THE WHEEL — Friday, December 3rd, 2021

President-Elect: Deborah Burgess
Assistant Secretary: Ron Kerr
Bulletin Editor: Paul Maclin

The meeting was called to order by President-Elect Deborah Burgess at 12:02 by announcing that today marks the 21st month that we have been in virtual meetings as a club.
Hopefully, we will be meeting in person in January!

President-Elect Deborah

Rotarian Mark Burgess had selected another unique choral version of O’Canada.

Visiting Rotarians:
None today

Guests of Rotarians:
Andrew Villeneuve
Sebastian Pareja

Assistant Secretary’s Report:

Rotary Anniversaries:

Rotarian Ron Bailey, 24 years, November 28th
Past President Suzanne Seguin, 16 years, November 28th

President Elect’s Report:

A warm welcome is extended to Rotarian David Chapman Smith as our newest member who has transferred here from Toronto.

Still a few tickets left for the Christmas Wine and Cheese event.

On our public website, we will be publishing the basic news about Rotary as drawn from the Bulletin but this will not contain any personal details but rather notice of what Rotary is doing in the community that may be of interest to the general public.

As well, we are working on putting all the back issues of the Bulletin as a downloadable pdf on Club Runner.

Hybrid Rotary meetings should be beginning in the new year and preparations are well advanced for that to occur. Rotarian Mark Burgess, Past President Peter Dounoukos and President-Elect Deborah Burgess met at the Best Western to work out the details.

Past President’s Report:

Past President Elaine McDermott reviewed her presidency of 2016-17. As her husband Rotarian Terry had been President some 10 years earlier, they became the first couple to have served as President of the Cobourg Rotary Club. She and Terry attended the Rotary International Convention in Seoul, South Korea.
The fundraising committee raised just shy of $255,000 which allowed the club to pay $60,000 toward the pledge made to Northumberland Hills Hospital. As a result, the road known as Rotary Way was dedicated by the Hospital. Gord Sherwin, long-time member, and war veteran passed away that year.
We dedicated three new flag poles in Rotary Park and we have the right to fly the Rotary flag each year in perpetuity.
The fact that she was physically challenged by her height made her the butt of many jokes including a step ladder being placed at her podium.
On President’s night, the year was capped off with a duet with past president Don Owen singing ‘Small People”!

New Member Report:

Today is the day to hear from our new member Rotarian Daisie O’Neil. She is past President Rob O’Neil’s daughter to most of you. She grew up in Cobourg and went to London, Ontario for university as an accounting major at the University of Western Ontario. After graduating, she went on to work at Western. Moved home in Covid and is now halfway through her CPA programme. At present, she is working for an accounting firm in Port Hope. While in high school, she helped resurrect the Interact Club and was in Rotaract in University and of course now she is an active member of the Rotary Club of Cobourg, a road which very few people in our club have traveled. Welcome, Daisie!

Committee Reports:

Past President Don Owen reported that in light of the current Covid situation, the Christmas sing-along at the Legion has been canceled for this year.

Rotarian Mario Pareja reported that after a face-to-face committee meeting it was decided that there will be an event on the first Saturday in May called the Rotary Spring Gala. The theme for the event will be the “Roaring Twenties” which reflects our one hundred years of Cobourg Rotary. Past President Gord Ley will be at the helm providing a wonderful meal followed by entertainment from the roaring twenties.

Rotarian Darlene Leggett reported on the Rotary international student exchange program which is looking for an outbound youth exchange student from our club. If you know of someone who might be interested please contact Darlene or anyone on the committee.

Happy Bucks:

If you are happy during the week, send Rotarian Helen the donation and describe your happiness. Helen will report on your behalf at the next meeting.

Rotarian Bruce Rennie was happy that Rotarian Daisie O’Neil has volunteered to be the treasurer of the Waterfront Festival this year and to welcome her to the club.

Rotarian Mario Pareja was $2 happy as he told Bruce Rennie that he had something to tell him and when Rotarian Bruce asked him what it was, HE COULD NOT REMEMBER, but it has now been recalled by him! Aging takes on many shapes!

Rotarian Tyne Bonebakker had a couple of happy tickets to give away for the Naughty Panto at the Capitol that night.

Guest Speakers:

Baby You Can Drive My Car

Rotarian Brian Read was introduced as the moderator of a panel that consisted of Rotarian Bill Spencer, Rotarian Mario Pareja, Sebastian Pareja, Rotarian Jim Proskos, and Rotarian Nick Palalas who are all involved in the local car industry to speak about the effects of Covid on the local car industry. It was a very enlightening discussion on the auto industry awareness and the highlights are as follows:

-Bill Spencer graduated from Waterloo and worked his way into the auto business by working at General Motors
-Jim Proskos was a repo man and ran finance divisions of car dealerships
-Nick Palalas worked at the family used car business in downtown Toronto
-Mario Pareja started washing car windshields, sold cars in Columbia
-Sebastian Pareja was born into the industry

Jim Proskos

Electric Vehicles:
-Bill this is the direction we are going but storing the fuel is the problem
-infrastructure needed for these cars to take off – public policy rebates
-need to create demand –climate change

– Mario says the public is looking for the electric cars
– need a 200 amp service at your home to charge your car
– hybrid electric cars may be transitional in the process
– only require a 110 amp power source

Mario Pareja

Used Car Market:
– Jim with the internet being the be-all, the average discount at a dealer is now about $200 whereas it used to be about $1,500 to $2,000
– used cars are going to the USA which takes cars out of our marketplace as a result of supply and demand issues
– autos being purchased now on orders which were rarely so in past years
-Nick said there is pressure to find inventory by offering more for your used vehicle
-higher valued US dollar puts additional pressure on the market
-internet pricing comparisons lead to better-informed consumers

Nick Palalas

Dealership Future:
– Nick said dealerships used to be the primary source of information
– that created walk-in traffic but the internet provided all the information
– consumers know what they want and therefore need less salespeople
– Mario said he agreed with Nick and added that customer relations used to be built
In the sales process of a few hours in length but no longer is it so and as a result, the salesperson has to sell the auto, the dealership, and service in a limited time

Bill Spencer

Covid Effects on Dealership:
– Jim said the process of lockdowns was difficult and no test driving of vehicles and at his dealership gave used car purchasers a 30-day return policy
– traffic has decreased significantly because of the shortage of cars
– almost 1 of every 2 people who come to the dealership buy a vehicle which is a major increase

-Bill indicated that the microprocessor shortage of chips lead to a shortage of supply in new vehicles
-you now sell deeply into what your carmakers have committed to you to deliver so you discuss with the customer your book of what is coming
-all the PPE has taken some getting accustomed to
-supply chain disruption by miscalculation at various points in the chain of the needs of the manufacturers and may last a year or two

Effect on Profits in Dealerships:
– Jim indicated that the dealerships are doing well with adjusted staffing
– there are fewer sales but the gross margins are better

-Mario has had to lay off some salespeople
-Internet usage has eliminated the need for staffers to provide knowledge about autos
-still a shortage of trained trades in the industry

Future of Dealerships:
– Nick says they will be there as long as there is a need for service
– used vehicles are also a continuing part of the sales process so they have to be marketed
– the number one reason is that almost all consumers wanted to test drive a car before they bought it

Past President Lynda Kay thanked our speakers for providing such an interesting and informative programme. If you have any ideas for interesting speakers, please email Lynda.

Lynda Kay

President-Elect Deborah’s ‘Moment of Contemplation’:

Always find a reason to laugh:
– it may not add years to your life but will surely add life to your years!

Be yourself, everyone else is already taken!