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VentureSum Newsletters

Jul. 09, 2008 - Thomas Paine…where are you?

Thomas Paine? Who’s that? Does he work for VentureSum now? Is he lost? Have patience my dear reader, more about him in a moment. Let’s talk about this most recent holiday. Celebrating the July 4th holiday means different things to different people. To some, it’s a chance to eat some good Bar-B-Q (which I did extensively). To others, it’s a chance to take advantage of the big sale that’s going on down at the local mall. Still, others look forward to the big fireworks show that’ll be happening downtown when it gets dark. For me, it’s kind of a mixed bag. I feel immense pride when I reflect upon the sacrifice that was made by those who lived and fought during the time when our country was being created. I realize how thankful I am for the thoughtful, methodical and painstaking steps the Founding Fathers went through so that the Constitution would be crystal clear in its’ meaning and intent. On the other hand, I look at where we are today, and I just have to shake my head at how imaginative people get in determining the meaning of words, and how things can’t be fixed unless the solution can make them more complicated, especially when it comes to our social ills. You’re probably saying to yourself, “This guy has picked up his ranting right where he left off. He probably doesn’t even realize he’s skipped a few months of updating.” Yes, I do realize it. I apologize for not keeping you updated on what’s been going on with our little company. So, without further ado, let’s get you updated.

First, we have to bid a fond farewell to Greg Sanders, Project Manager for VentureSum West. Greg has been able to find a job that keeps him closer to home and that he likes better than counting poles. Can you imagine? He leaves some very large shoes to fill, and we’ll never be able to replace him, we just hope we’ll find someone who can fill the position. Good luck Greg. On the other hand, we need to warmly welcome our two newest employees. Craig Hyslop and Kendall Johnson are privileged enough to join our happy little family. Currently, our two newest pups are finishing up their training in North Carolina and are coming along just fine. VentureSum West has been in Texas (all over) but will soon be starting a project in southern Mississippi. More details on that when I get them. VentureSum East is in Virginia again working For AEP (American Electric and Power), but will be sending part of their force to Indiana to help out on a project that is personally being supervised and counted by Mr. Joey Johnson. VentureSum South is in south-central North Carolina working for Duke Energy and AT&T, but, will also be sending some manpower to Indiana in the near future, to join up with the guys from VentureSum East. The remaining folks of VentureSum are the office personnel, and they are still located in the office, with one exception. Jonathan Pettus, the head of our Information & Technology Department, suffered a serious health setback recently. His recovery is slow, but we considered ourselves blessed that he’s alive to recover at all. We pray that his recovery will be complete. Glass half full Jonathan.

We’ve incorporated a segment into our newsletters that allow other (literate) members of our company to contribute, and therefore, bring you viewpoints, or a slice of life from somewhere other than my keyboard. I hope these ‘Notes from the Field’ are enlightening and bring you some amusement. The following contribution is from Noah Sager, and is brought to you, unedited and whole. Enjoy.

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: THE CUSTOMER

Here at VentureSum, we work hard to give the most precise results to our customers and to create the most conducive working environment for our employees. However, since our customers are predominantly large utility companies, most of our daily interactions are with their customers, the people. While we have little to do, and little we can do, with the people we meet, they play a large part in our day-to-day activities.

People are always talking, and a lot of these people talk to us. Mostly this occurs when we are working, as we are always driving around city streets, meandering through suburban sprawls, and driving up and down people’s driveways. And, we drive slowly.

“Do you know what the best food in the world to eat is? Soup beans.”

People love to talk, but sometimes lack a willing participant. This is exceptionally apparent during the middle of the day, from about 9:00 – 3:00, when most of the working adults and school-aged children are elsewhere occupied. At these times, the elderly, the veterans, the stay-at-home moms and unemployed dads sit and stare and wait for the mail.

“Hello! Oh, sorry, I thought you were the mail-man. You work for the power company? My cousin works for the power company. His name is Norman, he’s got a big bushy beard, do you know him? No? My aunt Gertrude also works for them, do you know her? She’s got a big bushy beard.”

People rarely understand our job, no one knows why we are there, no one knows what we are doing. Part of what we do involves reading codes and numbers off of utility poles, wires and/or associated equipment high up on the poles. We do this by parking someplace out of the way and looking at the pole through binoculars. In our minds, we are obviously working, obviously looking at something on the pole through binoculars.

“Who’re you looking for?”

If our job entailed looking for someone, or needing to talk to a particular person, then we would probably do just that. I think the hardest way to look for someone would be to stare at power lines and enter data into a computer. I should think that we did our job very poorly if we needed to talk to someone, yet did nothing but drive around in a work vehicle with flashing lights and power company signs and something about a survey written on the back. Yet, people need to talk.

“Those guys said they were going to come back to clear that brush with a helicopter.”

Do I look like a helicopter? Who are those guys? Sometimes, people stop us and don’t even ask any questions. They just say something to us and then patiently wait to see if we care. We usually don’t, and this usually disappoints them.

“You know when those scratch lottery tickets first came out? Well, that day, I had just finished my shift and I stopped at the gas station that used to be up there by John’s Road, and I bought one. I won a free ticket off that ticket, so I got another one. And on that one, I won $5,000. And I said, I said, if I could do that everyday, I’d quit my job.”

If we made $5,000 everyday, we might quit our jobs too. We’d idle away, talking to strangers. But we don't, because we have a job to do, and we do it well.

Thanks Noah. I appreciate your time and effort. It’s obvious that you’re quite the people-person. I must admit that I seem to run into the same people that your talking about even though I’m hours away from you. Hmmm.

If you seriously don’t know who Thomas Paine is, you might consider him one of the original revolutionist during that time when the idea of our current country was just a dream. He wrote, among other things, a document titled ‘Common Sense’. Without getting too detailed, this document spoke to the fact that governments, in their various forms, even at their best, are an inconvenience, and at their worst, are a form of slavery. This country was set up so that the intrusion of government would be at a minimum. Today, it seems all the squawkers want the government to fix or regulate everything. For example, petroleum prices are very high. Solution: increase the supply (economics 101). But Noooooooooooooo. We can’t do that, even though we have resources IN OUR OWN COUNTRY. Well, why not? We’ve already drilled in Alaska without spilling. The caribou herds are bigger. The Alaskan people have not been negatively impacted. We have the best technology in the world for drilling and cleaning up (if we need to). How about off-shore? No, we can’t do that either because we might get in the way of the Chinese or the Cubans while their drilling. Besides, if we did drill, we would have the new oil being refined within 1 year, rather than the 5 or 10 years some people claim. That just wouldn’t do because the supply might actually be increased, giving some economic relief to the people that actually make this country go. My point is that the terms ‘common sense’ and ‘government solutions’ rarely coincide. The problem with the petroleum supply is just one example of this. For the first 200 years of our country, we manage to do a lot of great things with just the sweat of an individual’s brow. But now it’s not ‘fair’ if an individual accomplishes something unique. Fairness is a topic for another discussion, so don’t get me started on that. I’ll bring this rant to a close by saying to all of you who actually have common sense, if possible, let’s spread the art of using common sense so that it’s really common again. Maybe then we’ll be able to solve some of our other problems using this once-normal approach to life. Meanwhile, I’ll try to learn to be more consistent in my newsletters and updates. Till next time, see ya.

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