Sharing an E-Mail

9-11I’ve been around a long time. No, not that long… I’m not pushing the century mark, not yet and have not been designated a curmudgeon by everyone who knows me. During my tenure on earth I witnessed many political changes domestically and internationally. I remember World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Desert Storm 1 and 2, Afghanistan and all the conflicts that filled the gaps. 9-11 is a fresh memory that gets renewed daily as I look at the picture I took of the rubble only days after…

My memories are filled with fears. Yes, I was taught and learned to fear the “isms” that echoed around the world almost always to the background sound of war, destruction, death, pain, starvation and suffering. Even at my advanced age there are fears, which I have not conquered, one of them is the fear of socialism.

I have always lived in our United States; I have served a four-year tour of duty in the Air Force, which included a tour in post-war Korea. I lost a brother while he was in the Air Force and had numerous relatives who had also served. Ok, what’s my point?

Fair question.

My point is that I have watched our country erode from an industrial/agricultural nation with an extremely high work ethic, to one that is beginning to embrace socialism. We have lost our global leadership position in so many arenas to countries that have become or are becoming what we were only a few years go.

What prompted this rant? It’s an email from a friend that I am going to share with you but the Internet being what it is, you have probably seen it or received it. I’m certain that many will disagree with me for doing this and for the lesson shared in the following. But, because of our Constitution I can express my feelings, thoughts and opinions and I am exercising that Constitutional right.

An economics teacher at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer. 

The teacher then said, “OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Labor’s plan”.. All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A…. (substituting grades for dollars – something closer to home and more readily understood by all).=

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.  

The second test average was a D! 

No one was happy. 

T he 3rd test , the average was an F. 

As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else. 

To their great surprise ALL FAILED and the teacher told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.

Could not be any simpler than that.

These are possibly the 5 best sentences you’ll ever read and all applicable to this experiment :

  1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. 
  1. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
  1. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
  1. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!
  1. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.”

God Bless America

January ACP Editorial: Year after Year

Milli brings in 2015

Milli brings in 2015

We closed the door on 2014 with a trip back in time to an editorial that I had written in 1989 because it echoed so many of the same things we are facing today. When I found that article I also found a couple of others. We’re going to start 2015 off with a look at an editorial I wrote in 1998. I hope you enjoy meeting this friend of mine from the past:

Coming soon: The Shop

Our books, movies and television seldom pay homage to the professionals who make the greatest difference.

“Where can I find qualified mechanics?” and, “Where can I find skilled operators?” are probably the two most common questions I’ve heard over the years. This has always been a problem, but it now has become more serious.

A possible solution to the problem would be a best seller that becomes an Oscar-winning movie and then a weekly Emmy-winning TV series.

In the book, “The Shop”, our hero Stan Tall is a diesel mechanic graduating from his state’s leading vo-tech diesel college. He’s near the top of his class, and is being courted by several multimillion-dollar equipment dealers. They’ve offered him a new set of tools, with the appropriate tool chests, and a new field-service truck – a sporty model with flare sides.

One of the leading operations in the city has decided to pull out all the stops to get Stan, and has invited him and his wife Patty to the company’s annual blue-collar dinner dance. The music is endless, as is the supply of beer and pizza. Of course, Stan and Patty are not given a chance to spend even one minute together – both are being dazzled by the company leaders and their spouses.

As the evening’s last note fades into memory, Stan and Patty finally succeed in finding each other and leaving in their much-used pickup.

“It certainly would be nice to have a new ride,” Stan says, opening the door for Patty.

“It would,” she agrees, “and to be able to go out to dinner and a movie once in a while. What do you think, Stan, are you going to take the job?”

“They want me to come by and look the shop over.”

Stan’s visit to the shop clinched the deal. The place was spotless, well-lit, air conditioned and better equipped than anything he had imagined. Every service bay was fully stocked with tools, diagnostic equipment, service supplies and support computers.

The decision was easy. Who wouldn’t want to work in these conditions, at a pay level that made the “good life” possible, and be a respected, well-regarded member of an affluent society? Stan was proud of his accomplishments and the fact that he was a professional. He felt a strong sense of security about his and Patty’s future. Stan was a mechanic. Patty was a mechanic’s wife. This was the dream life most parents wanted for their children. Wasn’t it?

Somewhere between the fantasy life in The Shop and the harshness of reality is where we need to be. The truth is that being a mechanic is not a dream for most people.

As a society, we do a poor job of preparing our children for the future. Our tendency is to glorify some professions and ignore others. We do very little to encourage our children to aspire to hands-on professions like mechanics, masonry, carpentry, equipment operation and all the others you can list.

Because of this, most people don’t aspire to enter critically necessary professions. What are we going to do when our mechanical world slowly grinds to a halt because no one can diagnose its problems much less fix them?

Since I wrote this editorial there have been several TV series that focus on the professional skilled worker, including Mike Rowe’s TV series, “Dirty Jobs.”

Visit site-kconstructionzone.com and type “Mike Rowe” in the search box at the top right hand side of the home page.

The final sentence may not be as far from today as we would like to believe. The problems over getting a new highway bill through congress attest to this. Where would we be with out our transportation infrastructure?

“The Roads Must Roll” is a 1940 science fiction short story by Robert A. Heinlein. In the late 1960s, it was awarded a retrospective Nebula Award by the Science Fiction Writers of America and published in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One, 1929–1964 anthology in 1970.

The story is set in the near future, when “roadtowns” (wide rapidly moving passenger platforms similar to moving sidewalks, but reaching speeds of 100 mph) have replaced highways and railways as the dominant transportation method in the United States.

Heinlein’s themes are technological change and social cohesion. The fictional social movement he calls functionalism (which is unrelated to the real-life sociological theory of the same name), advances the idea that one’s status and level of material reward in a society must and should depend on the functions one performs for that society.

“The Roads Must Roll” is a good read. Who knows, with our growing shortage of skilled professionals maybe Heinlein’s science fiction fantasy may become reality especially if we have to continue our “roads” maintenance without a coherent highway bill.

Happy New Year.

Let’s Go Places – How About Back to November 1989

RMG1aRecently while cleaning out some files I cam across a collection of editorials I had written years ago. Surprisingly some really seemed to fit the world as it is today with minor modifications. The point is although everything changes nothing is different.

Read With Caution, May Cause Drowsiness appeared as an editorial in 1989.

Here it is, November, the 11th month. Daylight savings time is over. It’s dark when you leave the house in the morning. It’s dark when you get home in the evening. You can’t go out without a jacket and some mornings you even need your gloves. If you park outside chances are you have to scrape your windows.

By now you’ve had an opportunity to read several articles on “The Wonders of Winter Maintenance. Winter is like taxes – something you simply can’t escape.

In addition to maintenance worries, winter presents safety concerns. Not only do we have to deal with ice and snow on the roads, we have to deal with the limited visibility of frosted and fogged windshields, back windows and mirrors. Then there are the ice-covered steps and frozen grab-irons, slippery floors and snow-covered boots.

The opportunities to practice safety are innumerable during winter season. If it gets cold enough you have to be concerned about staying out too long, touching metal and wearing the right clothes. One safety concern in particular s often neglected.

With the snow comes colds and flu. Everyone tries to fight these bugs with off-the-shelf remedies. How often have you taken a cold capsule or other remedy and gone to work? Did you read the label? Did it happen to say, “Do not operate machinery or equipment after taking! May cause drowsiness.” Probably.

It’s something we all do, well maybe 1ot all of us. It’s something we shouldn’t lo. Some of these remedies may have little or no effect on us and our ability to operate cars, trucks, machines or do our job. We may not fall asleep. We might think that because we weigh 200 lbs one little pill can’t hurt us. The fact is that many of these medicines can slow our reflexes or impair our judgment.

There are alternatives that don’t cause drowsiness or produce other negative effects. If you have to work when you’re sick take them instead. Don’t take a chance. When you’re working as part of a group, what you do can and does, affect everyone. If you’re not sure, talk to your doctor and find out if it’s OK to work on or operate a piece of machinery while taking certain medicines or drugs.

This matter could be a topic for a safety meeting. It’s something that people – me included — never think about, but should. Getting behind the wheel of a car, truck or machine is serious business. When we do it we assume responsibility for any and every one who might come in contact with us. Please, don’t take this responsibility lightly.

Safety is not a seasonal activity. Being a safe worker, employer and employee is a year-around requirement. If we expect the company we work for to provide us with the safety gear necessary to do our job, it’s only fair that we show up in condition to do the job.

Remember that clothing should meet existing safety requirements. If safety shoes are required that’s what should be worn. No, gym shoes are not an acceptable substitute. It’s easy to slip on a pair of “sneakers” and not bother changing when you get to work.

(Winter clothing poses more safety hazards than less bulky and restricting summer clothing.)

It’s a lot easier to wear a baseball cap than the hard hat; or forget your safety glasses when you should be wearing them. Being safety conscious isn’t always easy. Sometimes it requires extra effort. But, it’s always worth it.

Safety is an individual commitment. A company is only as safe as the most careless of its employees. Unfortunately, an individual’s dedication to being safe is never as noticeable as one person’s care­ less conduct.

To be safe, you must think safe, dress safe, act safe and live safe. Being safe is one thing you’ll never live to regret — so is being careless!

That was 1989. Not much has changed, has it?

A Merry and Safe Christmas and Happy and Safe New Year to you and your families.

This editorial appeared in the December 2014 issues of the ACP magazines.

November 4, 2014 marks the 45th Anniversary of Philippi-Hagenbuch, Inc., Happy Anniversary

I received the following in an e-mail today and it brought a flood of memories. I learned more about haul trucks, haul roads and the importance of haul road maintenance from “Phil” and LeRoy than you can imagine. Most of this information ended up as articles in a now long-gone magazine Equipment Management (EM) of which I was editor. It’s hard to believe that PHIL was started 45 years ago…

Congratulations to an innovator and a survivor. I hope the next 45 years are as interesting and exciting as the were.

181Dear Greg Sitek:

November 4, 2014 marks the 45th Anniversary of Philippi-Hagenbuch, Inc. which was co-founded by L.B. “Phil” Philippi (Pat Hagenbuch’s Father) and LeRoy Hagenbuch, P.E. Since its founding, PHIL has grown into an international company focussing on innovations for haulage equipment that has a wide reach, yet retains its modest, family owned footprint here in Peoria, Illinois.

It all started with two shoe boxes that led to the first prototype of what would become our Autogate(R) Tailgate; a need was presented and a dream was born. Forty-five years, over a hundred patents, thousands of tailgates and hundreds of sideboards, truck bodies, water tanks, trailers and other specialty haulage equipment later and PHIL is going strong. From PHIL’s humble beginnings in the basement of the Philippi house on Millbrook Road to our current 50-acre campus, PHIL has grown from servicing Quarries to a diversified group of stable industries made up by the Aggregates, Mining, Steel Mill, Landfill, Power Plant, Oil Refinery, Heavy Duty Agriculture and Forestry markets.

Today, PHIL is led by the third generation of the Philippi and Hagenbuch families, ushering in new technologies, business practices, and products in an effort to further establish PHIL in the industries we serve through the dedication of our highly motivated tight-knit group of associates.

None of this would be possible without the support of our amazing clients, vendors, industry partners, licensees and the support of off-highway truck OEM’s. Thank you for helping us build such a legacy!

To commemorate this anniversary, the Associates of PHIL are putting together a milestone memory book. If you would like to share a story, picture of your PHIL product or a note of congratulations that will be included in the book, please click here.
Regards,
Josh Swank
Josh Swank
Vice President of Sales & Marketing
Philippi-Hagenbuch, Inc.

Mediocrities

Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff

It’s easy to be forgotten when there are so many that are better than you. So why exert the extra effort when you can get along by simply doing as little as possible.

Virtually everyone has heard of Confucius, Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Aquinas, and Locke, to name only a few of the most notable. Many aspects of our personal and professional lives are influenced by the thinking, teachings and writings of one or more of these great minds. Yet there is one forgotten philosopher who is followed by more people than any other.

Mediocrities is the forgotten, and uncelebrated, but most followed philosopher’s who taught, “Do only enough to get by.” Why excel when it’s so much easier to easier to fail? Why make something perfect if good enough will do?

Strangely enough, many people even unknowingly adhere to his philosophy in raising their children. Do you remember being told that things should be done in moderation?

Think of all the people you know who go through life satisfied with doing just enough to get by when with a little more effort, they could do more. Usually when you say this people will tell you something like, “It’s not just a little more, it’s a whole lot more. If all it took was just a little more, everyone would do it.”

Not true. A little goes a long way.

In USA Gymnastics history, Peter Vidmar is the highest-scoring gymnast. At the 1984 Games, he collected a gold on the pommel horse, after earning a perfect 10, and a second place finish in the individual all-around, becoming the first American to secure an all-around medal at the Games.

After winning the Gold Medal, Vidmar was the keynote speaker at a National Utility Contractors Association annual meeting many years ago. During the banquet, the press was given the opportunity to sit at the table with him. I got super lucky and was seated next to him. While we talked during the meal, I asked him what he had done that gave him the edge to earn a perfect score 10. He commented that during his competition, he noticed that the one common denominator was that everyone who won, won by just a little bit more than the person to beat. It was a tiny point spread between the winner and number two. It was tenths of a point, tenths of a second, or millimeters.

He said that he figured he didn’t have to be a lot better, he just had to try to be a little bit better. To accomplish this, he said that he pushed himself and worked out 10 minutes longer than anyone else and that the added 10 minutes gave him the winning edge.

Mediocrities says, “Don’t do today what you can put off until tomorrow. Maybe someone else will do it and you won’t have to.” If you follow this advice you will not only never win the Gold, you’ll never get a shot at it.

We have (or will have in a few days) newly elected representatives in Congress as well as all other political offices on the federal, state, county and municipal level. We need these people to put in an extra 10 minutes a day so that we can move forward on all levels. There are so many pieces of legislation that need to be handled; so many things that need to be done that are pending, such as the highway bill. We too need to put in an extra 10 minutes a day communicating with the people who have recently been elected to represent us making certain that they remember what got them elected and why they have assumed the responsibility of representation.

Don’t worry about Mediocrities. He may be forgotten but his philosophy will prevail, just as it has for centuries.

Excellence is a better teacher than mediocrity. The lessons of the ordinary are everywhere. Truly profound and original insights are to be found only in studying the exemplary.

Warren Bennis

The difference between greatness and mediocrity is often how an individual views a mistake.

Nelson Boswell

Mediocrities will appear in the November 2014 issues of the 13 ACP magazines.