27 March: Cal Maritime – at Sunset!

He showed up in dress blues with a chest full of ribbons. That’s how our speaker, Admiral Tom Cropper, presented himself to Rotarians at Sunset.  He had met just about all of us by the time President Tom rang the Great Bell to call us to order.

Paul Harris Fellow Nader El Kabanny led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Visiting Rotarians were Wendy Jones from the Vallejo noon club and Honorary Solano Sunset Rotarian Brian Thiessen.  Board Member Samuel Thompson introduced guest Rob Wells, a newly minted lawyer (USF), and Wendy’s husband Matt. Treasurer John Feldman officially introduced our speaker Tom Cropper, and Beverly Byl, Cal Maritime’s VP for University Development, and Executive Director of the CMA Foundation.

There followed a brief but vigorous Happy Dollars period where Rotarians celebrated happy events and noted some not so happy ones. At the end, however, Treasurer John’s smile was quite pleasantly broad!

Treasurer John introduced CMA’s President with a suitable reading of his very extensive experience. Admiral Cropper (he prefers to be called “Tom”) started out by saying that he owes his new position in large part to his son, a 2012 CMA grad! Seems the lad got wind that CMA were looking for a new chief executive, knew his dad was contemplating his Naval retirement, and made the connection. The rest, as they say…

Tom sprung a “pop quiz” on us by citing the “70 – 80 – 90” rule: 70% of the earth is covered by water; 80% of the world’s population live near oceans; 90% of the world’s trade travel by sea (that’s 95% if you calculate by value).  Tom also pointed out that shipping by sea is “green”, and getting “greener”: the COfootprint of ocean transport is 1/3rd that of transport by truck and just a bit more than half that of by train. His point: “maritime” is where it’s at. and where it increasingly will be. So Cal Maritime is in a leading position to educate young people for work and leadership in an area critical for our country’s economic future. Starting with 150 students in the early 20th century, Cal Maritime now boasts a student body of about 850 (of whom ~150 are women); and it is set to grow by about 20% more over the next several years. I was interested to learn that among the 6 majors offered at the school, one involves the politics and politics of the maritime industry. Tom also pointed out that the school pumps about $77 million yearly into our economy, with 590 employees, many of whom live in Vallejo. He suggested that Vallejo has not yet caught on to the fact that we are a “college town” even though Cal Maritime moved here in 1946!

There were a lot of questions for our speaker, and the conversation continued for more than half an hour after the meeting’s end.

Announcements: Cheryl Feldman made a call for ticket sales for our 26 April LUAU. President Tom reminded Rotarians to sign up for our 10 April visit by District Governor Laura Day and the Kenya Smiles Dental Vocational Team, and the 4 May D5160 Assembly here in town. Visiting Rotarian Wendy had several announcements for the Continentals, viz.,

April 7-13 is National Boys & Girls Club week.  Visit our Club daily from 4:00-5:30 pm. for a special tour. Friday, April 12 at 5:30 p.m., we invite you to join us for a special reception to close out this special week and words from current and past Club Kids.
Make sure to check out local businesses who are participating in Blue Jeans for Blue Doors, a fun way for our community to support this week and our Club!
OMEGA FARMERS MARKET, Wednesdays, April 24- October 30, 3:00 pm-7:00 pm.  We will be hosting a Farmers’ Market in our parking lot, fresh produce, food vendors, and other items.  Finally a fresh source of produce in North Vallejo!
President Tom mentioned next week’s speaker, Lauretta Zuccheti, will present our third and final International Service Project “audition”, “Africa Hope Challenge”,  her privately inspired and directed project for rural water supplies in Tanzania.
With that, the Great Bell rung, and our meeting ended. Conversation followed, as noted earlier.
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