Monday, December 28, 2009

The Coach

I think of him as a coach, but he's really our accountant. Alan Dennis is sensible and logical, conscientious, soft-spoken and intelligent. Exactly the attributes you want in an accountant. Or a coach.

Alan's first business is Dennis & Co accounting services, which he has owned and run for 18 years. He also has a newer business selling police badges and related products. Alan admitted, when pressed, that his ePoliceSupply business grew about 47% in 2009, a year in which many small companies let people go or closed their doors altogether. Clearly there is a market for these products and he knows how to reach it. His success in his businesses allows his clients to trust him without reservation, because he's right in there working hard with the rest of us, showing us how it's done.

Using the measuring stick of job satisfaction, business growth and long-time clients in two companies, Alan the businessman/coach is a terrific role model for the rest of us.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


The year 2009 resolves to black and 2010 bursts to the forefront. Perhaps it's less a "burst" and more a fade-in. The change to a new year is not a big deal really, I just like to acknowledge and make sure I'm still on track with the same basic resolutions I've had for the last ten years.

Here's my current list:

  • Take time for gratitude daily
  • Exercise the body
  • Exercise the vocal cords
  • Learn something new
  • Laugh as often as possible

If I stick to this list I feel good about myself. It's that simple. It's also (although they may not realize it) good for my husband and two sons, my parents, siblings and my friends. Other beneficiaries include the customers and vendors of our business, my hairdresser and that nice tailor who hems my gig dresses. Everyone, really.

Taking care of myself
positively translates to physical and mental energy reserves for the rest of my life. It makes me a happier person; a better wife, mother, friend. Not a new concept, but putting it down on paper (even virtual paper) makes it seem more personal and valid. Incorporating the gratitude, exercise, learning and laughing into my daily life (instead of viewing them as chores) has evolved over time - I can get off track on occasion, but mostly it works well - sticky notes around the house or writing in a journal remind me when life overtakes my good intentions.

I received a copy of Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" as a Christmas gift, as well as a new yoga mat and some wonderful DVDs and books, so my resolutions will be a pleasure to continue. For these gifts and my family and friends, I'm so grateful.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Merry Spitzmas

Tomorrow (actually later today, now that I notice the time) is the day we get together with all of the Spitz family for a Christmas celebration - it's a large group now with Joe's Mom and her husband, five siblings, their wives, children and grandchildren and of course us and our kids.

I think it's 36 people - pretty big group in our cozy house for a casual dinner and yankee swap, using our own quirky set of rules, re-explained each year by Christine to an increasingly boisterous family. If we're lucky, the swap will get a little chippy, like a basketball game where the refs turn a blind eye to blatant fouls; it's more fun when gift recipients grow fond of "their" gift and there's danger of it being snatched from sweaty palms by some lurker with a higher number. Is your family like this? Now that there's a sizable group of 20-somethings, they tend to battle with their uncles over gifts of alcoholic beverages or new release DVDs. Any year there's been a Batman or Terminator release, that's been the prize everyone wants.

A 20 pound ham and two large lasagnas wait in the downstairs fridge, and everyone contributes a side dish, snack, beverage or dessert - enough to feed the masses and then some. The snow won't keep them away . . . I hope.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Climate Change - Control of the Green

Guest blogger Joe Spitz, my partner in the Liberty Packaging Co., as well as in life, chronicles a recent debate with a friend on the subject of climate change:

My friend might be labeled a “climate-change denier”. He maintains it’s more accurate to call him “a proponent of the scientific method”. In our ongoing debate, he has some interesting points:

--> Man’s contribution to the trace gas carbon dioxide and its levels is insignificant compared to the entire workings of the planet and solar system.

--> CO2 is not an enemy; it is a building block for plant life and this planet.

--> For the climate, what are most influential are the natural earthly and solar cycles, climate changes are inevitable and man’s presence does not influence them. The earth and sun are always in motion.

--> Leaders of the “green” proponents are “control zealots” that want to control social norms and governments with their self importance.

--> He believes that the ‘green” movement is a money grab for some.

--> It has become a one sided debate with the science community, governments, and most importantly the media; anyone opposing the common belief of climate change is ostracized and/or ridiculed. Where is the discussion for all issues?

--> Because of the alleged doctoring of temperature statistics by a leading climate research organization, my friend has strengthened his position in our debate.

--> The rest of us are brainwashed by the media and academia.

There are many members of the scientific community on the internet with similar opinions.

There may be some truth to his rationale as to how scientists can accurately predict the future with something as vast as our planet and solar system. With that said, isn’t it wonderful how all of us in this country and the world can rally around a focal point? Shouldn’t we always be looking for more efficient methods? Many generations of Americans have used resources carelessly and this “green” movement has made us more conscientious with our environment. Cause and effect; isn’t this a good cause?

Companies now want to be on the “green” side and do the right thing. Elaine and I have been marketing and selling the truly “green” Intercept Technology™ packaging for years with resistance from certain organizations, often because change is difficult for some businesses. But now, leading companies are finding that lowering their carbon footprint is good for them and good for all. They experience an advantage to be publically recognized for their efforts for a better planet and not for polluting it like the disgraceful negligent and hazardous stories we would so often hear in the past. In the Intercept case studies, companies saved a ton of money; green can be less expensive.

Back to the debate with my friend: does it matter what the motive is when we work as a community to be better and leaner? My position is to find the balance so that we do not “throw out the baby with the bath water”. I hope our legislators do not compromise our industrial base by grandstanding to the environmental issue. We need good manufacturing jobs in order for our economy to prosper. But if we can all concentrate on things in our lives and jobs that are more efficient and friendlier to our fellow workers, our companies, and community, then embracing green practices is smart and sensible.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bio-Burden on Electronics Can Spread Infection

Microscopic yucky stuff grows all around us. I think I can speak for my fellow germophobes when I say this is something we'd rather not even consider.

In fact, a study of nosocomial (hospital-acquired) infection conducted by Dr. Eddy Weir in the UK showed significant bio-burden load on equipments’ circuits and boards coming in from Asia. These bio-burdens (i.e., germs) can then easily be spread when the board is inserted into a system and the cooling fans turned on. The study showed the cause of the growth on the boards to be food residue left during manufacturing; fingerprints and/or tape adhesive are also known to be a cause. The simple act of installing and using these boards can easily result in the spread of various microbes in the work place, or in hospitals, wherever the boards and systems are being used. See example of bio-burden on circuit board above, courtesy of Dr. Weir.

Pretty disgusting, right? I'm happy to report that help is readily available. In 2008,the EPA approved the registration of antimicrobial copper alloys with public health claims. These claims acknowledge that copper, brass and bronze are capable of killing harmful, potentially deadly bacteria. Copper is the first solid surface material to receive this type of EPA registration, which is supported by extensive antimicrobial efficacy testing.

A revolutionary source for abatement of these bio-burdens is Intercept Technology™ Packaging, which is a Bell Labs invention, made with plastics and copper. The copper is reacted into the polymer matrix where it cannot migrate or slough off. The Intercept packaging’s initial purpose was to provide short and long term corrosion protection and permanent electrostatic discharge protection. With these newly published studies, backed by testing of Intercept in Singapore, Intercept packaging materials can be considered a passive mildewcide and an active anti-microbial agent able to eliminate dangerous bacteria and spores.

Manufacturers should note that copper-based Intercept Technology packaging for circuit boards is an easy fix to ensure better health in hospitals, nursing facilities and the workplace.

Naturally, I must mention that, as President of Liberty Packaging Co., Inc., with Intercept Technology™ Packaging as our flagship product line, I have a personal stake in spreading this good news. Liberty Packaging Co., distributes packaging on the East Coast of the United States.

Keep your products clean and safe. Call us at 800-776-5756.