Welcome Home, Herb Trachtenberg
-by Jim Hallett
It was Monday, August 26, 2019, and President Dave Gendron started us off as usual with a video, this time revealing what happens if you get too greedy and enter a black hole…..Chris Ullman quoted Alan Simpson (the former maverick senator from Wyoming):  “Those who travel the high road of humility in Washington DC are not bothered by heavy traffic.”…..(Whatever Dave and Chris were communicating got lost in my translation.)…..Loli Ramezani brought her daughter along with her, and Herb Trachtenberg returned into our midst and looked just fine……To enlist writers for this Bulletin, President Dave gave us the video example of Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford in All The President’s Men……Don Jung had a successful outing presenting his book at the Manhattan Beach Library.
Our special guest was Amani Tom from Congo, where he is a Rotarian.  Congo borders nine countries, which should enrich it, but the country is in “serious trouble” and Rotarians are spreading the word.  Most acutely, the Ebola outbreak is a spreading danger to Congo and the world, and Amani seeks help with health and education programs. 
Next up on President Dave’s video arcade was the Village People doing Y-M-C-A, with all of us standing and spelling out the letters.  All this was to introduce Steve MacAller, president of the Torrance/Del Amo Rotary Club and executive for the Torrance South Bay YMCA.  Steve told us that the YMCA has 21 million members in 120 countries.  Its mission is to put Judeo-Christian principles into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all (with emphasis on “for all”).  Our local branch serves 12,000 active local households, including 1400 volunteers with 50 full time and 310 part time staff, paying out $1.5 million annually in scholarships.  Senior citizen services include meals and even delivery of pet food.  Major focus items include youth, health and social responsibility.
Happy Dollars
John Acker’s dine-around drew thanks from Steve Murillo….John Osten’s son finished the Catalina Classic….Charlie Steinmetz described the working relationship between the Torrance VA and the Getty addressing PTSD….Dan Saks’ daughter started her Masters program as a nurse practitioner….Mike Matthews is back with school once again in session…..Lee Walker showered kudos upon President Dave and the President’s Reception…..Jim Hallett and his wife, Sue, have a new home in the La Cresta Highlands in the hills west of Temecula, but he is keeping his office, along with a small apartment, in Manhattan Beach and will continue to be an active member of this club.
Living Spaces
Grover Geiselman of Living Spaces shared the story of the development of his company.  He’s local, describing his family as a “Grand View Gator Family.”  In business school in the Bay Area, he interned with Jim McIngvele at Gallery Furniture in Houston, Texas (forever grateful, to this day Grover keeps his business out of “Mack’s” territory around Houston).  Grover and his partner wrote a business plan and opened their first store in Rancho Cucamonga, offering “huge selection, low prices, and same-day delivery.”  Success ensued, until the housing market fell.  Forced to be creative, he went against the grain and opened many more stores, spreading out costs.  In 2009 they started their own product lines—accent pieces, mattresses, and special order upholstery, all culminating in 2017 in their own manufacturing operation, with celebrity designers.  Currently they are addressing the retail experience, offering at their stores upscale food and play structures for the kids.  They now have 22 stores, with 6 more in development, in Texas and California, and are starting up nationwide delivery.  Philanthropy efforts include foster kids, veterans, and natural disasters.
Vocational Service
So we are starting to see what a President Dave meeting looks like.  He is setting a standard that even he cannot possibly live up to.  Or can he?  In addition to everything we’ve come to expect on Monday mornings, here’s what we got at this meeting:  Three entertaining videos.  Three compelling speakers.  And a continuing theme of the often-neglected Vocational Avenue of Service, in which we see how businesses develop into models of both success and service.  Suggestion: don’t miss a meeting.