ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA – May 28, 2013. On May 7, 2013, the “Gribble Gatekeepers” Toastmasters Club officially celebrated its charter status as one of Toastmasters International’s newest clubs. Employees from the Institute for Water Resources (IWR) and the Humphries Engineering Center Support Activity (HECSA) were joined by Toastmasters District 29 Governor Mo Hamilton. She presented the official charter to IWR Director Bob Pietrowsky, who represented both IWR and HECSA.
“I am pleased that a new Toastmasters Club has formed, providing IWR and HECSA staff and others at the Humphrey’s Engineering complex an opportunity to improve leadership and communication skills,” Mr. Pietrowsky remarked after sharing his own personal Toastmasters experience as part of the resident Planning Associates Program.
In addition, subsequent to the chartering ceremony, LTG Thomas P. Bostick, USACE Commanding General and Chief of Engineers, offered his congratulations to the club, stating “Kudos to the team involved in achieving the official chartering of your Toastmasters Group. Having been involved in Toastmasters in the past, I know how helpful these organizations can be for the members.”
Toastmasters International, which provides club members opportunities to present prepared and impromptu speeches and to practice the art of giving constructive feedback, is not new to HECSA. The “BERHCERC” Toastmasters Club, was active until about 1997. A former BERHCERC Toastmasters member, Stuart Davis of IWR is currently the president of the Gribble Gatekeepers. The other club officers include the following:
- Janet Cushing, Vice President for Education
- Cynthia Wood, Vice President for Public Relations
- Erin Rooks, Vice President for Membership
- Jeff Petty, Treasurer
- Lauren Leuck, Secretary
- Ken Lichtman, Sergeant-at-Arms
At the May 7th charter ceremony, District Governor Hamilton officially installed the club officers and instructed them on their responsibilities.
Prior to the charting ceremony, club members participated in the Toastmasters Areas 11 speech contest held at Fort Belvoir, VA on February 23, 2013. Cynthia Wood, IWR, won first place in the international speech contest with her speech entitled “Snappy Salute,” a personal and compelling story about her father and the true meaning of respect. Erin Rooks, IWR, won a second place trophy for her thoughtful evaluation of Area Governor Martin Lahart’s model speech. Both Wood and Rooks went on to compete in the March 9th Division Contest, placing 3rd and 2nd, respectively.
The Gribble Gatekeepers is an open Toastmasters Club and meets in the Casey Building at noon on the first and third Tuesday of every month. IWR managers strongly encourage employees to become active members of Toastmasters and to include participation as part of USACE Individual Development Plans (IDP). For more information, contact Erin Rooks at Erin.L.Rooks@usace.army.mil.