Welcome to the Rotary Club of East Cobb!

East Cobb

We meet Wednesdays at 7:00 AM
Indian Hills Country Club
4001 Clubland Dr.
Marietta, GA  30068
United States
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This week the Rotary Club of East Cobb was honored to be joined by representatives from local charities and community partners for its Dog Days Gives Back breakfast. For the past 11 years, East Cobb Rotary has hosted an annual Dog Days 5K and Fun Run to raise money for local charities in Cobb County. Through the support and efforts of more than 100 local businesses and benefactors, the 2016 Dog Days 5K raised more than $85,000 for Cobb County charities. At Wednesday's breakfast, President Sam Pierce and members of the Rotary Club of East Cobb distributed Dog Day's proceeds to local charities in furtherance of community initiatives in Cobb County and beyond!
A special thank you to all of the 2016 Dog Days sponsors for their continued support! Your generosity helps to ensure that these great charities and organizations are able to continue their vital work in our community.
Please check out the Dog Days Gives Back photo album in the left hand column for more great photographs from the breakfast!
At a recent meeting, Chris Hanks, Executive Director of Kennesaw State University's Shore Entrepreneurship Center spoke about all of the exciting work they are doing.  After launching an entrepreneurship program at UGA (which is still thriving) Chris was asked to take the concept to the next level at KSU, and he's done so.  With programs like the Entrepreneurship Workshop and the KSU Top 100 contest (think of "Shark Tank" for KSU students, with a $250,000 capitalization for the winner!).  
James Pitts, husband of East Cobb Rotarian Anne Marie Pitts, has been heavily involved in supporting the programs at the Shore Center, and he also shared his thoughts and reflections on this super successful program right here in our own back yard.
The work of Chris and his colleagues at the KSU Entrepreneurship Center will bring a huge impact to the metro area, and all of Georgia, for years to come, and we were very grateful that he and James shared their story with us.
This week we took our annual field trip to Brumby Elementary.  Brumby is very special to us here at East Cobb Rotary, and we contribute funds, and volunteer time, to assist the amazing educators at Brumby in delivering a superior, cutting-edge education to kids who face more challenges than many of their counterparts in other Cobb schools.
Dr. Amanda Richie, principal of Brumby, showed us a warm welcome as always.  We were entertained by the 5th grade choir with a variety of holiday music, we received an update on implementation of the READ program we have help fund, and we also got a computer programming demonstration from Brumby students who are clearly destined for great futures in a world driven by technology.
November is Rotary Foundation Month!  We at East Cobb Rotary punch well above our weight when it comes to giving to the Rotary Foundation, and we're always at the top of per capita and overall giving within District 6900.  
We at East Cobb Rotary understand that the Rotary Foundation is our living legacy that will continue to make positive change in the world long after our good deeds are a faded memory.  This Rotary year marks the 100th anniversary of the Rotary Foundation, and we are pacing our giving at East Cobb Rotary with this neat chart (prepared for us by EC Rotarian Andrew Wiseman).
At this week's meeting, we presented Cobb Firefighter Paul Willis, Cobb police officers FTO B.R. Taylor and Officer M.C. Abbott with our Firefighter and Police Officer of the Quarter Awards respectively.  These gentlemen (as each of their superior officers said) are representative of the many fine men and women who work around the clock to protect us from harm, and we are very proud to honor them with these awards.  We were also delighted that Rotary District 6900 Governor Raymond Ray was on hand to help President Sam make the presentations.  Governor Raymond has made "honoring those who serve" a cornerstone of his year as our District Governor.
Our speaker today was Leo Reichert, Executive VP and General Counsel for WellStar.  Leo is an energetic and enthusiastic champion for positive change in the way health care is delivered to those of us in the East Cobb community.  As General Counsel for WellStar Leo and his team must deal with over 50 state and federal regulatory agencies on a daily basis.  While many of the regs in place, and constantly being added, are well-intentioned, it is becoming increasingly challenging for hospitals to comply.
Even so, it is the mission of WellStar to follow the plan of transitioning from the volume of care, to the value of care delivered.  With many patients unable to pay (and many of those not qualifying under the ACA or Medicare/Medicaid) all hospital systems are under a strain.  Add to that the fact that 50% of all healthcare costs are incurred by 5% of the system's patients, and the system is even harder to keep in balance.
Despite the challenges, Leo's message is one of hope and positivity, and he remains optimistic that WellStar will continue to grow, and thrive, keeping it's focus on the core mission to deliver quality health care in an environment that is uplifting both for patients and those who work there.
Our speaker today was Jason Baldridge.  He's not only the current Director of Youth Safety for the Atlanta Area Council of Boy Scouts, he is also a real pioneer in the field of child protection.  Jason shared with us the ways the Atlanta area BSA is using cutting edge technology and approaches to make our area the safest place for all youth, inside and outside of the scouting program.  By working with many other organizations, Jason and his team are making a real impact.  His core message -- YOUth protection begins with YOU!
East Cobb Rotarians helped Project Mail Call reach a milestone on Saturday, March 5.  With the help of these Rotarians, Project Mail Call, led by Ed and Mary Ettel, has mailed more than 110,000 lbs of packages and merchandise to American troops stationed overseas.  This is a tremendous couple who is doing great work and East Cobb Rotary is excited to help with their efforts!
East Cobb Rotarians get into the spirit by manning a Salvation Army kettle this past Friday.  Many thanks to East Cobb Rotarian Chris Powell for giving us that opportunity!
Many thanks to our speaker today, Grady Moore, former Cobb ADA and Director of Cobb County's Accountability Courts. His passion and energy for being "smart" on crime and delivering justice tailored specifically to those who enter the court system is refreshing.
Dr. David Butts is a founding member of the Rotary Club of East Cobb, and has been a mentor and inspiration for all of us for many years.  Recently, David has faced the biggest challenge of his life with a medical diagnosis that would have knocked most of us down to stay.  But David, with his characteristic dogged determination and relentlessly positive attitude, has risen to the task.  He has fought the good fight, and with the support of his amazing family, is beating the odds and winning the battles.
We at East Cobb Rotary are so inspired by David's shining example that we have decided to establish an award in his name.  The first ever Dr. David Butts Award for Achievement in Overcoming Adversity was awarded this week to its namesake Dr. David Butts.  In the future, we will present this award to other members of the East Cobb community, as the situation arises, when it is necessary to recognize one of our neighbors who has demonstrated the kind of courage and inspirational leadership embodied in the person of Dr. David Butts.  Thank you, David, for your years of Rotary leadership and the gift of your friendship.
Professor Ravi Bellamkonda (Chair of the Ga Tech /Emory Biomedical Department) spoke at our Rotary Club. His brilliance is exceeded only by his remarkable ability to communicate complex ideas to an audience of average folks. He could obviously teach anywhere, and yet he's thrilled to be at Georgia Tech.
Recently, the US News and World Report rankings of colleges and universities placed Georgia Tech at the number 7 spot among all public universities.  Based on the talent of folks like Professor Bellamkonda, if there is one thing you can say for certain about Georgia Tech, it's that their academic ranking will continue to rise!
The 10th Annual Dog Days Run 5k is this Saturday, August 8, at the McCleskey-East Cobb Family YMCA (across from the Publix on East Piedmont).  The 5k starts at 7:30am, with the 1 mile Fun Run and Tot Trot to follow.  There will be a bouncy house and other entertainment for the kids, a contest for dogs (cutest/best dressed/ugliest), prizes and much, much more! 
This is a Family-Festival-Style event, so bring the kids, bring the dog, bring the neighbors, bring the neighbors' dog!
Through our generous sponsors, we have already raised over $76,000, all of which will go to local charities.  To learn more or to sign up, just go to www.DogDaysRun.com.
We were honored this week with a visit from our new District 6900 Governor, Bob Hagan.  Bob's energy and compassion are contagious, and he filled us all with the Rotary Spirit this week.  The Rotary International theme for 2015-16 is "Be a Gift to the World", and DG Bob's adopted a Sherlock Holmes theme for District 6900 to implement the RI mission.  DG Bob invites us all to discover the clues that will unlock our potential to Be a Gift to the World.
It will be a great year for East Cobb Rotary under the dual leadership of DG Bob and our newly sworn-in President Ken Crowell!
Many thanks to our out-going President Randy Nixon (yes, this President Nixon was never impeached!).  Randy led the club to another record year for East Cobb Rotary meeting and exceeding our goals in all categories.  Thanks so much to you and your board, Randy, for your inspired leadership.
And thanks also for incoming District 6900 Governor Bob Hagan for getting up early today to help us honor our outgoing board and swear in our incoming President Ken Crowell and his board.  Ken and his folks have some great ideas, and it looks like another banner year for East Cobb Rotary!
Today's speaker was Keith Jennings, Director of Marketing for Jackson Healthcare.  Keith was mesmerizing as he demonstrated the power of story telling as the most effective way to communicate your ideas to others.  Most approaches to marketing focus on the "F" words -- facts, figures, features etc... and the object of most marketing campaigns is thus to change the minds of others through persuasive argument.  In reality, we all have an existing "mindset" and the choices we make -- which clubs to join, who to vote for, which products to buy -- conform to that way of thinking.  Keith taught us that through narrative and story telling we can invite others to accept our ideas in a way that conforms those ideas to their existing mindset.  As we are just now ramping up our efforts to add more sponsors to our annual fundraiser, the Dog Days 5k Run, these techniques could not be more timely.  Thanks, Keith! 
Today at East Cobb Rotary we honored local heroes with our annual Service Above Self Awards: Teacher Anne Seemann of Brumby Elementary, Police Officer Christopher Frew of Cobb PD, Captain Kevin Gross of Cobb Fire/EMT and TSgt Vickie Brown of the 94th Airwing Command Post.
Thank You all for your Service Above Self!
This past week, our Georgia Rotary Student Program (GRSP) host family, The Murpheys, spent some time at Amelia Island with our visiting student Sofia.  Sofia's parents and two sisters were able to join them from Sweden.  But wait, there's more.  The family of our 2008 GRSP student, Robert, was also able to join up with the Murpheys. 
Swedes + Danes + Americans + Beach + Awesome Weather = FUN!!
GRSP builds bridges across the world that last a lifetime!
Atlanta Braves Executive VP of Business Operations Mike Plant has one thing to get done by April 2017.  Of course that one thing is making sure the new Atlanta Braves stadium, all parking and road/access modifications, and all of the adjacent multi-use space are all up and running by then.  Oh, and he still has all of his other jobs as VP of the team's business operations.  Somehow he was able to take a few minutes off to come and share with the East Cobb Rotary the status of this project, and what announcements we may expect to hear in the weeks and months to come.
In a couple of words, the stadium and appurtenant properties are coming along on schedule and within the anticipated budget.  
Mike also gave us a glimpse into the future of how the new stadium will make coming to games for the Braves core fan base easier and more fun.  He knows there has been some controversy and detractors from this bold undertaking, but, having been an Olympic athlete himself (speedskating) Mike knows that the way to silence critics is by executing the drill. Mike seems like just the guy to make sure that happens.
Detective Ray Yeager of the Cobb County Police Department was our speaker this week.  It is Detective Yeager's specialty to perform criminal investigations involving computer networks to commit theft; to fight computer trespass that deletes, obstructs, alters or damages a computer or computer network; to fight invasion of privacy which uses a computer or computer network to examine employment, medical, salary, credit or other financial or personal data; to investigate computer forgery by creating, altering, or deleting data contained in any computer or computer network; and to investigate computer password disclosure.
That's a pretty tall order for a place like Cobb where there is very high concentration of individuals and businesses who rely on high tech devices to manage every aspect of the personal and professional lives.  Detective Yeager's knowledge and experience in this area is vast, but his advice to our members was surprisingly simple.  By following a few, basic rules when using these devices, and when shopping or engaging in other activities where our personal information may be vulnerable, much of the risk out there can be minimized or completely avoided.
And when it comes to avoiding fraud, Detective Yeager says that the old saying is still true:  "If it seems to good to be true, it IS too good to be true."  Much of the fraud he investigates arises when folks just ignore the warning signs and are lured in by a deal that seems to good to be true.
This week our speaker was U.S. Congressman Tom Price (6th District, GA).  He gave us an update of the goings-on in Washington during this lame duck session, as well as a forecast of what we may expect to see after the 114th session of Congress is sworn in come January 2015.  Congressman Price addressed all of the major issues, and fielded the probing questions posed by our members in a direct and plain-spoken fashion.  Politics aside, we all wish Congressman Price and his colleagues Godspeed, and we encourage them to work together for the good of the American people in the year to come.

As we push towards that “final inch” of completing the job of eradicating polio from the face of the planet, the Rotary Club of East Cobb has introduced a new Facebook “challenge” to energize their club, and friends from other clubs in the District, and beyond.  It’s called Pies for Polio, and it’s simple:  Just take a pie to the face (Recipe:  whipped cream and a pie tin), donate a minimum of $100 to Polio Plus, video the whole thing, and then post a Facebook challenge to two other folks to do the same within 48 hours.  This is way-cooler than a bucket of ice, and much less cold!


And it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3…

Our speaker today was Judith Service Montier, VP of Marketing for Atlanta's new Center for Civil and Human Rights.  For those who may not have yet had the chance to visit the Center, it is a must-see for you and your entire family!  On the first level, the Center features selections from the extensive collection of papers of Dr. Martin Luther King recently acquired by the City of Atlanta and the Woodruff Library.  The featured items will rotate from time to time, making it a fresh experience each time you visit the Center.
On the second floor, you can experience the Civil Rights Movement through sight, sound and other senses like never before.  Visitors often have a very emotional reaction to the powerfully presented multi-media message.  Feel what it was like to be at a lunch counter during a sit-in.  Ride with the Freedom Riders.  Stand at the Mall in Washington and listen to the words of Dr. King and others at that most pivital of moments in the history of our country.
On the third floor, the broader theme of Human Rights is explored.  Interactive displays help you understand the places in the world right now where hearts yearn for the most basic of human rights.  See how the American Civil Rights movement still echoes in the words of today's human rights leaders and soldiers.
Judith explains the Center for Civil and Human Rights with eloquence and passion, but she would be the first to admit that you just have to come experience it for yourself to begin to appreciate what a profound resource this is for our community and beyond.
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