Speakers / Programs
The Wednesday Noon meeting features a speaker, special presentation or event.  The Evening Group meets at alternative times with changing meeting formats.  The Rotary Club of Fort Collins strives to have the best speakers ranging from community leaders in politics, business, government, education to community service. We cover a diverse range of topics, both highly educational and highly entertaining. We use the RITE formula while selecting speakers. (Relevant, Informative, Timely, and Entertaining) Here are a few of our past programs to give you an idea of the exciting range of presentations.

If you or your group are interested in presenting, please contact us at programs@rotarycluboffortcollins.org 

For our in-person meeting on March 30, Dave Costlow, Executive Director of the Colorado River Outfitters Association (CROA), gave us an overview of the river-rafting industry in Colorado and parts of the West, including the effects of the Covid pandemic on the industry.  Mr. Costlow started by pointing out that, although you might be able to find a float trip someplace like Missouri, you will only be able to find a real river rafting trip in Colorado and similar states in the West.  In order to demonstrate the scale of the industry in Colorado, he gave us some statistics about the industry in Colorado. 

Club member Martin Nelson, a retired geologist and amateur historian, gave us a presentation on the “Ludlow Massacre: Turning Point in US Labor Relations” for our March 23 meeting in person at the Lincoln Center.  In starting a talk about a labor strike and the management response to that strike, Martin pointed out that he had worked as a staff geologist at a mine at Park City where, during a strike there, he had been essentially a staff scab crossing the picket lines and that some of his relationships with the workers never recovered. 
Last week Brigadier General (BG) Scott Sherman updated the Club on the mission and current activity of our Colorado National Guard (CONG). The second part of his talk was, perhaps the most interesting, focused on the Colorado Guard’s partnerships (SPP) with the Kingdom of Jordan and the Republic of Slovenia.  BG Sherman is currently serving in the position of Director of Joint Staff for the Colorado National Guard. Governor Jared Polis is the Commander in Chief and BG Sherman serves under the Adjutant General of Colorado, BG Laura Clellan. 
Last week we had an update on the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado (CFNC) presented by the “new” CEO and President, Kristin Todd, who was accompanied by Ella Fahrlander, Chief Engagement Officer.  As most members are aware, the Community Foundation manages our club’s Legacy Funds (more than $700,000). The Foundation’s stated mission is to “Create transformational community impact by inspiring philanthropy and engaging the region” and their vision is “Creating Impact. Leaving Legacy”.

Seve Ghose, the relatively new Director of Community Services for the City of Fort Collins, gave us a wide-ranging overview of the Community Services effort for our in-person meeting on February 23.  After introducing himself (born in India, grew up in Zambia, but lived in 41 different countries), he gave a quick overview of some of the overall department statistics, including a budget of $54 million and some 750 employees (including some 250 full time).  Those employees work across six departments, the responsibilities and accomplishments of which he ultimately described.

On February 16, for our noon Zoom meeting, Ted Adams, the US Peace Corps Director of Strategic Partnerships & Intergovernmental Affairs, joined us to talk about the ongoing and evolving relationship between the Peace Corps and Rotary.  Stacy Plemmons gave a brief overview of the history of the Peace Corps and its relationship with CSU by way of introduction. Mr. Adams then outlined the many present and future strands of the strategic partnership between the Peace Corps and Rotary, especially focusing on the efforts by returning peace-corps volunteers (RPCVs) to have a broader and more formalized contribution to the mission of the Peace Corps and its relationship with other world-wide service organizations. 

We had our first chance to interact with CSU’s new head football coach (and the first Black head coach in the history of the school), Jay Norvell, at our in-person meeting on February 9.  After introduction by Dave Stewart and CSU Athletic Director Joe Parker, Coach Norvell gave a brief summary of his own history and then launched into a detailed discussion of his coaching philosophy, his goals for the team, and his goals for the young men who would be on the team. 
For our in-person meeting on January 26, for the latest of our Cornerstone Stories, Dave Stewart introduced a video of Doug Markley, talking about the history of Markley Motors followed by an interview with Carrie Baumgart and Cindy DeGroot, members of the current leadership team at the dealership. Doug’s father, Gene, who passed away in 2017, was a long-time member of the Rotary Club of Fort Collins and both Carrie and Cindy are current members. 

For our 19 January Zoom meeting, Trista Fugate (formerly Director of Community & Government Affairs at Platte River Power Authority or PRPA) gave us a fact-filled summary of the history and near- to medium-term plans for Platte River, the Fort-Collins located, not-for-profit public power utility that generates and transmits electric power for the communities of Fort Collins, Estes Park, Loveland, and Longmont.  As she pointed out several times, Platte River is owned by (and the board includes the mayors and utility directors of) the cities to which it provides electric power. (Fort Collins is unique in that Councilmember Julie Pignataro joins Mayor Jeni Arndt on the Platte River Board.) Platte River’s mission is to safely provide reliable, environmentally responsible, and financially sustainable energy to its owner communities including their +165,000 retail customers.

Last week, Lee-Varra-Nelson, District Governor Elect of Rotary District 5440, spoke to us at the Lincoln Center. Her conversational presentation focused on membership, the accomplishments of our Club and advice to our Club going forward. She praised the club for its multigenerational membership (with a shout out to Johnny M), recognized members with 40 years or more and acknowledged new or soon-to-be new members.
For our first (Zoom) meeting of 2022, club member Dr. Allan Kirkpatrick (Emeritus Professor of Mechanical Engineering at CSU) summarized for us the advantages and disadvantages of the various power sources for personal transportation for the future.  He started by acknowledging that we all need mobility which implies the need for engines – engines that can be powered by gasoline, electricity, or fuel cells or some hybrid combination. 
On December 8, Dr. Ryan Bailey of CSU’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering gave us a sobering but hopeful presentation on the history, current state, and future possibilities for the Ogallala aquifer, a fresh-water containing sand formation that underlies parts of eight Western states, including eastern Colorado.  This formation is one of the chief sources of irrigation water for the growth of corn, soy, cotton, wheat, sorghum, and cattle in those seven states.  It is responsible for some 30% of the total crop and animal production in the U.S., it provides some 30% of the irrigation water used in the U.S., and it generates some $35 billion in agricultural products annually.  The important starting data point is that the aquifer underlies a large area with average rainfall of 12 to 33 inches per year, less than is needed for most of the current agricultural production of the area.

On November 3, David Swanson, the Executive Director of World Beyond War and the Campaign Coordinator for RootsAction.org, gave us an extensive argument for the elimination of war and preparation for war.  He started by asserting that most (if not all) wars are unnecessary and that it is possible to avoid all wars.  Negotiate, don’t invade!  One of his central points is that we need to confront the health threat of militarism: that war is a health issue is agreed to by a wide range of health care providers and organizations. 

Last week, our Rotary Foundation Chair, Andrew Stewart, led the annual Rotary Foundation update.  November is Rotary Foundation month.  This year’s goals include adding 5 new Paul Harris Fellows and 5 more member donations.  The financial goal of $10,000 has already been met, currently at $15,000.

For our in-person meeting of 27 October, Rotarian Lynne Baker, with the help of Mary Ontiveros and Del Benson, reviewed for us the new Rotary International policy on DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) and then summarized the results from the recent Club survey of attitudes across our club on DEI.  She pointed out that the survey and analysis were organized by the DEI Subcommittee of the Noon Program Committee and that they are consistent with and parallel to the recent programs that have been relevant, informative, and transformative in the area of inclusion and diversity. 
Lincoln Center, Noon on October 20th, 2021.  Last week we were privileged to hear from President Joyce McConnell – the annual Colorado State Update.  When she asked, it was evident (by show of hands) that almost all present Rotary club members had  some personal connection with CSU.  We heard how the University weathered the COVID storm.  Dr McConnell gave credit to two cochairs – Mark Barber (emergency services) and Lori Lynn (head of CSU Health Network) for the University’s success in 2020 and beyond.