(The following narrative is a continuation of a series of how a member was introduced to Rotary and subsequent memories. If you would like Rotary to be part of your life's story, please contact Joyce Cave at caveclan@yahoo.com.)
Jim Goell
Member Since December 4, 2013
March, 2021
Most of my active career has been spent as a microwave engineer working on the introduction of Fiber Optics for communication. When I began, few people thought Fiber Optics would amount to anything. Communication with light years beyond people’s imagination. Today, we would not have the internet or low-cost phone and CATV transmission without it. 
Initially, there were a few investors and scientists who thought Fiber Optics would be an overnight success. Thus, boom and bust cycles ensued where companies would invest and later terminate the work because success did not come fast enough. Staying at the forefront of the field required that I move quite frequently. For this  reason, I started my career on the east coast, worked my way west to Los Angeles via Roanoke, Virginia, and then moved east to Lexington, Massachusetts via Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  In 2013, I moved here with Tammy, my wife of 53 years, to be close to my son Ric and the two of his four children who were finishing high school. My alternatives were staying in Lexington, Massachusetts or moving to Atlanta where my daughter Lisa lives. Climate and proximity to the company in Los Angeles where I was consulting were the deciding factors.
After moving to Foster City, I reconnected with Nancy Gordon, a Rotary club member who was in my class at Scarsdale High School in New York. Nancy had recently joined the Club and on the Membership committee; she is the one who introduced me to the club. Early in my career I was highly active in my community serving as the Vice President of the board of the 10th  largest school system in NJ, a member of the Jaycees, an organization with similar goals to those of Rotary, and Chair of the town’s Human Rights Commission. More recently I was treasurer of two networking groups, one with quite a large membership. My goal was to become an active member of the community again, rather than just living here.
When Bob Caplan asked, I became Temporary Secretary of the club to fill in for May Matos who had to take time off for personal reasons. Later, when May ultimately retired, I became Secretary. In addition to Board Meeting minutes, the Secretary’s job includes maintaining membership records for the Club, District, and RI. This involves a lot of computer data entry. Having many years of computer experience made the work a lot easier, but it is still very time consuming. In addition to Bob Caplan, I served under Cyndy Simms, Rick Wykoff, Mark Watson, and Mary Lou Griffin. They were all great Presidents, adding successful years and winning many awards. Each had their own styles and focus. It is interesting that style and focus does not determine success as much as do hard work, enthusiasm, and commitment.  Rotary seemed like a great opportunity. And it was. It gave me a chance to meet many people including members of our local government, learn what is going on in the City, and to contribute. You always get more out of an activity if you put more into it. I found holding an office is the best way to meet club members, and to become familiar with club objectives and operations.
Having spent much of my career as a leader, I decided that in Rotary I would focus on being a worker. Among other things, I worked the summer concerts, spaghetti feed, pancake breakfast, Samaritan house dinners, and other events. When COVID-safety allows, I plan to restart those activities. One of my major activities is leading the High School, College and Adult school scholarship programs. I think this work is particularly important because it encourages students to undertake community service and promotes our Club. The work includes coordinating with the school professionals, managing the refereeing process for the High School scholarships, and participating in the award presentations. The refereeing effort includes getting the applications from the schools, distributing them to the referees, and based on their inputs, selecting the winners.
One of my projects was to simplify the process of producing the club directories by generating the content directly from the membership data base. I also led the effort to revise the Bylaws. It took a lot of effort to reconcile the views of 75 people, history, and reality but eventually the new by laws were approved by the Club. Changes included greater flexibility in modifying rules to allow alternate meeting locations and formats, authorized corporate membership, satellite clubs and sponsorship, more detail in the new member process, and better organized and clearer definitions. 
I believe Rotary is a great asset to Foster City. We contribute labor and/or money to the summer concerts, school scholarships, Scouts, and many other worthy causes. Of course, donating funds requires fund-raising. Our fund raisers are designed to interest a wide range of people in the community.  
2020 was not a good year for me. My wife of almost 60 years passed away, my son moved to Carlsbad, and I was limited in what I could do because of the pandemic. Rotary was a great help. In many ways, Rotary has become part of my immediate family. I look forward to working events again when COVID-19 is behind us