Speakers / Programs
The Wednesday Noon meeting features a speaker, special presentation or event.  The Evening Group meets at alternative times with changing meeting formats.  The Rotary Club of Fort Collins strives to have the best speakers ranging from community leaders in politics, business, government, education to community service. We cover a diverse range of topics, both highly educational and highly entertaining. We use the RITE formula while selecting speakers. (Relevant, Informative, Timely, and Entertaining) Here are a few of our past programs to give you an idea of the exciting range of presentations.

If you or your group are interested in presenting, please contact us at programs@rotarycluboffortcollins.org 

Last week we were inspired by Niko Medved, CSU men’s basketball head coach.
First, those who coach to get the most wins alone will never be satisfied. Better to “grow young men”.
After his arrival, Coach Medved quickly realized that success for CSU basketball required getting back community support. His players and staff effectively connected with our community and last year sold out the last 5 games of the season (something never done here before).  From Coach’s office he could see students lining up 2 hours before games and developing a new “problem” of having to turn away students.
For our September 7 in-person Rotary meeting, long-time Rotarian Mike Sollenberger, along with Lori French, gave us an overview of the DMA Plaza and The Remington high-rise senior-living facility on Remington Street at Olive in downtown Fort Collins.  The DMA (previously the Downtown Marketing Association) is a non-profit organization that includes the DMA Plaza and The Remington under its wing.  Mike, a long-time member of our club, is the President of the Board of the DMA Plaza and Lori is the Executive Director of The Remington. 
Last week our featured speaker was Dr Dominik Stecula, Assistant Professor of Political Science at CSU. His talk was entitled Responsible Digital Citizenship in the Age of Information Disorder. What commonly is referred to as “fake news” is better described by the term Information Disorder. Based on the number of google searches the peak activity for disinformation was in 2015-2016, corresponding with the presidential election cycle. It has declined since. Today, the term “fake news” has become a partisan insult and has been appropriately replaced by terms such as “disinformation”.
Each year, our Rotary Club gives scholarships to a small number of students who are graduating from the Poudre School District and will be attending either Front Range Community College or Colorado State University.  For our in-person noon meeting on August 10th 2022, Robin Steele, Chair of our club’s Scholarship Committee (which includes 12 club members), summarized for us the criteria for selection of the students to be honored, the nature of the scholarships to be awarded, and the process of evaluating the potential recipients.  This was followed by a brief introduction of the scholarship recipients, several of whom attended the meeting. 
Club member (and resident advocate for peaceful relations) Bill Timpson, for our in-person meeting on August 3, presented detailed information about the UN-established University for Peace in Costa Rica and used that information as a base for talking about efforts toward peaceful relations in several other countries around the world as well as with ourselves, friends and colleagues.
Bob Meroney, an always entertaining and informative member of our club, brought us up to date on the “Hidden History of the Poudre River” for our in-person meeting at the Lincoln Center on July 27.  Bob started by comparing and contrasting what a visitor would have seen in the Fort Collins area 200 years ago vs today.  Although the nearby Front Range topography, the Poudre River, and the native vegetation would be much the same, the abundance of roads (especially paved and including I-25), the numerous gravel pits (now mostly admired ponds) and the astounding diversity of vegetation would be dramatically different.  Also different would be the population which has evolved dramatically in that time span, with the Apache tribes being replaced by the Comanche and Ute tribes, then by the Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes, all between around 1700 and 1870, before the arrival of any large numbers of white settlers.  Even within our lifetimes, the relatively new town of Fort Collins has exploded from about 35,000 people around 1970 to around 340,000 today. 
Last week our “surprise” speaker was Wally Van Sickle, wildlife biologist, conservationist, Rotarian, and founder of IDEA WILD.  His presentation was entitled PASSION to ACTION. He detailed his journey from Idea Wild’s founding in 1991 to the present. Its mission is to equip, empower, and activate the world’s most promising environmental leaders to grow and strengthen the movement to conserve the planet’s biodiversity.  Since the founding the organization has provided equipment to over 7400 individuals and 140 countries.

On June 15, for our last Zoom-only meeting of 2022, Noel Black introduced us to his audio podcast series, “Lost Highways”, documentaries from the History Colorado Center in Denver.  In his presentation, Mr. Black talked about the philosophy behind the podcast and used short clips from one of the podcasts (about Alan Berg) to summarize the processes, both technical and journalistic, that he and his team have to go through to produce each episode. Episodes are available on the History Colorado website at https://www.historycolorado.org/losthighways

Last week Ann Hutchison, President, and CEO of the Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce, spoke on the State of the Business Community in Ft Collins, 2022.  The Chamber is the third largest in CO with 1,100 members, a $2 million budget, 11 fulltime and parttime staff and continues to be a “5-Star Accredited Chamber” for the 4th year. Funding is solely from members (no city or county funds).

For our in-person meeting on March 30, Dave Costlow, Executive Director of the Colorado River Outfitters Association (CROA), gave us an overview of the river-rafting industry in Colorado and parts of the West, including the effects of the Covid pandemic on the industry.  Mr. Costlow started by pointing out that, although you might be able to find a float trip someplace like Missouri, you will only be able to find a real river rafting trip in Colorado and similar states in the West.  In order to demonstrate the scale of the industry in Colorado, he gave us some statistics about the industry in Colorado. 

Club member Martin Nelson, a retired geologist and amateur historian, gave us a presentation on the “Ludlow Massacre: Turning Point in US Labor Relations” for our March 23 meeting in person at the Lincoln Center.  In starting a talk about a labor strike and the management response to that strike, Martin pointed out that he had worked as a staff geologist at a mine at Park City where, during a strike there, he had been essentially a staff scab crossing the picket lines and that some of his relationships with the workers never recovered. 
Last week Brigadier General (BG) Scott Sherman updated the Club on the mission and current activity of our Colorado National Guard (CONG). The second part of his talk was, perhaps the most interesting, focused on the Colorado Guard’s partnerships (SPP) with the Kingdom of Jordan and the Republic of Slovenia.  BG Sherman is currently serving in the position of Director of Joint Staff for the Colorado National Guard. Governor Jared Polis is the Commander in Chief and BG Sherman serves under the Adjutant General of Colorado, BG Laura Clellan. 
Last week we had an update on the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado (CFNC) presented by the “new” CEO and President, Kristin Todd, who was accompanied by Ella Fahrlander, Chief Engagement Officer.  As most members are aware, the Community Foundation manages our club’s Legacy Funds (more than $700,000). The Foundation’s stated mission is to “Create transformational community impact by inspiring philanthropy and engaging the region” and their vision is “Creating Impact. Leaving Legacy”.