June 2, 2008 Rotogram


Our guest today is Freddie Rasberry, executive director of the local Habitat for Humanity Chapter. He’ll report on the three homes currently in final stages of construction and the families who will become homeowners.


Next week, former Rotarian Kirk Shulz will be our speaker. The Vice President for Research will give us an update on the comprehensive and varied research programs at Mississippi State University.


Attendance: There were 115 members (77 active, 37 exempt, 1 honorary) present and 66 members  (57 active, 19 exempt, and 7 honorary) missing. Membership is now 198. We didn’t meet last week (Memorial Day).

Invocation and Pledge: Harold Knight

Guests: Guests were Gary Windham of Mark Guyton; Joe Geddie of Kim Richardson; Kara Templeton of Chip Templeton; Wheeler Richardson of Lynne Richardson; and Club guests Lance Walters (PACCAR), Claude Campbell (American Legion), Paul Sims (Starkville Daily News), and Skip Descant (Columbus Commercial Dispatch).

Makeups: John Simpson logged two makeups – West Point and Columbus; Martha Wells made up in Whistler, Canada; Dennis Truax made up on line.

Rotary Support for Boys’ State: President Ned Browning presented a check for $250 to Claude Campbell of American Legion Post 13. This represents a full scholarship to this year’s Boys’ State for Graham Oakley, a student at Starkville Academy. Campbell said the Post has selected seven Starkville students tor the American Legion sponsored program in government and leadership – four from Starkville High School and three from Starkville Academy.

Rotary Minute: Bill Foster’s minute focused on membership growth and membership retention.  Bill asked for a show of hands of those Rotarians who remembered who proposed them for membership. Nearly every hand went up. He got a similar response when he asked how many with more than 5 years of membership remembered who was president the year we became Rotarians. The point:

“Let’s each one of us propose a new member and make a friend for life!”

Meeting Notes: President Ned thanked Larry Mullins for hosting the Club’s new leadership team (officers, board members, and committee chairs) for the cookout at his home Monday evening, May 12.

Roy Ruby came up with another gem for his Absolutely Nothing to do About Rotary Minute.


In what might have been titled “Everything You Wanted to Know About PACCAR and Were Afraid to Ask,” Plant Manager Les Lemmers told Rotarians about his company and the new engine plant currently under construction east of Starkville.

Possibly no more than a handful of Rotarians had heard of PACCAR before the global leader in the manufacture of heavy over-the-road trucks selected the 400-acre site between Highway 82 and GTR Airport for its new engine manufacturing plant.  The company manufactures Peterbilt, Kenworth, and DAF heavy (over-the-road), medium, and light  trucks. Home-based in The Netherlands, the company has a number of assembly and parts plants in Western Europe, United States, Canada, and Australia. It currently has more than 21,000 employees worldwide.

This plant will manufacture diesel engines for all the North American assembly plants and possibly ship some to overseas factories if the exchange rate indicates profitability.

Lemmers said the site here was selected for several reasons. It is centrally located in relation to the company’s North American operations. The strong educational environment created by both MSU and EMCC is of major  importance. He also said there exists a strong work ethic in the region.

Ground was broken last July and the new facility has been rapidly taking shape. He said the steel work has been completed and the 420,000 square foot building, clearly visible from Highway 82, is now being boxed in.  Fronting the factory on the north will be buildings housing a café, offices, a 100-seat auditorium, and eventually, a research and development center. The Mississippi operation will have the company’s third engine test facility (the other two are in Endhoven, Netherlands and Mt. Vernon, Washington).

The company has already been hiring floor workers and plans to start manufacturing in 2009 with a work force of 200, which is expected to grow to 500 or more. The major product will be a 12.9-litre diesel engine developed in Europe and adapted for the U.S. market in 2010 when new emissions standards go into effect. Lemmers described it as very fuel efficient.

PACCAR plans to introduce a hybrid truck to the market  this summer. Designed for use in larger cities, the truck will operate on part diesel/part electric power.

Lemmers shared a number of statistics about PACCAR. He said the company has a record of 69 consecutive years of net profit. In 2007, it showed a net profit of $1.2 billion on gross sales of $15.2 billion.  It has averaged a 22.7% shareholder return over the past 10 years.

The market share has changed since 1997. In that year, 57% of the trucks were sold in the U.S. and 29% went to European countries. Last year, 41% of the sales were in Europe, 36% in the U.S., and 23% in the rest of the world.

The company’s market share of heavy duty trucks has increased every year since 1997.  It has also seen an increase in market share of medium duty trucks.

PACCAR’s financial division earned $284 million pre-tax income last year.

It has been recognized with a long list of awards, with it’s DAF XF 105 being named international truck of the year three years in the last ten.

All of PACCAR’s manufacturing facilities have been recognized for environmental excellence. The company’s goal is zero waste to landfill. It has increased use of returnable containers by 60%, and Lemmers said PACCAR vehicles are 80% recyclable.

Lemmers concluded by listing a number of the company’s goals. These include balanced global diversification, innovative technology, strong supplier partnerships, excellence in customer support, a strong dealer network,  rigorous cost control, and experienced management teams.

Lemmers said the company is committed to being a good corporate citizen  in all the communities where its plants are located, and they are looking forward to establishing good relationships in Starkville and throughout the Golden Triangle Region. Andy Gaston introduced the program.


Brian Portera has been approved  for membership by his father-in-law George Sherman and assigned the classification of Insurance. If no objections are filed by next Monday, June 9, he will be considered elected to active membership.


The Board of Directors has accepted with regret, the resignation of Sandy Ramsey, a member since 2000.


Fourteen Rotarians will be celebrating birthdays this month. They are Robin Fant, Bill Fox, Paul Jacob, W.C. Johnson, Sonny Kelly, Steve Langston, Olin McBride, Jim McReynolds, John Stuart Moore, Melanie Mitchell, Debbie Nettles, Donna Reese, Nellah Taylor, and Steve Taylor.
Happy Birthday!

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