Posted by Chuck Burgess
The Rotary Club of Brandon kicked off National Ice Cream Month with a great treat - an awesome guest speaker in Brian West, and a chance to sample a flavor not yet released to the public. Now that's how you do it!
The meeting started off with introducing our guests and visiting Rotarians. Call Doyle, a local relator who works for Florida Realty and was invited by John Dwyer, wanted to learn more about Rotary and potentially joining us on a permanent basis. Also, Alexis Weaver who is relatively new to the area and works for The Bottle Crew stopped in for lunch to check us out. Alexis’ mon was a Rotarian and Alexis is looking for a club to join. Well, I think she may have found the one!
We had Rotarian and Immediate Past President of the Brandon '86 Club Jake Mathers visit us as well as he is interested in helping us with our website link for the Rivard Simmons Rotary Event Center. Thanks, Jake!
Awesome Rotarian John Dwyer’s daughter, Danielle, who gave the club an insightful presentation on her experience at S4TL this past June joined in the lunch fun as well.  She had a wonderful time learning about global and social issues affecting the world and our local communities. She felt the experience allowed her to grow as a person individually and gave her a wonderful understanding of the impact Rotarians make in the world. She is looking forward to going back to S4TL next year and has already signed up to be a Red Shirt which is a designation for someone who returns for a  2nd year . Way to go, Danielle, and thanks for representing our club with such leadership!
President Dave then kicked off the headliner of our packed meeting by introducing guest speaker Brian West. Brian, who is the marketing manager for Public, gave us a brief history about Public, and in particular, their dairy division. Publix was founded by George Jenkins who was born in a little town in Ga and worked in his father’s general store. George moved to Florida when he was 17 and worked for a Piggly Wiggly store for five years. He quit that job and started his own grocery store called Publix Food Store in Winter Haven, FL. His commitment was to clean, friendly stores with quality merchandise and amazing service. They currently have over 1,150 stores and have 190,000 employees.
Because July is national Ice Cream month, Brian’s talk focused on Publix Stores and their dairy department which includes their Publix brand ice creams. Publix owns three dairy plants are which are located in Lakeland, Deerfield Beach, and Dacula, Georgia. The Lakeland plant is the oldest of the dairy plants and offers tours to the public.  Publix buys milk from local dairy farmers and holds the quality to the highest standards possible which allows Publix milk to remain on the shelf for four days longer than another milk brand.  They have more than 500 dairy plant associates who process 100 million gallons of fresh milk a year. They also produce Publix brand ice cream, and Publix brand cultured products like yogurt and cottage cheese. Brian treated the club to Publix Brand Ice Cream. His selection even included one which is still in the creative process and has not been released to the public yet. He assured the club that sampling the new ice cream which was a peanut butter heavenly creation was so good it was a life changing experience. After the taste test, the entire club agreed!
This week's program will include several local high school seniors receiving scholarships from our club at our Annual Scholarship Luncheon. This should be an amazing day as we share our hard work with the hard work of some of the top students and young community leaders in our area!