Forty-three years ago, I left Indiana University's graduate school for the Chemical division of The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. where I was assigned to a new group with instructions to build an adhesives business. This year, I will retire from full-time employment. Where have the years gone? What have I done, what have I learned and what will I do?
In 1962, the U.S. economy was expanding. The American Dream was prosperity, and we worked hard to achieve it. Little did we know that Japan would soon be making superior products to those of American factories. At the time, we did not see a future global economy, the effects of huge numbers of Baby Boomers entering the workforce or the shift to overcapacities from unmet demands.
So much has changed from when I first entered this industry. If nothing else, I can look back and say that I did the following.
- Created jobs for people
Solved problems and challenged paradigms
Made money for myself and others
Made people smile and sometimes laugh
Followed ethical guidelines - often at the expense of people's feelings
All things considered, I hope that I gave more than I received.
So what's next? In the 1990s, my wife Gladys and I wrote a mission statement for the rest of our lives; until recently, all that was missing was a house by the sea. But we now have five wonderful grandchildren who have changed our future, so we are creating a new mission statement. I personally want to remain productive and help out wherever I can. I promised Gladys that I would only do what I actually want to do, and I will try and limit my work activities to leave time for family and other personal projects.
I am committed to a few projects already, including:
Socrates Café - I plan to establish as many as I can in North Carolina. If you watch the behavior of Congress members, you can understand the need to re-teach people how to communicate. If interested, look up Socrates Café on the Internet.
The Sibbex Group - This will be started to help companies deal with needed changes to survive in the coming era.
Small people sports - I have agreed to work with and for my son as a coach for the years when our grandsons are active.
Several companies have approached me to help them, but I have made no decision in any direction. Whatever I do, I will not consult where I don't really understand the details of a client's business. After 43 years, I think I have a fairly good understanding of our industry.
Lastly, and most importantly, I want to thank all the people who taught me so much and helped me along over the years. I also want to thank Teresa and ASI for the opportunity to send this message to the industry.