An early winter storm has knocked out our Internet connection as I write this. A startling reminder of just how much we rely on the world wide web these days. My phone still works but the conveniences of instant access to bank accounts, news, social media, and technical information is off limits until the interruption is fixed. We still have heat and power which puts us in much better shape than thousands of others.
I was just telling someone about that time the squirrels knocked our heat treat department off line for almost a week. Apparently, they developed quite the appetite for the insulation on the very high voltage wires and finally ate enough to short out 5500 volts. The firemen found just enough of a carcass to identify the perpetrator. Fortunately, the safety devices worked as designed and no fire broke out.
It was a real wake up call for us in terms of emergency planning. Large areas of our country have suffered through major natural disasters and I am not sure any amount of planning could help a company in those circumstances.
One “upside” to being “off grid” was taking time to think about things that I am grateful for. My list is probably not that different from yours but I would like to highlight a few items that are gear industry and work related:
- The many generous people who took time to educate me on both technology and life.
- The employers who gave me many opportunities to “stretch” my skills; whether I wanted to or not.
- Computers. Doing calculations and drawings by hand was educational but tedious. You kids are spoiled by the wonderful toys available to you!
- The opportunity to see gears being made on four continents. Nothing beats travel for changing your “world view” about business and people.
- The world wide web; no sense having engaged the world and then not being able to stay in touch with it.
My final “professional” bullet point is gratitude to Gear Technology magazine for giving me a “soapbox” from which to educate, reminisce, and nag. It is a real honor to be in the archives with so many of the leading lights in our field.
[For our International readers, the third Thursday of November is our Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. Most businesses, offices, and factories shut down that day. If you need to contact us you may not hear back until Monday.]