Outstanding line-up of Rotary speakers

Norm Noble

On Tuesday, May 1, Ben Braker will talk about life as a U.S. Border Patrol Agent – something he has done for over 12 years. For the first seven years as an agent, he spent his days on horseback on the Horse Patrol Unit. He patrolled the most remote and rugged portions of the border the old-fashioned way. He says, “After riding a horse for so long, I hung up my spurs and began riding a desk on the Border Community Liaison Unit.” With this unit, he spent four years promoting the Border Patrol to organizations like Rotary, teaching Citizens’ Academies and recruiting new agents. He is currently assigned to the Common Operating Picture unit, where they remotely patrol the border by way of radar and camera technology. He adds, “You might say I have gone from the limelight to the low light, as I now sit in a cool, dark office monitoring cross-border activity on a computer screen.”

On Tuesday, May 8, James Willettes will share insights into the network of 22 non-profit Shriners’ medical facilities across North America. For 27 years, Willettes has been a member and officer in the Sun Lakes Shrine Club. In 2002, he was Potentate (CEO) of the El Zaribah Shriners, Phoenix. (El Zaribah is said to be translated into “Hunter’s Paradise.”) He retired in 1991 as Senior Vice President/Chief Administrative Officer with Wells Fargo Mortgage.

On Tuesday, May 15, Doug Nick, the Assistant Communications Director for Customer Outreach of the Arizona Department of Transportation, will talk to the club about customer service improvements being made by the Motor Vehicle Division. This impacts all of us and should prove interesting.

Nick joined ADOT in 2016 but has worked for the State of Arizona in similar positions since 2003. He has also worked for several elected officials, and in a misspent youth, he says, was a radio newsman in Phoenix.

On May 22, Ellie Casson will tell the club about the recent developments of Self Driving Cars. Casson is the Head of Local Public Policy for Waymo (formerly the Google Self Driving Car Project). Waymo is an autonomous car development company and subsidiary of Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc. Google had begun testing the self-driving car project in 2009. Alphabet describes Waymo as “a self-driving tech company with a mission to make it safe and easy for people and things to move around.” The new company is working towards making self-driving cars available to the public soon. The company plans that “[its] next step will be to let people trial fully self-driving cars to do everyday things like run errands or commute to work.”

The Rotary Club of Sun Lakes meets for breakfast every Tuesday morning at 6:30 a.m. in the Oakwood Country Club Ballroom. The meetings start at 7:00 a.m. and end promptly at 8:00 a.m. Cost of breakfast is $13. To make reservations for any meeting, contact Peter Meade at 480-600-2458. For Sun Lakes residents, if you want to know more about the club, contact Charles Loew at 602-721-3680. SunBird residents should contact Walt Mills at 480-883-8007. See more about the club at www.sunlakesrotary.com.