July 14, 2008 Rotogram

OCH: Health Care in our Community

Oktibbeha County Hospital is today’s program topic as Rotarian “Sonny” Kelly,  hospital CEO, reports.


Hank Bounds, Mississippi’s superintendent of education, highlights the state’s schools status next week.


Invocation and Pledge: Omis Avant

Attendance: There were 120 members (40 exempt) present , and 79 (17 exempt, 7 honorary) absent.

Guests and Visitors: Guests of members were Arma Salazar and Greg Word of  Kim Richardson, Bobby Harper of Frank Chiles, David Jackson and John James of Andy Gaston, and Mike Knight of Stu Vance. Guests of the Club included Audrey Elliott and Earl Walker of America Eurocopter, Paul Sims of the Starkville Daily News, and R.H. Brown of WCBI-TV.

New Member: Tammy Tyndall was welcomed to her first meeting as a Rotarian.

Rotary Minute: President Chip inaugurated his year of leadership with a “Rotary half-minute” introducing the RI 2008-2009 theme of “Make Dreams Real.” He promised a full report of his Rotary International meeting at a later date.

Kudos: President Chip noted recent accomplishments of several Rotarians:

  • Sonny Kelly is the Mississippi Hospital Association’s Grass Roots Champion.
  • George Sherman has been appointed a Bank First director.
  • Bill Ford’s Assured Revenue Corp. has rolled out its new DoorSwap Web-based property management software.
  • Jean Amos Faver and Michelle Amos of Coldwell Banker SRE Realtors once again provided citywide flag displays for Independence Day.


In its first four years, American Eurocopter’s Golden Triangle plant has tripled in size, quadrupled its staffing and established itself as a global center of excellence.

Referring to the new Rotary International theme, Marc Paganini, the company’s president and CEO, told the Club that the Golden Triangle Regional Airport facility is a “dream made real.”

Since the 2002 announcement of plans for a manufacturing, assembly and customization center, the 40 acre site has become EADS North America’s primary center for outfitting and completing helicopters sold to U.S. local and federal government agencies, and for American homeland security missions.   The plant was established as the worldwide center of excellence for Eurocopter’s  re-engining and modernization work on the global fleet of AS365 Dauphin/Dolphin helicopters primarily used by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Following a June 2006 contract award, the GTR plant became the production center for the Army’s Lakota light utility helicopter. In 2007, Eurocopter delivered 2 UH-72A craft each month. The 2008 goal is an average of three per month from the local assembly line.

The current workforce of 173 employees is expected to grow to 350 at the peak of production of as many as 345 Lakotas.

Key to the company’s selection of the Golden Triangle site was the area’s rich aviation heritage. Mississippi State University’s aerospace engineering expertise exemplified by the Raspet Flight Research Laboratory, and the Columbus Air Force Base are major draws.

American Eurocopter aircraft comprise 55 percent of the U.S. air medical service fleet. In 2007, the business accounted for 78 percent of the civil medevac helicopters delivered in the U.S.

EADS, American Eurocopter’s parent company, is second only to Boeing in aircraft production revenue, bringing in $56.7 billion in 2007.

Producing the largest range in sizes of civilian and military helicopters, Eurocopter  accounts for half of the helicopters sold worldwide.

The company has 14,000 employees, 2694 customers with more than 10,000 helicopters in 142 nations.

With a long tradition from the first turbine helicopter to the first full composite fuselage and Fly-by-Wire controls, American Eurocopter has set many technology benchmarks.

Responding to a question about the effect of current fuel prices, Paganini said the company already had begun addressing fuel efficiency and environmental issues.

Engine, frame and aerodynamic advances along with weight reduction should deal with noise and emissions, and should moderate fuel consumption. Eurocopter’s goal is a 50 to 60 percent fuel use reduction within the next decade.

Improvements also should result in minimizing chemical byproducst.

Introducing the Eurocopter CEO, Rotarian Terry Kemp noted that Paganini is a Bulldog having been the first non-alumnus of MSU appointed to the Bagley College of Engineering advisory board.

Capping a career with a number of aerospace and aviation finance companies, Paganini joined EADS in 1999. He is located at the American Eurocopter headquarters in Grand Prairie, Tex.

Literacy Pledge

Upon receiving his note signifying the Club’s literacy project donation in the speaker’s name, Paganini returned to the lectern and pledged to commit his company’s financial support. He stressed that a skilled and educated populace is crucial to business success. We look forward to a partnership with such a good corporate citizen

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