SIR programs in 2009



November 18, 2009
Speaker: Jacquie B. Warda, Aerobatic Pilot
Intro by: Ken Newton
Subj.: Jacquie B. Airshows

Jacquie Warda is an up-and-coming lady aerobatic pilot who, as a young girl, was always interested in aviation. Her father, a pilot, worked for McDonnell Douglas. Her formal flight training did not begin until she was 32, but she has made up for lost time.

For the past 7 years she has competed in 10 to 15 air shows annually across the country, remarkable for a relatively new performer. Jacquie and her husband, David, also a pilot, own a Cessna 150 “Texas Taildragger” and a Pitts Special in which she performs aerobatics. The Pitts Special is one of three, specially built and painted, that flew around the Statue of Liberty on July 4, 1986, to celebrate its 100th anniversary. Jacquie says that her favorite part of any air show is the look on the faces of the children, especially the girls who, after seeing her perform, say, “I can do that or be a doctor or a scientist.”

Her web site is; check it out and then join us at lunch to hear a unique and entertaining speaker.


October 21, 2009
Speaker: Fred LaCosse, LaCosse Productions Retired San Francisco Reporter, News Anchor and Talk Show Host
Intro by: Ken Newton
Subj.: Your American Freedoms: Protect Them or Lose Them

How did we Americans get so lucky? How did we defy history and produce America’s great treasure of freedoms that we often take for granted today? Fred will present a most dynamic story. He talks with America’s Founding Fathers: John Adams (and Abigail), Sam Adams, Ben Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Thomas Paine, and George Washington. Together, they tell the amazing story of how our democratic republic was born, the checks and balances built into our government that protect us from tyranny, and how our unique values and individual rights give hope to mankind. Fred challenges all Americans and shows them how to protect our freedoms so that we and our children don’t lose them.

If you want to watch a 10 minute video montage of the highlights of his presentation, go to


September 16, 2009
Speaker: Jim Curran, President & Chief Portfolio Manager Curran & Lewis Investment Management, Inc.
Intro by: Ken Newton
Subj.: Prudent Investing after the Meltdown

Jim’s career in the financial services industry dates back to April of 1981. His varied roles have included Account Executive with Judy & Robinson Securities of Menlo Park, San Jose Branch Manager of the same firm, co-founder of FPC Investment Advisory, Inc. and co-founder of Curran & Lewis For several years Curran& Lewis has been named as one of the top 500 Wealth Managers in the United States by Wealth Manager magazine. Since 1983 he has conducted numerous financial workshops for companies and organizations throughout Northern California including Wyle Labs, Aerojet Co., and the Franchise Tax Board. He has also been a guest lecturer for De Anza College and Foothill College’s Business Division. Jim has employed the techniques of Economic Hedging to lower client risk and enhance investment returns. He piloted client accounts through the turbulent waters of 2000-2002 with barely a ripple in client-managed assets.


August 19, 2009
Speaker: Charles (Chuck) House - Senior Research Scholar, Stanford University; Executive Director, Media X
Intro by: Ken Newton
Subj.: HP and Silicon Valley History

Chuck has led a long and distinguished career in a variety of high technology posts including Director of Societal Impact of Technology for Intel, Founder and Advisory Chair of the Center for Information Technology and Society at UC Santa Barbara, Senior Vice President of Multimedia Communications Research for Dialogic Corporation, President of Spectron Microsystems, part of the IPO executive team at Veritas Software, and Senior Vice President of R&D at Informix Software. He also spent 29 years at Hewlett-Packard in a variety of management and technical roles, including five years as Corporate Engineering Director. Chuck’s other notable affiliations include Chairman of the Board for Applied Microsystems and Attensity Corporation and board member of the Computer History Center, Mountain View. He is past President of the Association for Computing Machinery and is an IEEE Fellow. He maintains a management consulting service, InnovaScapes, which is concerned with creativity and innovation.

Chuck has graciously provided a copy of his slides for us to post on the Branch 35 website.


July 15, 2009
Speaker: Ross Stein - Geophysicist, USGS
Intro by: Ken Newton
Subj.: What’s New with the Hayward Fault and California Earthquakes?

We will have no formal meeting, but we will have a speaker! Dr. Stein is an experienced, widely recognized, and honored expert on earthquakes. He will tell us about recent advances in predicting earthquakes and about the infamous Hayward Fault, one of California’s most threatening seismic features. He comes well equipped for such topics, with geology degrees from Brown University (Sc.B., Magna Cum Laude with Honors) and Stanford (PhD) and a post-doc at Columbia. He is among the most frequently cited authors in earthquake science. He has received the Distinguished Achievement Award of the USGS. Perhaps you saw him in “Killer Quake” (Nova), the “Great Quakes” series (Discovery Channel), “Earthquake Storms” (BBS), or “Forces of Nature” (National Geographic IMAX film). If not, come see him at the picnic!


June 17, 2009
Speaker: Mark Hylkema - Archaeologist, California State Parks
Intro by: Ken Newton
Subj.: Lifeways of the Ohlone Indians of the San Francisco Peninsula and Monterey Bay Region

In 1769 when members of the first Spanish expedition reached the San Francisco Bay area they encountered numerous tribal communities that lived in a bountiful landscape in complex levels of social organization. This discussion will review aspects of the Spanish, Mexican, and early American periods and reflect on what it was like here not too many years ago when grizzly bears and the ancestral Ohlone people dwelled here.


May 20. 2009
Speaker: Andy Coe, Chief Government and Community Relations Officer, Stanford Hospital
and Clinics Sherri Sager, Chief Government Relations Officer, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital
Intro by: Ken Newton
Subj.: Stanford University Medical Center Renewal Project

If you live in Palo Alto or nearby you probably know something about the proposed major construction and renovation project for Stanford Hospital that is near its starting point. You may not know about the project details or all of the controversy and issues surrounding the venture. Our guest speakers will tell you all you wanted to know but may have been afraid to ask about the topic . . . and then they will respond to any of your questions that still remain.


April 15, 2009
Speaker: Jim Harbaugh, Head Football Coach Stanford University
Intro by: Dick Wilson
Subj.: Brief talk followed by Q & A

Jim Harbaugh first came to the Bay Area from Ohio in 1980 when his father, Jack, was named Stanford’s defensive coordinator. Jim played quarterback for Palo Alto High School and then went on to play for Bo Schembechler at Michigan. When he left Ann Arbor in 1986 his passing records were among Michigan’s all-time top five for attempts, completions, completion percentage, passing yards, and touchdown passes, helping to carry the Wolverines to Fiesta, Holiday, and Rose Bowl appearances. In 1985, Jim led the nation in passing efficiency and led his team to a #2 ranking in the final polls – the highest finish ever for one of Schembechler’s Michigan teams. In his senior year Jim earned Big Ten Player of the Year honors, was selected for both the AP and UPI All- American teams, and finished third in Heisman Trophy balloting.

Jim was drafted by the Chicago Bears and played seven seasons for them, passing for a career-high 3,121 yards in 1991. Then he quarterbacked the Indianapolis Colts for four years, leading the team in 1995-1996 to the AFC Championship game and coming within one dropped Hail Mary pass of taking the Colts to the Super Bowl for the first time in 25 years. During that playoff run he earned the nickname “Captain Comeback” for orchestrating come-from-behind wins over the Chiefs and the Chargers and a near upset over the Steelers. That year he was selected for the Pro Bowl and was named Comeback Player of the Year and AFC Player of the Year. Jim later played for the Baltimore Ravens, San Diego Chargers, and Carolina Panthers before ending his 15-year NFL career in 2001.

Harbaugh spent a year as an assistant coach with the Oakland Raiders in 2002-2003 before being named head coach at the University of San Diego in 2004. His Toreros lost four of their first six games, but then won 27 of the subsequent 29, winning the Pioneer Football League twice. In 2006 Jim was named Head Football Coach at Stanford University, directly across the street from Palo Alto High School where it all started.

The Coach will respond to questions regarding any of the above experiences or perhaps experiences yet to come --- just ask him!


March 18, 2009
Speaker: Jim Noyes, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution
Intro by: Ken Newton
Subj.: War and Incompatible Visions: Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan

Jim specializes in Middle East Affairs at Hoover, currently researching the regional security implications of a changing military posture in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Near Eastern, African and South Asian Affairs (international security affairs) in Washington from 1970 through 1976 during the Nixon and Ford administrations.

Among his many publications is his volume entitled The Clouded Lens: Persian Gulf Security and U. S. Policy, which has been widely cited for its in-depth analysis of U.S. strategic interests in Southwest Asia. His recent work includes articles published in Newsweek Japan and several public policy digests as well as on-line classes in the Oxford, Yale, Stanford Iraq Forum.

He completed a BA at Yale, an MA in Political Science at UC Berkeley, and subsequent studies at Allahabad University in India.


February 18, 2009
Speaker: Dick Henning, Celebrity Forum
Intro by: Ken Newton
Subj.: Backstage at the Celebrity Forum

Our speaker for February will be Dick Henning, founder and moderator of the Celebrity Forum, which has been cited as the “Best Speakers Series in the Nation” by the prestigious International Platform Association.

During the 41 years since its founding at Foothill College and subsequent move to De Anza College’s Flint Center in Cupertino, the Celebrity Forum has provided a stage for world leaders in every field of human endeavor, including politics, business, entertainment, and the arts. Just think of all the faces on the cover of Time magazine during those years and you get the picture.

In 1985 Dick received the Drew Pearson Award, presented to the most outstanding programmer in America. He has five college degrees, including two masters and a doctorate from USC.

Dick will tell us a little about his experiences in meeting and entertaining famous people backstage at the Celebrity Forum.


January 21, 2009
Speaker: Bill Whalen, Hoover Institution
Intro by: Ken Newton
Subj.: Obama’s Agenda and the Role of His Cabinet Appointees

If you enjoyed Bill Whalen last February, when he spoke to us about the Presidential race just before the Super Tuesday Primaries, then you should enjoy this. Bill will speak to us on the day after President Obama’s historic inauguration on his views of the prospective Obama agenda – what he will go after in the early part of his term and what the likely outcomes could be. Additionally, he will describe his view of the likely roles of Obama’s cabinet appointees.

Bill Whalen is a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution where he studies and writes on current events and political trends. Whalen writes frequently for leading California opinion makers including the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and the San Diego Union Tribune. He has been a guest political analyst on the Fox News Channel, MSNBC, and CNN. He also can be seen and heard on Bay Area radio and television, commenting on current events. Whalen also serves as a media consultant for California political hopefuls and aspiring policy leaders. His clients have included Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former congressman Tom Campbell, and former Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan. He was the chief speechwriter and director of public affairs for Governor Pete Wilson.

Whalen was steeped in politics in his native Washington, D.C., long before relocating to California. He has been cited by Insight Magazine, the national newsweekly and sister publication of the Washington Times as one of its top political reporters. The 1992 Media Guide said of his work, “The New York Times could trade six of its political writers for Whalen and still get a bargain.” During those years Whalen also appeared frequently on C-SPAN, National Public Radio, and CNBC.

Come with your questions.