President-Elect Chris Krueger opened the meeting by asking Ray Smith to lead everyone present in singing "Home on the Range."  Wendell Jones offered the invocation and Jeanie Morgan led the Pledge of Allegiance.  The greeter for the day was Penny May.
Don LaBarge introduced his guest, Steve Jones from Seattle, Washington.  Penny May introduced our District Governor-Elect, Jim Erickson from the Superstition Mountain Club and Lee Holmes, an Assistant District Governor.  We had visiting Rotarians, Greg and Ann with us.  Greg is from Thailand.  Wendell Jones introduced his lovely wife, Carolyn.  Other guests present were Susan Taylor, Carein Mooney, and Princess Jennifer Lee from Nigeria.
Badge numbers 32, 36, and 28 were drawn with their owners not present to win. The $5 winnings were declared to roll over to the April 5 attendance drawing.  Steve Ross handled the weekly raffle.  Don LaBarge's guest drew Aubrey's ticket, so she won the weekly $50 pot, but after she drew the six of spades, everyone but Aubrey was glad the $1,161 pot will roll over and continue to grow. Steve then briefly explained the buck board and circulated it to sell additional squares.  
Carole Kralicek announced that she will be going to Canada for the summer.  Happy dollars were collected from John Pennypacker who was glad to be looking forward to a golf outing with his son and grandson.  Ray Smith was happy to report his family had welcomed their first great grandchild - a girl.  Pam reported that Chuck is doing well, and is mobile now.
A highlight of the day was the induction of two members by Lucinda General.  Both Immanuel Beeson and Bert Millett have been Rotarians in the past (Bert is a former member of Mesa West).  Because of their past experience, the induction was conducted in an interview style.  Following the interview, both new members were warmly welcomed to membership in the Rotary Club of Mesa West with a standing ovation.
  • April 13-14 Tree Planting project.  If you are available to help and have not yet signed up to do so, get in touch with Don LaBarge.  CLICK HERE to send Don an e-mail.
  • April 21 - C lub Leadership Academy.  This is for all Rotarians and incoming club leaders are strongly encouraged to attend there are over 40 breakout sessions to choose from.  Some offerings will also enhance professional and personal growth.  The Mesa West Board has approved paying the enrollment fee for any member who wishes to attend.  CLICK HERE to register.
  • April 25 - Sponsor Appreciation Event at the Arizona Museum of Natural History in downtown Mesa.  Members were encouraged to verbally invite anyone who they successfully solicited as a sponsor.  All sponsors will receive a mailed invitation.  Pam Cohen thanked Dan Coons for printing the invitations.
  • Members were reminded to turn in their club surveys at the meeting or drop them in the mail in the self-addressed envelope which was provided.
  • Steve Ross reminded members of the May 5 (Cinco de Mayo) Spring Olympics which will again be held at the home of John and Jane Benedict.
  • Our guest, Princess Jennifer Lee from Nigeria, said that Rotary has had a strong influence in her life.  Her father, who is now King, was first exposed to Rotary when he was a student at Oxford.  He could see that partnering with Rotary would be beneficial to his home country.  Princess Jennifer Lee is a business consultant.  She assists in negotiating deals that will be profitable for large companies investing in Nigeria, and the deals require 10% of profits to be invested back to benefit Nigerian communities.
Steve West introduced Mike Hutchinson from the East Valley Partnership.  Mike is a Senior Business Advisor, Steve serves on the Partnership board.
The East Valley Partnership is a regional coalition of community, business, educational and government leaders whose goal is to provide leadership and advocacy on critical regional issues, support economic development, and improve the quality of ife in the Phoenix East Valley geographic area.
Among the values that the coalition has to offer businesses they wish to attract are a young, talented and growing labor market (4% younger than national average).  The east valley also has excellent 8-12 schools and top rated universities and community colleges.  Other advantages are world class healthcare, high quality modern infrastructure, low cost of doing business, and high quality neighboring businesses that have already made the move.
Sizable and predictable population growth that will occur in the coming decades is already being considered in planning transportation infrastructure.  The Phoenix Gateway Airport provides a unique transportation advantage for the East Valley.
The partnership participates in events where interested individuals can learn more and get involved:
  • Governors Breakfast - held each January
  • Statepersons' Luncheon - held in early spring each year.  This year, it will be Friday, April 20 at EVIT Culinary Banquet Hall
  • Thought Leader Forum - held each year in late fall
Key focus areas for the partnership are advocacy for economic development and quality of life in the following areas:
  • Transportation and Infrastructure
  • Superstition Vistas (area of future growth and development on state lands located in the far east valley)
  • Education and workforce development
  • Aviation and aerospace
Working together, the municipalities in the Phoenix East Valley Partnership can accomplish more and benefit all.  A critical communication decision was made a few years ago to change the name to include "Phoenix" prior to "East Valley Partnership" to enable those seeing and hearing the name to readily make the geographic connection.
The partnership is an excellent illustration of collaboration and cooperation creating a fertile environment for winning outcomes.