FEBRUARY BEGINS WITH THE BEST
Craft Talks, that is on the 2nd
FLOYD DEWHIRST started us off with the Pledge. LENNY and JACK took us through America we were almost melodic! The Invocation was by PP PETER MORE, noting, thanks for our fellowship, reminding us to do good work in Rotary, and to protect the men and women who protect us including policemen and fireman. Bless them and their families for their service to others. Good job, PETER.
We had one visiting Rotarian, Gloria Radish. She is a public health physician attending a workshop at the Scribal, and she belongs to the RC in Brookline, Mass. It was good to see BRUCE HARRIS with us again, accompanied by Caroline. RALPH BEASOM brought along Don Lantz, and Reza Bundy, claiming he needed support for his coming craft talk, brought Jason Stalin, his COO.
CHRIS BRADFORD announced the 5280 District Conference, which will be at the Embassy Suites Mandela Beach Resort in Oxnard. Festivities begin on May 4th, until the 7th, and this particular Conference seems targeted to families. Before things actually get underway, a Wine Tour is offered. Tour and taste at Tantara, Koehler, Zaca Mesa and Buttonwood. The bus will leave our hotel at 0900 on the 4th, returning at 5 pm, and the price of $65 includes wine tasting, a picnic lunch, and of course, the bus. Carmela Raack has details at (310) 641-0142. CHRIS also reminded us that he and SHANE WAARBROEK are co-chairing our Ambassadorial Scholars program this year. They are having their fourth informational meeting soon, and the interviews will be in April. We want to sponsor some strong candidates call CHRIS or SHANE, please.
President DON announced that Roz had a problem while they were in the desert this weekend. She had chest pains, and checked into Eisenhower Medical Center they have put in a stent, and she is feeling much better (got her hair done today, so she MUST be feeling OK). Her treatment at Eisenhower, by the way, was excellent. SEAN McMILLAN reported on the Valentine’s Brunch at Lawry’s on Saturday the 11th - we only have about fifty signed up so far and we NEED to hear from the rest of you, please. It’s a lovely event good company toe-taping music excellent food - so please get those checks for $40 apiece in soon.
The District-wide Speech Contest will be on March 11th WVRC will be contacting the local high schools, and our member’s attendance would be appreciated.
And far ahead, a Day at the Races is set for June 2nd at Hollywood Park.
Finally, R.I. is producing a Video Magazine, with the first issue due out soon. Stay tuned.
Our meetings are always paragons of elucidation (that means they are educational as all get-out) and today was no exception. When President DON asked what day this was, there was a chorus of replies, “Groundhog Day”! (And I must confess that perhaps not all of us were so aware). Anyway, this is an ancient tradition, based on whether the groundhog sees his shadow when he sticks his head out of his hole today. If he sees his shadow, that indicates the sun is shining, and spring is on the way. If no shadow, another six weeks of winter cold is to be expected. Truly, you have to admit that such tidbits as this make the chore of reading the rest of the Windmill almost worthwhile.
CANDICE DANESHVAR, just returned from her visit to Peru, announced a fund-raising event for Rotaract. Any purchase of food from Baja Fresh at UCLA today will earn Rotaract a commission, and they will be offering this again shortly. I told CANDICE that we were all eager to hear about her trip, and she promised a full report shortly.
DON’s story Sister Mary Katherine entered the Monastery of Silence. The Priest said, “Sister, this is a silent monastery. You re welcome here, but you may not speak until I direct you to do so”. Five years later, the Priest said to her, “Sister Mary Katherine, you have been here for five years. You may speak two words”. She said, “Hard bed” The priest heard, and she got a better bed. Another five years, and the priest again said, you may say another two words. “Cold food”. She was assured the wood would be better. On her 15th anniversary, the same instructions from the priest. “I quit”. “It’s probably best, said the priest, “You’ve done nothing but bitch since you got here”.
REZA BUNDY (sponsored by KACY ROZELLE) gave the first Craft Talk. He jumped right into business, saying that he had worked with his Dad, gone to various schools, and then described his first independent venture. His company began to offer heavy-duty earthmoving equipment on the Internet. The obvious problem here is that the client can’t inspect the equipment in person, since it may be located some distance away from where he is. This was solved by having a guaranteed inspection provided, which certified that the equipment was in good working order, etc. This inspection insurance was provided by AON, a major insurer. They soon surpassed Ebay as a source for this equipment, and became the leading supplier of such equipment worldwide. Last year they sold 149 million dollars worth of equipment.
His second business, which is still forming but about to launch, is selling used cars and trucks over the Internet. Again, the basis of trust in what you are buying is established by a certified inspection, which means you can be assured that the car or truck is in sound working condition. If, after buying, you find that the vehicle isn’t working within thirty days of purchase, the insurance company will fix it to your satisfaction. The thing that insurance doesn’t cover is if you simply decide you don’t like the vehicle that, they don’t insure. Twenty three million used cars were sold last year, and of those, about one third were sold over the Internet. So, up to now, while the buyer takes a risk, he does get a very wide choice of vehicles, with many different options this is the basis of the success of selling over the Internet. In addition to the inspection, Reza’s company can even provide a history of the vehicle, using bank records of transactions in which the vehicle was involved. Another major advantage of Reza’s company is that he only has seven employees all are highly trained specialists who can provide information as needed. This low overhead can be passed along in the sales price, saving the buyer considerable cost. His slogan is Cheaper, Faster, Better.
He feels that people’s actions are driven either by fear, or fearlessness. If you are not afraid of the truth, that contributes to a feeling of fearlessness. Their management group contributes to this feeling in three ways. They start every morning with boxing! Second, they operate honestly which isn’t always easy. Third, everything they do makes the consumer feel safer, and this combination creates fearlessness. At this point, some wag in the audience wanted to know, “If I buy a car from you, I’ll feel loved?” REZA invited him to come forward, but there may have been a missed communication in here somewhere…
In response to another audience request “Tell us about yourself” he replied that he thought he had! He was born in Iran, and attended school in France, England, and the US. His dad owned a Europe-wide business, so they moved around. Reza considered working for the State Dept, until he learned about the pay scale. When asked if he was married, he said yes but he is separated from his wife. (you can imagine that such queries from the audience aroused many raucous comments). He lived in San Francisco for awhile, but found the climate - and people - in LA much more comfortable.
RICK CULLEN (sponsored by GORDON FELL) was up next and REZA is a tough act to follow, of course. But RICK gave us lots of background and information. He contended that when he told his wife that he was going to give a craft talk, she pointed out that he really didn’t have much to talk about! He was born in LA (as were many of us in WVRC) Rick grew up in the Valley they had a rabbit hutch, chicken coop the accouterments of a neighborhood that no longer exists and even had a red car that went into Hollywood. He graduated from North Hollywood High School but apparently wasn’t exactly at the top of his class. He always wanted to go to UCLA, but his grades didn’t measure up, so he then considered USC (and you can imagine the reaction THIS got from the audience). His dad wasn’t willing to pay their fees, so he ended up at LA Valley Jr. College.
Shortly after he joined the Army Reserve, they were called up, because of the Berlin Crisis. So his two years were spent in military intelligence (which he called an oxymoron) on the east coast. When he returned home, UCLA did take him in, and he graduated with a degree in Finance. Rick worked for several banks and he well remembers having to post a Notice to Vacate on a house in South Central LA the Watts riots started that same day! Later, with World Savings and Loan, he became a Portfolio Manager, which is what he does today. He was with First California, a spin-off from the B of A, and thus became part of the brokerage business. He and a friend started their own Management business, which operated for twenty years, still in the Valley. When his partner decided to retire, RICK looked around, and joined First Regional Bank they are located in Century City, and were what remained of Santa Monica Bank when they were taken over about 25 years ago - he manages the portfolios of their clients.
RICK is married, and his wife sang at our last Christmas program. He has always had an interest in music, and often plays the piano for a group called the Westwood Village Rotary Club. His wife comes from a musical family, teaches music, and has several siblings as soloists in regional symphonies. Their daughter, Lisa, decided on a medical career, and was trying to choose between Yale and UCLA. UCLA won, and she graduated with her MD as first in her class she is now a Pediatrician, and needless to say, they are very proud of her.
He was an active member of the Board of Directors of the Clare Foundation for eleven years, serving two years as Treasurer and two as President. Their function is to offer alcohol and drug abuse therapy based on residential programs. With about eighty beds, all in western LA, they have specialized programs for women, for adolescents, and for the deaf (called Signs of Recovery). Sounds excellent and the name is the same as how my first wife spelled her name, so I’m an automatic fan.
I must say, again, that Craft Talks are out best programs and these two certainly maintained that high average. Thanks to both REZA and RICK.
As a final hurrah, President DON offered this bit: A husband and wife were discussing their long-term end of life instructions. The husband said he didn’t want to get into a vegetative state and be dependent upon liquid that he drank from a bottle. So his wife unplugged the TV and threw away his beer.