March 21, 2016
President Billy rang the bell to call the meeting to order and mentioned that this is “Water & Sanitation” Month.
The pledge and invocation was given by George Hall. Dora Hogg welcomed our guests and visiting Rotarians. Thanks to last week’s inside challenger, Bobby Gagnon, we raised $224.56 for CART. This week the challenger is the Dee Bruker and the outside challenger is Sanford, Bruker, and Banks. Brad Means gave our Sunshine Report.
- President Billy announced that the club had been given 90 copies of the book, The Reason, by the author. The book is been turned into a movie that is being filmed here in Augusta.
- District Conference May 13-15th-Savannah Desoto Hilton. Raffle tickets are available for sale to help defray the cost of the event.
- Pam Lightsey distributed a flyer and reminded the club of the upcoming blood drive being sponsored by all area Rotary Clubs.
- Service Project -Phinizy Swamp-April 30th
President Billy Franke called on Randy Hatcher to introduce our guest speaker, Chris Clark, President and CEO of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. Randy dispensed with the reading of Mr. Clark’s extensive and impressive bio in order to save time for his presentation, but did recognize Mr. Clark for his efforts with the Real Life Center which is a Christian based organization providing food, clothing, shelter, and education for those in need.
Mr. Clark began by thanking Sue Parr and Walter Sprouse for the tremendous job they do representing Augusta and bringing new businesses to town.
Mr. Clark gave us a very informative history of the Red Carpet Tour that began 56 years ago. Along the way he shared several amusing stories provided by guests who have visited our state and our city during the years. The tour was started in 1960 as a way to attract businesses from up North to come take a look at what we had to offer in Georgia. It began with a meeting and dinner in Atlanta followed by day trips to Jekyll Island and then Augusta. The first tour covered 80 communities in four days and included 50 guests. Today’s guests come from all over the world to visit.
The city of Augusta, and in particular the “Counsel of 100” formed in Augusta, was instrumental in making the Masters Tournament an integral part of the tour. Mr. Clark noted that in 1986 when Jack Nicklaus won the tournament that 30 guests participated in the tour and shortly after 20 of them announced plans to open locations in Georgia.
Mr. Clark estimates that the tour has produced an $8 billion dollar economic impact for Georgia. He attributes the success of the tour to three factors; it is one of the few truly public-private partnerships, the Masters Tournament leaves the guest awestruck, and the local volunteers/hosts go above and beyond to take care of the guests.
At the end of his presentation, Mr. Clark was asked about the Religious Liberty bills that are being discussed in Atlanta. He stated the Chamber’s position is that they are for freedom but against discrimination. The legislators are struggling with putting a bill together that addresses both of these issues. At this point, there is a draft bill waiting on the Governor to change, sign, or veto.
Next week’s speaker is Mr. Lamar Garrard, “Augusta’s Ty Cobb”.
The meeting was adjourned by reciting the four way test.
Rotary Golf Tournament
Monday, May 16th
River Golf Club – 1:00 Shotgun
Guests Are Welcome
Inside Challenger: Dee Bruker
Outside Challenger: Sandord, Bruker & Banks
Speaker, Georgia Chamber of Commerce
A.K. Gulati 3-21-16 Red Badge Orientation
Brian Kyzer 3-21-16 Red Badge Orientation
Jeff Simless 3-21-16 Red Badge Orientation
Kevin Grogan 3-21-16 Rotary, Board of Directors Meeting