Job growth and prosperity in Lakewood, plus two new members.
Notes from the Dec. 22, 2021 meeting of
The Rotary Club of Clover Park
recorded by Tom McClellan
The meeting started with some inspirational thoughts from Jeannie Hill, who first noted that today’s date of 12/22/21 is a numerical palindrome (the same backward and forward).  It should be noted that so were December 1 and December 11.  We won’t see another such palindromic date until Dec. 33rd.
“If we focus too much on ourselves, we’ll not be happy, whereas to concern ourselves with the well-being of others is the gateway to great joy. If we’re really serious about happiness, we need to open our hearts and focus on others as well as ourselves.”  - - - Dalai Lama
“Santa Claus is anyone who loves another and seeks to make them happy; who gives of himself by thought, or
word, or deed in every gift he bestows.”  - - - Edwin Osgood Grover
President Teresa Nye started by welcoming visiting Rotarian Jim Sharp, who had arrived to witness the induction of his assistant chief, Scott Adams.  She also welcomed Erik Flint, director of the Lewis Army Museum.  The two were inducted as the world’s newest Rotarians in a brief ceremony.
Scott Adams is a firefighter for the past 20 years, and the last 6 spent in the Fire Prevention Division. This includes investigations, and so he has been busy lately with the recent fire at the commercial building on Gravelly Lake Drive.  He lives in Lakewood with wife Stephanie, and their kids Emma and Mason.  He likes to go hiking, do cooking, and wine tasting.
Erik Flint spoke to our club two previous times, one of them at his Lewis Army Museum.  He lives in Tacoma, has a daughter about to graduate from college.  He is also a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army reserve, serving as an historian in that role.  Erik joined us at this meeting via Zoom, explaining that because he is the world's best boss, he had given all of his staff the week off, and so he needed to stay back at the museum to hold down the fort.
We had no regular meeting last week, instead gathering late in the day on Dec. 15 at Carr’s Restaurant to wrap the gifts purchased for needy families at Custer Elementary School.  The counselors there had identified several families who needed a little bit of help with Christmas this year, and several Rotarians did the shopping in coordination with a program run each year through West Pierce Cares, the charity arm of West Pierce Fire and Rescue. 
Membership Director Gretchen Allen read the name of Jim Kopriva, the Communications Director for the City of Lakewood, as having been nominated to membership and approved by the board.  If anyone knows of a reason why he should not be considered to be a Rotarian, please notify Gretchen or Teresa Nye so that the board can consider such reasons.
Sydna Koontz shared the following:
Each year the Lakewood Community Foundation awards the Larry Saunders award to a person or organization that has given distinguished service to Lakewood.
This Fall Clover Park Rotary nominated our own General William Harrison.  And I am proud to announce he received the award!  As many of you know Bill served as the first mayor of Lakewood from 1995-2003, and co-chaired the Lakewood Incorporation effort. 
This year for the first time a second Larry Saunders award was granted.  Partners For Parks will also be recognized.  Started in 2001 by our own Charlie Maxwell and the late Ted Wier from the Lakewood Rotary Club, this organization has raised funds for two restrooms at Fort Steilacoom park, renovated the trail around Waughop Lake, and was instrumental in establishing the Springbrook Park.
Clover Park Rotary should feel doubly proud as we have very close ties to both recipients.  On Tuesday, January 18 at 7pm the awards will be presented, probably virtually at the city council meeting.  Wouldn’t it be great if Clover Park Rotary could turn out in force to honor these two recipients?  As time gets closer, we will share more information and a link to the meeting.  Congratulations, General Bill!
Fun And Fines
Ed Trobaugh joined the meeting 10 minutes late, a fact which when presented to him got zero traction, which was not a surprise.  He started off by reminding all December birthday and anniversary holders to offer up their celebratory contributions.  Our club depends in part on money from these fines to fund our ongoing operations. 
Ed pivoted to asking Tho Kraus what is happening down at City Hall, now that the mayor of Lakewood has announced he will not be running for reelection.  Tho pointed out that the mayor still has 2 years left in his term, and she expects he will keep on serving as he has been. 
Joyce Loveday joined us via Zoom, and it was good to have her back.  Ed inquired about what is shaking down at the Clover Park Technical College.  Joyce noted that enrollment is down a bit under Covid, but she is still very busy.  They are on Christmas break now, and students come back the first week of January. 
Ed asked Jim Hairston what’s going on down at the American Lake Veterans Golf Course, now that Jim has taken over as operations manager.  Jim noted that the golf course was shut down for a Christmas break, to give the volunteers time off with their families, and would reopen Jan. 3. 
Ed inquired with Teresa Nye about her recent car racing exploits.  She noted that it is raining lately, which puts a damper on fast track times, although she is looking forward to a Jan. 8 class on how to race in the rain, provided that Santa Claus delivers a new set of tires for that purpose.
This Week’s Program
Our own Becky Newton is the Economic Development Director for the City of Lakewood, and gave a presentation on what the City is doing to recruit new businesses to come to the City, and to keep healthy the ones that are here.  She noted that it is easier to retain and grow existing companies than to bring in new ones.
These are some interesting statistics:
  • 5085 businesses doing activity in Lakewood
  • 3228 businesses physically headquartered in Lakewood
  • 1138 of these are home-based
The challenges currently facing Lakewood businesses include:
  • Hard to hire and retain employees
  • Lack of capital
  • Supply chain disruptions
The City does outreach to around 100 businesses per year.  2400 new jobs were created last year.  Big new employers include AeroPrecision, a high tech manufacturer moving here from Tacoma, with around 1000 jobs.  And Amazon has opened a new distribution center in Woodbrook with 250 jobs.
Lakewood has more minority owned businesses than surrounding areas.  The average wage is around $61,000, which is slightly below the U.S. average, but wages are rising 7.8% per year which is above the U.S. average for wage increases. 
Building permit issuances are rising, with lots of commercial development.  In the past year, 150 new single family homes have been built, which is up from the normal 50-100 per year. 
Becky informed us about a new web site that the City has developed, showing things one can do for fun in town.  Visit
The term “Retail Leakage” refers to people going elsewhere to purchase items that they need, and which they cannot get in their hometown.  Lakewood actually pulls in people for shopping more than it loses shoppers going elsewhere, and that is despite not having a Costco warehouse store in town.
“Covered employment” refers to jobs with health insurance.  It is growing at a 3.1% annualized rate since 2012.
This Week’s Raffle
With $99 in the pot, Tom McClellan had the winning ticket but drew a 4 of spades, earning him a $5 consolation prize. 
And Finally…
Economics is everywhere, and sometimes so is humor about economics.