19 May 2017

Worst Person in the World?

For years, Keith Olbermann would use his TV soapbox for nominations to this honor.  A long time ago, I had my own candidate.

One particular boss was the epitome of all things despicable.  A bully, a bigot, a misogynist, a homophobe, self-absorbed with nary a speck of humility, and totally certain in his misguided personal agenda.  With the unknowing protection of his superior, he successfully trashed the good intentions and honest ambitions of many who were unfortunate enough to report to him.  I was not spared.

With the kind assistance of confidants in my HR department, I was able to fashion what I thought to be the best exit strategy under the circumstances.  I was the first of many to seek safer refuge.  Others who stayed suffered greatly, until the day came a few years later when our nemesis was finally undone by some unknown transgression.

As it was with many of my former coworkers, I held on to a most unsatisfying and unproductive grudge.  I had fantasies of being asked back to fix many of the misguided policies and procedures now dragging down the organization.  Not surprisingly, that never happened.

Some years since those fateful days, I have fallen into an enjoyable, albeit alternative, career.  The consulting advise of No Left Turn, to a large extent, is guided by the hard lessons I learned by watching and experiencing the misdeeds of my tormentor.

Now comes a most ironic twist.  A few days ago I was informed that the man died of complications brought on by early-onset Alzheimer's disease.  All sorts of feelings have been stirred.  Satisfaction.  Remorse.  Puzzlement.  Regret.  Unease.  Was he as bad as he was because of the illness?  Although I doubt it, one will never know for sure.  There's a quote: "Living well is the best revenge."

I wish I had paid heed sooner.  May he rest in peace.

20 March 2017

I am Woman! Hear me Roar?

Helen Reddy I am not.  So, roaring may be in doubt.

The Connecticut Chapter of Professional Women in Construction continues to offer timely and thought-provoking programs, and their carefully prepared dinner meetings are legitimate destinations for people in our related businesses.  Each year, certain themes are repeated to intentionally mark the trends we make an effort to follow; and, for good reason, interest is high.

On the evening of Tuesday April 4th, the traditionally well-attended "Meet the Construction Chiefs!" will be repeated; and once again, it will be my privilege to moderate this discussion by 7 outstanding leaders.  You can see the PWC flyer for the event at http://www.pwcusa.org/chapter-specific/CT01/events/680414793.pdf.  There, you will find a link to the registration form; or go straight to 

If you've been before, you know what it's like.  But if this is new, let me reassure you.  The group openly welcomes newcomers and visitors, and likes to have both men and women in attendance - my impression is that the split is often 50/50.  Even while at the podium, I have always learned something.  If you're anywhere nearby on that evening, please come and join us.

See you there!

19 February 2017

Yikes! Tuition Hikes!

I recently put out a No Left Turn newsletter pondering the future of higher education. (See it at https://goo.gl/wy6CM) In that newsletter, I spoke of the increases in college and university tuitions that have far exceeded current CPI inflation levels.

There are many assumptions and preconceptions about why this may be the case, but they don't always jibe with reality. A recent article posted on fivethirtyeight.com in my opinion is very insightful. Check it out at https://goo.gl/kLyxvz.

I wonder when there will be a change of heart in our state legislatures?

05 July 2016

Good People Behaving Badly

Sometimes when you see people doing things that are obviously unwise, you wonder why?

Otherwise thoughtful, intelligent people can do themselves harm.

See one example of such odd behavior described in the latest newsletter at http://goo.gl/wy6CM.

07 January 2016

I Want To Take You Higher

It's a new year, so reflective compositions are rife. Well, I guess I have to admit that I have one of my own. My latest newsletter is now up on the web at http://goo.gl/wy6CM.

Working for or with colleges and universities, as I often do, has its own set of idiosyncrasies and challenges. They're mostly curious and fun. But, as my father-in-law used to say, they are "different".

Check it out. Happy New Year!

29 October 2015

McGill Class of ...

I recently returned from a stimulating visit north of the border. The first destination was Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, where I was excited to see a sea change in Canadian politics with the drubbing of the entrenched Conservative part by the resurgent Liberal party. Regardless of your party preferences, there was no denying the drama of the massive redirection of voter sentiment.

But that was not the ultimate purpose of the trip. I was there to pick up a classmate, so we could drive to Montreal together for our McGill University Architecture School reunion.

Our class was small - just 30 people; but, oh, what a group! One of the activities was a show & tell by each attendee of our career paths, with requested visuals on a few A2-sized panels (only in Canada!). I felt totally outdone by the accomplishments of my mates.  Let me offer examples of what some have done:
  • Moved into construction management, to eventually oversee construction activities in the US embassy in Ottawa and Canadian embassies in Tajikistan and Kyrgystan.
  • Lived for 7 years near the Arctic Circle, later moving to Ottawa to become a sought-after paint and digital artist and a designer of transportation artwork installations.
  • Lead planning efforts in India, seeking ways to improve the minimal housing of millions of people in Calcutta and Delhi.
  • Joined the World Bank organization to lead efforts to fund and build subsistence housing for impoverished peoples of central Africa.
  • Founded a company to design and deliver software to manage infrastructure for governments around the globe, and moved to advising urban planning in Saudia Arabia.
  • Designed and built (yes - both!) a 21 story office building in Hong Kong, while refusing to succumb to the common practices of financial scullduggery.
  • Lead one of the largest Architectural firms in Canada, only to eventually be bought out by an even larger international AE firm.
  • Migrated to lighting design, now with a company selling across North America.
  • Became an Anglican priest and once Dean of the Cathedral in Montreal.
  • Became a professional photographer, and casting director and location scout for major movies.
  • Moved to business and real estate development with large inner city projects, some approaching $1B in total value.
This comes on the heels of two classmates being featured on PBS's Cool Spaces. I must admit, I felt totally outclassed. But, I'll accept that regret for the absolute joy of being part of a very elite group.

McGill, I hope we have done you proud.