Speaker Date Topic
Blane Dessy Sep 25, 2019
The Library as Key Component of Erie's Renaissance
The Library as Key Component of Erie's Renaissance

Blane Dessy has been the Executive Director of the Erie County Public Library since April 2019. Prior to that, Mr. Dessy worked at the Library of Congress, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Department of Education. Earlier in his career, he was also a state librarian, deputy state librarian, consultant, and public library director. He’s proud that he has worked at all three levels of government: local, state, and federal. He started his career as a public library director in central Pennsylvania and has now come back professionally to where he began.

Coming out of retirement to become the Executive Director was an easy decision for him. The strong reputation of the public library coupled with the revitalization of Erie is a wonderful opportunity to work toward an even better, more engaged library. Erie is on the move and the library needs to keep pace and contribute to the betterment of the community.

Mr. Dessy received his B.A in English from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and his Master of Library Science from the University of Pittsburgh. 

Blane Dessy will be introduced by Rotarian Melanie Titzel.

Charles "Boo" Hagerty Oct 02, 2019
Hamot Health Foundation and Erie's Renaissance
Hamot Health Foundation and Erie's Renaissance

Charles “Boo” Hagerty is the President of the Hamot Health Foundation which is the philanthropic organization that supports UPMC Hamot and many community health initiatives. He will share with Rotary how Hamot Health Foundation is contributing to Erie's community and economic development in this period of high optimism and high expectation.

Boo first joined UPMC Hamot in 2001 as the vice president of marketing and corporate communications and transitioned to vice president of strategic resources in 2009 overseeing marketing, corporate communications, community advocacy and patient services. He was named the vice president of northern tier markets for UPMC Health Plan in 2012 and served in that role for four years helping the health plan to further grow its market share in the northwest region of Pennsylvania.

As a lifelong member of our community, he has served as a volunteer and board member of many non-profits and organizations. He currently serves on six boards including ACES, Erie Bank, Safe Harbor Behavioral Health, Erie Center for Arts and Technology, Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership, and the United Way of Erie County.

Boo received a bachelor's degree in advertising from West Virginia University and was the founding partner and owner of  Fishtank Creative from 1989 – 2001.  He is the proud husband of Aimee and together they have 5 children - Brendan, Kirsten, Maria, Kaitlin and Alex. 

Boo Hagerty will be introduced by Rotarian Jaimee Black.

Rotary International Foundation Day Oct 09, 2019

The Rotary Foundation transforms your gifts into service projects that change lives both close to home and around the world.

Since it was founded more than 100 years ago, the Foundation has spent more than $4 billion on life-changing, sustainable projects.

With your help, we can make lives better in your community and around the world.

Our mission

The mission of The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International is to enable Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty.

What impact can one donation have?

  • For as little as 60 cents, a child can be protected from polio.
  • $50 can provide clean water to help fight waterborne illness.
Brian Slawin and Michael Outlaw Oct 16, 2019
How Entrepreneurs, Their Companies & Communities Can Support Diversity, Equity & Inclusion


Brian and Michael will introduce members to their program for companies through which participants are guided to recognize their inherent – and subtle – gender, race and nationality biases and build strategies and practices to help build more diverse, equitable and inclusive entrepreneurial communities. Through the use of interactive experiences, participants will develop skills to share with their community, companies and organizations.

Since the social discussion about ‘fairness’ typically devolves into something biased on a participants view of the world, this session removes the ‘emotional payload’ around Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and instead thinks through – in pure capitalistic and entrepreneurial terms – the results of being a non-equitable, non-diverse or non-inclusive entrepreneurial community. In parallel to this discussion, the program enables participants to interactively build a suite of skills to actually do something about that.

Brian and Michael will be introduced by Rotarian John Stockard.

Julio Reyes Oct 23, 2019
Transformation of the Erie Maennerchor
Transformation of the Erie Maennerchor

Julio C. Reyes is the president and founder of IBS an IT consulting company in Los Angeles, and Latinos Restaurant on Parade St. in Erie. The latter closed for business on May 29, 2019 to focus on his newest venture, the Maennerchor project. He and his wife Lilia were born and raised in Mexico and have been married for 37 years. They migrated to the USA in 1983 and started investing in real estate in Erie in the late 1980s. Their latest real estate project in Erie is the Maennerchor Plaza project.  Julio does not have a college degree. He only attended computer technical schools after graduating from high school.

During his professional career in Mexico, Julio worked for a global consulting company and he trained people from all over the world in their center for professional education in St. Charles, IL. While working for multinational companies in Mexico he developed software that was later distributed all over the world and has helped his software company clients incorporate new technology and automate their business operations.

As entrepreneurs, trend setters and investors in Erie, Julio and his wife opened Las Cazuelas in little Italy in 1995. Las Cazuelas was the first tortilla factory in Northwestern PA. The tortilla factory was later closed to focus on Latinos Restaurant.  When they opened Latinos Restaurant for business in 1996, they became the first small business operation in the whole region to install security internet TCP/IP cameras and touch screens POS. They later installed the first Rain Garden and first Dry Well in the City of Erie. They also planted the first trees on the Parade Street sidewalk in over 30 years.

Julio and Lilia became US Citizens in 2000. Julio and Lilia have two daughters and a granddaughter.  Natalie has an MBA in Information Technology, Kimberly has a BA in Communication, Economics, and Sophia is an adorable one-year old. They are proud to say that everybody in the family is fully bilingual and bicultural. When they’re not traveling the world, Julio and Lilia spend their time between Los Angeles and Erie.

Julio will be introduced by Rotarian Ray Sammartino.

Daryl Johnson Oct 30, 2019
Hateland: A Long, Hard Look at America's Extremist Heart
Hateland: A Long, Hard Look at America's Extremist Heart


In his new book, Hateland, a former Department of Homeland Security analyst takes a long view on the domestic terrorism threat from radicalized individuals and hate groups of various ideologies.America is a land in which extremism no longer belongs to the country's shadowy fringes, but comfortably exists in the national mainstream. That is the alarming conclusion by intelligence analyst Daryl Johnson, an expert on domestic extremism with more than twenty-five years of experience tracking radicalized groups for the US government. In this book, Mr. Johnson dissects the rapidly expanding forms of American hatred and radicalization, including white nationalists, antigovernment militias, antifascists (Antifa), militant black nationalists, and extremist Islamic groups.

The author develops a concise model that explains how extremists on both the far right and the far left use the same techniques to recruit and to radicalize individuals, turning them into violent offenders. He also examines the political forces that fuel this threat and have kept the US government from properly identifying and developing countermeasures to deal with it, including a disproportional emphasis on Islamic terrorism.Mr. Johnson concludes by recounting individual stories of deradicalization, each of which was the result of personal reevaluations of formerly held extremist convictions. He recommends more resources at the state and federal levels for combatting radical movements and urges greater communication and coordination between law enforcement agencies. This in-depth analysis of a growing menace that has taken America hostage throws a stark light on the darkest segments of American society and provides practical means for dealing with their violent threats.

A joint program with Gannon University and the Jefferson Educational Society.

Admission to the program is free of charge for all community members interested in attending. Boxed lunches will be available free of charge to Erie Rotarians, all others may purchase them for $10 each.

Daryl Johnson will be introduced by Rotarian Robert Heibel.

Christine Hoffman Nov 06, 2019
The State of Erie Real Estate
The State of Erie Real Estate

Christine Hoffman was born and raised in Erie, Pennsylvania and graduated from Mercyhurst Preparatory School in 2016. She is a junior majoring in Finance at Penn State Behrend.

Christine is a licensed real estate agent with Joe Herbert Realty and the Vice President of Hoffman United. Hoffman United is a construction, property management, and real estate development company established by her brother Paul, in 2014.

Hoffman United acquired its first rental property in 2016. Christine’s experience with the acquisition of Hoffman United’s first rental property solidified her desire to pursue a career in real estate. Currently, Hoffman United owns and manages over 160 rental units.

Acquiring her real estate license in 2019 allows Christine to fulfill her “dream job” and work in all aspects of real estate. Christine intends to use her investing expertise to help her clients fulfill their dreams. Helping people find their perfect home, whether an apartment or single family residence, is Christine’s passion.

In addition to real estate, Christine enjoys spending time with family and friends, fishing, other outdoor activities, and physical fitness. She is also a triplet, with both of her brothers attending Penn State.

Most important to Christine is making a difference and leaving a long lasting impact on her clients and her community. Building a better community, one property at a time is Christine’s goal.

Christine Hoffman will be introduced by Rotarian Joseph Herbert

Dr. Guiyou Huang Nov 13, 2019
Edinboro University as Community Partner
Edinboro University as Community Partner

Dr. Guiyou Huang is the new President of Edinboro University. Born and raised in China, Dr. Huang earned his Bachelor of Arts in English at Qufu Normal University, a teachers college in Qufu, China, the hometown of Chinese philosopher and educator Confucius. He spent seven years in Qufu, a culturally conservative city of 250,000 – four as a student and three as a professor – before moving to Beijing University, where he earned a Graduate Studies Completion Diploma in English. In 1989, he moved to the United States and Texas A&M University to pursue a Ph.D. in English.

It was on a trip back to China in 1996 that he met his wife, Dr. Jennifer Yufeng Qian, at the Beijing airport. Dr. Qian, on her first trip abroad, was navigating the airport en route to SUNY Buffalo, where she would be serving as a lecturer in the Department of Modern Languages in Literature. He offered to help her, which marked the beginning of a relationship that led to their marriage in Allentown in 1998.

Although Drs. Huang and Qian left Pennsylvania in 2004 for Michigan, they have always considered Pennsylvania home. Not only were they married in Pennsylvania, he became a U.S. citizen in Philadelphia in 1998, and their son, George, was born in Allentown in 2000.  Their daughter, Claire, was born in Florida. Dr. HUang looks forward to developing relationships with the other regional universities and with the community overall.

While working on his doctorate at Texas A&M, he served as both an editorial and teaching assistant. After earning his Ph.D. in 1993, he served as a lecturer at Texas A&M before heading north to Pennsylvania and Kutztown University in 1995, where he spent nine years progressing through the faculty ranks, serving as English department chair and director of the University Honors Program. 

Dr. Huang spent a year in Michigan at Grand Valley State University, where he directed the honors college, served as a professor of English, and supported coordination and strategic planning for Grand Valley State’s new College of Interdisciplinary Studies.

From 2005 to 2010, he served first as dean of Undergraduate Studies and Programs and then as dean of the Biscayne College of Liberal Arts at St. Thomas University in Florida. He moved to Norwich University in Vermont in July 2010, where he served as senior vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty until December 2016, shortly before he assumed the role of chancellor of LSUA.

Dr. Guiyou Huang will be introduced by Rotary Club of Erie President Stephanie Williams.

No Meeting Nov 27, 2019
Thanksgiving Holiday
No Lunchtime Meeting Dec 04, 2019
Holiday Dinner
Brian Lasher Dec 18, 2019
John Boyd: Erieite and Enduring American Hero
John Boyd: Erieite and Enduring American Hero

Collegiate Academy History and Government instructor will present his research for his new book on John Boyd.

Full program information forthcoming.

Brian Lasher will be introduced by Rotarian Mark Louis.

No Meeting Dec 25, 2019
Christmas Holiday
No Meeting Jan 01, 2020
New Year's Day Holiday
Kristin Lazzara Jan 08, 2020
Join All of Us PA - UPMC Health Data Study

Information on the speaker and program forthcoming.

The speaker will be introduced by Rotarian Jim McEldowney.

Daria Devlin Jan 22, 2020
Erie Center for Arts & Technology

Bio forthcoming.

No Meeting Mar 04, 2020
Rotary Ethics Symposium at Mercyhurst University