Branch 8 History Report – 2017

Report from Michael Long,  2017 BIG SIR


Our success as a branch is always based on our leadership.  In 2017, our officers and directors continue to provide stability and growth.  As Big Sir, I had the benefit of having a strong and experienced Branch Executive Committee and together maintained the high standard set by my predecessors.  Phil Tripp served as Little Sir and will assume the Big Sir Position in 2018.  Erland Persson continued to serve as Branch Secretary by keeping our minutes and kept us apprised of upcoming monthly responsibilities.  Bill Peterson, Attendance Secretary, maintained a close relationship with the Hilton Hotel, advising them of attendance lunch count, and working on the contract by making sure the luncheons ran smoothly.  Bob Barnes, Membership Secretary, inducted the new members, prepared our roster and kept us current on membership.  Ron Cassano, Treasurer, and Dennis Fitzpatrick, Assistant Treasurer, handled our overall finances.  Directors Dan Weller, Barry Brown, Anthony de Losada, and Steve Schramm contributed to the discussions and voting on all BEC matters that pertain to Branch 8 operations.  Also, several of our members are now active at the SIR State level  For example, SIR Derek Southern was elected as 2018 State President, SIR Ed Benson, was elected at 2018 State Vice President and Dean Steichen elected Chief Technology Officer.

We continue to have a large and active membership with 343 members at year-end. We had a total of 39 new members this year but lost 39 members due to attrition.  Our minimum goal was 35 new members but missed our branch target of 46 members.  Much of this was due to above average movement to our inactive list due to ill health, death, or transferred out and lost 17 members.  In addition, we had only 63 first time guests in 2017 and did not meet our target goal.  We need to aggressively create new programs and incentives that reverse this trend.  Our luncheon percent of active members in attendance ended at 76% exceeding our branch goal of 75%.


Our Branch 8 financial condition is excellent.  We have $8,714 cash balance at year- end.  Our 2018 lunch cost will remain at $30, while the annual dues are going to increase from $25 to $40.  The 2018 Hilton costs are increasing by $900 and these costs are being subsidized by the annual budget in order to keep the lunch price the same


 In November, our BEC approved a motion to apply term limits of two years effective January 1, 2018 for our current Branch Secretary, Attendance Secretary, and Membership Secretary.  Also, we approved three new officer positions for Assistant Secretary, Assistant Attendance Secretary, and Assistant Membership Secretary.

A new communication initiative is being implemented led by Tony de Losada and Steve Schramm of the Membership Relations Committee.  We will start with major changes in the current and printable Branch Hotline in 2018.  This will involve relocating basic information to our website and making our Hotline more newsworthy and easier to read by February 2018.

Phil Trapp, Big Sir elect for 2018 will be forming a new Information Systems Support team chaired by Dan Weller.  The purpose is to analyze the technical support requirements for the future Attendance and Membership Secretary positions on the BEC.  The purpose is to simplify these two key positions.

Our branch conferred a new Honorary Life Member in 2017 to SIR Ed Benson for his outstanding contributions.  Ed joins Tom Hensley 2009, Dave Perkins 2011, Ron Smith 2011, Bill Peterson, 2013 and Derek Southern 2014 for Branch HLM awardees.  In addition, we have four Branch Senior HLMs: Marvin Kreitz, 1999, Frank Beger Sr. 2001, Don Atwater, 2003, and Ed Myrtle 2004.  Richard Shappee was made HLM Emeritus.   Also, Dean Steichen is a State Honorary Life member.

In a special ceremony, we recognized thirteen past Branch 8 Big Sirs for their leadership by presenting special engraved gavels at our April luncheon.


Activities and branch participation continue to be contributed to our growth.  We now have 51 activities in our branch.  In addition, we have 31 couple activities.  Steve Schramm has provided strong leadership as Activity Coordinator.  In addition, he now has a strong committee consisting of Dave Davis, Tom Kernes, Dan Weller, and Nick Maufe.  In 2017, this group achieved some major additions:

  • 91% of the activities now have an assistant chairman
  • A new online calendar was implemented and now updated for all monthly events.

Lunch Speakers 

We own a big vote of thanks to our 2017 Speakers Committee chaired by Little SIR and Speaker Chairman, Phil Trapp and committee members Ron Brown, Bill Espey, and Tony de Losada for putting together a roster of ten excellent speakers:

January – David Gilbert, US Department of Energy, DNA Research Made Understandable.
February – Debbie Toth, CEO:  Choices in Aging
March – Joe Tuman, Professor, SF State and Terrorism Expert
April – Bob Susta, retired Captain, Concord OPD and Howard Jordan, retired Oakland PD Chief: Policing in the 21st Century
May – Gary Schaub, docent and Tom Letherman, Superintendent, National Park Service:  Eugene O’Neil’s Tao House History. 
July – Mark Sherry, Staff Specialist, SFO Air Traffic Control:  Operating the Control Tower
August – Dan  Ashley,KGO TV:  The Challenges of Television News
September – Lawren Hicks, Medical Director, John Muir Senior Services:  Demystifying Dementia
October – Assemblywomen Catherine Barker:  California Legislative Update
November – Maj. General Rob Ostenberg, US Army (ret):  Vietnam Reflections.  Branch 8 Bill Eich brought his brass quintet to entertain us before lunch and played while General Ostenberg awarded the Vietnam War Era pin to 140 Branch 8 veterans