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July 2009

This has been an exciting time for User Centered Design Services.  I have had two trips to Norway working on a project for a Pulp & Paper customer who is doing some remarkable changes that will turn this company around.  It was just over a year ago that we started talking about a centralized control room and moving to dedicated control room operators.  Now plans are well on their way and we started the first Management of Organizational Change study which was a great hit with everyone.  The difference on this visit was the buzz and expectations had changed from fear and uncertainty to a new expectation and a vision of a better, more robust future.

I like visiting Norway, great people, a beautiful country and a culture that has demonstrated their ability to adapt and do the right things.  I am hoping to be able to share some more specific things about this project in the near future.

Yes, we met up with our good friends Mark & Marie who are always fun to be with.  An exciting time as Marie is a great cook, but also a great Human Factors person who does outstanding work and is a great implementer of alarm rationalization.  Like her husband, these two offer a great service.  I enjoy spending time with Mark; we can share ideas and bounce ideas off each other.  He has a great insight into High Performance HMI’s and use of Large Screen Displays’.  I want to thank them for putting my wife Barbara and I up in their home this last trip. It was a relief to be in a wonderful home and not a hotel this month.

We also meet up with some new friends from IFE, Margaret and Steve, at the wooden boat festival, which I discovered was a very good excuse to party and try out different food.  We have joked about Whale and chips in the past this time it was no joke!

We are hoping Mark and Marie can spend some time with us in Arizona this October.  We plan on doing some internal workshops together and sharing the beauty of Arizona with them.  Mark and I have been talking about Large Screen Display best practices and how we can help our customer’s be successful in this area.

I have also been visiting a Power Station in the Atlanta, Georgia area and sharing best practices in control room design and the new High Performance HMI with them. We will be doing new work with them this next month.

Dave and Rusty went to a refinery in Philadelphia and completed a Staffing Study with one of our existing customers as they prepare to start a new control room project.  It is always a good thing when a customer comes back for more work and appreciates what you have done for them in the past.

Dave has also been working hard on a new control room for a transmission center in the Northeast.  The project is making really good progress and they are now starting to select LSD and console vendors, making the project real to the operators as they add their preferences.

July will start with an Alarm Management Workshop and development of an Alarm Management philosophy for one of our existing customer’s in Fort McMurray, Canada.  We will be presenting our new Alarm Management Situation Awareness insights at this workshop.  This will be the first time I have visited Fort McMurray above zero degrees and without snow. 🙂

This month we celebrate America’s birthday once more and look back to all the good that was established in the beginning and remember the sacrifice that so many made to live to a high standard of freedom that made America great.

I am always grateful to David Barton of Wallbuilder’s for reminding us that no matter who tries to re-write history you can never deny the work of God in men’s lives and in the foundation of America.

The Rev. Dr. John Witherspoon (also a signer of the Declaration) also affirmed:
On the part of America, there was not the most distant thought of subverting the government or of hurting the interest of the people of Great Britain, but of defending their own privileges from unjust encroachment; there was not the least desire of withdrawing their allegiance from the common sovereign [King George III] till it became absolutely necessary – and indeed, it was his own choice. John Witherspoon, The Works of John Witherspoon (Edinburgh: J. Ogle, 1815), Vol. IX, p. 250, “The Druid,” Number III.

The Continental Congress also issued a manifesto reflecting a similar tone of submission to God:
We, therefore, the Congress of the United States of America, do solemnly declare and proclaim that. . . . [w]e appeal to the God Who searcheth the hearts of men for the rectitude of our intentions; and in His holy presence declare that, as we are not moved by any light or hasty suggestions of anger or revenge, so through every possible change of fortune we will adhere to this our determination.
Samuel Adams, Writings, Vol. IV, p. 86, “Manifesto of the Continental Congress” on October 30, 1778.