Scottsdale Rotary Roundup

Scottsdale Rotary Roundup

Rotarians learn about America’s Friendliest Airport

By Dr. Honora Norton

The city of Phoenix’s Aviation Department Public Information Officer David Ramirez spoke to The Rotary Club of Scottsdale about Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, which was dubbed “America’s Friendliest Airport.”

Ramirez says the airport has an annual economic impact of more than $38 billion, and daily, more than 1,200 aircraft arrive and depart at Sky Harbor. In 2018, 45 million travelers came through the airport, compared to 1.6 million in 1965.

Recently, the airport underwent $27 million in upgrades within the international concourse in terminal four, the facility’s most-used terminal. Within terminal four are 30 new retail shops, a trip adviser center and an urgent care center.

By 2022, an eighth concourse will be finished with eight Southwest Airlines gates.

Ramirez also discussed new animal relief centers; cellphone lots; the airport’s sustainability turf project; recycling; solar energy; motorist services, valet and prepaid parking; customer service (the 400 “purple” navigators; the airport’s art museum; free Wi-Fi and charging stations; the USO VIP area in terminal four; airport tours and live music in concourses.

Also, during the meeting, club President Don Loose welcomed newest Rotarian, Kristina Knudsen of the Barrow Neurological Foundation; and congratulated Rotarian Douglass Snell for earning his blue membership badge.

Francis quizzes Rotarians about Arizona

Center for the Future of Arizona’s President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Sybil Francis visited the Rotary Club of Scottsdale to discuss the organization’s strategies, research, partnerships and key initiatives.

She says CFA brings Arizonans together to build a bright future for the state while impacting many students, teachers, education leaders, communities and industry partners engaged across the state in education and workforce initiatives. CFA measures the progress of jobs, education, young talent, health and well-being, natural resources, infrastructure, civic participation and connected communities within the state.

Prior to moving to Arizona in 2002, Francis worked for the U.S. House of Representatives and later worked for the White House in the science and technology field, she ws also part of the leadership team of Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, a small, private college in New York.

She serves on multiple boards and committees including The Nature Conservancy, Arizona Chapter, board of trustees; Expect More Arizona Statewide Advisory Council, and Arizona Business and Education Coalition Board of Directors.

She is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Francis helped found and is co-chairwoman of the ASU Foundation’s Women and Philanthropy program. She earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Oberlin College and her Ph.D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In addition to her leadership role with the Center for the Future of Arizona, Francis helps her husband, ASU President Michael Crow, forge connections between the university and the community.

During her talk, Francis addressed questions about teacher unions and employer needs. She also discussed school initiatives that are not in sync and the need for cooperation between schools and local leadership groups, such as Rotary and chambers of commerce.

During the meeting, Rotarians Cary and Susan Silverstein were honored with Paul Harris pins in recognition of their continued financial support of Rotary International Foundation.

Sponsored by Rotarians Lance Davidson and Richard Signeski, Kevin Maldonado was welcomed as the club’s newest member. Gretchen Kinder received her blue club membership badge in recognition of completing required new club member assignments.

Harris discusses Science Foundation Ireland

Dr. William Harris of Scottsdale-based Science Foundation Arizona discussed his time as director-general of Science Foundation Ireland, a new Irish agency helping to facilitate growth in Ireland’s research and development.

Before heading to Ireland, Harris was vice president of research and professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of South Carolina, where he oversaw research activities.

Harris served at the U.S. National Science Foundation from 1978 to 1996. During his time there, he was responsible for federal grants appropriation of $750 million. He also established 25 science and technology centers to support investigative, interdisciplinary research by multi-university consortia. Earlier in his career, he catalyzed the Research Experience for Undergraduates program in the chemistry division and it became an NSFwide activity.

During his talk, Harris referred to Jonathan Gruber and Simon Johnson’s book “Jump-Starting America,” which reflects upon a visionary plan that will lead to job growth and a new American economy in places now left behind.

For more information about the Rotary Club of Scottsdale, call 480-945-6158 or visit