Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Brand Value

It doesn’t matter what you do in marketing. If you are a product manager, a research director, a vice president of sales and marketing or an account executive, it’s inevitable that you’ll have to face the blank page. Your company and your clients expect you to convince them in writing that your ideas have merit. Unless you put it in writing the thinking may be lost forever. And if you don’t put it in writing it’s also pretty likely that your argument will lack the logical flow and persuasiveness it will have when you take the time to write it down. Writing can be very difficult. It’s a lonely discipline. Your job as a marketing person is to be articulate about the needs of your customer prospects. Remember that you are the one that is responsible for understanding your consumers. Your company might have a sales group, a manufacturing division, accountants and financial personnel and maybe a human resources office. All of them need marketing communications in some form or another to be effective in what they do. It all starts with you. If you don’t believe me, consider the following:

A sales guy in his office picks up the phone to call a prospect.
“Hello, I’m Tom Terrific from the ACME Widgit company. I’m calling you to tell you about how great our widgets are. And we have a giant factory we’re building. Our guys in purchasing are the best in the world. And we’ve been in business since 1904.”


The prospect hung up. Why? Because the salesman didn’t say anything relevant.

An assembly line worker convinces his foreman that the company can produce 25% more widgets if we just skip a routine inspection step. The trouble is this step is directly related to the quality assurance of 99% defect-free claim in the company’s advertising campaign. Is a 25% increase in productivity worth a 50% reduction in customer confidence in your brand of widgets? (Needless to say, the profit margin will fall with customer confidence too.)

ACME Widgets is privately held but is considering an Initial Public Offering (IPO) so the founding family can retire to Florida. The Chief Financial Officer calls the lawyers and brokers who can help him take the company public. In the first meeting the broker says “How do you expect to sell stock in a company hardly anyone has ever heard of? And those who have heard of ACME consider our Widgets a parity product.” Suddenly the accountants and financial people wish they approved the brand building campaign the Marketing Department proposed 5 years ago.

Finally, human resources is trying to recruit top graduates from Harvard’s new masters of widget engineering program. It’s the best in the country. Unfortunately your chief competitor, ABC Widgets ran spots on the Super Bowl. They’re offering less money but graduates assume ABC is a more fun place to work and has a better idea about their career path.

What are you gonna do? Write it down. Start the marketing ball rolling. It’s up to you.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Laughter is the Best Medicine.

When you’re smiling
When you’re smiling
The whole world smiles with you
When you’re laughing
When you’re laughing
The sun comes shining through

Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hopes, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert.
Humor is infectious. When laughter is shared, it binds people together and increases happiness and intimacy. Laughter also triggers healthy physical changes in the body. Humor and laughter strengthen your immune system, boost your energy, diminish pain, and protect you from the damaging effects of stress. Best of all, this priceless medicine is fun, free, and easy to use.
With so much power to heal and renew, the ability to laugh easily and frequently is a tremendous resource for surmounting problems, enhancing relationships, and supporting both physical and emotional health
  • Count your blessings. Make a list. The act of considering the good things in your life will distance you from negative thoughts that are a barrier to humor and laughter. When in a state of sadness, we have further to travel to get to humor and laughter.
  • When you hear laughter, move toward it. Sometimes humor and laughter are private, a shared joke among a small group. More often, people are very happy to share something funny because it gives them an opportunity to laugh again and feed off the humor you find in it.
  • Spend time with fun, playful people. These are people who laugh easily and who routinely find the humor in everyday events. Their playful point of view and laughter are contagious.
  • Bring humor into conversations. Share a joke or a funny story. Ask people, “What’s the funniest thing that happened to you this year?”
Enjoy your life, friends and family. Get together for a few laughs. It’s good for you! Keep on smiling – Cause when you’re smiling – The whole world smiles with you.

- Optimist contributor Wes Morgan: originally posted July 28, 2011

Donut day!

As you travel through life my brother, whatever be your goal, keep your eye upon the donut and not upon the hole.

Years ago I saw this sign in a donut shop and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It was such a simple idea, yet so powerful. It certainly left an impression on me. The idea is to focus on what is and not what might be missing. Without the absence of donut in the middle it would not be a donut. Keep your eye upon the donut and not upon the hole. Look for the good in things and don’t dwell on what is missing. What a beautiful and simple idea.

A couple of years ago, I was introduced to a family tradition my cousin started with his wife and kids. They would wake up and stir the household on any given Saturday morning with the joyful declaration: “Get up, it’s donut day!” His kids were young and thrilled with the excitement and anticipation of the unexpected. They would jump into the car and drive to the local donut shop to select a fresh baked donut. What to order: glazed, sprinkles, frosted or plain? The type didn’t really make a different, it was about the entire experience of donut day from the break of dawn through the last delicious bite. It was a simple idea but to their family, there was nothing better.

So concentrate on what you have and not what you do not. Be carefree and enjoy what is. Start your days with a purpose. Enjoy the anticipation of things. Do this, and I will bet dollars to donuts you will be a happier human being.

- Optimist contributor Wes Morgan: originally posted June 27, 2011


Natural distastes occur more often than we would like and the impact they have is life changing. Catastrophes have an impact on us like nothing else. Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Tsunami in Japan and, closer to home, the recent tornado activity in Joplin, Missouri. I live in Joplin with my family.

We are incredibly lucky to have been just outside the path of destruction that destroyed more than 2,000 buildings on Sunday evening. Imagine losing everything and facing the prospect of starting over. That’s exactly what many people have to do. Some must absorb the untimely loss of loved ones. Many must face the daunting tasks of putting their lives back together.

It brings us all back to some basic and fundamental questions: What is life all about? What meaning and purpose can we bring to our lives. Why are we here? We search for answers in family, friends and perhaps religion. We understand there are forces in nature that can be overwhelming and even devastating. And yet the wonderful and amazing thing is that this very same devastation also brings out a remarkable quality in human nature. Just when support, compassion and optimism are desperately needed, suddenly, almost instantly, people rise to the occasion.

Good people, including those who are dealing with their own losses, find ways to help others with basic necessities. Neighbors are helping to clear away ruble and debris. Churches and volunteers are serving meals. The community is coming together with a spirit of love and genuine concern for others. The emotion is palpable.

Possessions (which once seemed so important) will be replaced. We are going to rebuild around what is really important. The resilience here is remarkable. The posting in spray paint on a completely totaled home on South Joplin Avenue says it all “We are OK. We love Joplin.”

- Optimist contributor Wes Morgan: originally posted May 25, 2011

A Masterpiece

An old man approaches a brick wall being built by three laborers.
These three workers are toiling in the hot sun in the middle of a summer day. The first is shoveling and making a clearing for the wall. He is asked the question “What are you doing?” to which he responds: “I am working like a dog in the middle of the day. What does it look like I am doing?”

The second laborer is pouring and mixing the cement that will hold the brinks in place and the man asks him the question “What are you doing?” to which he responds:“I am doing my job and am working as fast as I can so I can get out of this hot sun.”

The third laborer is putting the bricks carefully in place, deliberately and one at a time. When the question is posed to him, “What are you doing?” he pauses for just a moment before he responds, he smiles and says: “I am building a masterpiece.”

All three men are hard at work but only the third laborer sees the joy in a job well done. He has a vision of the finished product of their combined effort and it makes him happy. So much of how we approach our lives depends on a bigger picture. If we are fortunate, we will see and feel sense of accomplishment in a finished product. If we dwell too much on hardship we can miss the most important sources of joy. The third guy knew that when that wall was complete, he would be able to look at it with a great sense of pride and know that he was a principle builder of that wall. The other two guys do not share in the joy because they cannot recognize the value they are creating as the brick wall reaches its completion.

Isn’t it just a better way to look at things? Why not try to look at hardship and sacrifice as an investment in a bigger goal? Maybe, you will then be able to see the beauty in what otherwise might seem like just work. Keep your eye on the grander vision. Be a part of your own masterpiece and realize that sense of accomplishment.
- Optimist contributor Wes Morgan: originally posted May 10, 2011

Life isn't fair.

A college professor teaching Business Ethics began his lecture one night by writing on the board – LIFE ISN’T FAIR. He got our attention. “Poverty, illness, natural disasters are not fair, yet these things happen. It’s not fair. Class, always remember, that LIFE ISN’T FAIR.” That professor made a strong point. I will never forget that class. I will never forget that lecture in particular.

Life isn’t fair! Yet, you should try to enjoy life and all the good things in it. Take the bad with the good. Maybe it won’t seem fair all of the time. Do your best to have a positive outlook. Look for the beauty in things. Good luck and good fortune happen too. It’s a joy to watch a little league game regardless of who scores the most runs. It’s a marvel to see or get a hole in one! Be hopeful. Be optimistic. Maybe today will be your lucky day. I hope so.

- Optimist contributor Wes Morgan: originally posted May 4, 2011

We all scream for Ice Cream.

Let’s face it, the first person in line at the ice cream truck may or may not have influenced the kids behind him (or her). What caused the crowd to gather? Was it the magic of the bell on the ice cream truck that created the Pavlovian response? Are you a leader or just the first one down the path of least resistance? Like the kids chasing the ice cream truck, many of us are influenced by behavior around us. We like to be among the first see a blockbuster movie. We pay my taxes late. We shop the day after Thanksgiving.

The writer Malcolm Gladwell, author of best-selling books like The Tipping Point has done much to popularize the idea that marketing success might be more effectively triggered if we can understand how epidemics happen. In effect, if we can find the most efficient way to influence a kind of viral chain-reaction we might be able to unlock the key to marketing a hit product or creating a unique idea. (Malcolm Gladwell was recently named one of the 10 next thought leaders in the country by Newsweek.)

The transparency of social media tools like facebook and twitter seem to offer easy access to inexpensively influence thousands of “followers.” Can social media tactics lead consumers down a path that leads them to an informed choice?

Should we really believe everything we read? Consumers of media now have a greater challenge and responsibility than ever before. The volume of information has increased exponentially but the guarantee of accuracy, quality and authority can always be called into question. Unfortunately the market for such hearsay news is significant. Ultimately, good judgment and wisdom need to prevail. Consider the words of Rudyard Kiplng in his poem IF written in1895:
IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
Be your authentic self and don’t believe everything you read. Stop and think before you follow the crowd. Be true to yourself and the crowd will follow.

Optimist Contibutor Wes Morgan:originally posted February 9, 2011


It wasn’t him, Charley! It was you. You remember that night in the Garden, you came down to my dressing room and said: ‘Kid, this ain’t your night. We’re going for the price on Wilson.’ You remember that? ‘This ain’t your night!’ My night! I coulda taken Wilson apart! So what happens? He gets the title shot outdoors in the ball park – and whadda I get? A one-way ticket to Palookaville. …You was my brother, Charley. You shoulda looked out for me a little bit. You shoulda taken care of me – just a little bit – so I wouldn’t have to take them dives for the short-end money…You don’t understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am. Let’s face it …It was you, Charley.

In the comfort of Rob and Joy’s living room we caught the conclusion of the 1980 movie, Raging Bull, with Robert DeNiro in the lead role as prize fighter Jake LaMatta. Jake is in front of a mirror practicing the Marlon Brando scene from the 1954 movie On the Waterfront based on the Tennessee Williams play by the same name. Both movies have significant plot lines around the relationships between brothers. The Brando portrayal is a classic and so full of emotion.

In both stories, brothers find themselves conflicted. The love they have from being blood relatives is challenged by a crisis in trust. DeNiro’s Jake in Raging Bull is full of anger over what he convinces himself is disloyalty from his brother. In On the Waterfront the poignant scene in the back of a Taxi with Brando’s character and his brother Charley is about a realization of brotherly betrayal over time. Both stories, each in their own way illustrate how important family is and how devastating it is when relationships break down for whatever reason.

My recent business trip to the Dallas was a great excuse to make time for my own brother and his family. The really great thing about Rob and his wife Joy is how easily they accommodate and welcome me (whether it has been 30 days or 2 years since my last visit). It is also terrific to spend some time with Megan (home from college), Tara (college bound next year) and Kevin (on summer break from high school).

If you get a chance, I hope you can watch Raging Bull and/or On the Waterfront with your brother, sister, spouse, or close friend and be happy for the love and trust you share. Don’t take it for granted, it is a gift.

- Optimistic Contributor Wes Morgan: originally posted November 10, 2010

A Round with Ted Brown

On the first tee box “Okay, we get one Mulligan off the tee. That’s all.” Ted offers this rule every week. I’ve heard him say it maybe 500 times. He cherished each new round as a brand new day full of promise.

On the second tee box (a par three)“If that had been straight, it would have been a hole in one.” Sometimes he’ll add that, as a point of fact, in all the years he’s been playing golf he’s never had a hole in one. But he remained optimistic.

On Number 3 “You are so consistent.” Ted liked to comment on how erratic my game is. Ted enjoyed the cheerful sarcasm. Me too. It was always in fun. Never mean-spirited.

On Number 4 “You know this is a tough hole. As tough a hole as you will find anywhere.” THWACK.. He hits the ball. “Pretty good but I’m a little off center.” Ted is pleased with his near perfect shot. I never got tired of that comment.

On Number 5 At this point, Ted is busy evaluating the scorecard and enjoying the day. When he hits it well he offers a hearty laugh.

On Number 6 “Bye Bye Ballie!” Ted sings if anyone hits it in the water on number 5 or number 6. Even if it’s his ball.

On Number 7 “You know years ago I could hit it over the top of the hill.” Ted comments. I know it’s true. Even at the age of 80, he out-drove me nine times out of ten.

On Number 8 He felt fortunate when he was playing well enough not to use that Mulligan. Still, if he makes it to Number 8 without using one, odds are pretty good that he’d use a Mulligan on the final hole.

On Number 9 (another par 3) “You know I’ve never had a hole in one…” Ted lets us know, one more time.

Ted died just six weeks after the doctors found cancer. He’s been gone a year. We still miss him. We really do.

-Optimistic Contributor Wes Morgan: Originally posted October 14, 2010

Brown, Edward H. Ted Jr. Mr. Brown was born Aug. 29, 1929, in New York City and he died at home on Oct. 1, 2009, of complications of lung cancer. Ted met his wife, Willene (nee Edwards) at Bucknell Univ. where he graduated with a degree in civil engineering. He served in the Counter Intelligence Corps during the Korean War. During his early career, he worked for Turner Construction of New York City and Gilbane Building Co. of Hamden, CO. He moved to St. Louis in 1974 to work for the HBE Corp. as executive vice president in charge of construction. Ted had a passion for golf and bridge and excelled at both. He also enjoyed volunteering for his community wherever he lived. Since moving to Creve Coeur, he has served on the recreation board, the planning and zoning commission, and most recently on the board of adjustment. Ted was an active member of St. Paul's Evangelical Church, Creve Coeur, MO Ted is survived by his wife, Willene; a daughter, Donna Shallenberg; a son Edward H. Brown III; grandchildren Michael, Kendra and Liana Shallenberg, and his twin brother Donald S. Brown of Denver. He will also be missed by various nieces, nephews and many friends. Services: Visitation will be held Sunday, Oct. 4, at KRIEGSHAUSER WEST Mortuary, 9450 Olive Blvd. from 3 to 7 p.m. Funeral Services will be Monday, Oct. 5, at St. Paul's Evangelical Free Church, 9801 Olive Blvd. The family will greet friends from 10 a.m. until time of service at 11 am. Interment is private. In lieu of flowers, memorials to the St. Paul's Expansion and Renovation fund or the Memory and Aging Research Project at Washington Univ. are greatly appreciated.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Ad guys at Coffee Shop Career Roundtable

So, I find myself in a coffee shop bonding with a couple of ad guys who, like me, are clinging to old school conventions. Our careers are close enough to a generation of baby boomers. We remember a different time and place in the world of work. We each have core skills that are still relevant (we believe). We tell each other, “It takes a lifetime to obtain wisdom. Experiences gives you substance to draw from as you consider managing people, projects and situations. We are seasoned professionals. We’ve paid our dues and earned our stripes."

We are seasoned professionals. (Sure, that and five bucks will get you a specialty coffee.) The three of us are perceptive enough to see our career paths changing the course of our own futures.  We understand full well that we need to adapt if we are to offer value in business down the road.

My son is 25 years old. He and his fiancĂ© are part the future. He is a financial analyst and she is an account manager for a top public relations agency. The irony is that they are part of the twenty-somethings now competing with us for opportunities. They are not the enemy. They are kids. The scary (and maybe obvious) thing is that they are so much better prepared for the shock and pace of change.   

Over coffee, in this bee-hive of virtual business meetings, we are sharing ideas about how to best shape our personal brands. We each reflect on our career journey. As marketers, we are going to have to figure out a way to cram our big stories into sound bites that will be short enough to work in an “elevator speech” or maybe in 140 characters in a Tweet. And it better be smart, relevant and viable because no one has an attention-span anymore (regardless of age).   

I love the fact that the world is full of possibilities for those kids. At the same time I don’t mind telling you that I am terrified. I need the reassurance of my network and friends to assure me that I won’t be overwhelmed. It only takes the digital blinking of 12:00 on my microwave (after yet another blip of a power outage) to remind me that the future is now and I am not fully prepared.  

In my fearful frame of mind I dream up scenarios. Yikes, pretty soon we’ll be making a case for knowledge leadership as a direct result of personal experience and we might hear something as inane as “Yeah sure, but there are apps for that!" When that time comes, I hope those kids will be nice to us.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Insurance with a smile.

Television advertising has seen a surge of advertising for insurance lately. This, once unexciting, category seems to discovered the value of brand building with big broadcast budgets. I can’t be sure when it started to shift but a cast of characters has become a part of the zeitgeist of popular culture. The AFLAC duck, the Gecko with the Cockney accent. The incensed Caveman. Flo the smiling purveyor of insurance packages sold in a simulated retail environment against a white limbo/seamless background.  The Messenger offering to save you money by paying your tolls or feeding your parking meter to help Flo sell Progressive. Farmers Insurance University instructor walking groups of trainees to get that army ready to sell.

You gotta give a lot of credit to the agency that ten years ago used the mnemonic devise of the Duck with Gilbert Gottfried’s voice to reinforce the name of the product that offers incremental insurance to pay bills if you are hurt and miss work. “Ask about it a work.” They fired Gilbert and eventually the agency-of-record too. The new agency tried to suggest “If you don’t know AFLAC, you don’t know quack” with wordier ads and a prettier graphic duck icon. But, if you noticed, the duck is back in character recently. It is part of the AFLAC brand. Even box office busting actor Ben Affleck can’t avoid it.  

The Gecko is another device used to recall the brand GEICO. The boring acronym that once stood for Government Employees Insurance Company is reaching unimaginable recognition for the Berkshire Hathaway owned business. Now that our Gecko friend is a trusted advisor we see him in countless situations and reminding us that we can “save 15%, or more, on our insurance.”

The Caveman entered the picture when Geico wanted to drive traffic to the internet to find out on-line what savings might be available. “It’s so easy a caveman can do it.” the ads promised. The Caveman took the advertising as an insult. He is, after all, sophisticated and modern. He is offended at the insensitivity to cavemen everywhere.

Allstate introduced Mayhem to remind us of blind spots with the voice of TV and film actor Dennis Haysbert for reassurance. Unexpected damage due to carelessness, ma1functioning GPS systems and poor TV dish installations were also works of Mayhem.

Flo appeared on the scene in 2008 and suggested a perfect bundle of Progressive insurance products can be gift wrapped and priced appropriately for your needs. Recently the Messenger has joined her in demonstrating savings by paying for parking meters and tolls. (He might be a bit cheesey but you gotta love it when he saves you a some change and offers you a wink.)  
The State Farm jingle can conjure up your agent to magically solve your problems. (Like a good neighbor, State Farm is …poof). The Framers agents are getting first rate (albeit amusing) training in museum-like classrooms on a campus just for them.

My theory is that the category woke up to the fact that to win market share they needed a reason to differentiate insurance brands. Sorting out just who deserves the right to cover you in case of misfortune is not a decision you can make in 30 seconds. But when you think about it the consequences of not having the right insurance, you want to go with a company you can trust. Maybe that company makes you smile a little bit.         

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Remembering Greg Beck

“Clayco officials said Beck was struck by a car while running near his home on Wednesday. He died early this morning from his injuries.” This news spread quickly on Thursday morning, July 16, 2009. Once again, I was reminded of how short and precious life can be. I knew Greg at HBE. I was even with him as he was considering the offer to join Clayco. We talked about the two companies (HBE and Clayco). I had worked at both places.   
Having done two tours at HBE, (the “big house on Olive Boulevard”) I had the pleasure of working with Greg Beck during my second tour of duty (as Vice President of Marketing). It was just after the first wave of HBE Financial Facilities defectors joined Clayco in 2005 - a story reported with a flourish in The St. Louis Business Journal at the time. I was in the unique position of being a person going from Clayco to HBE (instead of the other way around). 

When I first met Greg Beck, HBE needed to move quickly to shore up the Financial Facilities team, and CEO Fred Kummer tapped Greg, his Chief Financial Officer to serve double-duty and take on the added responsibility. He knew he had a good man in Greg Beck. He also must have known he’d do an excellent job in that position. He did. It was an interim assignment, but Greg took to it like a fish to water. He quickly rallied the team and created a very real sense of spirit at HBE Financial Facilities. He even had a bulletin board installed outside his office, designed to celebrate and communicate project wins. He was a lightning rod and a cheerleader for that group. He earned the respect of everyone in that division almost instantly. It’s no surprise that Clayco offered Greg the job as CFO when Mike Murphy announced his intention to retire.

By the time Greg Beck accepted the offer to join Clayco in 2006, I had already worked with him on a variety of marketing communications projects. Greg was always fair and honest. He had energy and enthusiasm about things. He was a man with a gift for numbers, but never at the expense of the intangibles. He could motivate a team and take on tasks against long odds. He was a natural leader. After Greg joined Clayco and my career took me to Thermadyne in 2006 I continued to have nothing but the highest regard for Greg Beck. I remember thinking Bob Clark (Clayco’s Chief Executive) was lucky to have him on board.

When my son, Ben, who will complete his MBA at the University of Miami in December with a degree in Finance, decided to do his Summer internship in St. Louis I suggested he contact Greg Beck for advice. Greg was so gracious. He meet with my son and shared some thoughts on career choices and the paths my son might consider. It’s this kind of generosity, thoughtfulness and effort that made Greg Beck a wonderful human being. Sometimes it is the ordinary kindness and simple gestures in life that you take for granted - until they are gone.

Greg, you will be missed. The world needs more people like you. To Greg’s wife Marianne and three children David, Emily and Steven – celebrate his life. He was one of the good guys!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Clash of the Titans.

Having worked for both Bob Clark (Clayco) and Fred Kummer (HBE) as corporate communicagtions director and Vice President of Marketing, respectively, I could not resist the opportunity to see a breakfast panel presentation that included those two giants of the industry along with another guy from Burns & McDonnell (of whom I was not familiar). The event was to be presented by the DBIA-Mid America chapter at the Engineers Club on Lindell.

The Design Build Institute of America, Mid America chapter is ramping up its presence in St. Louis. It’s no secret that the fully integrated approach to architecture, engineering and construction has deep roots in this region with a dozen top contractors and an army of others calling this part of the world home.

Fred Kummer was in unusually good form and quite gracious. Sure he had a few clumsy sentences and his microphone wasn’t working all too well for him, but the room of maybe 150 people didn’t seem to mind. Bob Clark flanked the Burns & McDonnell panelist stage left and FSK flanked him to the right. Bob is always witty and charming and today was no different. The rivals have had exchanges from time to time involving business and personnel, but the format of a “Legends of the Industry” panel brought out the best in all three panelists. Naturally I was focused on Fred and Bob.    

There was agreement that Design-Build was a good project delivery method for any project. Fred stressed his focus on adding value. “There are people who know the cost of everything and the value of nothing,” Fred pointed out adding, “HBE sometimes has a tremendous amount invested in a project up front. We think that is as it should be.” Bob Clark suggested that some owner partnership should include both having investment up front. He also stressed that while he admires Fred Kummer’s business model, his is completely different. (Clayco’s offering includes site selection, real estate expertise and a span of business unit expertise. Clayco selects projects carefully from hundreds of opportunities his firm hears of in the course of business each day. HBE has moved away from the hotel business, financial facilities and medical office buildings to be more narrowly focused on Hospital campuses, not the more broad term Healthcare. )

Bob talked about a big project, a plant in Midland, MI for manufacturing batteries for DOW. Fred talked about a $300 Million dollar Kaiser Permanente project that involves a difficult location in Los Angeles and the challenges of working with OSHPD regulators in California.

Fred brought up his early beginnings with a donut shop and a car wash. Bob talked about scary water leak in a project locally that in the end stressed the quality of the building’s design. (Fortunately, he added, the engineering and design of this project contained the problem with minimal damage.) 

Both Fred and Bob got their share of laughs but neither at the other’s expense. Only gentle jabs and polite references to their differences. The Burns & McDonnell guy was kind enough to provide perspective and was actually a great bridge between Bob and Fred. 
The hour and a half flew by and remarkably the great men shared the venue pretty evenly. David Miller of HERA did a commendable job as moderator and the DBIA-Mid America chapter will have a tough time topping this one.

This account is from August 18, 2010 but I thought it worth posting.