The Flywheel

This Week's Program: August 14th, 2009

Senator Loni Hancock

Senator Loni Hacock

Note the change of venue:
This meeting begins at 11:30 PM, at the
Craneway Pavilion, Ford Point.
Lunch will be $35.

State Senator Loni Hancock will discuss the state's current (and cyclical) budget woes. This special event is hosted by the Richmond Chamber of Commerce.

Richmond Rotarians will also seize the occasion of this meeting to honor Past President Elof Granberg on his 90th birthday. We urge all Rotarians and spouses to join this celebration, especially old timers (you know who you are) around in the early 1960s.

Werner Schwarz and Elof's son gathered together their memories to write this tribute:

Elof Granberg at 90 Years – The American Dream

Elof Grandberg
  • Canadian Immigrant
  • World War II Hero
  • Entrepreneur
  • Inventor
  • Rotarian

Born in Sweden on August 17, 1919 to an established farming family near Umea, immigrated to Saskatchewan, Canada in 1927 where his family homesteaded the untouched northern prairie. Growing up, he learned the value of hard work, and like most farm workers he learned to solve problems with limited resources. In June 1941, Elof joined the “Regina Rifles” regiment and after basic training left for England. He landed with his regiment on Juno Beach, France - D-Day 1944, near Calais, France. He served until 1945, receiving five medals and attaining the rank of sergeant. He continues to attend the 5 year regimental reunions as one of only 50 surviving veterans of the Regina Rifles D-Day invasion.

After 10 years working in British Columbia as a farmer, rancher, logger and mill worker he moved with his wife and family to California in 1955. While logging in British Columbia he designed his first of many tools, a unique sharpening tool for chainsaws called the File-n-Joint. He moved to California with the hope of producing this tool. Within a year he was marketing his first product. This was followed by a total of 26 different tools and 12 patents most of which are still in production today. In addition, while in “retirement”, he designed, patented and sold a high quality hydraulic traction device . His companies, Grandberg Industries and Grandberg International have employed hundreds of people in its 50 years of operation and still is producing high quality American made tools.

In 1960, Elof was asked to join the Rotary Club of Richmond, California with the Classification “Manifacturing: Mill Machine”. He served as club President 1972-1973; received the Rotary Foundation Paul Harris Fellow award. He has chaired many committees and supported local, vocational, community and international projects.


Last week's MEETING: August 7th, 2009

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

  • Vice President Alan Baer welcomed the group in President Glenn Daggs’ stead.
  • Jerrold Hatchett led the pledge.
  • Herb Cole provided the invocation and a thought, a poem provided by our own Jon Nicol about a poker “hand”.

Rotarians with Guests

  • Eric Gavidia brought a young man named Taylor, whom he assured us would be a future Rotarian.
  • Jerrold Hatchett bought his boss Steve.
  • Rafael Madrigal brought Richmond Firefighter Captain Liz De Dios and Oakland Firefighter Jeff Hunter.
  • Don Hardison brought his “wonderful cook” of 67 years.
  • Werner brought Major Kip Witter of the Richmond/El Sobrante Salvation Army, as well as his “first wife”.
  • Jim Young’s guest was Drew Ciocca.


  • Rafael Madrigal reminded everyone again to come see the Oakland A’s get blown out by the first place Detroit Tigers on Saturday, August 22. The entry fee includes all you can eat food and a great fireworks display!
  • Hank Covell announced another Masquers evening at the Hotel Mac on Thursday, 9/17/09, which will be a British comedy called “Hoot”. $45 per person.
  • Major Kip Witter announced this year’s back to school student shopping spree at Target on Tuesday, August 11 at 8:00 am, at the Fitzgerald Shopping Center.
  • Just-retired Past President Mark Howe received his Paul Harris plus 2.

    Way to go, Mark.

Happy and Sad Dollars

  • Jon Lawlis was happy to have hiked up and back down the top of a mountain in Colorado.
  • Mark Howe had missed some meetings because there were no Rotary clubs at see, but was happy to be back.
  • James Beaver was happy to see Jerrold Hatchett and to finally give him the pens he purchased in the Rotary Auction… last year!
  • Rafael Madrigal was happy to see Bob Dabney and was happy for the great letter to the editor Bob had written to the Times.
  • Jerrold Hatchett was happy to finally have received his auction pens and also because of a good business meeting the evening before.

Norm's Nonsense

Take my wife, please ...
- A husband and wife are asleep at 2 am when the phone rings. The husband picks it up and says "Hello ... How should I know? What am I, the weather bureau?"
"Who was that?" asks his wife.
"Some jerk wanted to know if the coast was clear."

Raffle Results

Jon Nicol drew the white ball



“Damn the Torpedoes, Full Speed Ahead!”Boys drinking water

Paul Levitan, CEO of Richmond’s own Galaxy Deserts, returned to our club after having spoken 3 years prior, to discuss how his company’s strategic planning has enabled the company to continue to remain strong despite the economic downturn. Galaxy Deserts started out in a small space in San Rafael in 1998, and has since, as Jim Young put it, “taken off like a moon rocket” after moving to Richmond. The company really took off when Oprah found them in the Sonoma Catalogue and made them one of her “favorite things” four different years. The company has now expanded to all 50 states, as well as South Korea, and has supplied major companies including Target, Starbucks and Trader Joes.

To survive the economic downturn the company had to freeze the raises of all salaried employees (all of whom get health benefits), though bucked the trend and did not have to layoff any of its 300 employees, most of whom reside in Richmond. Paul credits his being in the “food business” as being fortunate in this economy, as it is not quite as susceptible to fluctuations. He advises other business owners not to get too paralyzed by bad news, which will drive you to drink, and to always have a Plan B. In fact, he advises when Plan B is used, you better have a Plan C, etc. Not only was Paul a delightful and informative guest, but some sweet-toothed Rotarians helped themselves to the delicious looking individual-sized desserts Paul brought as samples.

- Rotating Scribe, Josh Surowitz