Last Week at Rotary

Thursday, November 9, 2017

BRIGADIER GENERAL MARK ARNOLD

Vietnam War Commemoration

Brigadier General Arnold was commissioned on January 28, 1982 through the Reserve Officer Training Corps as a Distinguished Military Graduate. He has 38 years of military service, and served three combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq in special operations task forces. General Arnold graduated from Ohio University with a degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering. He earned his MBA at Cleveland State University and a Masters in Strategic Studies at the U.S. Army War College.

He began his military career as an enlisted soldier with five years of service in an Airborne Pathfinder Detachment.  He was commissioned as an infantry officer. His branch transferred to Special Forces (Green Berets) upon graduation from the Special Forces Qualification Course. During the next 12 years, he served as Detachment Executive Officer, Special Forces A-Team Commander, and Company Commander in the 11th Special Forces Group.

His key assignments include:  Company Commander of a Psychological Operations Company, Battalion Operations Officer, Battalion Commander, three combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq in Special Operations Units: J5 (Plans) officer for Joint Special Operations Task Force (JSOTF) South Afghanistan, Commander, Coalition Special Operations Forces Afghanistan, Operations and Liaison officer Combined JSOTF West and Task Force 20 Iraq , Assistant Chief of Staff of U.S. Army Special Forces Command, Brigade Commander, Division G3, Deputy Commanding General of the 81st Regional Support Command, and Commanding General of the 100th Division.  

General Arnold’s military decorations include our nation’s highest award for military service, the Distinguished Service Medal. Other awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two Stars, Iraq Campaign Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Pathfinder Badge, Air Assault Badge, Danish Parachutist Badge, Special Forces Tab, Ranger Tab, and Special Forces Insignia for Combat Service.

Today we celebrate the brave and the proud who served in our place for our nation’s freedom. There are 380,000 veterans nationally and 320 in the local area who served in the Vietnam War era from November 1, 1955 through May 15, 1975. Many Rotarians served in a branch of the military during this era. Ron Ott, an Army first lieutenant who served from 1970 – 1975, introduced his fellow Rotarians who also served. They are: 

Rich Dineen, a staff sergeant in the Army Reserve, served 1968-1974
Jerry Ernst, a staff sergeant in the Army Artillery and Infantry, 1962-68
Rick Findlay, a captain in the Army Artillery, served 1971-1975
Fred Fischer, a Naval petty officer, served 1971-1975
Al Koncius, an Army sergeant, served 1965-1971
Tom Lippert, a Navy lieutenant commander, served 1954-1962
Jeff Long, a Naval lieutenant commander, served 1964-66 and 1969-73
Bob McElroy, a Naval petty officer, served 1965-1969
Greg Moratschek, in Special 5 of the Army, served 1970-1972
Bill Stille, a journalist seaman in the Navy, served 1968-1971

Steve Drefahl  introduced Brigadier General Arnold. Post military, the General worked at GE in advanced training and later became a CEO of a technology firm. He decided to leave to return to the service where he became a brigadier general. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Award and a Bronze Star. He recently completed Fire Fighter School. He and his wife reside in Columbus, Ohio. They have two grown children.

The General said, “Thank you to all you Veterans and to the others who support us.” When someone here pointed to my array of decorations, I told them, “This is to show that I have been married for 35 years to the same woman. You should see what she got for her service!”  We in the Green Berets, or Special Forces, personify “Service Above Self.” We are called “America’s Quiet Professionals.”

The Green Berets were established in 1952. They are the most versatile military unit in the world. They are the first on the ground in a crisis. They are experts in direct action. When compared with Navy Seals whose mission is a specific task, the Army Rangers go into their mission for a  few hours to a few days. The Green Berets tend to go in for periods that encompass a few weeks to a few years. Each one is told that to be prepared to be behind enemy lines for more than one year. Commanders who lead know every weapon available. It takes longer to become a Green Beret than it does to be a fighter pilot. Their skills are unique. They are fluent in foreign languages and cultures to support a nation’s cause. They are skilled at unconventional warfare. They work close to the ground often in isolation. Their advanced military skills make them most exposed to combat and therefore they have the highest casualty rates. They don’t receive any extra pay. They put their service above themselves. It is an intense brotherhood. They are excellent marksmen as well as adept at lariat training. 

The Green Berets were the first to go into Afghanistan to fight the Taliban. Training for the America’s Memorial Response Team, shown in a picture, earned them the nickname “Special Horses.” Their skills include skiing in snow and uphill. Their training includes underwater training and swimming in the ocean. They lead behind enemy lines like in Syria today.  Their most valuable capability is their language, custom, and culture mastery which enables them to come into a village and lead a team of Afghans to build a school or hospital to benefit the Afghan people. One of our best projects was building a sanitary sewer system with the Afghans. 

A picture was shown of a Special Forces medic treating a man who was shot in his hand where 3 tendons were severed. Without treatment, the man would either have had a club hand or it would have had to be amputated. Three months after the Special Forces medic operated on the man’s hand, the man was using it naturally. 

In another picture, we saw a helicopter landing on a mountain ridge line amongst the rocks to drop off a team of Special Forces who intended to embed themselves. In one ridge line overview of an agricultural village, the General told us his men noticed a truck carrying a group of Taliban coming into the village. At dusk that night they saw two more trucks coming into the village. Both had considerable weaponry. I was 80 miles away from the Special Forces team. I authorized two special ops helicopters to fly back at night to the ridge line to pick up  the men. Before long another truck arrived in the village. The infrared glasses showed the enemy shooting. We went toward the objective. We could see a strobe light with our infrared glasses. People were moving in the middle of the night. We knew that shouldn’t be. Flying slowly we picked up the guys. We weren’t airborne more than 20 seconds before we could see that the enemy had parked a truckload of children directly in front of the other trucks. They were gambling that we had seen them with night vision glasses or if we didn’t and we shot them, they could use it against us. This is what we deal with every single day. 

There is a company of Special Forces, of 70 Green Berets, outside Columbus, Ohio.  They will deploy in January for Afghanistan.

Recently we had our second annual fund raiser gun shoot. Rotary members are welcome to participate or to help sponsor it. 

Questions/Answers
1. Are you familiar with Ashley’s War a book about women in training for war enabling Delta Force. I am a very vocal proponent of women in the military.

2. How do Navy Seals differ from Special Forces?  They are two entirely different cultures. The Special Forces are more mature. (We laughed out loud at that.) The General quickly said, “Special Forces are older and have to be successful at their first career. A Navy Seal can be right out of high school.”

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Thursday, November 2, 2017

ARTIE KIDWELL
Magician

Artie Kidwell grew up in Covington, Kentucky and now lives in Erlanger, Kentucky.  He earned a degree in Information Technology from Thomas More College. His corporate career led him into the information technology division of the Palm Beach Company. 

Artie had always dabbled in magic and in December of 1992, he decided to give up corporate life and open “The Magic Shop” in Covington. He is now an internationally renowned magician.  

An example of Artie’s Magic can be found here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdXd7O0w6AA

Ron Ott introduced Artie Kidwell and said that he had known Artie for better than 30 years at Palm Beach. One day when Ron met Artie at the Palm Beach office, Artie told him that he was quitting to become a full-time magician. Ron said he was shocked by the news. Since then Artie has done his magic tricks all over including working his tricks at a funeral. Our best connection is that we both love Bobby “The Brain” Heenan (a wrestler). Here is Artie “The Wizard” Kidwell, Kentucky’s greatest magician, or at least the best in Erlanger on Elizabeth Street, 3rd house on the left! 

Artie’s act began by amazing us with scarf tricks, then he went into “speaking Kentucky” with such economy of verbiage as “Imowen” for I’m going, “Isposeso” for I suppose so, “geetyet?” for Did you eat yet?, “smore” for Do you want some more?, “Hereyar” for Here you are!, and “Here’s an aspern.” for Here is an aspirin. Next he peaked our curiosity with rope tricks. He finished doing tassel tricks and, of course, the typical card trick with a volunteer and a good sport, Vickie Hunter.

He described how he had gotten into doing magic. He said that he had been in data processing at Palm Beach. Cincinnati Bell helped to make him famous with his idea that was a lot like the internet at a time well before the internet. He thanked Ron Ott for that nice gesture. In 1992, he began doing magic. In order to earn a decent living to match his wife’s “steady teaching job,” he traveled all around and did magic on roofs, bar- and bat- mitzvahs, weddings, and even the funeral that Ron Ott mentioned. When I did the funeral, I was asked to entertain the 30 – 40 children during the funeral service. All these experiences made me a much better person than when I was in the corporate world. Rolled up in the word “magic” is love. Tell those you love at least once a day that you love them. 

At the conclusion, President Al asked Artie if he had known the toothbrush was invented in Kentucky. The punch line was that “It had to be or otherwise it would have been known as a ‘teeth’ brush.” See what you miss when you aren’t here with us???

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October 26, 2017

TERRY SEGERBERG
Chairman & CEO
Mesa Industries

Terry Segerberg represents the second generation of family ownership at Mesa. Terry leads the company’s strategic planning efforts to thoroughly explore and power its business decisions with a broad range of input from all levels of its employees. She works with the Board of Directors and executive staff to establish long-range goals, strategies, plans, and policies. Terry is active in the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary International and other local Cincinnati business development groups.

Mesa Industries is a family owned American manufacturer. Since 1967, Mesa has produced quality products for the oil & gas, storage tank, mining, gunite, shotcrete, masonry, grouting, and plastering industries. The company is diversified through its four operating divisions, each serving very unique niche markets. Mesa maintains three US locations and a network of representatives worldwide.

Doug Bolton introduced Terry Segerberg. He said Mesa Industries represents 50 years of manufacturing. Terry is active in the Chamber of Commerce, is a former mayor, and is a former Rotary President. She is a San Francisco native. She is a second-generation CEO of the family-owned business, Mesa Industries, since 2002. Terry has guided her export business to a growth rate of 50%.  

Terry began by saying, “Mesa fits within the Goering Center’s values and guidelines. It is also an environmentally friendly company.”  My parents are from Ohio originally: Bucyrus specifically. There were 12 in my mother’s high school graduating class. I hail California now. My father, Ray Sexton, was raised by a single mother. He got his first job at 5 years of age. He typifies the American dream. He ditched school early to join the Army. After his service, he married Mom, returned to school, and graduated in just three years from Kent State University. He took several jobs in Ohio and finally at age 24, he packed up my family and a piano, then moved us to California.  Neither of my parents knew anyone, but with the help of his new job with Goodyear, affiliated with Litton Industries, they carved out a good life to raise a family. Soon after he was recognized as a great sale manager and was called to the home office in New York. Looking at pictures of palm trees or snow drifts, he valued us and our life such as it was in California and decided to stay where we were, forgoing the promotion. Despite the fact that we were now a family with four kids, Dad decided to go out on his own. He formed Mesa Industries. He was a true entrepreneur. He began selling industrial hose and custom conveyor belts saying the belts were “moving the world.” It was very exciting. There wasn’t much competition then. Not long afterward, Dad met Morrie ___?___ the founder of Gunite which is a spray-on concrete.  Dad saw an opportunity between the two businesses giving new markets to his products.  As the new company grew, they soon decided to acquire Airplaco which was founded in Missouri and was used in swimming pools. The company spanned the country: to the east of Missouri it was Airplaco and to the west it was Gunite. The purchase now opened up America’s pools to them. Once again he saw opportunities for all his products. Next he acquired a company that he thought had a coated product, but later turned out that it was laminated instead. This made a huge difference within the technical world. He decided to overcome the mistake he would inspect refineries himself to see what he could reconcile with the new venture. He began to see potential problems with water buildup on the refineries’ roofs. He took Mesa into a new direction: it became Mesa Rubber Company. He didn’t actually sell anything so he changed the name to Mesa Engineered Goods and Storage Tank Solutions. Under this moniker the company could help companies become environmentally better by reducing vapors from rain water leaking into the petroleum. 

He finally concluded that he would buy companies that had a good record of a process themselves so he didn’t have to figure it out on his own. The company became a storage tank business. Next he bought WG Seals which was a virtual company that hired employees as they were needed. It is located in Houston, Los Angeles, and Cincinnati. We decided to make Cincinnati the headquarters. It is located on Airport Rd. by Lunken Field. It is great doing business in Cincinnati rather than in California. We provide 100% American-made products. We buy the necessary products in as near a zip code as possible even if it is not the least expensive alternative. Another feature of the company is that it is 100% female-owned: I own 50%, my sister owns 30%, and my niece owns the rest. 

My brothers are still shocked that I took over the business. At the hand-off, I thought I’d just bow out, but Dad insisted that I was the one who could best take the company forward. Initially Dad said that we should not exceed 10% in international markets. I said that we had already exceeded 10% with our business in Canada and Mexico. Incidentally, I always hear Dad’s voice when I deal internationally with China and India. We have changed our image and our website to reflect that image to communicate that we are internationally focused. We are now dealing with 25 countries. China is growing with petroleum. Yet they, like us, do not want a refinery in their backyard. They want to be environmentally correct.  Ultimately they built the largest refinery in the world. Every one of our contacts is but eight people away from knowing someone that knows someone. In the People’s Republic of China we have learned they are overwhelmed so they are content with engineering that is “close enough” if it is accomplished cheaply. They like to copy our products when we backdoor replacement parts. They not only copied our product, but our name and contact phone number! India is somewhat the same. Decisions in India are made by a team. In the Middle East, they do not want American-made products. In the European Union, they are passively against non-EU companies. Aussies mandate huge safety requirements. Finally, in Brazil, they are not interested unless it is made there. 

I have letters of credit in England only. We deal in US Dollars only and we require that we are paid in full before we ship. I don’t plan to go to Algeria because they can hold you captive. In the UAE, everything is bigger; i.e., they will always trump you. I went to a trade show in Saudi Arabia where the temperature was 120 degrees. I was told that when workers drop, “we just go to the Philippines and get more.” The next trade show in Europe is during the Octoberfest. 

We are all over the world now with construction and petroleum. I have learned some valuable lessons. Keep the currency risk to a minimum by dealing in US Dollars only. Be patient. Document everything. “Made in America” matters. We follow the Four-Way Test ourselves. Customers and employees are just as important as family members.

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Nathan Thomas
Founder of All We Are

Deborah Schultz introduced Nathan Thomas to our Rotary Club at the beginning of the Rotary meeting today. She said that “He is a Rotarian from Raleigh, NC and is a former President there, in spite of being just 24 years of age at the time!” The World Affairs Committee has selected the Uganda Solar Village Project that Nathan has undertaken before and now is expanding upon. The project will install solar pumps for clean water, sanitation, and for lighting up schools (19 in all). The World Affairs committee supported his initial foray into Uganda a few years ago. Nate has impressed the committee with his passion and his ability to get things done. In the first project, within just ten days of receiving our grant of $10,000, Nate’s team provided solar lighting to the schools in a small village near Kampala.  We are partnering with him again with a goal of providing him at least $25,000 so he can continue to spread “the light.” 

Nate Thomas said, “Greetings from District 7710!” In July, 2012, I finished my sophomore year at University of Cincinnati. At that time I became focused on the security, food, and water problems of the people in Uganda. I started my work in darkness, but little by little with Rotary’s help we are making a difference. At the beginning I wrote to Linda Muth. She put me in touch with Bob McElroy. He said the World Affairs Committee was just beginning to meet once again after six years of quiet. I came to that first meeting. I met Deborah Schultz who has collaborated with me ever since. She has been an on-going consultant with me in my work.   Immediately Deborah connected me with Janet Metzelaar who created a website for my business, All We Are. It does take a village and thus the name. 

I have built a team in the US who work with my business outside their own full-time jobs. We are associated with the local Rotary club in Uganda. I have partnered with them in Nateete in Kampala to hire and train local workers. We invest in their professional development. We have asked each school to pay a monthly fee to sustain the project. 

I keep thinking about how many earth’s it would take to help the rest of the world to live like we do? I think that it would take five!

Solar panels convert sun to electricity to power an entire school and a village with light, clean water, and sanitation. We and they are mesmerized, energized, and now want to be solarized. The role of international service is paramount in Rotary International. Many want want to get in with hands on. 

Richard La Jeunesse followed Nate. He said because we spend all that we have, the World Affairs Fund is now at a budget of zero. The good news is that the members of the Committee have pledged $10,000 of their own money to help with this project. We hope you can help us make this goal.

Don Olinger reported that people have a personal GDP of $60/year. They live 24 years less than us in the US. Most light comes from kerosene. Fewer than 5% of the people depend on the government for their livelihood. We need your donations as you make your final tax plans as this year ends. Consider this: if you give up a Latte Grande four times each week, you would free up over $800 this year. We will be reaching out to other Rotary clubs in our region to raise a total of $50K. 

Now we fundraise until the end of 2017. Soon after, we will begin planning a trip to go see the project. We invite you to a fundraising event underwritten by Flynn & Co. on November 15th at The Baldwin Building. Nate Thomas will be back here for that event.