September 11th- 13 Years Laster

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


The 13th Anniversary of September 11th is fast upon us, as I write this, it is a matter of hours away. As has become my personal tradition, this is a big day for me (and for much of the world as well). A lot of time has passed since that awful September 11th when the world changed. One thing that hasn't changed for me is that there were real people that died that day and families were torn apart. It is those families that I think of when I do things related to Project 2996.

I discovered Project 2996 when I was doing research of an article that I was writing about September 11th, and it has become a part of my life ever since.  Doing research on some of the victims brings them into your life and though you have you probably never met them the memories of their lives become part of you and as long as you live, these memories will live on.  It might not make any sense to someone who hasn't participated yet, but surely you have read something in your life or seen something (via television or possibly online) that has touched you.  If you haven't experienced this, you need to, because it is at moments like this that our humanity shines through.

For the 11th Anniversary, Project 2996 started a project of pinning pictures of all of the victims of September 11th into a Project 2996 group pinboard on Pinterest. The goal is to get a pin done for every single victim, with a tribute written up for them as well.  This year Project 2996 has added another campaign focusing on the Legacy of the victims. This too is being done via a group pinboard on Pinterest. This new group pinboard is called "Project 2996 Legacy"

I July I ran across a book called "Just a Few Sleeps Away", by Mike Nichols, who tells the the story of a family of one of the victims and how they dealt with their loss. This got me thinking about the legacy that all of the victims have left. I noticed that there were streets and buildings named after victims as well as scholarships and charities that have been created.  There has been a lot done to create a legacy for the victims. This was the inspiration for the new group pinboard.

Dale and I have learned some lessons by being involved in Project 2996 and this has also influenced the decision to run this (and the other campaigns) for the entire year, not just a few days around the annual commemorations.  The original group pinboard has more have 500 pins and the new pinboard already is off to a good start with over 30 pins.

I don't know if you've done the #ALS #IceBucketChallenge (I have), I found it refreshing that some many people did it. I don't think that you get too much debate about it being one of the better known campaigns of all time. Organizations around the world are looking at that campaign to see what they did right and how they can use this for their purposes. I personally have enjoyed seeing who I knew would end up doing the challenge as well as what celebrities. You can join us in any of the Project 2996 campaigns, it won't tax your pocketbook, you won't get doused in icy cold water, you'll learn something about the victims and you'll have a whole different outlook on September 11th.

On this September day, I think about the people that I have written tributes in the past (Keith Roma, Christopher Santora,Joseph P. Henry, Karl Henri Joseph, and Dana Hannon). I especially think of David W Laychak, who was the first person that I've written about in Project 2996. I think about how honored I was to get a comment from Mrs. Laychak, to one of the tributes that I wrote.

I hope that you take some time out of your day to remember the victims of September 11th, their families, their friends, and the world as this day left all of us a little sadder and world a little less richer because of all these wonderful people we lost and the impact of society that they would have had and the lives that they did and would have touched.  You can follow the new Project 2996 Legacy  and the original Project 2996 boards on Pinterest and even join us if you'd like to do some pinning.  You can also write tributes of your own.  If you don't have a website or blog to post them on, I'd be happy to post them for you.  Feel free to leave a comment. If you knew any of the victims, I'd love to hear your memories and stories about them. 


Here are my posts for the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th11th, and 12th Anniversaries  You can read more about the pinning campaign here.  The Project 2996 website is here, the Facebook group is here, and the original Project 2996 group pinboard is here.

Goodbye EDS/HP

Sunday, October 27, 2013

October 31, 2013 is the end of an era for me... On this day I'm saying goodbye to E.D.S./ H.P after over 16 years working for these two companies.  Over the years I've seen many colleagues leave, sending off an email to everyone letting us know that they were moving on outside of the E.D.S. /H.P. world, so I've had a lot of time to think about this moment and therefore I wanted to do something a little bit different.  I thought that I'd take this chance to write up a farewell for colleagues, clients, and anyone else that might be interested in the end of this era for me.

I remember being interviewed for the position that I was hired for at Electronic Data Systems and when asked about my aspirations within EDS, I said that I'd like to be C.E.O. Ok, I was young but I think that I obviously made a good enough impression that I was hired. When I hired into E.D.S., they had what was called a dual career path and for a long time I thought that I would work my way into General Motors. Quite a few colleagues that I know from my earlier days did this, but when I had a chance to interview for a position at General Motors, staying with E.D.S. at that time seemed like the best decision.

I worked my way in E.D.S. starting out at a call center, going into a specialty group that handled arbitrations for a client, working at the dealer business center, and finally I worked my way in project management from being part of a project management office to being the project manager for lots of projects. At E.D.S. the sky seemed to be the limit.

I Owe E.D.S. a lot!
It is through E.D.S. that I met my wife.  She was working for E.D.S. in Germany and I was working for E.D.S. in the U.S. Around the time that we got married she was fortunate enough to get what was called an Expat assignment to the U.S. and when it was time for her to come back to Germany, well, naturally I came along.

Why Am I Saying Goodbye?
Well, the shorter version of this is that H.P. Germany made the decision to close the Rüsselsheim location that I'm tied to as part of many workforce reductions that H.P. has done over the years.

Great People
Over the years I worked with and met lots of great people at E.D.S./ H.P. I've seen a lot of talented and people dedicated to delivering superior service to their clients and colleagues. I hope that I'll have the chance to work with many of them in the coming years and I wish the all the best and that they find success and happiness in their lives both professionally and personally. 

Whats next?
That is quite the question.  I'm not really sure what the next phase of my life will lead me too.  I think that there are lots of directions that I might take, but at this point I'm not sure.  I know that I love working on big projects with new technology and where people can work on something greater than themselves and feel a sense of accomplishment afterwards.  Whatever I do, I want to be able to leave my mark.

Lets Connect And Stay Connected
I would love to be able to stay connected and know what my former colleagues are up to. You also never know when there might be a project that we can work on together, so keep an open mind and your eyes and ears open. You can find links to several of my blogs as well as my various social profiles here.  You can also email me from there as well.

Bye for now!

Our Visit to Europa Park 2013

Friday, October 11, 2013

As part of our Summer vacation 2013 the family and I visited Europa Park in July. We've been to Europa Park several times but it had been a few years now and with the girls being older (especially taller) they're now able to do more of the rides than the last time that we went.

Since the last time we were at Europa Park, we'd seen that park had a new restaurant called the "FoodLoop" and we were excited about checking it out.  In the resturaunt there a few tables centered around different platforms where food and drinks are brought to your table in special containers over a mini roller coaster. You use a touchscreen to order your meals and your food and drinks are sent from the kitchen over the mini roller coaster to the platform where your table is. I can't guarante it but I can imagine that some kids who might need to be "encouraged" to eat their meals will be entertained by the food delivery and therefore more like to eat what is ordered. I can also imagine that the whole order and delivery process encourages people to order more food and drink.  

Because Anna likes roller coasters, she went with me through the park, while Sarah and Christine did the tamer rides. Anna and I started off with the Blue Fire. The Blue Fire is a looping coaster with passengers going through 4 different inversions. It only reaches 124 ft (38 meters) with top speed of 62 mph (100 km/h), but the looping is what makes it exciting (Wikipedia).  Anna had a good start and we were off. There is something special about wooden roller coasters, sure they don't tend to go as high or fast as many of the steel ones, but they're a lot of fun and some coster enthusiasts swear by them. Next up was the Woodan, a wooden coaster that reaches a height of 131 ft (40 meters) with a top speed of 62.1 mph (99.9 km/h) and a G-force of 3.5 (Wikipedia).While the Siver Star might not lead any coaster catagories any longer the first hill reaches heights of 239 ft (73 meters) with a drop of 219 ft (67 meters) at speeds up to 78.9 mph (127 km/h) and gravitational forces of 4g, so it is a pretty exciting ride and Annd didn't see the slightest bit scared! It is nice that someone else in the family likes to ride the roller coasters besides myself, so that I don't have to ride them alone.

It was a very hot day when we went, so we all tried a few water rides.  The thing about water rides is that most of the time you don't sit in the right seat, either you want to get really wet and most of the water misses you or you don't really want to get wet and the water is attracked to you like a magnet.  Christine decided to stand outside of one of the water rides, thinking that she might get wet.  She got a little wet when the first water ride went by and decided to stay for the next one, well she got absolutely soaked, so the trick seems to be that you find a splashy area around the water rides if you really want to get soaked.

We always have fun at Europa Park and we really enjoyed our visit this year.  I can imagine that we'll try to plan a trip there next year.  Since Europa Park gets decorated for Halloween and Christimas, we could even plan a trip to catch either of these.

Photo credit. The Silver Star picture is courtesy of Wikipedia.  The other pictures we took at the park.