NEXT MEETING: July 18, 2014
NOTE CHANGE OF MEETING LOCATION: La Strada Restaurant, San Pablo

Helping Immigrants Lead Productive Lives

When an Afghan emigrant named Atta Arghandiwal came to America some 30 years ago, he found that many immigrant self-help books focused on just one or a few topics while others were so complicated that they were discouraging rather than helpful. Along the way during his own successful banking career in America, Atta kept a notebook of learnings that he’s now condensed into a lifestyle guide for immigrants – a road map for the whole family. In this latest book, Immigrant Success Planning, he shares his insights with others who are eager to make the transition into a new life in North America. His book is filled with proven tips and strategies for success that can be used from the birth of a child to retirement and beyond.

Atta’s first book, Lost Decency: The Untold Afghan Story, became a Ben Franklin award winner. In that memoir, he talks about these three aspects of Afghanistan’s last several decades – where the country was, what happened in the ensuing years, and where it is headed now.

MEETING OF July 11, 2014


President Stoney Stonework rang the bell and called to order his first meeting as President for the 2014-15 Rotary Year at the Richmond Country Club. George Egan led the pledge of allegiance and Stoney asked for a moment of silence for freedom, peace, and justice on earth. Sid Chauvin, exuding increasingly Zen-like qualities from his corner of the room, offered this thought for the day: You cannot solve a problem until you acknowledge you have one and accept responsibility for solving it.

Visiting Rotarians and Guests

  • Richard Poe’s guest was George Atkinson.
  • Sid Chauvin’s guest was his nephew, S.A. LeJune, from Beaumont, TX.
  • Stoney’s guests were Spencer Gilette, James Sweeney, Keith Smith, and Karen Varnado.


  • Change of meeting venue this Friday! Richmond Rotary will meet downstairs at La Strada Restaurant on July 18, returning to the Richmond Country Club on July 25. (La Strada is located at 2215 Church Lane, San Pablo)
  • Alan Baer announced that the El Sobrante Rotary Club will be doing their annual back-to-school student backpack giveaway at the Salvation Army location, 4600 Appian Way in El Sobrante. All interested and available Rotarians are encouraged to stop and help out in the backpack distribution activity from 9am to 12-noon on Thursday, August 14.
  • Jovanka Beckles and Nancy O’Brien were on hand from the West County Child and Adolescent Services office (located on 41st Street in Richmond), which is part of the Contra Costa Mental Health Department. Nancy enthusiastically told Club members about a special summer program that desperately needed financial support from outside organizations. The special program, “Kids Challenge”, is for more than a dozen local youth who come from severely disadvantaged home environments and suffer from low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, difficulties with socialization skills and many emotional and physical traumas. The program is based on the state of California’s “Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights”, which recommends a fundamental list of experiences that every child would benefit from (includes playing in a safe place, learning to swim, camping under the stars, exploring nature, playing on a team, etc.).At the end of Nancy’s short briefing, she said they were seeking $2,185.00 in financial support. Richard Poe then promptly spoke up and said he would write a check to cover the entire amount. Such amazing generosity! Thank you, Richard.
Groups of Richmond Rotarians at Gladstone Research Institute and San Francisco ZooLiliane Koziol receives Rotary awards

Richmond Rotarians made the rounds last month. A small group of them donned lab coats and toured the Gladstone Research Institute, on the Mission Campus of the University of California, San Francisco. There they learned about research techniques enabled by stem cell technology, the history of the Institute, and the impressive architecture and public art gracing the new campus.

Another group ventured to the San Francisco Zoo, where they exchanged views on live with lemurs and penguins. One of the critters, a sifaka, pleaded with Alan Blavins to take her home with him, or at least invite her as a guest to the next Rotary meeting. (Did someone say free lunch?) Alan resisted. (See photo.)

Both visits were Holiday Auction purchased by the biological studies-inclined among us.

Heading northward instead of westward, past president Liliane traveled to a Rotary conference in Woodland, California, to accept awards in three categories: Rotary International Presidential Citation with Distinction, Setting Strategic Goals to Engage Rotary, and Engagement in 5 Service Areas.

Congratulations, Liliane!


Happy and Sad Dollars

Norm’s Nonsense


Berkeley Lab Innovation Goes to Market

Tom Waller introduced Pam Seidenman from the UC Berkeley-based Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) or “Berkeley Lab”.

It’s generally well known that the City of Richmond has been selected as the proposed site for a second Berkeley Lab campus on the UC Berkeley’s Richmond Field Station property. This proposal has now become part of a broader concept to make the Richmond Field Station into a 40-year “Richmond Bay Campus” project, not unlike the UCSF “Mission Bay Campus”, which began in San Francisco about 15 years ago not far from the AT&T baseball park.

The program presentation at this July 11 meeting focused on Berkeley Lab’s technology transfer program.

Pam is the Business Development and Marketing Manager for the Lab’s newly re-named “Innovation and Partnerships Office” (IPO), formerly called the Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Management Office.

The IPO helps move technologies from the Lab to the marketplace to benefit society and the US economy by serving as a focal point to foster productive relationships between the Lab and the private sector. Technology licensing by industry startups or existing firms helps translate new discoveries into commercially viable products and processes. A private-sector company may also sponsor research at Berkeley Lab when capabilities and interests match.

There have been increasing efforts over the past 15 years to commercialize Berkeley Lab’s technology discoveries. An even more serious ramp-up in this regard is expected now that a new IPO leader was hired on June 9 and took on job responsibilities as Chief Technology Transfer Officer.

Pam reviewed some interesting success stories of Berkeley Lab’s tech transfer program in recent years. For example, the Quantum Dot technology developed by a Berkeley Lab startup named Nanosys and incorporated into color-enhancing QDEF (stands for Quantum Dot Enhancement Film) by 3M and Nanosys, will be used by computer maker Asus in its newest Notebook PC. QDEF offers 50 percent more color, greater energy efficiency, and more brightness than current electronic device displays.

For more information about Berkeley Lab’s tech transfer program, click here to check out their web site. At the top of that web page, you can click on a graphical image to the left or text to the right (“Available Technologies”) to more fully explore the technology categories open for licensing and research collaboration. Here are the eight main technology categories: Advanced Materials, Biofuels, Biotechnology and Medicine, Developing World, Energy, Environmental Technologies, Imaging & Lasers, Ion Sources and Beams, Nano- and Micro-technology, and Software and IT.

For the fledgling entrepreneurs among us (and/or friends and family), scroll to the bottom of that tech transfer web page and follow the link to “Berkeley Lab LaunchPad: Where Startups Take Off.” (And when you hit the big time, remember fellow Rotarians in your will.)

- Tom Waller, Rotating Scribe