The Surf Beat: May 1st, 2018

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May 1st, 2018 


President Elect Kevin Quinn called the meeting to order while President Trifiletti spent May Day – or International Workers Day – at work.

Invocation: Femi Cupit provided some inspirational thoughts – inspired by the Rotary of Austin, Texas, and finished with a Henry Ford quote “Coming together is the beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success.”

Pledge: Susan Guthrie

SongToday’s song was a fun rendition of “California Here I Come” led by Sally Fuller and Aaron Hoffman.


Lena Elliott announced that Orrin and Karen Gabsch will host an art viewing and reception in their home as a fundraiser for our club on May 20that 5:30pm. On display will be their extraordinary collection of Western Art.  This is an exclusive event and limited to 50 people.  It is the last time the collection will be on display in its entirety. Appetizers and wine will be served. The cost is $125 per person.  Contact Lena for details and to sign up.

Lena - western art announce

Rotary Welcomed:

guest Reid Westberg

Chuck Marsh brought his friend and skiing buddy Reid Westburg. Reid works for Qualcomm.



Cindy Goodman introduced our guest speakers, Martin Cooper and Arlene Harris. Cindy has been a friend and admirer of both for years. And rightfully so…they are amazing and accomplished people who happen to be married to each other. Cindy and Kevin Quinn presented them with Paul Harris pins for their contributions to the community and the world.

Wade Aschbrenner announced we will be conducting Rotary scholarship interviews with 20 students, representing all four La Jolla high schools, on May 12that the Berkshire Hathaway office.  Ask Wade for more information.

Bob Pecora

Bob Pecora gave an update on Stride Scholarships for Garfield High School students. Our club has given to this very worthwhile program for the last 15 years. This program awards “at risk” youth with scholarships of $1000 a year for college. Selected students show potential, but are at risk of graduating due to situations beyond their control – such as homelessness, teen pregnancies and other unfortunate situations. Our club gives 8-10 scholarships a year that have proven to make the tipping point for many now productive young people.  Bob will be bringing in a few students to talk more about this soon.  He is looking for volunteers for this Thursday, May 3rd.  Contact Bob for more information.

Ken King

Ken King announced the upcoming demotion party for President John Trifiletti. The party will be on the evening of June 26thand take the place of our regularly-scheduled noon meeting that day.

Kevin Quinn

Kevin Quinn announced that Laurnie Durisoe will be honored by the Salvation Army as a “Woman of Dedication” on May 30th during a luncheon. John Trifiletti has reserved a table for Rotary. Please let John know by May 10thif you would like to attend. Other reminders:

  • League House picnic will be August 12th – save the date.
  • Next Tuesday, May 8thwill be the Rotary Foundation meeting at La Valencia.
  • Our club’s board will meet tomorrow, May 2ndat AlphaCore at 6pm.

Kevin also praised Craig Schniepp for the RYLA student presentation last week, and made the observation that a consistent message with returning students is that the event is “life changing.”

SPEAKERS:Martin Cooper and Arlene Harris


Cindy Goodman introduced this week’s speakers. Martin Cooper conceived of the portable, cellular phone and led the team that created the first cell phone in 1973.  He has contributed to the technology of the wireless communications industry for over 60 years as an inventor, entrepreneur and executive.  He contributed to every significant advancement in wireless communications during his time, from the first car phones and radio pagers to the latest cellular generations and is known as the “Father of the Handheld Cellular Phone.”


Mr. Cooper was with Motorola for 29 years and was a division manager and served as Corporate Director of R&D. Subsequently he started several businesses.  He has received numerous degrees and awards throughout his illustrious career. A bust of Mr. Cooper will go into the Alexander Graham Bell Museum.

Arleene with Jitterbug phone

Ms. Harris holding the Jitterbug cell phone she co-created with Samsung

Arlene Harris has more than 40 years’ experience as an entrepreneur, board member, and investor in a number of successful companies in wireless related businesses. In 1994, Arlene founded SOS Wireless Communication that in 2006 became GreatCall.  She helped to launch its Jitterbug phone in partnership with Samsung, with the goal of creating a simple and personalized cell phone experience. Arlene has helped to launch numerous companies and products such as Verisign, Netcracker and more throughout her career.  She holds several patents, serves on many prestigious committees, and has been presented with numerous awards throughout her career.

Mr. Cooper spoke about the history of how the cell phone idea was started.  At that time, a very large company was working to expand its home telephone network and convince customers to use a phone while in the car. Mr. Cooper and his colleagues had a more expansive idea of not being trapped in their house or car to talk on the phone – but to have a worldwide network where they could use a phone anywhere.  He wanted something dramatic.

The larger and very powerful company sent hundreds of lobbyists to Washington to convince the SEC they were right.  His company decided to be radical and simply put these devices in the hands of people and let the revolution begin.  At that time the cell phone was the size of a brick and had about 20 minutes of battery life.  Mr. Cooper quipped that 20 minutes was about as long as you could hold the heavy phone.

Through communication and electronic payment mechanisms, he believes the cell phone has contributed to eliminating poverty for over 1 million people in Africa, helped doctors in Mexico to give medical attention to poor people in rural areas and many more benefits to people in need around the world.

He believes a further revolution is coming via cell phone in the areas of education and medicine.  He made the statement “We don’t have a healthcare system — but a sick care system”. He believes every disease is preventable if you catch it soon enough, and technology linked to cell phones can catch diseases before they become untreatable. Our children are born into this technology, which he believes will be how kids in the future learn about the world.  The old paradigm of sitting in a classroom learning reading, writing and arithmetic will be a thing of the past in the future.

Ms. Harris’ father was a mobile telephone entrepreneur in the 1950s in Los Angeles and liked to focus on things that had never been done before.  He ran the largest paging operation in the world during the 70s and knew of Mr. Cooper’s work at Motorola. Ms. Harris followed in his footsteps and had a vision of helping unserved markets and those struggling with the cell phone – such as the aging.  She asked the head of Samsung in Seoul, Korea to help her create a phone for seniors. Together they created the Jitterbug phone after realizing the smart phone was too complicated for our aging population. The Jitterbug is simple to use and is a perfect tool for the elderly who simply need to talk and perhaps text at a low cost.  Her vision is to treat people as individuals rather than the large corporate vision to treat everyone the same.  Her husband interjected that it was inspirational to see Ms. Harris (who doesn’t speak Korean) work with the CEO of Samsung Korea (who didn’t speak English) and together invent the Jitterbug.  Now that is collaboration.

Kevin Quinn ended the meeting with a quote from Indira Gandhi “My grandfather once told me that there were two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take credit.  He told me to try to be in the first group; there was much less competition.”


Do you play piano or keyboard?

Contact Pat Stouffer at


Surf Beat:

 Reported by Susan Rutan.  Photos By Susan Rutan and Diane Salisbury.  Edited by Diane Salisbury.

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Club Meetings Unless otherwise noted, all club meetings are Tuesday, 12:00 noon – 1:30 p.m. at La Valencia Hotel, 1132 Prospect St., La Jolla (Map)  Check out the Upcoming Guest Speakers on the Club Calendar


                      Upcoming Events

  • Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel
May 04, 2018 – May 06, 2018


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