Rugby: “TR, why are you so passionate all of a sudden, and what are you going to do about it?” 4

By now, if you have read any of my stuff – you know that I am an upset, frustrated former USA Rugby player. And, as I have come to find out, there are a lot of people crammed under that roof.  From the mid 1980’s to the RWC2015, there are a lot of frustrated people in American rugby. How about, everyone in American rugby!!   I’ve done my share (more than I would like w/out action) complaining, identifying my view on the state of things, basically trying to identify all the reasons why we suck.  Yes, I said it.  We suck.  Not the players, not the coaches, no one person.  All of us.  We suck.

“We suck” because collectively we have allowed over the years for the American rugby scene to deteriorate into its current state.  One in which ABSOLUTELY nothing has changed in at least 24 years. Here’s why.   If in 1991, I would have been asked about my RWC experience.  I would have said,

1991 Player:  “You know I am disappointed, and I would be hard pressed to call this a positive life experience’ 

More…

USA Rugby: “Improving”, “In the right direction”? Rest of World Does Not Agree Reply

You’ve read my previous posts and my thoughts on accountability by USA Rugby RWC2015 Team Management and our USAR Board.

My position on the requirement we have leadership at the top levels of American Rugby, and the lack of accountability and honest at the top level is becoming well known.

Yet, some people in the USA still hang to the notion we are improving.  Well, the rest of the world doesn’t seem to think so.

This article published today in the Daily Telegraph rates the RWC2015 Teams.  One guess, where do you think USA Rugby ranked.

More…

USA Rugby: Pro League being announced this week? And, What’s behind “RIM” anyway? #NoMoreOandFour 24

I had an epiphany today about where I belong in rugby at age 54 and have not been actively engaged in for many years.  My next post will be about why I am all of a sudden I am so passionate all of a sudden (in short, just sick and tired of blindly accepting mediocrity), and I’ll provide a background behind that in that post.

Today’s post will focus on BIG ISSUES and pose questions, that I want answered.  #NoMoreMediocrity

More…

#RWC2015 Bye Bye Miss American Pie – My Post Match/Tournament RWC 2015 Interview aka “I want what those guys are smoking”. Leadership, Rugby Style 19

Some people may notice I am slightly frustrated with the state of our national team at the moment. Don’t get me wrong, it is not the losing I mind so much.  I have “been there, done that”.  It’s a brutal tournament.  What I am most upset at is the complete lack of self awareness and honest self assessment in the team management and our senior administrators.  I sit in disbelief as I watch/read these interviews… So I thought I’d give myself a shot at answering some of the same questions.

Here is what Coach Tolkin has said during the course of the tournament. The comment on the overall performance just leaves me gasping for hope:

On his team’s World Cup performance:

“I think it has been the best we’ve ever performed. We have been consistent in every game and showed moments of brilliance and periods of good play, unfortunately our game management and other areas let us down.”

TR: Really. Best we’ve ever performed. Not quite. 1987 – Beat Japan.  Our “2nd team” lost to current World #1 47-12, and then to England in the final match. The USA had the oldest team in the tournament by far. 1991 – Our “2nd team” lost 46-6 to current World Champion New Zealand (on 2 full days rest), and then 37-9 to eventual runners up England (again on only 2 full days rest). My comments here are not intended to compare the two era’s. Far from it, But, please don’t make blatant comments that sound good on camera or on paper , but are just not true.

More…

A Few Thoughts on USA Rugby (and some recommendations) 10

I wrote this post prior to the USA v. Japan match tonight at RWC2015.  The USA lost another very winnable game. I believe our issues are systemic in a big way. Here is the way the Pool table ended…

Pool B results -20151011-075556

11/11/2015. I have committed to not eating today – so when USA Rugby wins tonight I can eat my words from last night. And I will, with delight. However; win or lose this evening – it doesn’t change the premise of the discussion.

Ok, so clearly I stirred up a bit of a wasp’s nest with my post last night. I want to make something very clear – I am not posing complaints at any one individual. I am raising some issues that we (yes, the collective “we” who have a true passion for rugby in the USA) must resolve for fear that the ‘definition of insanity’ will rule, and we will just continue with the same old story, same old results. I am also not criticizing any one individual, nor the commitment of any one individual.

More…

A Great Day! Australia v. Wales (Twickenham Stadium, London) Oct. 10, 2015 1

I had a pretty amazing day today. Four hours before kickoff, I did not have a ticket to the match.  My man, Victor Ubogu and his staff (thank-you Felicia, and his wife Ang) completely squared me away.  I got a text , go to such and such address to pick up your ticket…  I get there and I peak in and there are some pretty decent former players in there.  Two RWC Champions (David Campese AUS, and Chester Williams RSA) and the great Mark Ella who retired in 1984 after leading the Wallabies to a Grand Slam tour of the UK.

The great Australian outside halfback and Grand Slam Champion 1984, Mark Ella

The great Australian outside halfback and Grand Slam Champion 1984, Mark Ella

More…

Chemical Shortages (Getting Shorter and Shorter!) 7

I started in the chemical industry in 1988.  Anyone long enough in the tooth to remember that time (pre-email, about 50% of companies had fax machines) will recall the product shortage that ruled the day was Titanium DiOxide (Tio2).  List price at that time for the standard Dupont R-900 grade was about $1.00/lb, and the first deal I ever put together was with a great guy, still in the business – Warren P.  We bought a truckload (40,000 lbs) at $1.50/lb FOB and sold it at $1.60/lb FOB to a company called GoldBond Products in Sumter, SC.  There were two very nice ladies in the purchasing department that must have felt sorry for me or something –  I really didn’t know what I was doing at the time, but they placed a purchase order nonetheless.  At that stage of my professional life (fresh out of the Army, 27 years old and about 4 months in the business), I didn’t have $60,000 to fund the deal; Warren funded it, and we split the $0.10/lb profit.  About 30 days later when GoldBond paid Warren, he sent me a check for $2,000.  This was the greatest day of my life to that point.  I was hooked.

https://tonyridnell.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/63f74-supply_and_demand.jpg

It seemed like that shortage lasted many months.  If you are under 35 years old, it must be impossible to imagine not having email to transfer offers and specs/analysis by attachment. In the late ‘80’s the fax machine was just reaching the ‘tipping point’ of adoption. The physical act of communicating information to suppliers and potential buyers was comparatively done at a snail’s pace and the entire process of conducting commerce exponentially less efficient than it is today.  To a chemical trader, ‘those were the days’.  No really, they were. I talk to some old timers in the business about the Oil Shortages of 1973 (arguably the year that the chemical trading business started), and they talk of those shortages as the true ‘gold rush’ of our industry.

Ascorbic Acid:

Since that time I’ve seen numerous shortages with various lifespans and degrees.  The Chinese ‘cartel’ of Ascorbic Acid (aka Vitamin C) manufacturers appear to create a shortage every 3-5 years, moving prices from $3/kg to over $20/kg in one case.  That’s fun on the way up, and can be very dangerous on the way back down to $3.  The phrase ‘don’t try and catch a falling knife’ is in play on shortages such as these.  It took weeks (months?) for the price to rise 6-fold, and literally one week for the price to drop a similar amount.  Multiplying the dollar amount times 20,000 kgs per container – a lot of money can be made or lost.  I know of one company that actually made over $100,000 on each of two containers (as the price rose), and having not followed the age old principal of ‘take your first loss, it’s the best loss’ held on too long the final container and literally gave back all the profit made on the first two.  A loss of $200,000+ on one container!  It’s only money, right?

MEK:

Other shortages have included products like Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK);this product used as a cleaning solvent in high end electronics became very short after the horrible aftermath of the Japanese Tsunami several years ago. An MEK plant in Japan (designed specifically to service the high tech industry in Japan) was knocked out and the likes of Sony, Sharp, etc… were forced to buy MEK on the open global spot market.  That shortage lasted about 3-4 weeks.

Purified IsoPhthalic Acid:

Fast forward to just a few weeks ago when the major USA manufacturer of Purified IsoPhthalic Acid (PIA) announced o/a March 1 that their plant would be out of commission until mid-late April at the earliest. Common sense thinking would assume this shortage would last several weeks.   ‘Back in the day’ we would be chomping at the bit, salivating over the import opportunities that could come from Taiwan, Korea, etc… for PIA.  Reality is that this ‘shortage’ literally lasted 2-3 days for the spot market to be open and shut.  Emails flew around the world, international text messaging ramped up, and new communication Apps like ‘WhatsApp’ allowed instantaneous communication from mobile device to mobile device transcending former barriers such as time zones.  Users of PIA placed orders in 2-3 days to cover the next 6-8 weeks of shipments (including one container I know of that was air freighted from Korea!), and the ‘shortage’ was over.

As anyone who participates in these shortages knows, it can be alot of ‘fun’, and very rewarding to assist company’s & customers who need to find product to keep their plants up and running. Those same people will recognize the many sleepless nights of owning product at well over market prices, and the fear of selling in a market that is ‘the falling knife’.

Technology continues to change and evolve our industry.  It’s exciting; fast and furious,  and creates the need for the occasional ‘all-nighter’.  And until the next ‘shortage’, its back to the daily grind…chemical distribution the old fashioned way.  Bags, drums, pallets and truckloads at a time.

Share your ‘shortage’ stories!

Why Can’t They Just Do Their Job … Transforming Workforce Performance Reply

HP2 does a fantastic job; not only on developing new practices, but instilling them to be present over time…

thehumanpotentialproject

Deadlines are pressing, there is pervasive whining, and you’ve reminded them of a task for the umpteenth time. At the end of the day, do you feel less like an executive and more like a day care operator? Do you spend your time reminding them of what they are supposed to be doing? There has to be a better way to manage, right?

Have you ever said this in frustration, “Why can’t they just do their job?” When you know the practices of authentic leadership you create an environment where people choose to follow, take responsibility, and are willing to be held accountable. The more you lead and the less you manage, the more successful both your company and your employees will be.

At the Human Potential Project we design and deliver developmental programs that guarantee a 10-fold return on your investment. Our results speak for themselves. We look forward to helping…

View original post 7 more words

Chemicals: Why must we defend our chosen profession? 11

Have you ever been in a social setting and someone asks what you do for a living? You pop up your chest, stand a little straighter and reply ‘I’m in the Chemical Business’. Or, do you actually stand up straighter?  Rather you might temper your answer depending on the audience.

I imagine the chemical industry is celebrated in places like Houston, Delhi, Antwerp, Singapore, and Shanghai – but in Seattle, there is an audience always ready to malign our chosen profession at any opportunity. Sometimes I am in position at the family dinner table to have to argue (i.e. defend) my positions on things like why the XL Pipeline should cut across Nebraska, and have documented my thoughts on fracking as a necessary technology risk while alternate energies become more viable.

At a convention of the National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD) a few years ago, I got into a choice discussion with a female guest who spent much of the day roller blading while our group was in sessions.  When she took the time to ask about our business, she came over the top with the usual ‘chemicals are bad’ generalizations and I proceeded to explain to her how chemicals were rooted into her life (products in her hair, makeup, pigments in clothes, textile chemistry, etc..).  The best moment for me was when I focused on the wheels of her roller blades and was able to talk about the reaction of such substances as Isocyanate and Polymer being reacted to create PolyUrethane Resin, basically the entire wheel.  And every time she slid on those wheels, a little slice of this nastiness is released to the environment.  So much for her ‘green’ workout.

A label from a "Bio Organic Detox" Foundation Cosmetic.  Chemicals are everywhere.  It's reality.

A label from a “Bio Organic Detox” Foundation Cosmetic. Chemicals are everywhere. It’s reality.

More…

Email Overwhelm? The Digital Vortex of Time 5

I bought my first personal computer in 1986 in Lawton, OK while at the Field Artillery Officer’s Advanced Course.  The IBM PC Jr. was little more than a word processor, calculator and organizer of digital 3 X 5 cards.  And, it was the coolest thing ever.

The Wonderful IBM PC Jr.

The Wonderful IBM PC Jr.

Fast forward 1994….my first email address…  SomethingSomethingSomething@Compuserve.Com.   For those of you too young to experience going from a world with no email to a world with email, that was something special.  Nothing short of amazing.  Fast forward to 2014… email is amazing alright.  An amazing pain in the … More…