Gwen Allen welcomed members and guests as they joined the Zoom meeting.
President Joel Ivy opened the meeting. Mayor Bill Mutz led the invocation, pledge, and Four-Way Test.
Amanda Walls handled introduction of visiting Rotarians and guests. Joe Xanthopoulos was a guest of Don Selvage, and Irma Cole was a guest of DG Mark Scolnick. Our visiting Rotarian was Doug McCall from the Rotary Club of Wallasey, England.
President Joel called for Happy Dollars, and it was a very happy group indeed! Brenda Ramirez was happy for all the love she received from Leadership Lakeland Class XXXVI (Greatest Class Ever) via a drive-by “sprinkle” for Baby Ramirez that is due in March. Don Selvage made his annual contribution to the Rotary Foundation and was happy for his mentor who introduced him to Rotary; he also encouraged us each to try to bring one guest per year. Melody Rider was happy that the e-sports program at Keiser University is starting this year. Alice Hunt was happy because she began her new position with Congressman Scott Franklin, and her office is across the hall from Don Selvage. She was also happy because Congressman Franklin will recognize our own Doug Riley on the House floor for his being named Florida Fire Chief of the Year. Tammi Crotteau was happy because of the renovation progress at Magnolia Montessori School. Gwen Allen was happy that The Forum at SEU will be a virtual event this year that is broadcast nationally (and for free). Michelle Ledford was happy to announce that it is time for MADE Brand’s annual Brandathon, and invited anyone who knows of a 501(c)(3) that could benefit to apply. Last, but not least, Mark Scolnick was happy to remind us of the District event occurring that evening highlighting the Honduras project.
Scott LaRonde then announced that, due to COVID, the 5K event will not occur this year. Instead, it is going to be a pure fundraiser to support the parks. Long-sleeve dry fit race shirts will be on sale for $15, and shirt sponsorships are available for $100.  You can buy a shirt or a shirt sponsorship via link on the Club’s website.
Matt Schichtel announced that Spring Obsession is on March 13, 2021 at Lake Crago Park. The committee is still seeking sponsors and volunteers. Please like and share the Spring Obesession page on Facebook.
Jack Lowman announced there is going to be a club fellowship event on Thursday, February 18 at The Joinery starting 5:15 PM. Plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, everyone can grab a drink and a small bite, dinner, or ice cream. Hope to see many there!
President Joel Ivy then made a very special announcement of the Club’s President Elect-Elect for the 2022-23 Rotary year. This person grew up in Northeast Ohio and enjoyed camping, boating, and riding bikes with friends. This person was at times a Viking, a Redskin, a Redhawk, and a Zip. This person has led Bible studies at church, but has given up on Nate Dunham. This person volunteered as tutor to refugees from Kosovo while studying abroad and on the board of a non-profit dedicated to assisting victims of domestic violence. This person graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration and a juris doctor, both magna cum laude. This person lives in south Lakeland with a spouse, a 13 year old daughter, and a 9 year old son. This person has served the club as a Board member, chair of Spring Obsession, and Communications Chair. This person practices corporate law with an emphasis on management-side labor and employment matters as a Senior Attorney at Peterson & Myers. The President Elect-Elect is Amanda Walls.
President Elect-Elect Amanda stated that she is grateful for the opportunity to lead this Club. She stated that Rotary helped her to feel at home when she moved to Lakeland. She looks forward to coming alongside President Elect Nate Dunham to reboot post-COVID, and plans to lean in to diversity, refocus the Club’s commitment to service, and reconnect more Club members to the District, Zone, and greater Rotary International community.
President Joel then introduced himself as the speaker on Lakeland Electric – Next Gen and 5 Year Outlook. Lakeland Electric has been using a long term strategic plan that began in 2014. Technologies are maturing at a fast rate and Lakeland Electric is committed to being strategic in optimizing infrastructure and technology. He provided details about the decommissioning of Unit 3 and plans for replacing that generation in the near and long term. He shared that over the next 5 years Lakeland Electric will focus on its annual strategic planning including NextGen and succession planning, a carbon policy, and emerging technology. He reminded us all that, “with great power comes a greater power bill.”
Next week, Stacy Campbell-Domineck will give us a presentation on Black History Month.