Category Archives: New Member

Michael Kemmer

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Technology-Wireless Solutions

Michael Kemmer has lived all of his life in California, and half of that in San Diego. As long as he’s been here, he’s viewed Rotary as a part of his tie into the fabric of the community. He grew up under the tutelage of Rotarians first as an Interact student, and later as an SDSU Rotaract. During those years he took advantage of volunteer events both groups participated in, including Home building in Tijuana, Urban Angels & Traveling Stories. Since graduating from college, Michael has started volunteering at the American Red Cross, including delivering blood products during the pandemic to hospitals throughout San Diego County.

In his role as Enterprise Solutions Architect for Verizon, he designs and deploys IT infrastructure and application projects. His areas of expertise include solution/architecture design, cyber security and product management.

So as to not be confused with any other Michaels in the room, he prefers to go by “Kemmer.”

Kemmer thanks his sponsors Jordan Maharaj, Jordan Harrison and Duke Sobek.




Carol Dedrich

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Associations – Girl Scouts

Carol Dedrich is the Chief Executive Officer for Girl Scouts San Diego. Carol attributes the lessons she learned as a young Girl Scout with preparing her for leadership roles in school, the military, and throughout her career. Now, she is a champion of girls and women, committed to helping them overcome insecurities and building collaborations to expand their perspectives and skills. She began her career as a Patriot Missile Officer in the U.S. Army with an RA commission and is a veteran of Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

She transitioned to civilian life as a Director at United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, later moving to the John Wayne Cancer Institute as Vice President of Marketing and Development, and Vice President at the Fulfillment Fund. Before joining Girl Scouts San Diego in 2016, she spent seven years as Chief External Relations Officer for Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles.

At her leisure, Carol enjoys working on her private pilot’s license, being a scuba diving enthusiast, and traveling the world with her husband, Alex. Next on their bucket list: Galapagos Islands, Tahiti, Chuuk Lagoon, and a flying experience in Africa. They recently adopted her late sister’s tortoiseshell cat, Kenya, who loves making appearances during virtual meetings.

She thanks her sponsors Wendy Urushima-Conn, Emily Rex and David Oates.

Terry Caskey

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Biotechnology—Gene Sequencing Technology

Terry Caskey grew up on a small farm in the Central Valley of California. As the first in his family to attend college, he was proud to complete his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from UCSB, then his master’s and Ph.D. in engineering from the University of Massachusetts. He has spent 20+ years leading research and technology development organizations, starting with mobile device technologies, and later, microelectronics and biotech. In his current position as Director of Engineering for Illumina, he has lead their product development teams as they have been leading in the areas of pan-cancer screening, lifesaving gene therapies, targeted drug treatments and many other important discoveries.

He has always carved out time to include an element of service in his life. He has supported the Team in Training organization in collaboration with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation, the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering and is an active member of the Harbor Island Yacht Club and San Diego Outrigger Canoe Club.

Terry has 26 patents awarded and 14 pending. He and his wife Baily have lived in San Diego for over ten years.

He thanks his sponsors Glenn Younger, Duke Sobek and Gil Johnson.

Falon Leszczynski

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Associations-Home of Guiding Hands

Falon serves as the Vice President of Operations for Home of Guiding Hands, overseeing the functionality of 28 residential group homes and a 25,000-square-foot resource center located in El Cajon. Her responsibilities extend to managing the transportation department and supervising the entire IT network supporting over 800 employees across office, remote, and group home settings. In addition to her operational role, Falon spearheads HGH’s marketing initiatives, fosters company culture, and addresses risk management. She also leads special projects, including the implementation of the organization’s EOS framework.

She has a Master’s degree in Management and Leadership from Western Governors University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Human Services from Springfield College. Prior to her tenure at HGH, she served as the Special Programs Manager for the San Diego Housing Commission, where she played a pivotal role in planning, directing, and overseeing the City of San Diego’s Homelessness Response Center. Before her time at the San Diego Housing Commission, Falon held leadership positions at the YMCA, contributing to the successful opening and operations of various YMCA facilities.

Falon sits on the Foundation for Developmental Disabilities (FDD) board and currently chairs the California Disabilities Services Institute (CDSI) board.

Outside of her professional commitments, Falon, alongside her husband Lenny, have four school-aged daughters and three dogs. During their free time, the family can often be found at the softball field, hockey rink, or participating in diverse events at Balboa Park.

She thanks her sponsors Lenny Leszczynski, Michael Brunker and David Oates.

Veronica Perondi

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Education-State University-Program Manager

Veronica Perondi currently serves as the Assistant Director of A.S. Programs for Associated Students at San Diego State University. In this role, she’s dedicated to empowering students through leadership and engagement programs.

She earned an undergraduate degree in International Relations from San Francisco State University where she was was actively involved in the International Education Exchange Council. Driven by commitment to education and personal growth, Veronica earned a master’s degree in Post- Secondary Educational Leadership from San Diego State University.

Outside of her professional life she’s deeply committed to giving back to the community. She is passionate about environmental conservation and she often volunteers for beach clean-ups and trash pick-up initiatives. Additionally, she’s involved with Guide Dogs for the Blind and support events for the blind and visually impaired community, inspired by her husband’s work as an Orientation Mobility Specialist. Veronica’s journey in volunteering began at a young age when she assisted with a church Christmas toy distribution, leaving a lasting impression of the joy that comes from helping others. In her free time, she and her husband enjoy hiking and travel; particularly, they love to explore small communities. Veronica spends time expressing her creativity through various crafts, such as painting and crochet.


She thanks her sponsors Corey Polant, Jordan Harrison and Jordan Maharaj.

Tom Herman

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Education – Private University – Professor

Tom Herman is a teacher and journalist. He is the tax columnist for The Wall Street Journal’s wealth management section. After graduating from Yale, Tom joined the news staff of The Wall Street Journal in New York, where he was given the food beat. Tom wrote for The Wall Street Journal as a full-time staffer for more than 40 years, including 16 years as the Tax Report columnist. In 2014, he received the Elliott V. Bell Award from the New York Financial Writers Association. The award is given annually to “an outstanding journalist for significant long-term contribution to the profession of financial journalism.” He retired in May 2009 to devote more time to teaching, writing, travel and tennis. He has been teaching a seminar in the Communication Studies Department at the University of San Diego since 2012.
Tom was a regular weekly guest on NBC News at Sunrise for more than seven years from in the 1980s and 1990s. Before that, he was a regular weekly guest for more than a year on an NBC news program with The Wall Street Journal. called “Before Hours.”
His wife, Marilyn Lytle, was a lawyer in New York City for many years and now studies watercolor painting.

Tom thanks his sponsors Stan Hartman, Steve Treadgold and Michael Brunker.

Dale Gray

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Associations – Institute of Reproductive Grief Care

In February of 2023, Dale Gray took over the role of Director of Mission Advancement at the Institute of Reproductive Grief Care. Prior to joining the Institute, he served at the university level as the Director of Philanthropy, and has over 23 years experience before that driving sales and growth in the technology industry.

Dale and his wife have been married for 30 years, and they have two daughters, Leila, 20 and Adrienne, who is 23. They have moved several times over the years, making San Diego their 9th stop, and Dale hopes it is their final. He has always had a passion for sports. After pursuing football and baseball in college he had the opportunity to try out for several professional teams. His new passion is for surfing as he loves being in the ocean.  He recently retired as a college and high school basketball official, and plans to be involved in our Military Affairs and Youth Homelessness committees.

Dale thanks his sponsors David Oates, Michael LaCroix and Drew Moser.

Kristine Smith

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Social Services and Welfare – Neighborhood House Association

Kristine is the Senior Director of Nutrition Services for the Neighborhood House Association where she has worked for sixteen years. Originally from Seattle, WA, Kristine joined the Navy right out of college, then received her BS in dietetics from Kansas State University, and later her Master of Science in Environmental Science and Human Nutrition from the University of Alabama. ROLL TIDE!

For the past several years Kristine has also worked as an educational consultant, teaching USDA governmental regulations, operations and nutrition classes to more than 300 early childhood educators annually, while also working as a professor at Point Loma Nazarene University teaching 3rd and 4th year college-level courses related to finance, business management and nutrition.

She is the former vice president of San Diego Hunger Coalition, and has been an active member of Child and Adult Care Food Program Board of Directors, CA Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and SD County Childhood Obesity Initiative. Kristine is very much into sports having been a former amateur boxer for many years while also playing basketball and tennis. She met her husband in the Navy, and they have been married for 24 years, having moved to San Diego in 2007 for his final Naval post. They have two cats.

Kristine thanks her sponsors Duke Sobek, Elizabeth Fitzsimons and Matt Ryan.

Mary Dawe

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Mary Dawe is a retired Senior Staff Attorney of California State of Appeal, where she served for 27 years. She grew up in Southern California, graduated from UC Riverside, and later went to Law School at USD with the support of her late husband Jim, while they were raising three young children.

Mary says Balboa Park is a special place for her as she worked at was the Museum of Man as her first job out of college. She has served on their Board of Trustees and then as President of the Board. She has also served on the Mingei International Museum board and the Museum of Natural History board. She currently volunteers as an adult literacy tutor with READ San Diego, is an active member of the San Diego Women’s Foundation and a volunteer small claims court judge.

Mary has two lovely daughters, two great sons-in-law, three adorable grandsons and fourth one on the way!

She was a member of the San Diego Downtown Breakfast Rotary since 2004, and thanks her sponsor Michael Brunker.



Amie Brown

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Associations-Meals on Wheels

Amie Brown is the Chief External Affairs Officer for Meals on Wheels San Diego County. She came to Meals on Wheels in 2018 after working in the nonprofit sector for more than 25 years, with a strong emphasis in healthcare for the underserved. She has extensive experience with growing nonprofit organizations, earned certificates in Non-Profit Management and Fundraising Management, and is a graduate of Blue Shield of California’s Clinic Leadership Institute. Amie grew up in San Diego and graduated from SDSU with a B.A in Sociology and a B.A. in Women’s Studies. She is the mother of two grown daughters and is ready to dedicate all of her newly found free “empty-nester” time to volunteering.

Amie gave her self introduction by honoring fellow San Diegan Dr. Suess with this poem:

What an honor to be among such great women and men,
I’ve been wanting to be a Rotarian since—I don’t know when.
Denise Scatena, Simona Valanciute and Amy Myers,
Thank you for sponsoring me, and fulfilling my desires.
I’ve attended many other Rotary meetings,
I’m used to warm hellos and friendly greetings.
But none other in San Diego has programing as interesting and robust,
As in this Club with so many fascinating topics discussed!
I look forward to attending meetings of many a committee,
These opportunities to learn leave me feeling absolutely giddy!
From Membership, to Youth Soccer, to Model UN,
The possibilities are endless, where shall I begin?
For now, I’ll focus on meeting new faces,
and, of course, staying in President Michael’s good graces.
But one thing about Rotary is very clear:
We put Service Above Self every day of the year!