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September '09

Tuesday, Aug 25, 2009

Waterloo Region Children's Museum

David Marskell

David is the Chief Executive Officer of the Children’s Museum in downtown Kitchener. He joined the Waterloo Region community after twelve years as the Director of Marketing at the Canadian National Exhibition and two years at Ontario Place where he spearheaded the successful Chinese Lantern Festival.

David discussed the evolution of The Children’s Museum as we approach its sixth anniversary

The Waterloo Region community came together support the creation of The Museum in an effort to help revitalized downtown Kitchener and to offer a community resource

Upon its opening, The Museum struggled to meet the expectation sets by the community and lost support from the media, educators and corporations

In the last two and half years, The Museum has moved at lightening speed to revive itself and by reaching out to the community has been successful in offering dynamic programming, large scale transformative exhibitions to appeal to a wide audience

Exhibits like Jane Goodall and Andy Warhol have helped The Museum regain support from community groups and media.

The Museum is emerging as a gem in Southwestern Ontario.

The Living Wall greets guests after they walk through the adult or child sized front doors. This vertical garden is fifteen feet tall and is guarded by the Artist-in-Residence created bird called SOAR. The many plants that make up the garden use the sun's energy to grow as it cleans the Museum's air and helps cool the building in the summer!

New Members

Henk Morsink

Doug Woodley

Who Am I?


Ron Charie

I was born on Halloween in 1943. I grew up in a lower working class area of Montreal and attended an inner city high school. In my final year of high school, I was very active in sports and was voted MVP of basketball. I was also runner-up for Athlete of the Year.

I was recruited to play football and basketball for Mount Allison University, but couldn't afford the tuition so I worked as the “Office Boy” in the purchasing department of CPR. In a year I had saved enough money and entered the Business Program at Mount Allison University.

In my final year,1967, in spite of a heavy extra curricular life, I did manage to earn enough credits to graduate with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree in Accounting and Economics.

 After graduation I commenced employment with Sun Life in Montreal as an internal auditor. The following year I received my professional accounting designation as a Certified General Accountant.

 1970 was a very memorable year. In Feb. I married my wonderful wife Judy, a grade school teacher. That June, we both decided that we did not want to raise a family in Quebec, so I accepted a position as Staff Accountant for the U of W. We moved to Waterloo in Aug. I was responsible for the finances of all the ancillary enterprises (i.e., bookstore, parking, athletics, etc.)

  In Oct., of the same year, I was diagnosed with cancer and given less than a 50% chance of living 5 years. In Dec., I started a series of 40 radiation treatments at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto.

The cancer went into remission until Jan. 1973. On Apr. 28, 1973, Judy and I welcomed the birth of our first daughter and three days later I started new experimental chemotherapy treatment.

 In 1974, with six months of chemo left, I accepted a position as Office Manager for the Kitchener Public Utilities Commission. That same year I received my CIM designation from the Canadian Institute of Management. I was promoted to Controller and Secretary to the Commission in 1978 and in 1982 I became CEO as General Manager and Secretary of Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro.

 The nineties were interesting as well. In 1993 I had my first heart attack, then a second one in 1995, and coronary bypass in 1997.

 With the deregulation of electricity in the province and the move to a business corporation I became President and CEO of Kitchener Power Corporation, Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro Inc. and Kitchener Energy Services Inc.

 I was instrumental in establishing a municipally owned fibre network in the City of Kitchener named Fibre Tech (Kitchener) Inc., later becoming part of Atria Networks Inc.

 After more than 25 year as CEO of Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro I retired on Mar. 31, 2007.

 When I retired, Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro had the lowest retail rates, the lowest cost per customer and a rebuilt infrastructure. In 1982, I commenced a voltage conversion project that was completed in 1998 which eliminated twenty-six 4KV substations and by 2007 was annually saving the Utility $3 million. At the time of my retirement, Kitchener Wilmot Hydro had a $200 million operating budget and employed a staff of 180.

I held a number of outside positions, during my career. I was Secretary-Treasurer of the K-W Chapter of the CGA Association, President of the local district of the Municipal Electric Association, President of the Rotary Club of Kitchener, Director on the Rotary Children’s Centre Board, Chairman of the Better Business Bureau, and lectured in accounting for the CGA Association. I was also a member of the Emergency Control Group of the Region of Waterloo, the City of Kitchener and the Township of Wilmot.

In 1990 as Rotary President, Judy and I attended the Rotary International Convention in Portland, Oregon as did Gord Ferguson who was President of his Rotary Club. I remember it well because the first thing Gord said to me was, “Are you going to join Probus when you retire?”

 Since retirement, I have stayed active in the electrical distribution field as I currently serve as a director on the Board of Directors of Woodstock Hydro Services Inc. and Festival Hydro Inc.

 Judy and I have two daughters, Lisa a graduate of the University of Waterloo and Heather, a graduate in business from WLU. So we supported both local universities.

Both girls are married and we are proud grandparents of three blond haired grandchildren – a boy and 2 girls.

I have had the honour and pleasure of being a speaker to this club on two occasions. Firstly I talked on Ice Storm 98 and secondly on the Deregulation of Hydro.

Judy and I are blessed with a wonderful family, good friends, and good health – other than my little problem of heart failure this past June.

 Life is great with plenty of travel plans!

Go to print edition

Club News

 We have been saddened by the deaths of two members since our last issue.

Heinz Vahlenkamp
30 July 2009

Don Samson
25 August 2009

We shall miss them.

50/50 Draw

First prize by Don Croft, runner up was Karl Kaufman.

Attendance & Membership

We had 66 members and 3 guests at the August meeting.Rein Katzch and Don Poth will be inducted shortly. John Freund and Doug Sullivan have been nominated for membership. Send your comments to John Williams, 519-579-6571. There are no names currently on our wait list.

Book Club

Next meeting will be on Sep 23 at Bill Trotter's home. New members are welcome.

Duty Roster, September Meeting

Introduction: Ray Millard Thanker: Lloyd Robertson

Editors' Notes

Club photos in this issue were taken by Ken MacPherson.

Wellness report

Members are reminded to call Ron Hustwitt at 519-746-1282 to advise of any medical concerns or transportation difficulties prior to a meeting.

Please Help!

Prizes are needed for the car rally.

If you could donate a prize

please call

Jim Bowman



Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Cost: $30 per person

Start Time: Early afternoon on October 6.

Starting Point: Breslau

Entrants will be phoned or emailed with exact start time and location closer to the date of the event.

2ND Vice-president Jim Bowman announced today that there will be no “drag” racing during the KW PROBUS annual car rally this October sixth!.

The Probus Car Rally is designed as a fun outing through the back roads of our local countryside.  You do not have to have any car rally experience,” said Jim.

The course has already been mapped out and it has many points of interest about this region.  Feel free to bring your significant other along with you, as well as friends, for this fun event. The rally will finish with a catered dinner at a fine dining establishment,” he added.

As soon as you have organized your team (preferably 4 people), please contact one of the three organizers - Jim Bowman (747-2401 or, Ron Charie (885-3144) or Vern Hall (699-5367).

 You can sign up at the September meeting.  Please bring a cheque payable to the Probus Club of Kitchener-Waterloo.

  Not So New Members

Subpages (1): Sept '09 Print Edition