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Give hope and then PPE production

This week I was at my dentist for a crown. Doc and his team do good work. I still don’t like it when they are drilling or grinding in my mouth. It smells like something is burning. Maybe there is. I couldn’t talk much during the procedure so I listened. My dentist was shut down for over 2 months, except for a few emergency procedures, due to COVID-19.

That was a huge financial hit. Even when they could reopen, it was delayed because the gloves, masks, face shields and gowns weren’t available. Apparently other dentists had similar problems. Our dependence on foreign sources for our PPE has been costly to our health care workers. It cost people their jobs. Unfortunately, it cost some healthcare workers their lives.

There was an article in the New York Times this week about China ramping up PPE production to meet expected increased global demand. The Times claims the Chinese government is forcing ethnic minorities into manufacturing to meet the demand. I don’t usually believe the Times because of their track record. I do know the Chinese people are smart and take advantage of opportunities. We need to take advantage of our opportunities.

The crown I got this week was temporary. My dentist sends the mold out to have the permanent crown made. I come back in 3 weeks for the permanent crown. Half-jokingly, I asked, “Is it being made in China?” He laughed and said, “No, California.” Then added, “China actually was making them and could do it a lot cheaper. Some dentists in California used them until they found out China was using nickel (a carcinogen) instead of gold.” Doc then explained the U.S. is using different materials now and 3-D printing. This reduced labor cost and improved quality. American ingenuity!

All of this is an example of what we have been saying at Shale Crescent USA. Because of our advanced manufacturing methods, the U.S. has reduced labor cost and is competitive with the world. We are now creating high wage high tech manufacturing jobs. For energy intensive products, we are very competitive especially when the products are sold in the U.S. market. We also have a lower carbon footprint because of reduced shipping of raw materials, energy and product.

Our boys’ high school soccer team just finished summer practice. It wasn’t as big a deal as I thought to take temperatures, keep everyone socially distant and wear masks as required by the SSAC guidelines. It was the first time I have set foot on a soccer field since my injury in October. It felt good to be back on the field working with the boys again.

This season will be different because of the uncertainty and added stress. The challenges will be more mental than physical. Similar to what I had to go through after my injury. My first challenge was mental. I had to want to get out of my wheelchair badly, believe it was possible and want it so bad that I would do whatever work was necessary. I shared one of my recovery stories this week with the boys to give them encouragement. I told them about setting a goal to run a 5K (3.1 miles) in May with support of my physical therapists. My doctor later said, “If you had asked me in December if it was possible for you to run a 5K in May, I would have said No way.” I actually ran two 5Ks in May and am now training for a half marathon (13.1 miles) in December.

All of us have to overcome our mental challenges. No matter what we choose to do our success or failure starts in our mind. If we believe our business will fail there is a good chance it will. If we believe COVID-19 has presented us with opportunities if we look for them with a positive attitude, we will probably find opportunity.

Our country and the rest of the world still need gloves, masks, gowns, face shields and many other products. We have a competitive advantage in our Region. We need to believe and take action nothing or will happen. Many products can be made here that are currently being made overseas creating high wage jobs in our Region. Now is the time to take a risk and try or nothing changes.

You are more powerful than you realize. Now is not the time to play small. Bertice Berry who presented virtually this week for the National Speakers Association Influence 2020 Conference had these thoughts that can help us all;

What does your community need?

What do you know? Don’t be afraid of what you know.

What can you do?

What skills, ability and knowledge do you have?

How can you use it to help others?

I challenge you to take a few minutes and reflect on these questions. Stop listening to any negative voices inside you and honestly look at your capabilities. When are you at your best? What gives you joy? Focus on past successes and temporarily forget your failures. Your community and the world needs you. You are important! As leaders, we must have hope to give hope and encouragement to others. Give first. Don’t worry about receiving that will take care of itself. Take action. Do something to get started. You can do anything you choose. I believe in you!

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Greg Kozera, gkozera@shalecrescentusa.com is the Director of Marketing and Sales for Shale Crescent USA. He is a professional engineer with a Masters in Environmental Engineering who has over 40 years’ experience in the energy industry. Greg is a leadership expert and the author of four books and numerous published articles.

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