Gary Hoover, Million Ideas & Future of Austin

Posted by on Tuesday, April 11th, 2017 in Blog

Reported by Phil Thoden

President Dale Lowe called the Rotary Club of Austin (RCA) meeting to order. Phil Thoden led the pledges and Past President Don Ray George gave the invocation of the day. Justin Deming led us in saying The Four Way Test. Myron Burse served as greeter and Margaret Curtis introduced the large number of guests and visitors.

President Lowe, with assistance from Michael Portman, presented Paul Harris Fellowship Awards to Elliot Flick, Maddie Kadas, Stuart Shaw and Don Tompkins (PHF+5). Thank you and congratulations!

Ellen Hunt and Luma Jaffar provided an Iraqi Children’s Fund Grant update, noting that our support has helped over 50 children last month alone, many of who had been unfairly jailed on unproven charges. Also, our El Salvador grant is almost finalized and awaiting Rotary International approval.

Melissa Muckenthaler reminded everyone about the Fulmore Interact Club’s International Service Project which is a collection of items that will be sent to children in San Pedro de las Anonas en Cuidad Valles, Mexico. This is the final week for donations.

President Lowe reminded everyone about the Breakfast Cluster meeting on April 12 at Magnolia Café. He also noted there is a sympathy card to sign for Michael Abelson whose father recently passed away.

Michael Portman led the Thank Goodness Basket and thanked everyone who attended the recent wine tasting social event at his home. Also:

  • Margaret Curtis announced she is organizing a Rotarian social event for the under 40 crowd
  • Vlad Bahrencu thanked everyone for their support for his young family during this difficult post-birth time. Then Barry Curlee asked Club members to step up and help Vlad via an upcoming tennis fundraiser or direct contribution on his GoFundMe page
  • Proposed member Lois Ann Stanton from Beaumont said she is looking forward to joining our Club soon
  • Rick Romito, a frequent guest of Luma Jaffar, said he is proud to announce she is now a partner at his architecture firm
  • Rick Ravel informed us that his granddaughter now has a driver’s license
  • Ellen Hunt is proud of her daughter who will attend UT Southwestern Medical School this Fall
  • Ann Graham welcomed her guest, Sylvia Holmes, who is also a graduate of Camp Enterprise

President Lowe then called upon Past President Mary Bird Bowman to tell us what she enjoys most about Rotary. She said she has been a member since 1987 and that the Club is a lot of different things to different people at different times, but we are always here as part of the world community.

Past President Gaines Bagby then introduced our speaker Gary Hoover who is a well-recognized entrepreneur in Austin who founded (and sold) BOOKSTOP as well as Hoovers, the largest Internet-based provider of information about enterprises. Gary provided an informative and entertaining overview of his business career and expectations for the future of Austin. He recently spoke on this topic for SXSW attendees as well.

He noted that Austin is still fundamentally a suburban community as, despite the recent growth of downtown living options, there are only 20,000 people living in the Central Business District. Also, he expects our region to continue growing thanks to a good business and government climate, as well as the benefit of air conditioning that keeps us cool in our hot climate.

He expects Austin and San Antonio to gradually merge together in the next 30 to 40 years, while smaller communities (such as Blanco, Taylor and Bastrop) will see more growth soon as our population expands from Austin and neighboring communities into those more rural areas. He also left 10 minutes of time to field questions from the audience on a variety of topics.

Gary noted he had spoken to our Club before way back in the 90s, and is now joining the Club in his new home of Flatonia. Congratulations Gary! Next week our meeting will feature the RCA Scholarship Awards presentations.

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