplinger’s, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Politico, Time, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal, in addition to his having been a columnist for Reuters. His essays were noted with commendation in the 1989, 1991 and 1994 editions of The Best American Essays. Since his education at St. Olaf College, Oxford University, Brown University, and Rutgers University, Dan has given speeches and led workshops in over 20 countries. Along with his wife, Karen Bernthal, he lives in St. Paul, Minnesota and Palm Desert, California.
Dan Hill is an expert at reading emotions on people’s faces. He said, “The biggest lies are the ones we tell ourselves.” Also he shared a picture of “The Thinker” while quoting Descartes who said, “I think, therefore I am.” which he said, “implies that we are rational.” Everyone feels before they think. We make decisions based on emotions. Decisions are made for two reasons: the good and the real reason. Most of us are more like Watson than Sherlock who thinks of emotions as noise, then he gets back to the truth. Only a third of the people actually know what they are feeling at a given time.
I began my business in 1998. I was lucky. It was a time when we became more aware of the brain which has led to the study of emotional intelligence and perception. “Ability EQ” gives a 6% edge. When compared to tennis, the number one tennis player only wins 53% of the points. It is actually much closer than you think. Presidential races are won by a 2.2% margin. Therefore, a 6% edge provides a big advantage; especially when a sales person often tells 3 lies in 10 minutes of conversation.
All emotions are on our face. It’s universal even in children as young as 9 months of age. Only body language is determined by culture. Facial muscles are the only ones attached to the skin. There are 44 muscles ready to convey what a person is thinking so pay attention. Another author, Professor Paul Ekman in Emotions Revealed concurs with my book, Emotionomics, in saying that body language conveys 50% of meaning, while facial coding conveys much more. I pioneered its use in business. Today it is a $1B industry. The facial industrial complex has begun to link with artificial intelligence. I use facial coding for constructive purposes, but there are many nefarious uses as well. For example, the Chinese government monitors the local population and pulls out those who are not impacted by government propaganda. On the other hand, if it’s used in hospitals to detect what is happening to a patient. I believe that our society will be transformed over the next five to ten years. Emotions can be diagrammed. Trust is the basis of business versus contempt. In marriage counseling facial coding can detect true feelings with a 98% accuracy predicting whether a couple will stay together or not. In speed dating one can predict interest with 100% accuracy. It can predict what we do not say, because our face will.
We study celebrities for the emotions behind their actions. Anger is a dominant emotion signaling the intention to gain control. It is passionate. It can lead to violence when held unchecked. Emotions have upsides and downsides. For example, Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, has a face that exemplifies happiness. At the same time, however, Facebook’s recent difficulties may have resulted from his being too footloose on the details. We are very complex. Emotions overlap. Fear and surprise often show themselves together.
When people approach one another, they may come in anger, happiness, or sadness. Anger is demonstrated by a tightened face with lowered brows and taut lips. It may be manifested by a hit. Happiness is detected by a face that lifts upward. It is often accompanied by a hug. Sadness is about loss and is signaled by a wrinkled face. A wince pushing up the cheeks is the surest sign followed by closing eyes. Janis Joplin comes to mind.
We spurn one another with disgust and contempt. Think of Kanye West whose upper lip flares. Contempt by Hillary Clinton was demonstrated by superiority with the corners of her mouth curled up and out. Yet, in New Hampshire after Hillary spent $50M and came in third there was no smirk. Had the cameras picked up her sincerity that night in the town forum, she could have beaten Obama on the rest of the campaign trail.
Reactions emote as surprise or fear. When surprised, our eyes widen for about a second. If any longer, the person is acting. Eyes widen because we want more information. With fear, our face opens and our lips pull back bracing for fight or flight. I think of OJ Simpson’s face. He was insecure.
1. Does the US Military use facial coding in their selection process?
Yes, the FBI and CIA use it as well. Even at West Point cadets are monitored.
2. Is it used in court? No one has been called to be an expert witness. I think of the priest who was investigated in a major city diocese. He showed his emotions after all.
3. What about in the case of Kavanaugh versus Ford?
There is no lying muscle. People have horrible memories. They only remember what is searing, while losing the peripheral details. We can detect lying by asking the person to tell the details of their story in reverse. We remember novelty items or what’s new or meaningful. Ford remembered distinctly “They were having fun at my expense.” While it wasn’t meaningful to Kavanaugh or to Mark Judge, they forgot it.
Impressions of Kavanaugh: It was a normal reaction for Kavanaugh to be outraged at his being publicly embarrassed. He showed indignation. If you look at Kavanaugh’s high school photos, he demonstrates a lot of anger. The burden of proof is on his side.
There were few details on his side.
Impressions of Ford: She was authentic. She was terrified. There were horizontal lines across her forehead and her mouth was pulled wide.
Note: If you would like to read more about Dan Hill’s work, read his blog: @emotionswizard
September 27, 2018
Founder & CEO
Puerto Rico: The People
Mariela is the CEO & Founder of Jibaro. Jibaro is a lifestyle brand dedicated to celebrating and promoting authentic Puerto Rican culture, heritage, and principles. The Jibaro brand shares the story of Puerto Rican culture and roots with high quality apparel and home good products that are creatively designed. They value craftsmanship and pride themselves in providing their customers with only the most authentic and highest quality products. Additionally, Jibaro delivers the best customer service possible. Further, Jíbaro donates 10% of its profits to charitable partner organizations that are focused on the economic and social advancement of the Puerto Rican people and the ecological protection of the island. By buying their merchandise, customers are helping Jibaro to increase donations to their partner non-profit organizations.
After watching hurricanes pummel her native island of Puerto Rico last fall, Fort Mitchell resident, Mariela Oyola-Brauch, knew that she would be stepping up her company’s efforts to provide support to the people there.
Today founder and CEO Oyola-Brauch is celebrating the first anniversary of Jibaro, a lifestyle brand with a mission to celebrate and to promote authentic Puerto Rican heritage. The company sells men’s, women’s, and kids apparel including shirts and hats, and decorative items for the home, donating ten percent of all profits toward nonprofit organizations based in Puerto Rico.
In addition to founding her own company, Mariela has become an organizer for Puerto Rican events throughout the tri-state area. Only a week after the hurricane devastated the island, Mariela used Jibaro’s Facebook page (#JibaroRoots) to reach out to all Puerto Ricans living in the USA who had not been able to communicate with their loved ones, due to lack of electricity, inconsistent internet, and cell phone services.
With the help of Mariela’s family living in Puerto Rico, they were able to locate almost 30 elderly people in 10 different towns and send videos and messages confirming their safety back to concerned family members. In addition, Mariela recently helped organize a major hurricane relief effort with leaders at Madison Avenue Christian Church, identifying and partnering with PANI (Programa de Adolecentes de Naranjito, Inc.), who will be using the fundraising proceeds to help increase psychological and counseling services for children and adolescents in Naranjito, Puerto Rico.
Mariela also separately collaborated with Covenant-First Presbyterian Church in downtown Cincinnati and Cincinnati for Puerto Rico, to raise and donate funds towards the recovery efforts. Most recently, she managed a project with Water Mission (Watermission.org) to begin the restoration of an inoperable water well that serves over 300 families in Naranjito, Puerto Rico. Through her efforts, over 1,000 individuals who had been without a functioning water source for over 5 months will soon have a sustainable solar-powered well.
Migrating with her family to Bronx, New York at nine months old, Mariela returned to Naranjito, Puerto Rico to be closer to family members. After obtaining a Chemistry degree from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez Campus and a master’s degree at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, Mariela worked as a chemist for almost ten years, developing and innovating consumer products for Procter & Gamble, one of the world’s most prominent marketing and manufacturing companies.
Mariela’s passion to serve those in need led her to work at Crossroads Health Center, an inner city medical clinic, and as a Spanish medical interpreter at the local hospitals. Along with being a full-time mother, Mariela is an active volunteer, who has mentored a young girl for 10 years, participated and led numerous domestic and international service travel trips to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and to Central and South America.
Jibaro has sold its merchandise to customers located in 27 U.S. states and 45 towns in Puerto Rico. Jibaro has donated over $1,500 to non-profit organizations since its inception in March, 2017 and currently has over 5,000 Facebook followers.
Mariela Oyola-Brauch received the Impact 100 Wendy H. Steele Award for volunteering excellence through her leadership with the Hispanic Network Mentoring Initiative and her active involvement in the community.
I realized that I must be a serial entrepreneur with my first memories of making arts and crafts at home and selling them to my fellow classmates at school each day. It was when I had made $40 one day when the nuns said, “Enough is enough!” and I was rapped on the knuckles for selling at school.
“I want for you to see Puerto Rico (PR) as I see it: like it was when I was young.” It is a true labor of love that I celebrate the heritage of the mountain folk of PR. Russell Smith described Mariela in his introduction to the club saying, “Mariela has used her business experience and connections from her years working at Proctor and Gamble to support her people and she embodies faith, hope, and love as she reaches out to help her people with Jibaro.
Today PR is shattered. To remind you of recent trends comparing the US with PR. During the Zika epidemic PR lost 38 while Florida lost over 300 people. A half a million people have migrated to the US from PR. My sister was among them. Crime and unemployment rates in PR where there were as many as 716 homicides. In comparison, in Cincinnati at the same time there were 62. These facts are just to help you picture the differences in our quality of living. It was these facts that motivated my husband and I to begin thinking that we MUST do something. We decided to shine a light on the lives, values, and traditions of the PR mountain people. We named the business that we started Jibaro, which means mountain folk. Actually, in PR it refers to a farmer up in the mountains. It was an insulting term that meant they were illiterate. Instead, I think it refers to my family’s heritage and I appreciate where I am from. So Jibaro was launched to sell apparel and home goods to benefit my PR people.
During the 1920s – 1940s in America, photographers were sent to travel the country to photograph its people. Among the pictures were some from PR. They were beautiful! Then along came Hurricane Maria. What a surprise! PR had never experienced any storm like Maria. The wind was so strong, yet it moved so slowly. It was like a “tornado that wouldn’t move out.” My family told me during it on the phone that it felt just like the walls were moving in and out.
For three weeks after Maria, I tried to be strong for my father. There he and my mother were in the midst of complete devastation. He spent his career working as a social worker. As I grew up if there was a storm anywhere in PR, we went as a family to help the people. We were always volunteering. Many times we went back to this one beach. It became my favorite beach. It meant so much to all of us. Later when I grew up, I got engaged and even married at that beach. After hurricanes we went back over and over again to help the people to rebuild their lives.
When the Hurricane Maria struck, I scheduled a flight to PR almost immediately thereafter. I planned to take a satellite phone so I could help people find their loved ones. I advertised and more than 30 people had responded wanting my help. The day came for me to depart and the flight was suddenly canceled without warning. The PR people had no water or electricity. There were no working traffic lights. Poles were down everywhere. I called my father to ask if he would help find the 30 missing people. He said he was able to fill up with gasoline, even though in long lines, every morning. My family drove around following any leads they could and eventually found information about all 30 of the missing people. I finally got there myself. We brought water, sanitation items, and music. We brought them joy where they had been afraid. My friends here pitched in to help. How I love Cincinnati! Even Russell Smith’s church members responded wholeheartedly.
Unfortunately, mental illness and suicides are up in PR. So is migration. Puerto Ricans are leaving every day.
My husband and I partnered Jibaro with a non-profit out of Charleston, SC called Water Mission (water mission.org). We are now involved by repairing wells to re-provide much needed water. When there is no electricity, we learned there is no water. Today we have connected with 300 families by helping them with their needs and to help them find jobs. We are helping them to set up solar panels to help supplement their electrical sourcing.
I see PR through its people: artists, children, people doing whatever it takes to regain their lives. There is color, coffee, music, and even rum. Love is blooming amidst the chaos. Here are a few pictures of PR. San Juan on the water surrounded by a wall. If you share my enthusiasm, advocate for PR. Look up jibaro.com. You can practice your Spanish, or buy apparel and home goods. Just say “Rotary18” for a discount on all items for the next week.
September 20, 2018
Founder & CEO
Jeff Wyler Automotive Family
Auto Retailing: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
Jeff Wyler is the Chairman and CEO of the Jeff Wyler Automotive Family, the company he founded in 1973 as a Chevrolet dealership. The company has grown from the one Chevrolet location in Batavia to 15 locations in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky representing 16 different makes of automobiles. Sales have grown from 200 a year to more than 39,000 in 2017, and his service departments repair more than 400,000 vehicles a year. His original 12 employees have increased to slightly more than 1,500, and The Jeff Wyler Automotive Family was listed by Automotive News in 2017 as the 39th largest automotive retailer in the country.
Civically, Mr. Wyler currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Cincinnati Art Museum and is Vice Chairman of UC Health one of the largest hospital systems in Cincinnati. Previously, Jeff Wyler served as Chairman of the Board of CBank, a commercial bank located in Montgomery, Ohio that he helped co-found in 2007. Additionally, he served on the Board of Directors of Bank One Cincinnati and on the Board of Trustees of the University of Cincinnati for nine years where three of those years he served as Chairman. He is also Chairman of the Wyler Family Foundation.
In 2006, he became a minority partner in the Cincinnati Reds, for whom he sold tickets to pay his way through college. He was elected into the Greater Cincinnati Northern Kentucky Business Hall of Fame in 2010, recipient of the “Dealmaker of the Year” award from Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) in 2014, and the Carl H. Lindner Jr. Award for Entrepreneurial and Civic Spirit also in 2014. Mr. Wyler is a member of the Commercial Club of Cincinnati, an organization of the top 65 business leaders of Greater Cincinnati. From 2005 to 2008, he owned and operated a NASCAR Truck racing team that won three races including Daytona in 2007.
Jeff and his wife, Linda, have four children, three of whom are active in the business, and six grandchildren.
Owen Wrassman introduced Mr. Wyler to the club. In jest he said, “Wyler.com is all we need to say.”
Jeff told us that he had once been a Rotarian in the Batavia Rotary Club. He had even been elected President of the club at one time. They met regularly for breakfasts on Saturdays. He told us when he was president; women were not invited to the meetings. However, his wife, on the other hand, was the first to join Rotary when she was invited into the Hamilton, OH Club. He said that he was honored to come today to speak to us as well as to admit that he was curious about us due to our size and prominence in to downtown so many years later.
He immediately drew a comparison about how public opinion viewed his profession. He said, “You may as well have gone to have a root canal from your dentist today as come and listen to a car dealer!” This is because on the spectrum of trust in professions, car dealers are at the very bottom of the list preceded only by a visit to the dentist. Way up the list are lawyers and even further up, bankers! I have found that when people come to a car dealer, they want respect, but their manhood is at stake when they learn that someone else got a better deal.
We are a retailer. We simply purchase from the manufacturer and pass it on to you. You may have a piece of iron that you want to trade-in at the time of the sale that I’ve got to sell first, so there’s a lot more than meets the eye at the showroom. Our next service at the time of purchase is the financing of the vehicle.
I promised that I would talk about the history of car sales. It may be hard to imagine, but the retail part is only about 100 years old. Cars replaced the sole transportation that had been used for thousands of years. Picture this: New York City had 100,000 horses in 1900. They deposited 2.5M tons as they went….and we complain about car exhaust! Now 7,500 companies manufacture autos. At the turn of the century, a car dealer offered 4 or 5 cars only. They were challenged to get these cars out to the public yes, but what they really needed was the cash fast from them to buy more. Today Tesla, for example, manufactures until the demand meets supply.
Franchises at the turn of the century were renewable annually. This made for an arbitrary business model and lasted until the mid-1950s.
When I began in 1973, there were six Chevrolet dealers in Clermont County and thirteen more in the Cincinnati – Northern Kentucky region. The population centers were concentrated in the northeastern part of the country and the Midwest. After WWII, people began to move westward. The dealerships followed where the people were. Phoenix, the fifth largest city, had 11 dealerships, practically the same number as Cincinnati. I would love to offer a hard and fast sticker price, but when you shop around; my competitors will not match it.
From December 1941 to the end of WWII in 1945, we did not build cars. The Depression made people unable to have cars. There was a strong demand, but there were price controls. Dealers managed to figure around it by offering the car at the price controlled level of $1,000 and then added accessories to up the price.
It wasn’t until 1972 (?) that we had our first sales: 23 payments of $35/month and on the 25th a balloon of $800 was due. Often the balloon payment wasn’t disclosed. Dealers routinely rolled the mileage back saying, “It doesn’t matter how many miles is on a car because what is more important is: how many more it can go!”
The sticker went on the car window in 1958. Car sales was the most regulated industry. We acted as bankers writing contracts in pen, and then checking for the payments in the book. That was it!
We do over $400,000 in repairs each year. Of these about 80,000 come in though were bought elsewhere.
I have spent millions of dollars on buildings, but my real front door is wyler.com. At any one time I have 8,500 cars with their pictures and their prices on-line. You fill out the credit form and can talk face-to-face over the computer to the sales person. We value your present car. We then find any number of cars that you may want within a 5 – 10 mile area, and the sale is made. Or you can pay a fee of approximately $300 to have someone else find and negotiate the price of your chosen car. We have been voted one of the “Top Ten Places to Work” this year. The many years of tenure among my employees is remarkable. We just had the President’s Club dinner this past Saturday night where we honored employees with more than ten years with us. We are a family business. We are Cincinnati!
I used to meet here in the Hall of Mirrors quarterly with General Motors. It is good to be back!
600,000 electric cars were sold last year in China. People here just do not want to pay the additional $10,000.
Ride Share is popular in population centers like Washington DC, NYC, and Chicago, but it is hard to get it going in Cincinnati.
1. My first answer before you ask me anything is: “My favorite car is the one with my name on the back of it!”
2. Why are manual transmissions going away? People are lazy. Ha! Today there are only 2.5% that are stick shift.
3. Advertising $
We used to have rules stating that we couldn’t advertise anywhere, but where we had our dealerships. Violators were penalized by forfeiting their next shipment. Radio and TV covered my market. I used both for about 12 years. Then a friend offered to make a TV ad. He produced it on his own. His wife wanted a special car so that was the price! USED CARS that were available only through pages and pages of newspaper are available on the internet. Today, we employ 40% for radio and tv ads and 60% for digital. We’ll stop some of the radio and TV as well as the mailings. We used to advertise with a sign at the Great American Ballpark. We took it down, but it will be returning in the next few years.
We tried the “Fast Lane” Program where participants could change cars often. We needed 100 to break-even on the program, but only got 45 so it won’t continue.
4. Where did you get the expression in your advertising, “Eggs are cheaper in the country” come from? From a dealership who used it in Columbus. I asked the owner, Bob, if I could use it as my slogan too. He said, “Sure. I got it from someone in Harrisburg, PA.” Wouldn’t you know I wound up buying Bob’s dealership!
September 13, 2018
“The Music Professor”
Jim LaBarbara began his career in broadcasting in 1959 while working on his undergraduate degree from Allegheny College in Pennsylvania and has been heard on hundreds of radio and television commercials ever since. Throughout the years, Jim worked under the pseudonyms of Jimmy Holiday while working in Meadville, Titusville, and DuBois, Pennsylvania, and J. Bentley Starr in Erie, Pennsylvania. He began using his real name on the 50,000-watt WKYC and WIXY in Cleveland and the year he spent in Denver. However, he is best known as the “Music Professor,” a moniker that was given to him when he began his work in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he worked for the powerful WLWT, WCKY, WSAI, and WGRR FM, among others. Jim’s graduate studies were at the University of Cincinnati where he earned a Master’s Degree in Broadcasting and was an adjunct professor at that university for several years. Jim is regarded as a respected musicologist on early rock ‘n roll. He was named one of the “Top 40 Radio Personalities of All Time,” was listed in the Rock Jock Hall of Fame, and was inducted into the Radio/Television Broadcasters Hall of Fame in Akron, Ohio. He has a son and daughter and lives in Cincinnati, Ohio along with his wife Sally.
Ron Ott introduced Jim LaBarbara to the club. Jim responded immediately to the introduction along with the serenade by “Sonny and Cher” by saying, “I remember the time when Sonny and Cher were performing on stage and a barage of preteens in the audience broke through the crowd barrier and stormed the stage.” Sonny simply said, “So what do you want to do now?” They jumped down off the stage and the concert went on.
Jim said, “Back when I landed at WLWT in 1969, not many people recognized “rock and roll” for what it was. It all started in the 1920’s with Trixie Smith and then King Records picked up on it in the 1940’s. Remember “Rock Around the Clock Tonight?” The term “rock and roll” was black slang for sex…..and the rest is history!
Jim began to roll down memory lane. Let’s just step back in time and remember….
Bill Randall was the #1 disc jockey who was behind the scenes of the Dorsey Brothers, the Ed Sullivan Show, and even the Jackie Gleason Show introducing and promoting Elvis Presley. He first hit the microphones with “That’s Alright Mama.” There was a commotion backstage. He was nervous. Within a week, he released “Heart Break Hotel” and “Blue Suede Shoes,” which became a 1M record seller by the time it sold to RCA.
Buddy Holly died and it was termed by Don McLean as “The Day the Music Died.” Chuck Berry hit the charts with music that reeled in the teen crowd with his stories. Muddy Waters thrilled his audiences with the “duck walk” right on stage. Little Richard found Jesus at a church.
Jerry Lee Lewis was writing the stories about him that were not ever as good as reality. He married his 13-year-old cousin. When asked about it he said, “Oh she’s closer to 14.”
Dick Clark owned it all: “Sixteen Candles,” the “Mashed Potatoes,” etc.
In November 1963, the President was reported to have been assassinated. We did not know what to do. At that time, the “Singing Nun” was #1. Then Christmas ticked by and we were into January of 1964, when four guys showed up from England. They gave us the simple old American music back that we had lost like “She Loves You” which was from Gary Lewis and the Pacemakers (remember “I Like It!”), “I Saw Her Standing There” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” To get them on the air, we disc jockeys had to say, “We’ll pull your records if you don’t at least listen to the Beatles.” They were open to suggestions because of George Marlin.
In Cleveland, KY was THE radio station. I was 24 – 25. I was hired in 1969, to change the music of WLW. I was on at night while Dixon and Braun were on during the day. I was told to do more talking with pop music groups to inform the public. It was because Stan Matlock of WKRC had opened up the market to information with his “Magazine of the Air.”
I became friends with James Brown. We would sit up until 4 o’clock in the morning talking. James did not drink. He was conservative. He told me many stories. He told me that Otis Redding went to King Records after he would play in the football games on Friday nights. Otis gave me “Two Hearts.” Pat Boone covered black music. Remember “Tootie Fruity?”
Chubby Checker should be in the Hall of Fame. Jackie Wilson recorded with him.
I remember when we celebrated New Year’s Eve here at the Netherland Hilton. It was all lit up. The night featured Lonny Mack who was “the best” guitar player ever. We made music at the Gibson Hotel here in Cincinnati where in room 105, Harry Carlson regaled me with so many stories. Another place was the Twilight Lounge in Hamilton, OH. There were so many good places!
Andy Williams claimed he was “corrupted in Cincinnati.” Back then WLS in Chicago played recorded music while WLW played live music. Andy Williams was in Cincinnati to see his first girlfriend, Elaine Evans, who happened to be a member of the Walnut Hills Women’s Club.
Ray Vaugn went blind. He was not born blind.
Davy Jones and the Monkeys never got money from the sales of their memorabilia.
I have been truly blessed. I have met many wonderful people during my career.
1. Tell us about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It was very political. Yet, anyone who recorded with Atlantic Records got in. Probably 85% of the “famers” were convicted felons.
2. What do you think are today’s performers’ view of drugs? I’m only familiar with the 1950’s – 1960’s. Drugs flew then.
August 30, 2018
W. RODNEY McMULLEN
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
The Kroger Company
Rodney McMullen is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Kroger Co. Kroger employs nearly half a million associates who serve America through food inspiration and uplifts customers through a seamless digital shopping experience at 2,800 grocery retail stores under more than a dozen banner names. Kroger also operates 38 U.S. food-processing plants and 274 jewelry stores (through the acquisition of Fred Meyer).
Rodney joined Kroger in 1978, as a part-time stock clerk in Lexington, KY. During his career with Kroger, he has served in numerous leadership positions, including Assistant Treasurer, Vice President of Planning and Capital Management, Corporate Controller, Chief Financial Officer, Senior Vice President, Executive Vice President, and Vice Chairman. He was elected to Kroger’s Board of Directors in 2003, to President and Chief Operating Officer in 2009, and to his current position in 2014. Rodney was named Chairman of the Board in 2015.
Rodney is a member of the Board of Directors of Cincinnati Financial Corp., VF Corporation, Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC), Cincinnati Business Committee and Consumer Goods Forum. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of Xavier University and on the Dean’s Advisory Council of University of Kentucky Gatton College of Business and Economics.
Rodney earned bachelor’s degrees in Accounting and Finance, and an MBA with an Accounting concentration, all from the University of Kentucky.
Rodney and his wife, Kathy, live in Cincinnati and enjoy traveling and hiking.
Kroger’s official purpose is to “feed the human spirit.” This overlaps with Rotary’s purpose. When people come to a Kroger store, they are coming for food. Food is our primary job.
CEO McMullen then showed a video with the following facts.
Kroger was first to put a butcher shop into the grocery store in 1883. There were supply chains as early as the turn of the century. Kroger was first to scientifically test the products it sells in its stores. Thanks to mergers and acquisitions, Kroger extends in the US from coast to coast. It is presently the largest florist in the country. In addition, it operates 19 dairies. From horse-drawn carriages to home delivery, Kroger employees have been doing their part. The first store was on Pearl Street very near what was once home plate in the Reds Riverfront Stadium. Today Kroger is in 35 states and in the District of Columbia. (End of video.)
Recently I was at an event in the city and learned about a water project that one of our Kroger employee teams put together. They did not have to ask me. There is no waiting for permission from the top. They are empowered to initiate from whatever position they hold.
Today Kroger is redefining the grocery shopping experience: from efficient shopping within the store to a seamless delivery from afar. We are even delivering kids’ needs such as a forgotten lunch or a spiral notebook to their schools while the parents are at work. We deliver whatever you want, wherever you want it! Parcels arrive in boxes decorated in streetscapes for kids to color later on.
Kroger moved its digital headquarters to Cincinnati. We moved on faith in fellow Cincinnatians. Where digital talent is lacking as we have many jobs to fill, we will partner with others to make Cincinnati the Kroger epicenter. Presently we have 1,000 associates, but we are looking to grow.
We have two Kroger brands: Simple Truth that brings in more than $5B in sales and Private Selection. We are launching Simple Truth in China on Alibaba on “Singles Day.” Singles Day is November 11, (11/11) the biggest shopping day in the world. This is our first international venture. There are many middle class households in China in whom we trust will try/like the Simple Truth line.
OCADO is the world leader as an online grocer. They are partnering with Kroger in the US.
Home Chef, out of Chicago, is making money providing a way for working families to eat together. Statistics show families who eat together have kids that get into less trouble.
NURO is a driverless delivery vehicle for delivering grocery orders directly to households. We launched it in Phoenix a few weeks ago.
Look up krogerstories.com to learn more. We are not your parents or grandparents’ grocery store any longer!
After the recent tax cuts directed by the Trump Administration, Kroger reinvested its tax savings back equally into associates, customers, and shareholders. In addition, we provide $3,500 per year to any employee for additional education, from undergrad through a Ph. D. program.
We have a goal to end hunger by 2025. Last year, we provided 325M meals. This was enough to feed everyone in Iceland for one year. In addition, by 2025 we will eliminate plastic bags. Our customers can do this anytime earlier however. This year, Kroger was named #6 on Fortune Magazine’s “Change the World List.” It takes all of us working together so we can make the world a better place.
August 16, 2018
SHERIFF’S OFFICE RECOGNITION DAY
Thursday we thanked the Sheriff’s Department for their service to our community. Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil presented the following awards to :
Administrative Excellence Award
Deputy Robert J. Weber, Court Services
Superior Achievement Award
Major Chris M. Ketteman, Director of Corrections
Deputies Nicholas E. Rauen, Lawrence L. Mehn and Jeffrey R. Landis, Enforcement
Career Enhancement Award
Captain Scott A. Kerr, Corrections
Sheriff Jim Neil introduced his staff at the Sheriff’s Department and said, “Thank you, Rotary. We both seek to put the service of others first.”
Administrative Excellence Award
Our first recipient, Deputy Rob Weber, has been a part of our department since 1999. He is assigned to Court Services duty. He has excellent administrative skills. In this job we are required to serve workers and to provide security services to all in court. You may not know, but there are a lot of fights at the Court House. Every morning when Deputy Weber comes to work, he has no idea what might transpire that day. It is his job to inspire. When complimented, he answers, “I’m just doing my job.”
Upon receiving his award, Deputy Weber said, “I follow a calling to serve. Thank you to my wife and also to my colleagues.”
Superior Achievement Award
Major Chris Ketteman joined the Sheriff’s Department in 1988. He is over the Jail Division. He has received 54 letters of appreciation or accommodation. His responsibilities extend outside Hamilton County to Columbia, Sycamore, and ________ townships amounting to more than 500 inmates. Inmates range from illiterate to having a post-secondary education. The biggest challenge is when former inmates return to society after their jail experience. We have a progression of jail ministers who help. Because jails have become so overcrowded, Major Ketteman oversees a reduction in the jail population. He is exemplary of having a positive impact on others.
Major Ketteman said, “I feel like Sally Fields right now because ‘everybody really likes me’…….today!” Thank you, Rotary.
I want to introduce three officers who reacted well and quickly to an active shooter incident in 2017. At a McDonald’s Restaurant, 7671 Beechmont, at 10:50 PM, the three officers arrived, went inside, and found two victims, one shot in the head. They took custody by caring for the victims and the others inside as well as securing the restaurant against other shooters — all in the time that it has taken me to stand here relating the event! The three officers are Jeff Landis, Larry Mehn, and Nick Rauen. We are so proud of their professional oversight of this incident.
Officer Mehn spoke for the three saying, “We are so thankful to Rotary!”
Career Enhancement Award
Major Chris Ketteman introduced Captain Scott Kerr. Major Ketteman told us that Sheriff Neil has been with the department for six years. He is known for asking us, “What can we do better to serve our citizens?” He also asks, “What is the future of the Sheriff’s Office?”
Captain Kerr attended the Police Institute, living in a dorm away from his family, for three months. During this time he studied these questions and has returned with ideas to be implemented that will improve the impact of the Sheriff’s Department in keeping with Gandhi’s philosophy that a “society will be judged by how well it treats its weakest members.”
Captain Kerr said, “The Police Institute experience has been extremely useful.” Also he thanked Rotary.
In conclusion Sheriff Neil answered many questions posed by Rotarians. Questions and answers follow.
First, Jim Neil said, “Today there are 1,569 offenders in Hamilton County. This is the third largest jail in Ohio.”
1. Do all officers carry Narcan? Yes
What are we doing that is new? Upon arrival and we detect a drug overdose, we leave a family member or a close friend with a second dose of Narcan so they can immediately reverse the overdose if/when it happens again. We are also handing out Narcan at the county jail to help family members who have overdosed.
2. What program can reduce the jail population? We have always had a full jail, whether we had 300 or 3,000 beds. Ever since I was a deputy, the jail has been full. The reforms that we are putting into place are what we call “pods” for help with recovery, reentry into society, and more. We want to stop the cycle.
3. What about our homeless population? When camps are moved, we work in a support role. Beds are available to the homeless, but there are motivating factors that cause them to refuse the help. Such reasons include not wanting to follow housing rules like couples must seek separate housing, no drugs (risking discomfort from withdrawals), no pets, etc. Others are paranoid and are afraid of others.
There used to be a group who set up camp right at the jail. They said they felt safe there. We engaged with the population and tried to find out why they were homeless. We were able to place many of them and linked them with Human Services professionals who would follow them. There were a few, however, who just wouldn’t accept the help.
The only arrest was a sexual predator who did not file with Hamilton County.
In Cincinnati, the Sheriff’s Office “will do what’s right.”
4. Are there any common issues at sporting events and schools when securing against predators? We are beginning to assign “peace officers” to schools who request them. Fortunately we have had few serious incidents. There was only one: a kid shot himself while at LaSalle HS.
We are training deputies in security programs and in human resources. We will do more as funding becomes available. We are open to growing the program if schools want us.
5. What is the status of organized crime in our area? Drugs are driving the crime in our area. We’re experiencing an epidemic. We have no offenders in jail “for the habit.” There is a violent sub-culture that pushes drugs.
6. What about “conceal/carry” of firearms locally? I’ve followed the law since 1981. You have the right to bear arms. We offer a training program for “best practices.”
To distinguish between the terms, “carry conceal” requires a permit and training. A person must be eligible; i.e., free of a mental condition or of a prior record of misconduct.
“Open carry” is legally your right, but it tends to make people nervous.
7. Cincinnati is contending to host the World Cup where hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world will descend upon our city. What is the Sheriff’s Department doing to prepare itself?
Thank you for this information!
At present we are facing a $10M cut or a layoff of 150 people. This will devastate our safety. If we promote events, we must have safety, or the people won’t come. It must go hand in hand. We must have adequate protection. Cincinnati is a wonderful place to live and to raise a family as you know! It is a small city with a large region: a population of 300,000 within the city, but more than a million in the region that comprises Butler, Warren, Brown, and Grant counties and northern Kentucky.
8. When the President of the U.S. pops into town, who pays for it? You and I do. We utilize officers on duty. I make sure that I am working at these events. In fact, you may not know, but I am a certified bomb technician and have been since 1997. I am the only Sheriff in the US to have this. When any dignitaries visit Cincinnati, I’m there. It’s not political. Even though I’m an elected official, I will be there. I want to be known as a “police professional, not as a politician.”
Thursday, August 9, 2018
Todd Schwartz became the Executive Director of the European American Chamber of Commerce (EACC) in January, 2017. With the support and guidance of the EACC’s Board of Directors, he develops and implements EACC activities in three key areas – Economic Development, Talent and Workforce Development, and Business Development. The EACC is part of a growing transatlantic network with chapters in Paris, Lyon, Toulouse, New York, New Jersey, and the Carolinas.
Prior to joining the EACC, Mr. Schwartz was a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State. His twenty-eight year career as a diplomat included overseas tours in Germany, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Qatar, the Philippines, Kuwait (Counselor for Economic Affairs), Canada (Principal Officer in Winnipeg, Manitoba), and Iraq (Counselor for Economic Affairs). His assignments in Washington have included tours as Director of the Office of Iraq Economic Affairs; Director of the Office of Iran Affairs; Assessor with the Board of Examiners for the Foreign Service; and Deputy Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs. He received numerous awards throughout his career, including three Superior Honor Awards, six Meritorious Honor Awards, and the Secretary’s Career Achievement Award.
Mr. Schwartz earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Economics at the Richard T. Farmer School of Business at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. A father of four, he is married to the former Nancy Dye Sunderland of Dayton, Ohio. Nancy and Todd now reside in the Mount Washington area of Cincinnati.
Deborah Schultz introduced her good friend, Todd, to the club. Beyond the information provided above, Deborah further described Todd’s expertise as a “trivia buff extraordinaire.” She told us she appreciates what Todd is doing at EACC to support many local businesses.
Todd told us that one of the first things that everyone asks him is how he got a job with the State Department? My first trip overseas included a tour of six countries in Europe with a choir from Miami University. I remember being fascinated by the people I saw in the various countries in Europe who “not only spoke, but thought” in a foreign language.” I enjoyed it so much that when my very next opportunity came during my junior year, I signed up for Miami’s Luxembourg program. During the program, I field-tripped all over Europe. Finally, when I returned and was back at school during my senior year at Miami, the State Department came to campus to interview the expected graduates. I interviewed, took, and passed the State Department’s entrance exam. That’s how it began.
My tenure at the State Department involved being more than a diplomat. I was the father of three sons and a lovely daughter. I dragged my wife, Nancy, and our family around the world. The kids were always changing schools. They followed everywhere, but they couldn’t go with me to Iraq. I was gone for a year. This posed many challenges for 28 years, but also we were offered many opportunities.
Todd showed us a picture of himself in the desert of Iraq with a large fire burning behind him in the picture. He was standing at a crossroads of tire tracks in the desert sand. He said, “We quickly learned to walk where the tire tracks were in order to miss stepping on a mine.” Yes, there were challenges!
When it came time to retire from the State Department, it was Nancy’s career that brought us to Cincinnati. She enjoyed telling me, “Now you will have to find something to do!”
That’s what led him to the EACC. The Mission Statement stated that it intended to “stimulate business and network relationships between the tri-state region and Europe.” Interestingly the translation for “Greater Cincinnati” was met with stares and the question, “greater than what?” Thus the word choice “tri-state region.”
Initially EACC was the French-American Chamber of Commerce with international chapters in Paris, Lyon, Toulouse, NY, NJ, the Carolinas, Miami, and Boston. Today there are more than 120 companies locally. They are largely manufacturers. We facilitate their business relationships.
You may ask, “Why is the EACC in Cincinnati?” Because there are over 200 European companies from Germany, France, the UK, and Italy to name a few operating locally. We make it our business to help them so they can create jobs. This makes our region the 11th largest exporting region in the US while being 29th in population size.
What does the EACC do? We work in three areas: economic development, talent and workforce development, and in business development. Examples of economic development include working with a local company like Fluid Bag and Finland. Workforce development includes partnering with Cincinnati State and with foreign companies that provide internship programs from European companies here in the US. Business development is ongoing with many networking events such as Stammtisch which means regulars who meet monthly with business directors from Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. Another example is L’Appertif, a French cocktail hour for networking prior to the evening meal. Other opportunities are planned for an overview of the business climate for trade, commerce, and investment in the Baltic countries offered by their embassies. Please see www.europe-cincinnati.com/events for more information.
If your company brings in anyone from Europe or exports to Europe, then we can use our network to help you.
1. What is the impact of tariffs? We are a 501 C 6 organization. Recently we had the European Union Ambassador here to speak just prior to the onset of the tariffs. He said, “Europeans are concerned. This has created a lot of uncertainty.”
2. What are the perceptions of Iraqis about the US and Americans? They recognize that the vast majority of Americans had nothing to do with the war in Iraq. They also know that the State Department is there to help them, even though we broke their country. I arrived in Iraq three weeks after the Black Water incident. The Iraqis I met were wonderful people who generously provide hospitality. At the same time they resent our presence there. Even the military just wants to fix what is broken and get back home.
3. What about BREXIT and food production? Europe is fragmented as is the UK. I don’t see that people will be starving in the streets. I am concerned, however, about disruptions in the supply chain. It is clearly a mess. I think the average person’s standard of living will be negatively affected.
4. Does the EACC have a structured education program? No. We do work with UC a lot though. They have a chapter overseas. Each country has great exchange programs. I will put American students who wish to gain foreign business experience on their radar.
5. International business is conducted here with people who have a short-term visa, like a V1 visa. They have gotten help at the airport. However, renewals and approvals are taking longer and longer. This is a cost of doing international business. This cost will be increasing in the future due to uncertainty.
6. Expansion by the European Union (EU) in the future? There was an article about this just today in the Wall Street Journal. The next few years will be a challenge for the EU.
Thursday, August 2, 2018
MONICA J. POSEY
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College
Dr. Monica J. Posey became president of Cincinnati State Technical and Community College in June 2016 and has energized the College with a collaborative leadership style and a vision for increasing student success and strengthening employer engagement. She is Cincinnati State’s first woman president and the first African American woman to lead an institution of higher education in Greater Cincinnati.
A native of Philadelphia, Dr. Posey holds a Doctorate of Educational Foundations from the University of Cincinnati, a Master of Business Administration degree from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University.
After a business career that included eight years with AT&T Company, Dr. Posey moved into higher education in 1991, first at the University of Cincinnati as Assistant Director of Career Development & Placement, and a year later at Cincinnati State, where she was named Assistant Dean in the Engineering Technologies Division. In 1998, she established and became director of the College’s Office of Institutional Research. In 2003, she became Academic Vice President and an officer for the college, a position she held, adding the title of Provost in 2015, until being named interim President in September, 2015. During much of her career she has taught Business Statistics as an adjunct instructor at UC.
Dr. Posey’s extensive list of recognitions and community service includes the Business Courier Women Who Mean Business award, the Greater Cincinnati YWCA Career Woman of Achievement award, and a Distinguished College Alumni award by the UC College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services. She is a graduate of the Cincinnati U.S.A. Regional Chamber Leadership Cincinnati Class of 2010, and serves on the boards of United Way of Greater Cincinnati, ArtsWave, the Holocaust & Humanity Center, Minorities in Math, Science, and Engineering, and GRAD Cincinnati, Inc.
Dr. Posey and her husband, Rev. Dr. Michael J. Posey, live in Green Township. They have one daughter, Marchelle, and three grandchildren.
Ken Keller introduced Dr. Posey to the club. He said that Dr. Posey has been energizing Cincinnati State ever since she ascended to the Presidency in June, 2016.
What’s Happening at Cincinnati State?
Dr. Posey told us that nearly half the students at Cincinnati State are attending the Community College. Due to the “open access” policy at Cincinnati State, no matter what a student’s academic achievement level, each is invited to attend classes. Placement testing enables their insertion at the appropriate course level.
Cincinnati State’s faculty offers a qualified technical education. They are not asked to do research in order to promote. They share their industry experience instead. We offer a transfer program through partnerships with other academic institutions to transfer credits earned while at Cincinnati State. Our largest partnership is with the University of Cincinnati. We are a two-year institution where students who attend can go on to earn their bachelor degrees at these additional four-year schools: Northern Kentucky University, Miami University, and Mt. St. Joseph, to name a few. Wilmington College actually uses the Cincinnati State buildings to offer four-year degrees of their own.
Our goal is that we want some part of our curriculum to have a practical aspect through co-ops. As you may know UC founded the co-op system. Few two-year schools offer a co-operative component. Some of our students are enrolled in “terminal training” programs (ending in a certificate with no degree intended).
Cincinnati State enrolls 9,600 students each semester on average. It is the 4th largest academic institution in Greater Cincinnati. We offer the bachelor degree – bound student a two – year Associates degree. We also offer a High School Dual Credit program for high school students who desire college credit prior to high school graduation. Tuition is $158 per credit hour. This amounts to $5,500 per year or approximately half UC’s tuition. We offer classes in Clifton, Middletown, Harrison at the airport for aviation training, and Evendale at GE. Class size is approximately 16. We do not offer classes taught in large lecture halls. Upon graduating, approximately 90% stay in this region for work.
Cincinnati State’s demographics are as follows:
- There are more females than males enrolled.
- The average age of students is 26. There are high school students and adults who are returning for retraining.
- 20% are African-American. 3% are Hispanic. 7% are international. 3% are Veterans. 15% are high school students.
- We primarily service Hamilton and Butler counties, but also some come from Clermont County.
- We offer tuition reciprocity (credit that is accepted by all local institutions). We recommend checking with the administration prior to enrolling in courses, however.
- Most students are employed, some with as many as three jobs. Many students are eligible for financial aid.
We offer courses in the following industries:
Nursing – A student can earn an RN degree from an Associates degree. This provides a significant increase in pay.
Manufacturing and Engineering
Culinary – The pastry chef at the Omni Netherland Hilton, incidentally, is one of our graduates.
Our initiative states that we at Cincinnati State are committed to the eradication of poverty in our region. While a student is enrolled in a program we offer such support as childcare and career counseling with help to find a job. For example, if a student chooses welding where they need math and problem-solving skills, after the two-year program they can earn $40-50,000 if they work full-time. Most can enroll with financial grants so they finish with “no debt.” Yet, if students don’t want a two-year program, but instead want a 3 – 4 month certificate, there is no federal financial aid. Because of this, we at Cincinnati State decided to start a fund to help support these students.
We bring high school students in, and even their teachers, to learn in our “hands on” curriculum. For example, land surveyors need a bachelor’s degree and an experience component.
Next year we will be celebrating our 50th anniversary. We are offering new degrees all the time in order to keep up with the culture. One such because of its popularity is a degree in Brewing Science. Another is becoming a Food Science Chef.
Our goals are that we are continuing to try to reach more students. For example, if a high school student thinks he/she will be going to UC or OSU and suddenly learns that he/she has not been accepted, we want them to come to us and then, perhaps, try again.
We want to elevate residents of the region from low paying jobs.
We are trying to keep ahead through partnerships; that is, with institutions that guarantee credit transfer.
We want above all to inspire, engage, encourage, and transform.
Sometimes my students tell me that they can’t relate to me. I tell them my story so they will change their perspective.
My parents were older when I was born. My father worked on a cotton farm in South Carolina. Even though he worked hard, he realized that to provide for his family he would have to move us to Philadelphia where we attended the Philadelphia Public Schools. My parents knew nothing about college, but they did know about hard work. As it turned out, I got a full scholarship to Cornell University. When I arrived, I discovered the students at Cornell were middle class; whereas I was working class. I graduated, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Before long I enrolled in the MBA program at the Wharton School. Quickly I was surrounded by very aggressive students and wondered, “What am I doing here?”
Afterward I came to Cincinnati because my husband had been hired to work at Procter & Gamble. Soon thereafter, I began teaching as an adjunct professor. After 27 years at Cincinnati State, I realized that although I had started a doctoral program once, I had never finished it. BUT … now it was the time! I began the process and when I graduated at last, I applied for a Dean’s job two different times and was turned down for both. I kept working. When Dr. Odell Owens came to lead Cincinnati State, he recommended me for Vice President. Before long he recommended me as Provost. Finally, as he left Cincinnati State, he recommended me as the next President.
I have decided that through failure, if we keep working, we will eventually have success and hope. This is what I try to convey to the students at Cincinnati State. That’s MY story!
1. Describe the financial challenges you face at Cincinnati State.
When the economy is good, fewer people enroll. I’m tasked with rounding out the abrupt “ups and downs” in enrollment due to the economy. Everyone at Cincinnati State has helped me with the budget. We’ve cut our spending rather severely. We do not receive any “Levy funding” as does Sinclair College. Our only revenue source is tuition. Although it is low, it is controlled by the state.
2. What about the state’s regulation?
Each school has its own Board of Directors. In the Transfer Program, everything is guaranteed to transfer. In engineering, however, there are two degrees: associates of arts and associates of science. Transfers are easily obtained with the latter, but not the former. I recommend that students learn about the credit status of the courses they take prior to enrolling in them so there will be no surprises.
3. What about on-line classes?
We offer 20% of our classes on-line. There are many technology classes that need lab experience so most classes are still offered on campus.
Thursday, July 26, 2018
THE HONORABLE ROBERT A. McDONALD
8th Secretary, Department of Veterans Affairs
Retired Chairman, President, & CEO of Procter & Gamble
Robert A. “Bob” McDonald was nominated by President Obama to serve as the eighth Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA). He was confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate on July 29, 2014.
Secretary McDonald led the VA in its ambitious transformational journey to be a world-class service provider and the No. 1 customer-service agency in the Federal government. His goal was to give Veterans consistent, high-quality experiences. Secretary McDonald’s five Veteran-centric strategies effectively improved veterans’ experience, improved the employee experience so employees could better serve veterans, improved internal support services, established a strong foundation for the VA’s growing culture of continuous improvement, and enhanced strategic partnerships across the country. By the end of Secretary McDonald’s tenure, veterans at all VA Medical Centers had access to same-day services in primary and mental health care when needed right away, among many other improvements.
Before joining the VA, Bob McDonald was Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G). Under his leadership, P&G significantly recalibrated its product portfolio, expanded its marketing footprint by adding nearly one billion people to its global customer base, and grew the firm’s organic sales by an average of three percent per year. This growth was reflected in P&G’s stock price, which rose from $51.10 the day he became CEO to $81.64 on the day his last quarterly results were announced—a 60 percent increase from 2009 to 2013.
Bob McDonald is personally and professionally committed to values-based leadership and to improving the lives of others. Bob and his wife, Diane, are the founders of The 2 McDonald Conference for Leaders of Character at West Point—an annual gathering that brings together the brightest young minds from the best universities around the world and partners them with senior business, non-governmental organizations, and government leaders in a multi-day interactive learning experience.
The recipient of numerous leadership awards and honorary degrees, in 2010, the University of Utah Alumni Association named Bob a “Distinguished Graduate.” The West Point Association of Graduates named McDonald for its admired “Distinguished Graduate Award” in 2017, recognition provided annually to “West Point graduates whose character, distinguished service, and stature draw wholesome comparison to the qualities for which West Point strives.” In 2014, The President of the Republic of Singapore awarded Bob the Public Service Star for his work helping shape Singapore’s development as an international hub connecting global companies with Asian firms and enterprises.
Bob McDonald graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1975. He earned his MBA from the University of Utah in 1978. An Army veteran, Bob served with the 82nd Airborne Division. He completed jungle, arctic, and desert Warfare training and he earned the Ranger tab, the Expert Infantryman Badge, and Senior Parachutist wings. Upon leaving military service, then-Captain McDonald was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.
Bob McDonald and his wife are the parents of two grown children and the proud grandparents of two grandsons and one granddaughter. His son is a partner at Taft, Stettinius law firm and he is the founder of The Brandery. His daughter-in-law is expecting a new baby soon.
The last time I was here I spoke at my daughter’s wedding. I must say that it is much less expensive this time!
During Doug Bolton’s generous introduction, I was reminded of the time I saw Valerie Jarrett (former Obama aide) and President Obama lying on the steps of the dais during his introduction (because the introduction took so long). After all, it is the President of the United States. No introduction is necessary!
Lessons Learned: or What I Wish I Knew at 20
Having purpose in life leads to reward versus ongoing meandering. I learned about Rotary’s purpose from my wife, Diane’s, father, Wade, who was a Rotarian. I must give all the credit to my wife for my rebuilt empathy (sensitivity to others) after being an unemotional Airborne Army Ranger.
Once when I was visiting Harvard, a student asked me how to become a CEO. I told the audience that “I can’t prescribe that, but I can say that everyone wants to succeed.” In my first experience leading an infantry battalion, I encountered people who had been told all their lives that they were losers. They believed it. We gave them small tasks. With each success, the tasks got larger.
While I was with P&G, I traveled the world. I was invited into people’s homes to see how they were using P&G’s products. When leaving, I asked them, “What’s your dream?” All over world, each one answered, “I want a better life for my family.” Try to catch someone’s dream and help them make it happen.
My definition of character is a leader who puts the needs of his/her organization before his own. For example, an entrepreneur eats last. The needs of the enterprise are his/her first priority.
Take responsibility. A cadet is the lowest rank. He/she has only 4 responses. They are:
1. Yes, Sir!
2. No, Sir. (This is not an honorable response.)
3. Sir, I do not understand.
4. No excuse, Sir! (Which means he/she is taking responsibility and it won’t happen again.)
I am reminded of the West Point prayer where we say, “God, help me to choose the harder right rather than the easier wrong.”
Leadership matters. I regret how long it took to get the right person or leader into the right job when I came to the VA. It took 2.5 years. I am reminded of what Jim Collins, the author of the book Good to Great, said, “To lead effectively you must get the right people on the bus in the right seat.”
Culture matters. This is why many resign when new management comes in. At the VA, many employees echoed, “I’m a prisoner and I can’t reach my goals.” I am reminded of two stories. In the first, a disabled vet arrived at the VA in Spokane, WA. He cell phone called the receptionist inside the VA for help with the 20 foot distance from the car to come inside. The answer by phone was, “I’m not allowed to leave my desk.” The veteran was forced to call 911 in order to come inside the hospital for his appointment. Bob responded immediately, “This is not what we want for our veterans!”
In a second, a nurse in White River Junction, New Hampshire experienced a “no show” from a veteran who was never ever late for his appointments. She took the initiative and went to his home and found him lodged between a living room chair and his wheel chair. Had she not gone to his home, he might have died there unbeknownst to anyone and unable to get help. Bob said, “We MUST have our veterans backs!”
The VA was too rules-based, which made it a safe environment, but it was not what we must do for our veterans. This wasn’t a good customer service model. We had to change it to have a good healthy, customer-responsive culture.
Cincinnati is a precious environment. If you haven’t lived elsewhere, I will assure you that it is very unique! In 2003, 3CDC was created. We invested $25M into the city and it was matched. Fortunately we got Steve Leeper to come here from Pittsburgh, despite his leanings toward the Steelers. His ability to revitalize has made us proud of Cincinnati. Look what has become of Downtown, OTR, the Banks, and on it goes!
Next, Centrifuse provided a place for entrepreneurs to have their logistical needs met. Once in place, venture capitalists began coming to Cincinnati to invest. Bob told us, “I’ve been out requesting financial contributions and I want you to know that perhaps only one in 1,000 of those asked, declined. I am so impressed with and I can’t speak highly enough about the generous spirit of this city. I once lived in Orlando, FL. They have come to Cincinnati to learn.
The United States has a long history of military action. Most of us have served. Our volunteer army system is good, but the US needs more widespread involvement. Only 1% serve in the military. When a civilization contracts its military, it loses touch. We must take care of our veterans and, civilians need to be better connected to those who serve.
Did you know that disabled veterans organized themselves as the Veterans Administration at Memorial Hall after World War I? They have become a fantastic organization. Why do we need the VA today? First of all, for research. It was at the VA that we had the first liver transplant and the first prosthetic arms that were powered by the brain, to name a few. Secondly, for education. The VA trains more nurses and doctors than any other organization. The VA was set up by Omar Bradley. It was Bradley who created the association between the VA and medical schools. It is no accident that UC and the VA are down the street from one another. It is this association that will insure the VA gets state of the art care.
Many ask me why veterans are so humble and won’t talk about their service? One vet after his Normandy experience said to the Ambassador of France, “We all feel inadequate.”
Bob said, “I know vets who with no arms and legs are leading very productive lives.” They say of themselves, “How can I complain, when my buddies made the ultimate sacrifice?” Remember in Steve Spielberg’s movie, Saving Private Ryan, where Tom Hanks stood in the cemetery imploring the grave markers, “Please tell me I earned it.”
1. I am a veteran. I get great service at the VA. I have no complaints. Another veteran, a female, retired Army Colonel said, “The VA is an outstanding “team” of people.”
2. Which was more challenging, being CEO at P&G or directing the VA? Each was a blessing. There is nothing more precious than being responsible for someone else. In both cases, my challenge was to inspire people. I wanted us to open the windows, let the sunshine in, and put down the draw bridges.
3. The VA has made progress, but now how is it to be sustained? If the VA was on the Fortune 500 list, it would be 9th. P&G is 25th, for comparison. There are 22M veterans and 6M of them are in medical care. The VA changes its leaders every 4 years. Many leave in scandal. We need for the VA to become a quasi-governmental organization — not political. After all, “What’s political about veterans?”
In 2016, we codified the VA’s accomplishments. We invited the Harvard Business School to critique the VA. We are eager to uphold any suggestions. Write me at RAMWP75 (which stands for my initials and West Point class of 1975).
4. What has changed you most by your experience at P&G? The turning point was our move to the Philippines. We saw that we could change lives with the products at P&G. The majority of people in the world live in much worse conditions than we do in the US. Very few are literate and even fewer have computers.
July 12, 2018
FROM STONISCHKEN TO GEDHUS – A CHILD’S VIEW OF WORLD WAR II
To ensure a little known history is not lost, Gerda Braunheim is sharing her childhood memories of brutality, homelessness, and heroism while fleeing from World War II. Gerda experienced the horrors and trials of World War II as a young girl living in East Prussia. She will be sharing the story of her recollection of what happened when Hitler invaded Europe, and she was forced to flee her home, taking refuge in train stations, and leaving everything behind. She fled with her brother Willi, her older sister Lilli, an aunt, and their grandmother. She landed in a refugee camp in Gedhus, Denmark, that contained over 5,000 displaced Germans who had no way of communicating with loved ones left behind in Germany, as all communication was suspended for two years. Her story isn’t about political viewpoints or economic impacts of the war, but the impact of the war on the world of a young girl. She will also share the details of her immigration to America in 1956.
Gerda Braunheim was introduced by Past President Ute Papke. Ute told us that Gerda was born in East Prussia which had once been a part of Germany. Today the area has been divided into Lithuania and Poland. We learned that Gerda’s mother became very ill when Gerda was young. Her mother actually died when Gerda’s father went to war. This is a true story of a child facing war and loss without parents.
Gerda said Hitler moved into Poland (1939) and later destroyed Stalingrad (1943). From there they moved on to control Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) by 1944. The army was strong; yet over time they suffered substantial losses. At least 700 trains came through to supply the Russian forces each month.
The Germans were ruthless. Once the Russians began to retaliate, nothing could stop the Russian army.
Gerda said she remembers seeing the Russian troops moving toward her home town. They forced out over 12M people from their homes and farms. No one could understand what was happening, but everyone heard the bombs.
The biggest burden was on the women who were left behind once all the husbands had gone to war. What I remember was that we moved from town to town, but we couldn’t outrun the Russian invasion. We finally got to a harbor where there were ships waiting to help transport the refugees, but there were only 4 ships and 25,000 people needed help. One of the ships had been a cruise ship. More than 10,000 people were aboard. It went down and about 9,000 people drowned or died of exposure in the icy waters.
By this time it was August 2, 1944. I was with my aunt and grandmother. We boarded a train and hastily said good bye to our homeland. We got off in a small town and stayed 3 months. It was the coldest winter on record. While there, we learned that many people either froze to death or they starved. The town had been 12,000, but it was decimated by the harsh winter conditions. While there we stopped at a lady’s farm house. She was afraid to open her home to strangers. Little did she know that she would become a refugee herself a week later. The Russian Army kept coming. We walked to another village and found another farmhouse that turned their three beds over to us five. We thought we might be safe for a while when after five days, Russian tanks rolled in. For three days and nights the soldiers set houses on fire, shot civilians, and in short, had no mercy. They actually went into the farmer’s homes and took control. They luxuriated in the security of having enough to eat.
On February 2, 1945, the Mayor went to the Russians to ask them to cease their attack on the town. He found the Russian soldiers to be so drunk that he came back to the remaining townspeople and directed them to join him and his family to escape from the town at once. My grandmother was too afraid so someone carried her. We walked through snow from about 10:30 at night until 2:30 AM. We didn’t know if the drunken soldiers had awakened and surrounded us. It was very quiet walking in the forest. We suddenly became aware that my aunt and grandmother were no longer with us. We realized that the forest was too thick for the tanks to follow us. Once stopped, the group became aware that we three children had no one to look after us. During war times, everyone was fighting for their lives, so they told us to leave them and to return to our grandmother and aunt who had stayed behind. We started walking back when we came upon three Russian defectors. They said we would never survive, because things would surely get worse. We realized that we would have to abandon our grandmother. We found a barn for the night, then continued walking the next day and got to another village, but had to continue walking to village after village. Finally we reached a larger town, but it was only a shell of its former self due to the bombing. As we walked, there were dead bodies everywhere. They couldn’t be buried because of the frozen ground. I remember a lady with an infant. The infant had frozen to death in its mother’s arms. All we could do was to wrap the infant in a blanket and lay it in the snow.
We finally boarded a train that would take us from Germany to Denmark. It normally took about 4 hours, but in our case the weather was so bad it took 3 weeks. The homeless people aboard were so hopeless and discouraged from the traumas they had endured. After about three days, we got a Danish newspaper. Although we couldn’t read Danish, we learned that Germany had capitulated. We departed the train for a school where we were kept for three months. They insisted upon shaving our heads to rid us of lice and cleaned us for no one was able to bathe during the exodus. We were extremely filthy after being on the run for so long.
Time went by with no further news. We were Germans in Denmark. After three months, they put us on another train. In 1927, Hitler had established a pact where he agreed not to bomb an area if detention camps were built. We were taken to a camp where there were 5,000 refugees. In fact there were 1,100 camps that housed a quarter million people. Denmark didn’t know what to do with all of us. During this time over 7,000 infants and children were starved to death, to make room for more refugees.
Finally, I learned that my father had survived the war. He was working in Germany to bring us back together even though after the war Germany had little to offer: no food or housing. We hadn’t had any schooling for so long. There weren’t any schools.
After WWII, we were invited to come to America. I had been working and made about $25/week in early 1956. The day I landed in New York harbor I was greeted by the most beautiful sight: the Statue of Liberty! Finally on December 19, 1956, I arrived at the Museum Center in Cincinnati. There were 47 others with us. We had so little. Each worked to establish him/herself in a diversity of professions. I am so grateful to America for giving me the opportunity to become who I am today.