May 19, 2018

I really enjoy traveling, that is BEING THERE.  Getting there is another story.  In the Southeastern portion of the United States you generally have to go through Atlanta to reach your final destination.  It’s just a fact of life.   If we take a quick look at ATL for the month of January 2018, we see the following statistics:

Please remember, all passengers including crew must go through screening (TSA) before boarding their flight.  That means EVERYONE.   Kennedy, Chicago, LAX, Miami, etc. operates in a similar fashion.  I have waited in the TSA line at ATL for close to two (2) hours then, take off your shoes, belt, empty your pockets, remove your glasses, watch, put your laptop and cell phone face up on top of all luggage, etc. etc.   People who fly on a regular basis get use to it but it’s always a hassle.  There is another way, maybe expensive but more and more business travelers are discovering and using business aircraft.


The primary driver of business aircraft use today is scheduling flexibility and reduction in the complexities relative to travel. In fact, according to the most recent study of general aviation trends by the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), passengers indicated, on average, that more than fifty percent (50%) of the business aircraft flights taken enable the business traveler to keep schedules they otherwise could not meet efficiently using scheduled commercial flights.

This past Friday, Aviation International News (AIN) published its annual Charter Market Report titled, “The industry is climbing.” It reported private charters in the U.S. increased ten percent (10%) in the number of flights (543,449 compared with 493,431) and twelve- point seven percent (12.7%) in flight hours (765,196 compared with 679,018) during the first half of 2017.

With that type of good news, perhaps it’s not surprising that companies such as Wheels Up, VistaJet, Victor, Stellar Aero Labs and JetSmarter, which all operate in that space, collectively announced nearly four hundred ($400) million in new investments just since the start of the summer. “People have business to do and you can’t-do it flying commercially,” says Kenny Dichter, the CEO and co-founder of Wheels Up, which uses the King Air 350i to help its customers get to those smaller airports that are hard to reach. At the other end of the charter and jet card and program membership spectrum, VistaJet has made its mark with luxury-laden long-range jets catering to Ultra High Net Worth families and global executives who hop between Continents like you and I cross the street.


True but there are disadvantages to flying commercial.

  • The loss of time is a major issue on commercial flights. From the long lines, potential layovers and the often-longer trip to the airport as well as having to check in early. This can easily add up to losing hours upon hours of time that could have been spent more productively. In addition, security delays can not only be a huge hassle, they can cost more time as well.
  • Passengers have to find a flight that fits in with their schedule or can be forced to alter their calendar to fit in with the airlines.
  • With crowded seating, there is little space to conduct business and even less privacy. If you had hoped to conduct a meeting or negotiate a deal in private, other passengers and crew are likely to overhear those conversations.
  • Commercial airlines offer little in the way of amenities. Today, food and beverages options rarely include much more than a drink and a bag of pretzels. First class is better, but you still get what you get.
  • The risk of lost luggage with passengers separated from their bags is another issue when flying commercially.


  • You’ll avoid the inconvenience of the liquid bans that come with flying commercially.
  • You can travel with special belongings, business samples, sports gear, instruments or even bring your pet into the cabin if you so choose.
  • You’ll not only have more time to conduct business, you’ll have more time to spend with your family and friends by reducing the hours you spend traveling.
  • Flying on a private jet projects an image of success. You’ll be seen as an individual or organization that is well-run, efficient and can afford to fly privately.
  • A light commercial jet which can seat five to six (5- 6) people, will cost around $2,000 per hour, larger aircraft which can hold more people and fly further cost more.
  • With a private jet you can fly out of an airport that is much closer to your home or business location, allowing you to skip the traffic, bypass security lines and those frequent delays that commercial airlines often incur.
  • Once on your flight, you’ll find the ultimate in exceptional customer service with individualized attention and the treatment you deserve.
  • Private planes offer luxury furnishings and plenty of space to conduct private business. Order your preferred food and drinks ahead of time, and you can even enjoy your favorite meal on the flight if you desire.


Most of us, myself included, cannot afford private travel, business or otherwise, but more and more businesses are investigating private business travel for very busy executives.  I do not mean leasing, I mean scheduling “a ride” from a company such as mentioned earlier in this post.  In Chattanooga, we have HESS Jet. The service area for HESS Jet may be seen as follows:

An example of the aircraft you can schedule is shown below.  It is a four-seat, twin engine small jet capable of servicing the eastern half of the United States.   If you need an aircraft with larger seating capacity, that can be arranged also.

Now take a look at the interior of the aircraft above.  Think you could get use to this?  Most business men and women would definitely say yes.

I know several people who charter business aircraft during SEC football season.  They, of course, split the costs and really travel in style.  This is becoming more and more common in our country today.  Maybe something to think about.


February 22, 2016

We live in fascinating times!  Long gone are the days when individuals have only one employer.  The median number of years wage and salary workers had been with their current employer was 4.6 years in January 2014, unchanged from January 2012.  This is according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For women, the median tenure in January 2014 was 4.5 years, unchanged from January 2012. Among men, thirty percent (30%) of wage and salary workers had ten (10) years or more tenure with their current employer, compared with twenty-eight (28%) percent for women.  Median employee tenure was generally higher among older workers than younger ones. For example, the median tenure of workers ages fifty-five (55) to sixty-four (64), (10.4 years) was more than three times that of workers ages twenty-five (25) to thirty-four (34) years (3.0 years).  A larger proportion of older workers than younger workers had ten (10) years or more tenure.  Among workers ages sixty (60) to sixty-four (64), fifty-eight (58%) percent were employed for at least ten (10) years with their current employer in January 2014, compared with only twelve (12%) percent of those ages thirty (30) to thirty-four (34).

We are getting older and as aging employees retire, CEOs, presidents and human resource managers must look to younger individuals to fill the vacant positions.  This brings on fascinating challenges that certainly must be met.  Just what are the TOP TALENT TRENDS?  Let’s take a look.

  • INTERNET OF THINGS (IOT)— There is absolutely no doubt about it, IoT is the next technology mega-trend affecting the entire business spectrum. IoT is a network of physical objects or “things” embedded with electronics to collect and exchange data.  All sorts of data.  We see more and more “things” being connected to the internet each day. Every design manager recognizes this fact.  Companies are racing to make this happen.   Workers will have to develop new skills to meet the challenges of this environment.  People who know how to write code as well as hardware specialists will have to get on board for this revolution in products. Its coming and in many cases, already here.
  • THE BOOMERANG EMPLOYEE—An employee who leaves your company and then returns at a later time is called a boomerang employee. There, of course, reasons why an employee leaves; i.e. additional education, bad chemistry between manager and employee, great opportunities elsewhere, etc.  Seventy-six percent (76%) of employers say they are more accepting to rehire an employee is that employee did not create real issues during his original time with the company.   Rehiring a former employee can make sense.  They are familiar with company culture, may not require much training, and bring with them new perspectives.
  • GENERATION “Z” ENTERING THE WORKFORCE—Generation “Z” is the generation born between 1994 and 2004. According to Forbes, in 2015 Generation Z made up twenty-five percent (25%) of the U.S. population, making them a larger cohort than the baby boomersor millennials.  Frank N. Magid Associates estimates that in the United States, fifty-five percent (55%) of Generation Z are Caucasian, twenty-four percent (24%) are Hispanic, fourteen percent (14%) are African-American, four percent (4%) are Asian, and four percent (4%) are multiracial or other.

Non-traditional households are one of the most prominent features associated with Generation Z’s familial culture. In the 2010s, fewer women are having children (around 80 percent of those of childbearing age, against 90 percent in the 1970s), and those who do have fewer children at a later age.   Marriage rates have fallen as well as divorce rates, which are still relatively high. According to the U.S. census of 2010, both women and men get married at a later age– women’s first marriage averaging to the age of twenty-six (26) and men’s to the age of twenty-nine (29). This is due to the popular idea of becoming financially and emotionally independent before beginning a life with a significant other or children. Multiracial families have also become very prevalent.  In the U.S. census of 2001, 6.8% of people under the age of eighteen (18) claimed to be more than one race.  In addition to an increase in multiracial families, there are more same-sex marriages and families in communities across the country.  This is GEN “Z” and they are looking for employment.

  • HYBRID TALENT DEMAND—I think this is a big one. Hybrid jobs are the future of jobs.  Andy Holt, the past president of the University of Tennessee told the graduating class: “Know something about everything and everything about something”.  This in a nutshell is hybrid knowledge.  A hybrid employee is considered both a generalist and a specialist.  With a hybrid employee, employers are basically getting two people for the price of one.
  • INDUSTRY GROWTH CREATING NEED FOR FLEXIBLE SKILLS DEVELOPMENT—Accelerated growth produces the great need for an employee to be flexible relative to needed training and on-the-floor-experience. If an employee is not willing to learn, thus retrain—don’t hire him or her.
  • LONGER HIRING PROCESS CONTINUES—The time to fill a given job is lengthening. In April of 2015, the average job was vacant for 27.3 days before being filled.  This nearly doubles the 15.3 days it took prior to 2009. Better hires come out of the process but it does take time—much more time.
  • OFFICE DESIGN IS BEING USED TO ATTRACT TALENT—I find this one to be fascinating. Studies have shown that by transforming the look of the workplace, companies can create a more effective and productive space for their workers. For that reason, many companies are focusing on redesigning their office environment as a key aspect of attracting and retaining the best talent.  Health and safety are no longer considered adequate to attract employees.  They go for ambience also.
  • MORE WORKFORCE FLEXIBILITY—With the great rise of telecommuting, globalization and new technology, workers are demanding more flexibility. It definitely has not yet been determined as to where employers draw the line and I am positive this varies from company to company. With GEN Z, companies will have to bend with the winds of change and those changes are coming.


August 1, 2015

I recently completed writing a training module for  PDH publishes documents allowing engineers and architects to satisfy their annual requirements for continuing education units (CEUs).  There are thirty-six (36) states requiring CEUs for continued listing as a professional engineer or professional architect.  My newest module is “BIOMETRICS”.   Biometric technology is one possible method for eliminating or lessening theft and fraud.  I was absolutely amazed at the level of fraud each year in our country.

When we consider the number of identity theft and fraud cases each year, we see the following picture.  Add to the numbers below the instances of money laundering and you get a difficult situation hard to believe.  Let’s take a look.

  • Approximately  fifteen (15)  million United States residents have their identities used fraudulently each year, with financial losses totaling upwards of fifty billion ($50 B).  I have personally been the victim three times relative to identity theft.  Not stolen cards, but someone “lifting” my numbers, recreating the card and charging at will.
  • On a case-by-case basis, that means approximately seven percent (7%) of all adults have their identities misused with each instance resulting in approximately $3,500 in losses.
  • Close to one hundred (100) million additional Americans have their personal identifying information placed at risk of identity theft each year when records maintained in government and corporate databases are lost or stolen.  We have just seen this recently with Federal employees.
  • On average, banks charge nineteen percent (19%) for a returned check and fiver dollars ($5.00) to the depositor. Assuming a combined revenue stream to banks of twenty-four dollars ($24.00) for returning a check, with 300 million returned checks, the annual revenue from returned checks is seven billion dollars ($7billion).  Some banks, generally the larger nation-wide banks, charge upwards to $50.00 for a returned check.
  • Ernst & Young reports that more than five hundred (500) million checks are forged annually.   The American Banker, an industry magazine, predicts that there will be a twenty-five percent (25%) increase in check fraud in the 2016 year.
  • Money laundering has increased over the last ten years. As a result, global efforts to combat this crime have increased. While it is extremely difficult to estimate the amount of worldwide money laundering, one model estimated that in 1998 it was near $2.85 trillion.
  • According to Meridian Research, estimated fraud loss for the credit card industry amounts to $1.5 billion annually, of which $230 million is estimated to result from online transactions. MasterCard reported a 33.7% increase in worldwide fraud from 1998 to 1999. During the first quarter of 2000, fraud losses increased 35.3% over the last quarter in 1999. VISA reports similar trends. It is estimated that fraud losses for online transactions may exceed $500 million in 2000. Fraudulent credit card activities include the use of counterfeit, stolen, and never received cards, as well as account takeover, mail order and Internet card-not present transactions.
  • The FBI estimates losses from check fraud total $18.7 billion annually in our country alone.
  • Health care fraud costs the United States tens of billions of dollars a year. It’s a rising threat, with national health care expenditures estimated to exceed $3 trillion in 2014 and spending continuing to outpace inflation. Recent cases also show that medical professionals continue, and may be more willing, to risk patient harm in furtherance of their schemes.  Medicare has no official estimate of the amount of money lost to fraud each year, but the Federal Bureau of Investigation refers to estimates of three to ten percent of all health care billings. In 2011, Medicare expenditures totaled approximately $565 billion. If the FBI percentages are applied to this amount, the cost of Medicare fraud for the 2011 fiscal year was anywhere from $17-57 billion.
  • According to an FBI report on insurance fraud, published on its web site under “The Economic Crimes Unit” section, total insurance industry fraud is $27.6 billion annually. The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud breaks the total down across the insurance industry as follows:
    • Auto $12.3 billion ·
    • Homeowners $1.8 billion ·
    •  Business/Commercial $12 billion ·
    • Life/Disability $1.5 billion

Economic crimes in this area include those committed both internally and externally. Internal fraud can manifest itself in bribery of company officials, misrepresentation of company information for personal gain, and the like.

  • In his testimony to the Senate Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State and the Judiciary on March 21, 2000, Chairman Arthur Levitt stated that Internet securities fraud is on the rise. He stated that there will be over 5.5 million online brokerage accounts by year end. The SEC has seen a rapid rise in Internet fraud in this area, with most of it occurring between 1998 and 1999. One recent pyramid scheme raised more than $150 million from over 155,000 investors before it was shut down. Securities fraud takes the form of stock manipulation, fraudulent offerings, and illegal touts conducted through newspapers, meetings, and cold calling, among others. These same scams have been conducted electronically, but are now joined by some newer, more sophisticated fraudulent activity. These include momentum-trading web sites, scalping recommendations, message boards posted by imposters, web sites for day trading recommendations, and misdirected messages. Investors are suffering large losses due to these cyber crimes.
  • The U.S. Secret Service estimates that telecommunication fraud losses exceed $1 billion annually.  Other estimates range from three ($3) billion to twelve ($12) billion.  Subscription or identity fraud involves using false or stolen IDs or credit cards to gain free service and anonymity. It has tripled since 1997, says Rick Kemper, Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association’s (CTIA) director of wireless technology and security, a trend he attributes to criminals favoring subscription fraud over cloning, plus increased industry competition to reach a broader and riskier market. The International Data Corporation (IDC: Framingham, MA) stated that, “Fraud remains endemic to the wireless industry, with estimated loses expected to reach a staggering $677 million by 2002…”   One of the key reasons is the dramatic increase of subscription fraud which IDC estimates will reach $473 million by 2002.17 Telemarketing fraud resulted in losses to victims of over $40 billion in 1998.   In 1996, the FBI estimated that there were over 14,000 telemarketing firms that were involved in fraudulent acts, the majority of which victimized the elderly.
  • Intellectual property theft – in the form of trademark infringement, cyber squatters, typo squatters, trade-secret theft, and copyright infringement – has increased as Internet use and misuse has risen. It occurs across the seven industries detailed here, as well as most other businesses. “According to the American Society for Industrial Security, American businesses have been losing $250 billion a year from intellectual property theft since the mid-1990’s.

These alarming statistics demonstrate identity theft and fraud may be the most frequent, costly and pervasive crime in the United States and on a global basis.  There is also a growing belief that biometrics may be able to lessen to a very great degree identity theft.   Let’s take a look at the “BIOMETRIC SUITE”:

Biometric Suite

The methods used, relative to allowing access to information and location, must be determined by careful consideration of 1.) Cost, 2.) Interface with existing computer equipment and computer code, 3.) Level of social intrusion tolerated, 4.) Ease in maintenance of equipment and 5.) Level of security required by the facility.  You would expect entry into a nuclear facility to be more difficult that entry into an NFL locker room. You get the point.  All of these factors must be considered with converting from existing systems to biometric technology.

I do NOT think anyone would disagree that something MUST be done to lessen identity theft and fraudulent activity.  The FED won’t really do this.  They are much too busy getting reelected, establishing their “brand”, satisfying their “base and securing their “legacy”.  Change must occur through the private sector.

As always, I welcome your comments.

The following post was taken from a great book entitled Adversity Quotient by Dr. Paul G. Stoltz, published by John Wiley & Sons, copyright 1997.

Do you ever wonder why some organizations thrive on competition and others are crushed?   Why one entrepreneur beats unfathomable odds, while others completely give up?  Why do some parents raise children who are good citizens in neighborhoods riddled with violence and drugs?  Why does an individual beat the odds, overcoming an abusive childhood when others, maybe most, do not?    Why does an inner-city teacher positively impact student lives, while the rest of the faculty barely gets by?  Why do so many gifted or high IQ individuals fall far short of their potential?    It appears those who really excel and accomplish their goals do so because they have a great work ethic, they persevere—never give up, and  they apply their talents and FOCUS relative to the work at hand.  In short, they know how to overcome adversity when adversity occurs.

There are several, (twenty-two to be exact,) areas that can completely stifle creativity on an individual or company basis.  Things that really throw a monkey-wrench in the works and derail efforts; sometimes so much that eventual failure occurs.  If you own a company, if you are a CEO or manage a department within a company, you can really inhibit the productivity of your workforce by doing the following:  Let’s take a look.

  • Always promise more than you can deliver
  • Be consistently inconsistent
  • Remember—there is always a downside to everything
  • Model victimhood
  • Give lip service to accountability and responsibility
  • Ignore any potential contribution to the teams’ success
  •   Help your team see setbacks for what they are—major failures
  • Frame success as a freak accident
  •  Torpedo humor at all costs
  • Sap their strength
  • Crush creativity
  • Punish all attempts at independence, swiftly and severely
  • Dismantle any hope or optimism
  • Surround yourself with quitters instead of doers
  • Set your team up for failure
  • Reward them for playing by the rules
  • Construct a rigid, stark, colorless environment
  • Uproot enthusiasm before it can grow
  • Press everyone to create a mission and vision, then forget about it
  • Provide responsibility without authority
  • Use “empowerment” as a weapon  to get them to do more with less

Let’s be honest, on an individual basis, we all at times, talk ourselves into some of the road blocks given above. It’s really human nature to bring about doubts when jobs and problems seem insurmountable.   One of my favorite sayings was uttered by George Bernard Shaw in his play “Back to Methuselah.  “You see things; and you say, ‘Why?‘    But I dream things that never were; and I say, “Why not?”  I think the bottom line is:



June 1, 2013

The following information was taken from FORBES MAGAZINE.

The past few months various corporations have been greatly criticized for paying few if any Federal corporate taxes.  Keep in mind, they follow existing tax codes but they simply find “loopholes” that allow them to minimize tax liabilities. Don’t we do the very same?  I know I do. FORBES MAGAZINE just published a list of twenty-five (25) companies and the taxes they did pay in 2012.  It’s quite a list and very telling.  Let’s take a look.  (PLEASE NOTE: These are not in any order.  You may do that on your own. )

  •   Wells Fargo
  • JP Morgan-Chase
    • $8.1 Billion in Taxes
    • $22.9 Billion in Net Income
    •  26% Effective Tax Rate
  • Apple
    • $ 14.2 Billion in Taxes
    • $41.7 Billion in Net Income
    •  25% Effective Tax Rate
  • Chevron
    • $20 Billion in Taxes
    • $26 Billion in Net Income
    •  43% Effective Tax Rate
  • Exxon Mobile
    • $31 Billion in Taxes
    • $45 Billion in Net Income
    • 39% Effective Tax Rate
  • Wal-Mart
    • $8 Billion in Taxes
    •  $17 Billion in Net Income
    • 31% Effective Tax Rate
  • Conoco
    • $7.9 Billion in Taxes
    • $8.4 Billion in Net Income
    • 51.4% Effective Tax Rate
  • Berkshire Hathaway
    • $6.9 Billion in Taxes
    • $14.8 Billion in Net Income
    •  28% Effective Tax Rate
  • IBM
    • $5.3 Billion in Taxes
    • $ 16.6 Billion in Net Income
    • 24% Effective Tax Rate
  • Microsoft
    • $4.6 Billion in Taxes
    • $ 15.5 Billion in Net Income
    •  22.8% Effective Tax Rate
  • Phillip Morris
    • $3.8 Billion in Taxes
    •  $8.8 Billion in Net Income
    •  29.5% Effective Tax Rate
  • Goldman Sachs
    • $3.7 Billion in Taxes
    • $7.6 Billion in Net Income
    • 33% Effective Tax Rate
  • Comcast
    • $3.7 Billion in Taxes
    • $6.2 Billion in Net Income
    • 32% Effective Tax Rate
  • Procter & Gamble
    • $3.6 Billion in Taxes
    • $12.9 Billion in Net Income
    • 23.5% Effective Tax Rate
  • Johnson & Johnson
    • $3.3 Billion in Taxes
    • $10.9 Billion in Net Income
    • 23.7% Effective Tax Rate
  • Intel
    • $3.2 Billion in Taxes
    • $ 10.3 Billion in Net Income
    • 23.6% Effective Tax Rate
  • Occidental Petroleum
    • $3.1 Billion in Taxes
    • $4.6 Billion in Net Income
    • 42% Effective Tax Rate
  • United Health Care
    • $ 3.1 Billion in Taxes
    • $5.3 Billion in Net Income
    • 33.9% Effective Tax Rate
  • Walt Disney
    • $3.0 Billion in Taxes
    • $  5.6 Billion in Net Income
    • 32.7% Effective Tax Rate
  • At&T
    • $2.9 Billion in Taxes
    • $7.3 Billion in Net Income
    • 27.8% Effective Tax Rate
  • Oracle
    • $2.9 Billion in Taxes
    •  $10.6 Billion in Net Income
    • 21.4% Effective Tax Rate
  • Coca-Cola
    • $2.7 Billion in Taxes
    • $9.0 Billion in Net Income
    • 23.1% Effective Tax Rate
  • Home Depot
    • $2.7 Billion in Taxes
    • $4.5 Billion in Net Income
    • 37.2% Effective Tax Rate
  • McDonalds
    • $2.6 Billion in Taxes
    • $ 5.5 Billion in Net Income
    • 32.4% Effective Tax Rate
  • Google
    • $2.6 Billion in Taxes
    • $ 10.7 Billion in Net Income
    • 19.4% Effective Tax Rate

In looking at a summary:

TOTAL TAXES: $ 157.70 Billion

                TOTAL NET INCOME:  $382.9 Billion


I run a small three-man engineering consulting firm.  My taxes run approximately 41%; i.e. Federal, city, country, etc etc.  I definitely feel our tax rates are much too high.  We are taxing those companies providing valuable services AND providing valuable employment.  Does anyone really think the codes will change for the better?  Congress and the IRS will never relinquish control and they do that by taking from those who work for a living.  The value-added is not really balanced.  I welcome your viewpoint.

 I think we all have a little Geek in us, oh yes everyone!   I know people in their 90s who bang away at the computer night and day staying in touch with their kids, grandkids, friends, penpals, etc etc.  You name it, we all like to stay in touch and the Internet gives us a marvelous method for doing just that.   To some extent, we all speak GEEK.  Let’s take a look.

Geeks are getting even cooler!

•Both self-professed geeks and non-geeks alike rated “geeks” to be extremely intelligent (54 percent in 2012 v. 45 percent in 2011) and the go-to people for technology advice (71 percent v. 56 percent). More than half of Americans (51 percent) define geeks as professionally successful, a significant jump from 2011’s 31 percent.

•Majority of respondents defined a “geek” as someone who is addicted to technology (68 percent), or spends more time online than offline (66 percent).

•When given a list of items and asked which they would have a very difficult time living without, old fashioned pen and paper topped the list of items geeks admitted would be the most difficult to live without (71 percent), over technological devices such as computer (58 percent), smartphone (41 percent), or MP3 player (25 percent). Even non-geeks didn’t rank pen and paper first, instead going with car as the No. 1 item they would have a very difficult time living without (61 percent).

Lose your hard drive data or go through a relationship breakup? Geeks say break up, of course!

•More than 60 percent of geeks said they would be very stressed out by losing the files on their computer’s hard drive, such as photos, music files, or documents. In comparison only 49 percent of them would feel the same about going through a relationship break up and only 28 percent of geeks would consider getting the flu to be stressful.

•Losing Internet connection seems to be a universal stressor. People who don’t even consider themselves a geek would be almost as stressed by losing their Internet connection (17 percent) as self-identified geeks (19 percent).

Geeks AND non-geeks attached to their tech

•70 percent of Americans (geeks and non-geeks alike) said they would have a difficult time living without at least one tech accessory for a day (when selecting from a list of eight technological devices such as a smartphone, computer or MP3 player).

•Two-thirds (67 percent) of those who do not even consider themselves a geek would have a difficult time living without at least one technological device for a day.

•Almost three in five (57 percent) Americans – again, geek and non-geek alike – have been told that they use a specific technological device too often, with TV being the biggest culprit (34 percent).

•Perhaps not all that surprising, men are more likely than women to be told that they use the following technological devices too often:

•Desktop (17 percent v. 9 percent)

•Portable music player (10 percent v. 5 percent)

•Gaming console (16 percent v. 2 percent)

Technology creeping into socially inappropriate places

•Many Americans (not only the geeks!) are using technology in inappropriate places / at inappropriate times (66 percent of geeks and non-geeks).

•5 percent of people – both geeks and non-geeks combined – confessed to having used a device like their smartphone during a funeral.

•9 percent admitted to having used a device during a religious service.

•Almost one-fifth of people have used a device during a date (19 percent).

•18 percent of people have used a device during a business meeting.

•And despite state laws prohibiting it for safety reasons, one-third (32 percent) of people admit to using their personal devices while driving a car. Geeks are the biggest culprits on this one with a full 45 percent of geeks admitting to using their device while driving, compared to 30 percent of non-geeks.

•Men are more likely than women to use a personal technology device at the dinner table (36 percent v. 27 percent).

Prepare to be judged – tech savvy millennials are watching

•Nearly one in five Americans (17 percent) judge others on which types of technology they choose to use, such as their computer operating system, cell phone, or gaming console.

•Millennials are quickest to judge. Americans age 18-34 (34 percent) are more likely than their older counterparts to be judgmental about personal technology choices.

•Not surprisingly, the youngest adult Americans, geeks and non-geeks alike, are more attached to their mobile device than others. Americans age 18-34 (40 percent) would have a more difficult time than their older counterparts living without their smartphone for one day.

•35-44 – 25 percent

•45-54 – 27 percent

•55-64 – 14 percent

•65+ – 8 percent


December 27, 2012

Logistics Management, April 2012 was used as one resource for this posting.

Off-shoring is a word that has recently “popped up” in literature to describe moving jobs from one country to another, generally countries with lower cost of labor.   I retired from a Fortune 500 firm that mandated 33 % of all components and assemblies be purchased from LCCs; i.e. low cost countries.  The meaning was obvious, LCCs operated with labor rates significantly lower than those rates found “at home” and the company wanted to capitalize upon those low rates to increase profit.   The “going rate” for an engineer in India–$15,000, Mexico– $12,000, whereas in the United States—approximately $83,000.  Similar situations exist with CAD operators, draftsmen, assembly workers, etc.   This trend will not be reversed easily or soon.  Corporations in the United States and Europe will move an additional 750,000 jobs in IT, finance, and other business related services to India and other low-cost geographies by 2016, according to new research from The Hackett Group, Inc.   As noted in Supply Chain Management Review last year, researchers were trying to determine if levels of additional off-shoring in these areas would begin to decline by 2014.   That group’s off-shoring research, which examined available data on 4,700 companies with annual revenue over $1 billion headquartered in the U.S. and Europe, found that by 2016, a total of 2.3 million jobs in finance, IT, procurement, and HR will have moved off-shore.  This represents about one third of all jobs in these disciplines.  India is by far the most popular destination, with nearly 40 percent of the jobs being off-shored headed there.  The Hackett Group’s research sees additional off-shoring levels in business services, which are currently at around 150,000 new jobs each year, leveling off or declining after 2014.  They also found  that of the 5.1 million business services jobs remaining on-shore at U.S. and European companies in 2012, only about 1.8 million have the potential to be moved off-shore with  750,000, as mentioned above, moving by 2016.   Within the next eight to ten years, the traditional model of lifting and shifting work out of Western economies into low cost countries will cease to be a major factor driving business services job losses in the U.S. and Europe.  Automation and other productivity improvements will have caused the elimination of 2.2 million business services jobs at these companies between 2006 and 2016 and these factors are currently driving the elimination of round 200,000 jobs annually.  Companies must improve processes and to a great degree automate those processes in order to survive.  Our tax codes are not favorable to companies within the U.S. and companies must compensate for that fact.  “In the U.S. and Europe, off-shoring of business services and the transformation of shared services into Global Business Services, have had a significant negative impact on the jobs outlook for nearly a decade”, said The Hackett Group Chief Research Officer—Michael Janssen.  “That trend will continue to hit us hard in the short-term”.            

What we are saying—don’t’ look for much relief, if any, for the next few years.

This blog was inspired by an article published in “Business Finance”, written by Eric Krell, 3 October 2012

 Corporate relocation has been transformed in recent years, giving rise to new threats and certainly new opportunities.  Traditional three-year expatriate assignments are not the only options now available and desired by companies needing talent in a quick and effective manner.   We are all aware of those countries where travel is prohibited by our federal government; i.e. North Korea, Iran, Cuba, etc. but there are other countries that have made the list of “highest-risk destinations.  The International SOS is a global firm that provides local expertise, preventative advice and emergency assistance to clients with employees abroad.  The highest-risk countries on their list include: Nigeria, Pakistan, India, Mexico and Russia.  (Having been to several countries in the Middle-East, I would definitely say that any country in that region MUST be included as a very risky destination.)  The nature of international business risks is changing, as is the male/female ratio of international business travelers.  A recent International SOS survey indicates that European-based international travelers reported a higher occurrence of threats related to travel-related infections and road accidents during the past three years.   Global business involves more germ-related illnesses and much more aggressive driving relative to conditions in the United States and Canada not to mention threats involving kidnapping and ransom.

The number of female business travelers is rising at a tremendous rate.  Women now comprise forty-five (45) percent of the corporate travel market.  International SOS reports a twenty (20) percent increase in the number of female travelers calling its centers for medical and travel-security advice from 2011 to 2012.   

A 2012 KPMG survey of one thousand one hundred and fifty (1,150) senior leaders in mid-sized companies in the United States, Canada, Brazil and Mexico find that:

  • Seventy-five (75) percent of mid-market executives believe global expansion is integral to their company’s growth strategy.  That figure is up fifty-three (53) percent in 2009 and thirty-seven (37) percent in 2007 previous KPMG surveys on the topic.
  • Eighty (80) percent of U.S. mid- market executives think their global expansion plans have been successful in the last two years.
  • Seventy-eight (78) percent of U.S. executives say they plan to increase non-domestic revenues from foreign operations and customers.  This is an increase of sixty-six percent from 2009.

The allure of global operations is boosting the frequency of international assignments. Fifty-seven (57) of the one hundred twenty-two (122) mobility managers indicate they expect to increase relocation volumes during the next two years.  This fact was reported by Cartus 2012 Trends in Global Relocation.  This travel generally involved three categories, as follows:

  1. Commuter Assignments:  Travel between home and destination countries for a specified number of work days per month.
  2. Extended Business Travel:   International travel of o ne to three weeks in duration.
  3. Rotational Assignments:  A series of two or more assignments, which last one to three months.

It is imperative that risk management personnel develop specific strategies relative to travel by their most valuable personnel.  The following list is an excellent place to begin:

  • Increased awareness
  •  Plan with key stakeholders
  •  Expand policies and procedures
  •  Conduct due diligence
  •  Communicate, educate and train
  • Assess risk prior to every employee trip
  •  Track traveling employees at all times
  •  Implement an employee emergency  response system
  •  Implement additional management controls
  • Ensure vendors are aligned

I think, for health reasons alone, traveling “solo” can be tremendously risky. One of the huge issues existing in today’s global travel is the inability to communicate.  (How many U.S. citizens speak Mandarin or Cantonese?)  At any rate, pre-planning is an absolute necessity.

MUD RUN —- 2012

August 12, 2012

 My town, Chattanooga, Tennessee, has been designated as one of the top ten “outdoor” towns in the country.  We are very proud of that distinction because at one time, it was one of the most polluted cities in our country.   Our city “fathers” decided twenty years ago to make necessary changes to bring about a more environmentaly-friendy atmosphere.  Our particulate count was significantly higher than the average and the incidences of asthma and related repertory illnesses were well over the average for any city our size.  Well, it worked and for this reason, outdoor activities like the annual mud run have been  made possible.   A clean environment is serious business but having fun on one very sunny Chattanooga weekend is definitely serious also.   Take a look at adults having fun.

This year there were 425 teams with four or five members per team.  About 2100 people participating.    It’s a three mile run BUT there are obstacles situated throughout the course.   You must master each in order to qualify and have your time put into the wonderful “book of Chattanooga history”.   You cannot go around an obstacle.  You must navigate each barrier—that‘s it.  Each team is given a starting time when they pick up their race packets.  This year, we started right on time; i.e. 0900 hrs with the last team approaching the starting gate at 1100 hrs.  Each team can wear whatever they wish although you must wear something regardless of how scant or revealing.  (I won’t go into detail here but suffice it to say, some are more free-spirited than others.) Several of the “uniforms” are demonstrated below.

The gals above don’t really look all that fast but they did have one of the best times for any female team.   I think these “ruffles” are called tutus.  At any rate, they did not inhibit the runners at all and certainly provided comic relief for the on-lookers. 

The JPEG below, I thought, was unbelievable.  The camera does not lie.

You should see these ladies after the run.  I have no idea as to how they came up with this idea but they did make the Sunday paper– morning edition –as the most “interesting” team.


This picture redefines fast food.  Colonel Sanders, Burger King and of course McDonalds’ were all represented at this event.    Not too sure what the fourth and fifth team members wore but I’m sure their costumes were as striking.  This was a great  group.     They really had it altogether and came in with the second best time. 

  The first barrier was a ten foot wall with a vertical drop on the other side.  That structure is shown in the lower left portion of this JPEG.   I would say the incline on the approach was about 60 degrees, with steps on the left side of the wall.  The real problem was not the ascension but the drop when you get over.  Straight down with no cushion to soften the blow as you hit the ground.  Several injuries occurred on this one.  Twisted ankle, one broken leg, etc etc.


The second obstacle was a monstrous “slip and slide”. 

A river of water was flushed over a 75 yard plastic mat that eventually dumped into a mud pit, along with the runners.  By this time you were wet, tired, muddy and wondering who talked you into this insane event.   

I’m the one in black—the old guy heading down-hill.

 The picture below will indicate what you look like when you exit the pit.  (In my case—less the muscles.)


I ran with a team called “Fitness Together”.  This is the group I train with every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Good looking team, especially the guy second from the right.

I am 70 years old and the gentleman (real gentleman) in the center is Todd Reeves.  He helped me with the barriers and volunteered to carry the defib device.  (Just kidding about the defibrillator!)  As I mentioned earlier, the race itself; i.e. three miles, was not the problem, it was the barriers.  Really tough to get over, under or through.  My time was somewhat decent—38 minutes.  One rule, all members of any one team must complete the run together.  There were no individual times taken, only the time for the entire team made the record books.   I’m old enough to be their grandfather but they were very considerate in “hanging around” until we could all finish.  Events like this energize a community and do a great deal of good for that community.  In this case, Habitat for Humanity was the recipient of the entry fee and most of the oversi ght was by volunteers doing what they do best.  The Tennessee National Guard and the Chattanooga Police Force did a marvelous job with organization and traffic control.   A great day all-in-all from a town that definitely gets outdoors.


June 12, 2012

Several days ago I scheduled a short trip to visit a prospective client in Cumming, Georgia.  I knew that Cumming was just north of Atlanta but needed to know what exit to take off of I-75 south.  Needing gas anyway, I stopped at my local BP to fill up AND purchase a Georgia map.  I was somewhat surprised when the attendant told me they no longer sold maps.  “Everyone has a GPS now, no need for maps anymore” was his reply.

 I suppose everyone on the planet has seen the YouTube video of the lady walking while texting.  She is at a mall; absolutely absorbed in the process while heading towards a fountain “planted” in her direct path.  In she goes –head first.   Fortunately, she was not physically injured but I’m sure her pride was definitely affected.  (By the way, she sued the mall for not posting signs indicating the position of the fountain and for releasing the video.  I have no idea if she won or lost. )

These two examples illustrate how technology is affecting our behavior and how we modify our behavior to make accommodations, necessary or otherwise.  One of the biggest problems we have in Tennessee is texting while driving.  The death rate on our highways elevates each year due to this dangerous practice.  I would hazard a guess that none of the messages sent while driving are critical and could certainly wait until the automobile is stationary.   Technology seems to dictate making us the slave and not the master.   Seemingly, we lose control when these communication devices are available.  The urgency does not escape us and we react. 

Our two oldest grandchildren, ages twenty and eighteen, spend hours each week on Facebook.  They both have hundreds of friends, not to mention family, they communicate with on a weekly basis.   I have actually been in their presence as they talk to each other, using Facebook, while sitting on the same couch.  Go figure.   Psychologists in the United States indicate there are 350 million (yes million) people addicted to Face book.  This addition is called F.A.D or Face book Addictive Disorder.  I strongly suspect there is a comparable addiction to Twitter and YouTube. 

Another incredible advance, linking your smart phone with your PC.  This allows you to receive e-mail on your “mobile” while away from the office.  Now I really like this one except for the fact that I’m always working—always!  There never seems to be a waking hour that I am not on call.  This means I am always “reachable” and people expect a return message, night or day.   This, as you might expect, can be a real pain and there no longer is the excuse, “I was away from the office.”

I think behavioral modification first came with the Home Shopping Network, then e-Bay, then Amazon, now Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.  I can’t imagine what might be next but it seems to me millions of hours are blown away each year as we allow these technologies to overtake our lives.  Remarkable and useful as they are, should we not be involved with more meaningful pursuits?  If we don’t do otherwise, would we all be more than wet?  Just a thought.

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