NEXT MEETING: March 21, 2014

Visit to the Chevron Refinery
We will meet at Chevron, not at the Richmond Country Club

The Club will visit the Chevron Richmond Refinery on Friday for lunch and a tour of the plant. Be sure to bring a photo ID. Only those members who registered for the visit will be admitted.

Please see first Announcement item, below, for directions.

Please note that the event is from 12:00 to 2:00 PM.

MEETING OF March 14, 2014

Welcome

President Liliane Koziol called the meeting to order at the Richmond Country Club. Herb Cole led the pledge of allegiance and Stoney Stonework asked for a moment of silence for freedom, peace, and justice on earth. Sid Chauvin offered this thought for the day: The chief cause of failure is trading what you want most for what you want now.

Visiting Rotarians and Guests

  • Pam Gray, Rotary District 5160 Governor-Elect, and her husband, Brian, were visiting from Paradise, CA (just east of Chico).
  • Jeff Mulvihill is a (now regular) visiting Rotarian from the Redding Rotary Club.
  • Fred Collignon was visiting from the Berkeley Rotary Club.
  • Sid Chauvin had three guests: his wife, Zelpha; his son-in-law’s mother, Marcia Yanagi (visiting from Hawaii), and his grandson, Zachary Johnson (quite a bit cuter than Sid).
  • Jim Young’s guest was Sean Krogh, an entrepreneur working in Point Richmond.

Announcements

  • Richmond Rotary will NOT meet at the Richmond Country Club on March 21 but, instead, will enjoy lunch and a tour at the Chevron Richmond Refinery. Be sure to enter through the Main Gate, as follows. Driving in a southerly direction on the Richmond Parkway away from the Richmond Country Club towards Point Richmond, bear to the right onto “Chevron Way” just BEFORE you go under I-580 and into Point Richmond. Continue in a westward direction on Chevron Way until you come to the Main Gate, where the Guard will provide further information. Thank you, Heather Kulp!
  • Visiting Rotary District 5160 Governor-Elect, Pam Gray, said the annual District Conference will take place this year in Reno, NV, over the Halloween weekend. More information to follow.
  • Pam Gray also reminded everyone about the three Rotary District Assemblies (half-day training seminars) coming up in March, April, and May. Each one is the same (8:00am to 2:00pm on a Saturday) so you only need to attend one based on your schedule availability. Besides great information and camaraderie, there’s food and coffee. And it’s all at no cost. Dates and locations are as follows: Central Assembly, Butte College, Oroville, March 22; North Assembly, Shasta College, Redding, April 5; South Assembly, Solano College, Vallejo, May 3. Look for a broadcast email with registration links being sent to all District Rotarians (or check for information on the District 5160 web site).
  • Nikki Basas is the Salesian High School junior who recently won the Richmond Rotary Club 4-Way Test speech contest. She will compete against the El Cerrito Rotary Club speech contest winner in the BARSHEEP area runoff on Thursday, April 3, during the regular weekly noon meeting of the El Cerrito Rotary Club, which meets at the Mira Vista Golf & Country Club. Let’s be sure to have a strong showing of Richmond Rotarians at that meeting to support Nikki.

Recognitions

Happy and Sad Dollars

Norm’s Nonsense

An old Irish toast…

May you have food and raiment,
A soft pillow for your head,
May you be forty years in heaven
Before the devil knows you’re dead!

PROGRAM

Connie Tritt introduced Charles Anderson as program speaker. Charles, who lives locally, has had an interesting career trajectory that began in information technology but is now settled where his true passions lie – in professional photography for the last 12 years as well as continued extracurricular involvement in theater arts and music.

He might even have a future in stand-up comedy. When encouraged to use the microphone during this Rotary presentation, he fumbled at first with the mic and then said, “Well, the only difference between me and a ham is that I can’t be cured.”

Charles went on to tell us how technology is really pushing fast into video production by the increasing use of small, radio-controlled unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones) equipped with precision cameras. This development is allowing small businesses like his to dramatically increase capabilities to deliver high-quality photo and video services at a low cost.

He brought a couple of UAVs with him but couldn’t be goaded into lighting one up in the dining room. He did show us a couple of videos from low-level flight sessions he has done and they were truly stunning in terms of stability, beauty from a birds-eye viewpoint, and precision maneuverability.

An important accessory in this work is what are called “FPV Goggles” (FPV = first person view), which have tiny video screens inside the goggles that enable the wearer to remotely steer the UAV and operate the camera.

There are a lot of technological improvements that still need to be made, like increasing the range of remote radio control (currently a few hundred meters) and the life of power batteries (currently less than 20 minutes flight time). And, of course, the regulators still need to write the rules to make UAVs fully viable for commercial use. But the future looks bright. Charles has seen estimates that this business sector will soon be generating more than $80 billion per year.

Just think of all the applications, from tourism to large-scale real estate sales to land management to forestry consulting to environmental surveys, etc. etc.


- Tom Waller, Rotating Scribe