RI removing barriers to membership

Screen shot 2016-04-12 at 3.42.19 PMIn practice, many Rotary clubs around the world have long done away with the various limitations imposed on the number of people from any one business category that may be inducted into membership of each club. However, a quota system and formal listing of professional categories remains on the books.

Now, that is changing.

It didn’t take long for the Rotary Council of Legislation to come up with something new. In the second day of its annual meeting, it redefined qualifications for membership in Rotary International.

Following up on the first-day theme of “flexibility,” the council quickly approved simplifying entry qualifications. Its proposal would replace a series of qualifications with a new definition that a club be composed of “adult persons who demonstrate good character, integrity, and leadership; possess good reputation within their business, professions, and /or community; and are willing to serve in their community and /or around the world.”

Presenters say the measure will grant clubs the responsibility and authority to choose their own members without a checklist.


Well, at least it’s coverage

The Times Union published a photo we submitted covering our induction of 11 new members on Thursday. That’s the good news. The bad news: Whoever processed the photo for publication for some reason used only a handful of the names we supplied, and misspelled one name.

But, as the old saying goes, “Any publicity is good publicity.” In this case, we’ll take it.


Welcome to record-breaking SRC Class of ’16

SRC Class of 2016
DG Milan Jackson (far left) and Club President Terry Brewer (2nd from left) welcome our new Rotarians. From their left: David Taylor, Mike Dewey, Michael Bennett, James McHugh, John Sawchuk, Bob Horan, Matt Smith, Marco Kosikar, Andy Leyhane. Two other inductees were unable to attend.

In what may be a District 7190 record-breaking induction of new Rotarians, the Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club on Thursday night literally increased its size by one-third.

Eleven new Rotarians were officially welcomed in a special dinner ceremony emceed by President Terry Brewer with the assistance of Board Member Jim Leyhane. Also participating were District Governor Milan Jackson and Immediate Past District Governor Dave Hennel. And, also on hand to represent the district and welcome the newcomers were Assistant District Governor Bob Van Alstine and District Membership Chair Jennifer Hendricks-Fogg.

This is the largest one-time induction of new Rotarians in the 56-year history of the Southern Rensselaer County Club. And, in the collective memory of all Rotarians present, it also may be the largest in District 7190 annals.

Our new Rotarians:

• Melissa Bill, First Niagara Bank branch manager
• Michael Bennett, asst. superintendent, Schodack Central School District
• Michael Dewey, financial consultant
• Robert Horan, superintendent, Schodack Central School District
• Mario Kosikar, attorney at law
• Andy Leyhane, doctor of chemistry, AMRI
• James McHugh, principal, Bell Top Elementary School, East Greenbush
• John Sawchuk, principal, Columbia High School, East Greenbush
• Matthew Smith, doctor of physical therapy, Albany Medical Center
• David Taylor, USAF retired
• Josh Wainman, Wainman Construction Inc.

(Although Melissa and Josh were unable to attend, they were accepted “in absentia.”)

Also in attendance were guests Maggie and Jeremy Forth, Becky Raymond, and Matt Smith’s guest Julianna.

President Terry, who also presented a PowerPoint listing of the many facets of Rotary’s efforts and our club’s financial contributions to many organizations in the community,  presented mid-year awards to a number of club members in various categories:

Humanitarian Recognition — Peter Brown, Jim Leyhane, and Roberto Martinez were recognized for their work in creating the hospital stay brochure that the club has copyrighted. (Details elsewhere on this site.)

Rotary Visibility — Our public relations committee of Bill Dowd, Pat Bailey, and Debbie Rodriguez was honored for success in getting more local media coverage of the club’s activities.

Unsung Rotarians — Murray Forth and Stewart Wagner were recognized for their unstinting efforts on a year-round basis to help support and carry out many of the club’s activities.

Paul Harris Fellow — Charlie Foote was recognized with a fellowship for his financial contribution to the Rotary Foundation.

Rotarians of the Year —
Debbie and Peter Brown were honored for their ongoing support of the club in numerous ways, not the least of which is regularly making their home the host venue for some of our larger events.

Service Above Self — Dick Drumm, a 1960 charter member of our club, was recognized for his 50+ years of involvement in Rotary.

Here are some scenes from the evening, captured by Bill Dowd (except, obviously, the one photo in which he appears).

From left: Peter Brown, Jim Leyhane, and Roberto Martinez receive a "Humanitarian Recognition" award.
From left: Peter Brown, Jim Leyhane, and Roberto Martinez share a “Humanitarian Recognition” award.
From left: Debbie Rodriguez, Pat Bailey, and Bill Dowd receive a "Rotary Visibility" award.
From left: Debbie Rodriguez, Pat Bailey, and Bill Dowd receive a “Rotary Visibility” marketing and public relations award.
From lefty: Stdewart Wagner and Murray Forth receive "Unsung Rotarian" awards.
From left: Stewart Wagner and Murray Forth receive “Unsung Rotarian” awards.
Immediate Past DG Dave Hennel describes the contribution of Charlie Foote (right), who was honored with a Paul Harris Fellow award.
Immediate Past DG Dave Hennel describes the contribution to the Rotary Foundation of Charlie Foote (right), who was honored with a Paul Harris Fellow award, as Terry Brewer and Milan Jackson look on.
Debbie and Peter Brown were honored as "Rotarians of the Year."
Debbie and Peter Brown were honored as “Rotarians of the Year.”
Dick Drujmm, who received a special "Charter Member" award.
Dick Drumm, honored with a “Service Above Self” award tonight, is shown here at last year’s 55th Charter Anniversary Dinner when he received a special “Charter Member” award.

Lineup for Thursday’s new-Rotarian induction

Screen shot 2016-02-02 at 7.25.37 PMSome familiar faces will be among the group of people scheduled to formally be inducted during this Thursday’s special dinner meeting at Quigley’s.

District 7190 Governor Milan Jackson and Assistant District Governor Bob Van Alstine are scheduled to join us for the dinner and induction. The evening will begin at 6 p.m. Club President Terry Brewer also will be making several mid-year awards to club members.

Three former members are returning to Rotary:

• John Sawchuk, Columbia High School principal, past SRC club president
• Bob Horan, Schodack Central School District superintendent
• Jim McHugh, Bell Top Elementary School principal

Two others who joined us last summer at the start of the 2015-16 Rotary Year but have not yet been formally inducted:

• Melissa Bill, First Niagara Bank branch manager
• David Taylor, ex-Air Force, retired

And, the newest Rotarians:

• Mike Dewey, CFO at St. Colman’s School
• Matt Smith, doctor of physical therapy at Albany Medical Center
• Andy Leyhane, doctor of chemistry with AMRI Global
• Marko Koshikar, attorney with Nolan & Heller
• Josh Wainman, owner of Wainman Construction
• Mike Bennett, Schodack CSD administrator

A reminder: If you have not yet advised Debbie Brown whether you will be attending the event, tonight is the deadline for doing so.

10/24/13 meeting: Induction, mutual fund

Picture 3Meeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush

Attending (15): Bill Dowd, Murray Forth, Terry Brewer, Pat Bailey, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Jim Leyhane, Patrick Ciraulo, Stewart Wagner, Dean Calamaras, Debbie Rodriguez, Len Leonidas, A.J. Amato, Carol Orvis, Rommel Tolentino.

Guests (3): Steve Gonick, Maggie Forth, Jeremy Forth.


Jim Leyhane, on behalf of the club’s board of directors, welcomed and formally inducted our two newest members — A.J. Amato and Patrick Ciraulo.


He explained the responsibilities and benefits of Rotary membership, then presented Rotary lapel pins and window decals to each man. We warmly welcome A.J. and Pat, who have immediately become active members of our organization.

These new members bring something a bit different to the club as far as their occupations are concerned. A.J. is a wealth management specialist. Patrick oversees the operations of four YMCA locations, including those in East Greenbush and Troy.

Program: Steve Gonick of Adirondack Small Cap Mutual Fund

Steve Gonick
Steve Gonick

A.J. Amato, a wealth management specialist who is a client of Adirondack Funds, introduced Steve Gonic, one of the fund’s owners.

Steve, who has spent most of his business career in pharmaceutical sales,  spoke about becoming a part-owner of a small business.

He said the Adirondack Small Cap Mutual Fund (ASCMF) was founded  in 2005 with $6 million in assets. It began with two partners — Gregory A. Roeder and Matthew P. Reiner, good money managers with local firms who attended SUNY Plattsburgh at the same time in a small department of 35 people but had never known each other  — which, Steve notes, shows how intensely focused they are on their projects.

Picture 15Although both Morning Star and Lipper rate the fund highly, business was slow for the first four uears of its existence. So, in 2009 Roeder and Reiner approached Steve for his sales and marketing  expertise with such firms as  Johnson & Johnson. Initially, they wanted him to head up their sales efforts, but he held out for an ownership stake. Since taking that step, a successful marketing plan has helped pump up the fund’s assets to $195 million. Most of the clients are located within 200 miles of the firm.

Adirondack also has started an internship program for college students interested in finance.


• President-elect Bill Dowd, presiding in President April Dowd’s absence, reported that he attended the first of four President-Elect Training Sessions (PETS) being held by District 7190 for Rotarians who will be club presidents for the 2014-15 Rotary Year. He mentioned that a substantial number of the current club presidents-elect have served in that office before. Some clubs allow members to serve consecutive terms, something Jim Leyhane mentioned earlier this year and asked our club to consider. Also, the current presidents-elect have decided to create a private Facebook page that would be available to current club presidents, immediate past presidents and current presidents-elect. The idea of a three-year “subscription” to such a page would improve inter-club communications and club and district continuity.

• Bill also mentioned “Anchors Aweigh,” the Rotary Foundation event scheduled for Wednesday, November 20. He expressed the desire to have a good SRC turnout, particularly from among board members. He has posted details and a registration form on the club website.

• Debbie Brown brought up the recent devastating fire at Peter’s Dairy on Brookview Road, in which 20 heifers and calves were killed. As part of recovery efforts for the business, there is an opportunity to purchase,  and name, a calf for a fee of $250. Bill said her suggestion would be taken up at the next board meeting.

• Murray Forth reported that the interest the club has expressed in networking with parents of Scout Troop 41, which we help financially support, has resulted in being invited by Scoutmaster Dennis Chicinno to attend a meeting next Tuesday. Murray, Terry Brewer and Jim Leyhane volunteered to be our contingent at the meeting to distribute copies of our club brochure and speak to parents about Rotary. This is part of our stated goal of expanding our scope of influence and activities for 2013-14.

NEXT MEETING: 6:15 p.m. Thursday, October 31, at Quigley’s. Debbie Rodriguez will be presenting Dan Welch, owner of The Sweater Venture shop in East Greenbush.

A note to our absent members

Dear Fellow Rotarians:

If you haven’t been attending our weekly meetings with regularity, you can catch up on what’s going on by regularly checking right here on our website.

Better yet, why not get back into the swing of attending meetings every Thursday now that the weather has improved and you don’t have to buck any snowdrifts? We’d love to have you and we have plenty going on, not the least of which is the 30th annual Rotary Run, scheduled for Sunday, May 16.

We’ve even added a division to this year’s Run, for special-needs entrants. We’ll need all the help we can get from our members for the numerous tasks that go into this event, an icon among Capital Region runners of all capabilities. We’re signing up volunteers at next week’s meeting.

See you soon.

A different menu for the next 2 meetings

Our regular caterer will be unavailable for the October 1 and 8 meetings, but we won’t go hungry. President Len will be looking for a temporary alternative, such as Panera Bread, until Jeff returns from vacation.

What will remain the same is the necessity of signing up in advance so we can get a specific headcount. Contact Len by phone or e-mail by Tuesday at the latest each week.

And, while you’re at it, why not invite a guest to come along? A friend, relative, colleague or new neighbor, it really doesn’t matter. Just let someone be exposed to Rotary and perhaps they’ll be interested in learning more about who we are and what we do. An easy way of creating a potential pool of new members.

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