Pete Pillow

Giving Blood Called ‘Essential Service’

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Jul 022020
 

The COVID-19 pandemic curtailed blood drives across the Midlands, but the need for lifesaving donations remains critical, according to Kristen Boyle, a donor recruitment representative for the American Red Cross.  Boyle was guest speaker at Capital Rotary’s biweekly meeting via Zoom on July 1.  Closed colleges and businesses shrank student and employee donor pools in the spring, Boyle noted, plus a number of churches and civic groups (including the Rotary club) cancelled planned drives.  Meanwhile, demand is up as much as 30 per cent while hospitals are beginning to reschedule elective surgeries.  The Red Cross has safety steps in place, Boyle said, including mandatory face masks, temperature checks, gloves, rigorous sanitizing and social distancing at donor sites.  Blood is now being tested for coronavirus antibodies; results are anticipated in 7 to 10 days.  A positive test means the donor has previous virus exposure, but “that doesn’t mean we can’t use the blood,” Boyle explained. “COVID-19, or any respiratory illness, isn’t transfused through blood donations.  Having antibodies means you can apply to the convalescent plasma program and potentially help a patient who’s battling a severe case of COVID.”  Since the country has a blood need every two seconds – and every donation can help save up to three lives – Boyle declared: “Giving blood is an essential service.”

Jul 012020
 

Columbia’s Capital Rotary began its 2020-2021 year July 1 by inducting a new president, saluting the Rotarian of the Year and announcing Paul Harris Fellow honors in a biweekly Zoom session.  Capital’s new president is Ben Carlton (in photo), a member since 2015, who practices corporate law with the Columbia firm of Richardson, Plowden & Robinson.  Carlton is a graduate of North Carolina State University and the University of South Carolina’s Law School.  He was a club director and secretary before serving as president-elect in the past year.  Earning Rotarian of the Year honors for the second time was Neda Beal (at left in photo below with Sophia Bertrand of the University of South Carolina’s Rotaract Club).  Beal – cited in 2016 for her work with several projects – was recognized anew for serving as liaison to the student group.  Rotaract clubs are for adults ages 18-30 interested in community service, in developing leadership and professional skills, and who enjoy networking and social activities.  USC Rotaract formed in 2010-2011; Capital Rotary became its host in 2018-2019.  New Rotary Foundation donor honors went to Jack Williamson, Philip Flynn and Pete Pillow – all named Paul Harris Fellow Plus-Two givers (signifying an initial $1,000 donation with an additional gift in the same amount).  The Foundation is Rotary International’s charitable arm to support world understanding and peace programs.  Williamson, a former sergeant at arms, joined Capital Rotary in 2008, as did Flynn, a past president and current director.  Pillow joined in 2006 and was Rotarian of the Year in 2018.  The club is holding remote meetings currently in response to the coronavirus pandemic.      

Caslen Briefs Rotarians on University Issues

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Jun 172020
 

University of South Carolina president Bob Caslen updated Capital Rotarians on a host of items June 17 at the downtown club’s biweekly Zoom meeting.  Topics ranged from possibly renaming iconic buildings to resuming fall classes on campus, and from football season prospects to strategic planning for the future. Caslen (in photo), a retired Army general who’s a graduate and former superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point, became USC’s 29th president last Aug. 1.  He told Rotarians that: (1) renaming Sims Hall on campus – a building named for a man who performed medical experiments on slaves – has been reviewed by a special committee, but the state’s Heritage Act requires a two-thirds vote in the General Assembly for such changes; (2) resuming onsite classes is based on mitigating health risks through COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, social distancing, wearing masks in class and “responsible measures” to avoid disease spread to the community at large; (3) the slate of Southeastern Conference football games likely will be played, but non-conference games may be decided on an individual team basis, and social distancing will impact stadium seating; and (4) USC’s strategic vision is to become the nation’s premier flagship university, serving the needs and transforming the lives of the people of South Carolina.  Caslen said he and his executive team will work to recruit the best students, employ world-class faculty and staff, boost the school’s research status, improve systemwide integration of programs and campus infrastructure, and prioritize economic development.

Paul Harris Honors, New Board for Capital Rotary

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Jun 172020
 

Capital Rotary announced new Paul Harris Fellow honors and elected its slate of 2020-2021 officers and directors during a Zoom meeting on June 16.  Neda Beal (in photo) was cited for her continuing donations to the Rotary Foundation in support of world understanding and peace programs. She is now a Paul Harris Fellow Plus-Six giver (signifying an initial $1,000 donation with six additional gifts at the same amount).  Paul Harris Fellow recognition memorializes the Chicago attorney who helped found Rotary International in 1905.  A Capital board member for several years, Beal was named club Rotarian of the Year in 2016.

New club officers and directors are: President – Ben Carlton; President-Elect – Austin McVay; Secretary, Membership – Lee Ann Watson; Treasurer – Bryan Goodyear; Sergeant at Arms – Andy Markl; Immediate Past President – Abby Naas (Foundation); Directors at Large – Catherine Mabry (Community Service); Neda Beal (Rotaract); Le Frye (Blood Donations); Philip Flynn (past president); and Ione Cockrell.  Terms of office are July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2921.  

University Builds Focal Point for Industry

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Jun 032020
 

Over the past seven years, the Office for Innovation, Partnership and Economic Engagement has become a focal point for industries melding the University of South Carolina’s resources with doing business in the Palmetto State.  The result has been nearly $800 million worth of economic development, 620 jobs and $86 million in job-related impact, according to Bill Kirkland, the office’s executive director (in photo) and guest speaker for Capital Rotary’s June 3 meeting via Zoom.  Kirkland said the engagement office’s work includes (1) corporate outreach; (2 help in licensing intellectual property; (3) innovation assistance for entrepreneurs; (4) support at the Innovista research campus in downtown Columbia; and (5) recruiting companies to the state.  In the past six months, over $7 million in small business research grants have come as a result of the university’s “strategic creative partnership with corporate America,” Kirkland reported.  For the past eight years, South Carolina has been among the top 100 universities granted U.S. patents.  “We’re also the fifth fastest-growing manufacturing state in the nation,” Kirkland said.  A former head of the university’s Columbia Technology Incubator, Kirkland also held executive management positions with IBM and Pfizer and was a managing partner for South Carolina-based LK Global Consulting.  Capital Rotary has been holding biweekly video meetings as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Power Team Pushes Economic Development

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May 202020
 

South Carolina’s electric cooperatives are working together to help boost economic development in the Palmetto State.  That’s what Capital Rotarians heard from Jamie Frost at their Zoom meeting May 20.  Frost is senior vice president of community preparedness for the SC Power Team, a nonprofit set up in 1988.  It serves 20 co-ops across two-thirds of the state seeking more industry and commerce, especially in rural areas.  The Power Team offers project management, retention and expansion of existing businesses, utility rate incentives, funds to help prepare industrial sites and infrastructure, an annual economic development review, training and strategic planning.  Over the past six years, co-op and Power Team efforts were key for attraction and expansion of companies investing more than $6.4 billion and creating 30,000 jobs in the state.  Frost joined the team in 2017 after working for a consulting engineers’ firm.  He’s a graduate of the University of South Carolina, completed the Leadership South Carolina program, Class of 2019, and is City of Columbia Planning Commission member.  

Defense Attorney Joins Rotary

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May 202020
 

The head of the SC Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers has been inducted into Columbia’s Capital Rotary Club.  Kitty Sutton – executive director of the legal nonprofit since 2013 – joined May 20 during the club’s second Zoom meeting.  Remote sessions are being held every two weeks as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.  Sutton is a Columbia native with both English and law degrees from the University of South Carolina, plus a Masters in English from the University of South Alabama in Mobile.  She’s worked at law firms in Mobile, Charleston and Columbia.  She has been an adjunct professor at USC, the College of Charleston and Trident Technical College.  Sutton is on the board of Justice 360, a group involved with juvenile justice and capital punishment issues.  She’s also been a board member for Heathwood Hall Episcopal School and for Columbia’s Court Appointed Special Advocates, Communities in Schools and Carolina Ballet.    

Foundation Brings ‘Hope’ to Liberia

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May 062020
 

Giving youngsters a safe place to learn, eat and grow is the mission of Hope Foundation Liberia, according to Columbia attorney Mark Arden, a board member for the non-profit and guest speaker at Capital Rotary’s first Zoom meeting on May 6 (shown in photo).  Arden detailed efforts to improve the lives of rural kindergarten students “physically, emotionally and mentally” in the poverty-stricken nation wracked by 14 years of civil war, followed by the Ebola epidemic.  Hope Foundation renovated buildings to serve as a temporary school and dug a new well to bring clean drinking water to the community.  A new school on seven acres of land is nearly finished.  It has enrolled 160 children and has a curriculum including etiquette, agriculture, being kind to others and trusting in God in addition to reading and writing.  Children are fed two meals daily and will learn how agriculture can promote sustainability for the school.  Arden is a partner at Chappell, Smith & Arden and graduated from the University of South Carolina and the university’s School of Law.        

Capital Rotary’s First Zoom Meeting

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May 062020
 

Capital Rotary members – unable to hold their weekly breakfast meetings at the Palmetto Club for the past seven weeks – held their first remote meeting via Zoom (as shown in photo) at 7:30 a.m. on May 6.  President Abby Naas said the digital decision was made because “it has been too long since we have seen each other,” and a time frame for resuming onsite meetings is not known at this point.  Nearly half the club joined the Zoom session, where donations of $1,100 each were announced to Harvest Hope Food Bank and to Senior Resources to assist in coronavirus relief efforts.  Rotarians also discussed how they’ve been able to work remotely during the pandemic and to help business clients applying for government loans and financial assistance.  Naas said the club plans to hold future Zoom meetings every other week and may even induct new members using the app.  She also shared contacts that might assist in getting hand sanitizer, disposable face masks and face shields for those needing personal protection equipment.                    

Columbia Airport Refreshes Brand

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Mar 112020
 

Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE) boasts a refreshed look, feel and direction while trying to build on a 24% growth in passenger traffic since 2018.  That’s the message Capital Rotarians heard March 11 from guest speakers (left to right in photo) Kim Jamieson and Mike Gula.  Jamieson heads marketing and air services development, while Gula has been the aviation facility’s executive director for six years.  They said CAE’s customers are 70% business fliers, 20% college, government or military passengers, and 10% family-based travelers.  To compete with larger airports in Charleston, Charlotte and Savannah, CAE emphasizes a “fly with ease” theme of comfort and convenience.  Gula said 91% of passengers move from the terminal’s entrance to security screening stations within five minutes.  CAE also has local pride of ownership.  Along with businesses operating on its campus, the airport generates over 1,800 fulltime jobs, more than $80 million in labor income and $535 million in economic output in South Carolina.  CAE handles over 132 million pounds of cargo each year as a regional hub for UPS Airlines – the world’s third-largest airfreight operation.  Gula said strong local support allows the airport to work for bigger planes, new air service and better fares.   

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