Roberta Bean Finds Some Time to Volunteer

When Dave and I were starting Dave Bean Engineering back in the 70s and growing it in the 80s, our workweeks were seven days, 10-14 hours a day. (Yes, we both were younger back then, but still ….) Sourcing Lotus parts in the UK and elsewhere for our customers simply took a lot of time. Communication with suppliers was by phone (time differences), telex (remember those?), and trans-Atlantic trips. Invoicing and accounting were done by hand.

By the time we were fully relocated in Calaveras County, things had loosened up a bit. We were now computerized and communicated mostly by fax, although UK trips were still on the menu. In 1992, I was invited to join the Calaveras County club of Soroptimist International, a worldwide service organization for business and professional women. If you’re not familiar with Soroptimist, please visit and There is a link to our Facebook page on our website. We are a 501(c)3 organization.

Our service projects to support the Soroptimist mission to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment are funded by fund raising efforts throughout the year. One of our major fund raisers is Chairs for Charity—a collaboration with the Calaveras County Arts Council. It’s a fun event. Local artists decorate (or make) chairs, which are auctioned off (both live and silent). A couple of examples appear at the end of this article. One of the things we incorporated into our last event was a “big ticket”, non-chair live auction item. One of our club members donated two weeks at her vacation home in New Mexico, and it did go for a nice amount.

We’re now looking for a similar item for the event on January 31, 2015, but we’re thinking—with the price of gas these days—of perhaps something a little closer: Monterey, Carmel, maybe, or the beach above San Francisco (Bodega Bay, for instance) or perhaps Lake Tahoe.

I’m hoping one of the GGLC members might have a vacation home or timeshare they’d be willing to donate some time at. It needn’t be two weeks (in fact, two people split that up). Even a weekend would be wonderful.

If this is something you would be interested in, please let me know and thank you. Soroptimist International of Calaveras County will provide you a receipt for your donation. I can be reached at Dave Bean Engineering, (209 754-5802. at home, (209) 754-1256, or by email to

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