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Friday Reports - Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce

Friday Report - August 19, 2016

My daughter won't ride in my car anymore. There's a reason for this and it all stems back to her recent birthday. For her birthday this year she received the monumental gift of a cell phone. I would've been against this, but there have been times (with her sporting events and other activities) that we needed to reach her and we were unable.
When I purchased her phone, I was offered an iPad mini at a wonderfully discounted price. So wonderful, in fact, that I was unable to resist. I quickly configured my iPad to be able to reach my work computer, receive all of my emails and do the important things. In my spare time, I downloaded a few games. One of these was a car racing game. This last week, when I was on vacation, I had long periods of down time. and I found myself alone with my iPad. I very quickly became a fan of this game. There were all sorts of different tracks to race on, and different types of cars to drive. I learned the secrets of burst acceleration, cutting the inside corner, and drafting behind the pack on a speedway.

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Friday Report ~ February 19, 2016

"We are all in this together" - It may be too early to have a conversation about spring, but it was warm today, pitchers and catchers reported to Red Sox spring training this week and last night at 5:20 the sky was still light out. I am feeling optimistic. On top of that, it feels as though time has sped up. The best plans we make are outdated the day we make them, so I am hoping to get ahead of the curve on this topic.

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Friday Report ~ February 26, 2016

"The Pot O' Gold" - Shortly after my wife Amy and I were married and settled in to our new home with our combined family, we decided to embrace every possible holiday to the fullest. We not only overdid everything on major holidays, we also went big on the minor ones. I played tricks on April Fool’s Day (one of my favorites), waved flags and ate red, white and blue cupcakes on the 4th of July, enjoyed tacos on Cinco de Mayo and even partied to Dixieland during Mardi Gras.

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Friday Report ~ February 5, 2016

"Get On Board" - When my middle daughter was roughly 11, I introduced her to the movie Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray. We have watched it together each year since and she is currently 22. That's right, each year on February 2nd, for 11 years, she and I have sat down to watch this silly, ridiculous film. Many times, watching it came under great protest. Once we even watched it while she was away at college, but on the phone together.  For those of you who have not seen it, I encourage you to spend an evening doing just that. The basic plot is that Murray plays Phil Connors, an arrogant Pittsburgh TV weatherman covering the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. He finds himself in a time loop, repeating the same day again and again. After repeating the day numerous times, he begins to re-examine his life and priorities.

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Friday Report ~ March 4, 2016

"Where the heck are you going?" - HAPPY NEW YEAR! Okay - it's a bit late for that, but now I have your attention. Eight weeks ago we celebrated the start of a new year and many of us chose to make "New Years Resolutions." It's likely that close to 80% of us have given up on those goals already. In fact, we do the same thing each year. We take that opportunity to start fresh and identify some things that we want to see changed in our lives.

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Friday Report ~ March 18, 2016

"Feeling Lucky?" - Yesterday was St. Patrick's Day. Those of you who celebrated may have had a hard time getting out of bed this morning. As Americans, we are quick to celebrate the wide variety of minor holidays that dot our calendar. Mardi Gras, St. Patrick's Day, Cinco de Mayo, etc. Many of these over the years have developed into a reason to drink and eat, St. Patrick's Day being one of the most prominent. In fact, over 13 billion pints of Guinness were consumed yesterday.

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Friday Report ~ March 11, 2016

"I don't always write a blog, but when I do..." - As I sit down each week to write these blogs, I contemplate what my readers (that's you) may want to hear about. I have been writing these for over a year now and have written well over 50 blogs. I will admit that I am running a bit thin on new creative ideas.

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Friday Report ~ April 1, 2016

"A Walk To Remember...." - As a young, enlisted air crewman in the Navy, I was fortunate to go on several "detachments" (very short trips) to rather unique places. One of these trips was a 2-day trip to a city called Nimes; France. If you are not familiar with Nimes, it is a major city located in southern France with a population of roughly 140,000. As you can imagine, this crew of 12 guys was focused on the nightlife in this foreign town.

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Friday Report ~ April 8, 2016

"Hidden Treasures" - My father keeps everything. I mean everything. Don't get me wrong, he does not reach "hoarder" status, but I think that's only because he is smart enough not to keep it all in one place. He believes that everything will become useful someday. If you wander into his garage, you can find coffee cans full of nails (used of course), every possible tool you ever needed, magazines from decades ago and countless knick knacks that are of unclear value. He has, in the past, had as many as five storage units at once. As much as we nag him about his habit, I will admit to being comforted by the fact he can lay his hands on anything I need anytime I ask. It just takes a bit of searching sometimes.

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Friday Report ~ April 15, 2016

"Time to make the donuts" - I am a big fan of processes. I am also a big fan of donuts.  Have you ever wondered how a donut is made? It’s one thing to make them in the kitchen; that’s a little messy but relatively straight forward. When you are making hundreds of thousands of donuts at a place like Krispy Kreme or Dunkin Donuts, the process is a bit more complex. There has to be mixers, bakers, frosters, fillers, packagers and much, much more. I saw similar processes when I toured the Wicked Whoopie factory in Gardiner last year.

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Friday Report ~ April 22, 2016

"One Step at a Time" - "Get moving Cunningham!" That voice, screaming in the back of my head, was none other than Gunny Sergeant Sullivan: The meanest Marine I have ever met. He was our exercise drill sergeant in a Boot Camp style course I went through many years ago.

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Friday Report ~ April 29, 2016

"Lightning Fast" - As a kid, I used to race electric cars on a racetrack. I thought these were the coolest things ever. What intrigued me the most were the little copper connectors on the bottom of the car that connected to the metal track. You could get the cars to go fast enough that they would fly off the track on the turn. To win, you had to reduce your speed approaching a turn to stay on the track. Often, the copper on the bottom of the car would get dirty. This would cause the car to slow and eventually, stop. The child scientist in me would take out a pencil eraser and clean the connections. That was one of my favorite things while racing these cars; finding newfound speed after cleaning the connections. Inevitably, however, the cars would slow down overtime and eventually come to a stop again.

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Friday Report ~ May 6, 2016

"Diamond in the Rough" - Spring is here, and flea markets and garage sales are beginning to pop up all over this great state. I love going to these things. I'm not sure the people who run them are happy to see me, as I rarely buy anything. I go because I love hunting for the treasure that other people have overlooked. Finding that one or two items that for some reason ring important to me or seem significant. When I do bring things home from this type of event, it's often met with a sideways glance from my family as they don't see the significance of the item I've recently purchased.  The true beauty of the flea market, is that it is full of items you didn't know were there. Items that are incredibly valuable but simply not noticed before.

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Friday Report ~ May 13, 2016

"The Doctor Is In" - My daughter and I are Whovians. There, I said it. I watch Doctor Who. In fact, I watched it quite a bit when I was much younger (the 4th Doctor), but only recently introduced it to my daughter and we have been catching up on the newer version of this show. My daughter is a geek by most definitions: she's good at math, loves science and has her head in a book most of the time. When you introduce a geek to Doctor Who it often leads to in-depth, scientific questions.

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Friday Report ~ June 24, 2016

"Shopping With Granny" - 
About two months ago, I wrote a similar blog about the work we do behind the scenes to help facilitate bringing businesses to the Augusta region. I maintain that we are doing a great job when we receive a phone call, but I am not sure that that this is enough. In an effort to clarify what I am getting at, let's go on a journey with Granny Barker.

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Friday Report ~ May 20, 2016

"Was Blind But Now, I See...." - During the first week of Boot Camp, I was informed that I needed glasses. The Navy, of course, handed out pairs with large black rim frames -the ugliest things you ever saw. After I had been in the service for several years, a process was developed called PRK surgery. This involves the use of a laser to actually burn your cornea with a laser, to fix the shape of your cornea with a laser and remove your need for glasses - by burning your eyes with a laser.

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Friday Report ~ May 27, 2016

"Helping Our Heroes" - Many people change jobs, and even professions, numerous times over the course of their careers. I would imagine very few of you are in the same career in which you started; or even for which you received a degree. There is nothing wrong with that: as people grow and change, their focus changes and they choose a new career path.

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Friday Report ~ June 3, 2016

"The Junk Drawer" - I think I was 10 years old when I saw my first true meltdown situation, where a parent was clearly in the wrong. I was at a neighbor's house, and if my memory serves me, the mom was trying to make a roast. In order to make the roast she had to tie it up. Traditionally, one uses string to tie a roast. On this day, the mom, Joanne, could not find the string. I sat at the kitchen table with my neighborhood friend, and watched as Joanne slowly fell apart looking for the string. As the time ticked way, the dinner got closer, and the roast was still not in the oven she began screaming "Where in the hell is the string?" I can't type in this blog all of the colorful language that was used on the fateful day that Joanne could not find the string. After about 10 minutes of over-the-top explosion about the string, my neighborhood friend got up and walked over to their family junk drawer, opened it, held up the string, and said "Mom, it's right here, in the string drawer." The rest of us practically fell out of our chairs. The story remains a classic among our family friends.

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Friday Report ~ June 10, 2016

"Pomp and Circumstance" - It's graduation season. You can't do a thing on Facebook without bumping into a post about someone's children and their graduation. College graduations, high school graduations, and even elementary school graduations are popping up everywhere. I don't recall graduating from elementary school. I'm sure I did, I'm not still attending, but I don't think we had a graduation. I do recall graduating from high school, and receiving both of my university degrees. What I don't remember, after all these years, is anything that any of the guest speakers had to say. I'm sure that it was appropriate, motivating, and probably even helpful if I had taken notes. In fact, I think William Cohen was the guest speaker when I graduated from the University of Maine.

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Friday Report ~ June 17, 2016

"Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" - This morning, I cleaned out my truck. While doing that, I had a slight twinge when I threw away two or three returnable water bottles. I know they are worth a nickel and I know it helps the environment, but I really wanted my truck to be rid of the trash.

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Friday Report ~ July 1, 2016

"Sunday, Monday, Happy Days" - 
So today in this blog, I would like to take you on a short trip back to my childhood. Imagine being a seven-year-old boy and suddenly finding a TV show where you and the family share the same last name. This went on for 10 years.

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Friday Report ~ July 15, 2016

"Light 'em up!"

Monday night was an average night. After getting home from work, I went to a meeting at the Lisbon town offices to discuss the potential for façade grants in my community. I returned home at roughly 8:00. At 8:30, I was sitting on my front porch, when my wife came out and asked if I wanted to attend some rally at the High School with her, my mother in law and oldest daughter. Having spent a long day at work, followed by a meeting at the town office, I opted not to go. An hour later, when I began to hear sirens, a lot of sirens, I checked Facebook to see what was happening.

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Friday Report ~ January 8, 2016

"Thick Skinned"
This week was a professional and personal development week for me. I had the opportunity to receive constructive criticism and take a step back and to re-evaluate.  I have always been a thick skinned kinda guy and that served me very well in the military. Let's just say that "political correctness" and "better communication skills" were not at the top of the Navy handbook when I first joined. Things have changed dramatically over the years and by the time I retired, there were sensitivity trainings happening in the "chief's mess," where the saltiest of sailors would reside.

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Friday Report ~ January 15, 2016

"Who Are We Anyway?"
The vast majority of the readers of this blog are business professionals in the Kennebec Valley. At least that's the assumption I am going to start with. I apologize if you are not in this group, but read along anyway, you might learn something.
In business we are always concerned about "Our Image". From the top of the organizational chart, who is concerned with business image to the front line representative who is concerned with the customer's experience; Image is everything.

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Friday Report ~ January 22, 2016

"Untapped Potential" - Do you have any idea who Skipper Roberts was? How about Tutti and Todd? I didn't either. Skipper was Barbie's little sister. Tutti and Todd were twin siblings who were younger still. Still not ringing a bell?  I thought not.

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Friday Report ~ January 29, 2016

"Ch Ch Ch Changes" - Last January after attending a wonderful Annual Awards Dinner, I took a step back to ask myself how I can put a different spin on the event in 2016. I thought about the goal of the event and the many reasons that people attended. I knew there were a number of traditionalists who would balk at change and I also knew there was a growing excitement for something new. I was confident, that following the year of transition; the community would be open to a new idea. I am thrilled to report that it worked and I want to thank you all for embracing the new Kenney Awards.

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