Back in March of 2009 I was invited to the Mexican Sales meeting in Ixtapa on the Pacific coast. It was a great meeting run by our amazing Mexican Marketing team! I decided to bring my daughter to the meeting to expand her horizons.
Photo of the 2 of us at the awards dinner.
Steve, Meghan and myself with a member of our Mexican team.
My company has a special relationship with the Massachusetts Maritime Academy that includes helping train new cadets as they go on Sea Term every Winter. I have had the privilege of conducting packing and gasketing training on their ship twice – once in 2011 and the later in 2016.
The 2016 trip started by meeting the ship on the pacific side of Costa Rica in Punta Arenas. The ship then traveled down the pacific coast and through the Panama Canal until it stopped in Aruba. Here I ended my training as the ship headed north back to Cape Cod.
I thoroughly enjoyed these trips and met some amazing people on board. Below are some of the highlights of this trip:
** The TS Kennedy on the docks in Punta Arenas.
** The sunset from the Docks before we left.
** Panoramic of the ship while anchor dropped in the harbor before going through the Canal. Many ships are in a holding pattern until approved to go through.
** We hit some rough seas leaving the Canal on the Atlantic side; here is showing you how much the curtain is moving as the ship goes through the waves. The TS Kennedy is not like a cruise ship – it does not have any stabilzers to keep the ship for going from side to side.
**I photo of myself right after doing the fire drill on board the ship. ** Coming into Aruba.
I had a great time working with the people of the MMA and and very thankful I could provide training to such a great group while enjoying their hospitality on board their world class training ship.
om Seoul and I had nothing planned on Saturday. I called the airline and could rearrange my flight to leave on Saturday morning and Friday was going to be a travel day flying to Seoul.
The area Manager understood that it had been a long trip and I wanted to get home and see my family and promised he will ensure I would make my flight on Saturday Morning so I changed my flight.
Busan is right on the coast and has a serious issue with fog (only a few months after my trip a plane crashed into a mountain trying to land at the airport). When we arrived in the morning all flights were cancelled, but we were re-booked on flights in the afternoon. A few hours later, they were all cancelled.
I started to worry I would never get out of the city and miss my flight the next day but Ho Jin our manager looked me in the eye and said he will get me there. He started calling buses / trains / and other transportation options and grabbed me and said follow me. We went outside and got into a cab and we headed to another airport many hours away.
Most of the drive was a packed highway and again I started to worry we would miss the last flight out to Seoul. Ho Jin started talking to the cab driver and he started to drive faster down the breakdown lane. Then he came to the exit off the highway and started driving on the sidewalk around intersections! Still to this day the most scary cab ride ever!https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_China_Flight_129https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_China_Flight_129
As we pulled up to the terminal airline representatives met us at the curb and ushered us into the airport and the plane. As we walked onto the plane, the door closed and the plane started to the runway! We landed in Seoul and I made my flight for the next morning!
To this day, one of the most amazing quick dashes I have ever had and also one of the best promises I have ever had kept by my dear friend Ho Jin Lee.
Back in May of 2004 I was asked to go to Lithuania to work with our new distributor. It was an interesting time in the country since it had focused on oil production and just joining NATO. The country had invaded by many counties including Russia only a few decades before.
This was the plane I flew on – they still had at that time government owned Lithuania airlines.
One afternoon outside our hotel we saw kids walking down the street marching in a band.
The local McDonald’s had a walk-by window.
This was the famous cathedral in the city center. We walked through it and it was amazing. some of the things I remember about the country is everyone was dressed so perfect everyday. Also I remember working with their computers and driving to the refinery on the other side of the country. It was a beautiful drive and everyone was very nice.
I have visited a large percentage of nuclear plants in the US and back in 2006 I made my first visit to the only nuclear plant in Mexico called Laguna Verde. It is located north of Veracruz on the gulf of Mexico.
I visited the plant again in 2008 (#158) and the engineers traveled to Mexico City for another visit with me in 2011 (#200). In all three of these meetings I conducted training and troubleshooting of hard to seal valve applications. The plant has some very good engineers and also we have some great specialists who call on the plant.
One funny incident now looking back on it was when I was eating at a small outdoor restaurant and when I sat down the chair exploded into small pieces! I was like a giant and my weight was enough for the chair to give out.
Trip: Valve and Gasket Training at Sioux Power Plant and Prairie State Power Plant
February 25th – 27th, 2013 – outside Saint Louis, Missouri
This trip was to conduct 4 4-hour seminars at 2 fossil power plants on the basics of valve packing and flange sealing. The training went off very well and I really enjoyed doing the training. It was also a chance for me to use my 2nd generation bolting demonstration unit I built from the ground up.
My bolting cart screenshot showing the decay curve of gasket creep.
Fred moving the valve hands on unit between plants