Sunday, October 27, 2013

WORKING AT SEEDHAWK INC.

September 11th is the 254th day of the year (255th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, and, of course, it is also the infamous day in 2001 when a series of coordinated terrorist attacks were launched by the Islamic terrorist group, al-Qaeda, upon the United States in New York City and in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. September 11th also happens to be the date when I started my employment at Seed Hawk Inc in 2006, ensuring that I would not be able to forget either anniversary.

Depending on who you ask, I think I was employee number 38, 39 or 40 because there were a few of us that started around the same time that year. Today, seven very fast years later, there are around 250 employees, give or take a few, and according to the company’s stats, “Seed Hawk’s sales have grown by 700 per cent” since then. Coincidence you ask? I think not...Just kidding.

My employment started just weeks after Seed Hawk Inc had sold a minority share of its business to Väderstad-Verken AB of Sweden, a leading European agricultural equipment manufacturer, and the partnership only enhanced and accelerated the rapid growth that had already begun at Seed Hawk and I am fortunate enough to have come along for the ride.

My employment at Seed Hawk has also paralleled in timeline my guest editorials in this very paper. In another bit of coincidence the Owner/Editor of The Citizen at that time, Mike Kearns, was the person who offered me the opportunity to express my views in a weekly editorial in his paper and now he’s a colleague of mine and a fellow full-time Seed Hawker.

I have always felt conflicted about writing about my full-time employer in these editorials as it may have made me look like a bit of a suck-up, or brownnoser, if you will, and I prefer to do that in person…ha-ha…just kidding again...kind of.

At the same time, though, I have always felt proud about my association with Seed Hawk and I think I may have joined the team a few years too late, but we cannot re-write history can we?

Mike and I are good examples of Seed Hawk’s willingness to set aside any pre-judgments of potential employees at the company, (he and I being of the somewhat-advanced-but-still-lower-middle-aged demographic), regardless of gender, race, religion, colour, disability, sexual orientation, national origin or as mentioned earlier…age, the largest concern is that the potential employee bring a strong work ethic to the work-site. Many, many companies advertise their anti-discrimination rhetoric but Seed Hawk lives it.

So, maybe you are wondering why I chose to write about my full-time employer at this particular time? Well, if you hadn’t heard, Väderstad has recently acquired 100 per cent of Seed Hawk and I felt that it was a good time to acknowledge and thank the original ownership for their dedication to farming science, manufacturing and especially their employees. Thanks Pat and Brian.

As this is not a journalistic news story you will have to obtain details of the deal from other sources but suffice to say it will remain business as usual at Seed Hawk with the same leadership team and, as always, it’s onward and upward and I will be along for the ride until my usefulness to the cause has been exhausted and retirement is imminent. With any luck that will be at the same time.

“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”-Colin Powell (1937-).

Monday, October 14, 2013

I AM THANKFUL FOR...


Please bear with me this week as I may be all over the place with my thinking. There are a few subjects I’d like to touch on so it’s going to be a smorgasbord of ideas being thrown at you here.

            First off, I want to wish our first-born child the best 30th birthday a person could ever have and I’m sorry for publicly divulging your age Meghan. It could be worse you know…you could be as old as me! Thirty years?! Why, that can’t be…because that’d make me…hmmm…you were born when I was how old?…scritcha, scritcha…carry the one…that makes me…OLD!

            Our Meghan Rose was born at 5:35pm on Tuesday, October 11th, 1983 in the General Hospital in Regina. It was the day after the Thanksgiving long weekend and her birthday and Thanksgiving have been the cause for a double celebration in our family every year since then and this year it’s going to be even better! I can hardly wait.

            Thank goodness we started our family thirty years ago because a recent article in the “Chicken Little Times”, or as they refer to themselves- “MACLEAN’S-Canada’s National Magazine”, revealed that the average cost of raising a child from birth to eighteen-years-old is a staggering $678,952.99 or roughly $38,000.00 per year. The cover story reads, “THE UNAFFORDABLE BABY-Inside the distressing new math of raising a child in Canada”. “New” math is an understatement because I really think this must be a ploy to control the over-population of our planet or something. There’s more than a little fudging of the numbers to get it to their inflated number and I would say that the monetary cost of child-rearing has always been pretty high. Relatively speaking, of course. Today, or thirty years ago, if a parent had had any idea how much raising a child would cost nobody but Warren Buffet or Bill Gates would have even considered it!

            Then I read this insightful headline, “The Rich Sleep Better in Canada, Research Finds”. Really? This is a revelation? The article goes on to state: "A new national survey finds 76 per cent of households whose incomes top $100,000 get six to eight hours of shut-eye every night — the highest proportion of any income group — while Canadians in one of the lowest-earning groups ($15,000 to $24,999) are likeliest to average fewer than six hours."

            It kind of stands to reason, don't you think? The rich guy crawls in to a big warm bed with a full stomach and his security system engaged only worrying about how to avoid paying more taxes while the minimum wage earner is worried about keeping the heat on and food on the table while keeping one eye and an ear open for intruders and also worries about how to avoid paying more taxes. Who do YOU think would sleep better? Thought so.

                Thankfully, the “Chicken Little Times” occasionally throws us a good news story, too, as they recently related the story of Joey Prusak of Hopkins, Minnesota. Joey, a 19-year-old Dairy Queen attendant was serving a blind customer who mistakenly dropped a $20 bill. A woman in line pocketed the money and swore at Prusak when he refused to serve her unless she returned the bill. He politely asked her to leave and then gave the man $20 from his own wallet. Another customer emailed an account of the incident to the owner, who posted it online. The note found its way to the attention of billionaire investor Warren Buffet, whose holding company owns Dairy Queen. Buffet congratulated Prusak and invited him to the Berkshire Hathaway shareholder’s meeting in May 2014. I’m guessing Joey Prusak’s actions will not go unrewarded.

            I am thankful that Joey’s parents didn’t hear about how expensive it is to raise children or they might not have had this fine young man and raised him so well. I am thankful that there are always good news stories to hear regardless of how seldom our news media tell them. I am ever so thankful that I was in that delivery room when our very first baby took her very first breath. I am thankful that my wife and I chose to have, and raise, three children, the cost be damned. I am thankful to have a warm bed to sleep in tonight even though six to eight hours in a row is a stretch. I am thankful that there are different ways to determine “rich” and monetarily is not the only way.

            Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
            “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”-Oprah Winfrey (1954-

Sunday, October 6, 2013

IT'S FALL!!


            I’ve got to use it. I don’t want to but I have to. I have got to use that four-letter word that begins with F. No…not THAT one, sheesh, the other nasty four-letter word that starts with F…FALL.

            Yes, it’s that time of year again when the Autumnal Equinox comes around. I know a couple of weeks have passed since it actually occurred on the 22nd of September but I have been doing my best to ignore it.

            I know that I should be doing the whole, “Live every day to the fullest” and “enjoy all things in life” and all the rest of that inspirational/motivational phraseology but I think my equilibrium has been thrown off by the Equinox and I don’t feel particularly inspired or motivated, to tell you the truth. I’m not the only one that seems to be affected, either. I am detecting a pattern here, too, by the way. Apparently, according to my journal, I have suffered from the same sinusitis infection around this time of year, every year, for a few years now. Hmmmmm? I know that migraine sufferers have also commented that their headaches have been longer and more intense than usual. To me, it just stands to reason that the changing of the seasons will affect a person both mentally and physically.

             “There’s a reason that, in poetry, Autumn has often been associated with melancholy.” Speaking of patterns, that previous statement was a quote from a column that I wrote a year ago. I know many people who love autumn and of the four seasons I would rate them: #1-Summer; #2-Fall; #3-Spring, #4-Winter. It’s not that I can’t stand Autumn it’s just that I totally love Summer. And it’s gone. And maybe I’m blaming Fall for that a little bit. Only my therapist knows for sure. 

            I can and do admire the beauty of the fall season as much as the next person, I guess, what with all the red, yellow, orange and green colours dominating our landscape one would have to be sight-impaired to NOT enjoy the beauty of the season.

And if you’re an outdoorsman there can’t be too many better times of the year than right now. Whether you’re a duck and goose hunter or an early season big-game hunter or a quadder zooming through the Moose Mountains it must be a great time of year.

            I am none of those things, however, so I must content myself with sipping my chicken soup while chomping down some Cold FX tablets and fuddling my way through the Fall season. Maybe I’ll throw on some Tony Robbins motivational tapes or something before the next season is upon us and we’ve moved on from Autumn Melancholy to the Winter Blues.

            “Shuddering under the autumn stars, each year, the head sinks lower and lower.”-Georg Traki. (1887-1914).

Howdy folks. I am in the process of upgrading my blog page so you may have to look around a bit to find what you're looking for. At the ...