Job Search Update – July 21st

I am no longer an Intel employee.  “Free at last” or something like that.  My exit interview was painless.  I’ve known the person who closed me out forever and she made it a very good experience and we mostly spent the time catching up and talking about future plans. 

About those…

First the disappointing news.  I got word from XXXX that I didn’t make the 3rd cut and get a site interview.  This is a company to watch, one of two big ethanol producers in the US.  In my opinion when all shakes out, these guys will still be standing.  They have the absolute lowest “footprint” ethanol production.  I was studying and getting interested in their water recovery technology, their advanced enzyme chemistries to extract C5 and C6 sugars from cellulose, their use of landfill gas to power their refineries, etc.  Not to be, but it was a nice dream while it lasted. 

I have a site visit with another company on the 31st.  They are taking their time which is okay because so much else is starting to percolate.

I have met some awesome people in the biofuel, bioenergy, bio-waste treatment arena.  They are doing interesting cutting edge work and have turned me on to more people and some awesome information sources.  It just keeps growing.  But out of this I have sent “cold” emails to C-level folk at 3 different companies.  One had me call and talk with him and at the end of the phone call said “send me your resume’, we need you.”  Maybe something will come of it, maybe not but I have time to let something happen.  And also out of this applied to 2 jobs.  One was through a recruiter and he called maybe 8 hours after I applied.  He wanted to know “how I knew so much”.  All I did was write a simple paragraph outlining the need for the bioenergy industry to pay attention to process control.  He said I had it exactly right.  Mostly an educated guess, but when 2 different companies start up $400M facilities and then have to shut them down for months to “dial things in”, well that sounds a lot like my early experiences at Texas Instruments and my early days at Intel.  I any event, I have 5 seeds planted, 2 of which have already shown interest.

Pharmaceuticals on the other hand have been tougher to crack.  Most of the people I have connected with have been in sales, or in the pure research end and have no contact at all with manufacturing or facilities.  That changed on Friday, I met a guy who started with a pharma company doing supply chain.  He said to search on “technical operations” as that is what such stuff is called in his company.  (he is also setting me up to speak with a couple folk from technical operations)  Amazing when you know what organizations are called.  My search turned up 2 really good positions.  One is based in North Carolina to be the “soup to nuts” program manager for a new plant they are building in Brazil.  The other is a Global Facilities Excellence Director.  I am excited to see what response I get on these. 

Beyond this, I have a growing backlog of people to talk to and 6 or so jobs/companies to thoroughly research and decide whether or not to apply.  (well I’ve already decided I’ll apply to 3, but need to do enough research to write a decent cover letter). 

In sum, I have a safe play, I’ll keep playing the momentum in the “bio” sphere to see if something breaks open, and keep chipping away at the pharmaceutical world.  It certainly isn’t boring and I keep getting enough chips to want to play a while longer.

We’ll see where I’m at in a couple weeks.

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Job Search Update – July 5th

Hard to believe it’s been another 2 weeks.  And though my employment officially ends next Friday I have long since made the psychological transition.

I continue to look for something where I can plan, build, and startup high technology factories/plants, or run a plant that has a high state of technology/new product churn.  The good news…there are lots of jobs to choose from, though most are out of state.

I’ve been working double time trying to make people connections into the pharmaceutical industry, algae to fuel industry, and water/wastewater industry.  And now am finally starting to get a little traction.  If I can actually get the people who say they will talk with me scheduled and on the phone, then I could have insiders at 4 pharma companies by end of next week and intros made to people in the algae to fuels world.  I find that applying into an HR system is kind of like crossing the event horizon of a black hole, or like a roach motel.  The application goes in, but nothing comes out.  However, if I get the opportunity to talk with someone it is kind of like a sales person getting their foot inside a screen door…I get at least 30 minutes and maybe an hour to make my case. 

The above is the point of networking and I am at it 20+ hours a week.  I am meeting some incredibly talented and interesting people…not all of them helpful to my job search but all of them good for the soul.

Job application wise I have submitted 26 applications of which 19 are still open.  Of the 19 I am interviewing with two, was asked to apply to one other, and the remainder I am trying to network my way to insiders who can help my case.  I also keep watch of who is looking at my linkedin profile, and it appears that a few of my job apps have generated “views”.

I’ve also applied to a couple “out of my box” jobs.  One is UC Merced.  They have a 10 year plan to build out the new university campus.  UC Merced is not really a high technology plant, but it is big project and it is only 90 minutes away Yosemite.  And then Universal Studios Hollywood.  They want a project manager to oversee construction of the “Wizarding World of Harry Potter” expansion of the theme park.  I’ll declare roller coasters as technical.  With both of these, the total package, work and life, is a good fit.

All told, between calling people and meeting them for coffee or lunch, filtering job postings to those I am interested in, and then researching the companies & writing cover letters & and actually applying to jobs is still taking about 60 hours a week.

I did take Wednesday “off” for fun and went tubing on the Salt River, and I am finding time for the gym, add it all up though and I am booked/busy from about 6am to 9pm pretty much every day.  That would be bad if I didn’t enjoy it, but truth is…the job search is for now quite interesting, and enough of a puzzle that I am not in the least bored.

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The Job Search

Where to begin?  My job was recently eliminated in a reorg, and after almost 31 years with the same company I am in a job search.  I am not sure if it is helpful or even wise to write about my experience, but it is where I am at this moment in time.  And I either leave these pages blank for another several months or write to what I am up to.  So I write…

My foundation is semiconductor manufacturing.  At its roots about a decade of process engineering and then worked my way around to leading/managing a small factory.  For the last several years I’ve led a team that planned, built, and started big semiconductor factories and introduced new process technologies.  (~$3 billion BIG)  As I said, my position was eliminated and rather than pick from a few uninteresting options inside the company, I have chosen to research and pick from the much larger pool of opportunity available in the greater Phoenix area and also nationwide.

My preference is to remain in a technology industry and to that end I’ve been looking at renewable energy, pharmaceuticals, and water as well as semiconductors.  I rather like big complex projects and so a director level position on a project near the $1 billion scale is always of interest, or a senior operations leadership role where my plants have both existing product demand and continuous new technology upgrades/product introductions (complexity of a different kind).  In short I am looking for a real challenge that will require hard work and long hours, and with it a real sense that I am making a difference for my company or client, the team of people I lead and work with, and the community at large.

I’ve been full-swing in job search for about a month and compared to what I am used to, progress seems glacially slow.  The flip side however is fascinating.  Beyond the tunnel vision I imposed with intense focus on the old job…there are industries and companies doing fantastic science.   Semiconductors kind of have a lock on the marvels of device physics, but pharmaceuticals and biofuels have amazing production scale leading edge biology and chemistry.  And I am meeting some incredibly talented and interesting people. 

I recall an “aha” from one of my hikes that most people are interesting if I slow down long enough to really listen.  Well, if I want people to listen to me I need to first give the courtesy of listening to them.  And so I’ve slowed down, listened, and yes most are quite interesting, and better yet most everyone is willing to chip in and lend a hand.

So what does it look like to job search?  For one, decide what it is I want to do. Two, do justice to representing my work history in a resume’.  Three, decide where I want to do, the industries and companies to watch and target.  Four, get to know people inside these industries and companies who can advise, alert if a cherry position opens up, and put me in contact with hiring managers.  And five, research and apply to jobs for which the company and the job description sparks my passion.

Which leads to my typical day:

  • Up at 6am, cup of coffee and read the news
  • 7am start filtering the 100-300 job feeds coming into my  inbox, read the summary paragraph and set aside anything remotely interesting
  • Then either off to the gym or off to network
  • Lunch
  • Email
  • Read the full description of the jobs I set aside and of those that make that cut start researching the company.  Out of this decide which jobs I will actually apply to.  Generally 0, 1, or 2.
  • Dinner
  • Thoroughly research the job and company and craft a cover letter specific to the application I am about to make.  Takes me about 3 hours each.
  • Apply
  • Call it a night

I bundle Saturday and Sunday to work in a bit of leisure time, and I push and pull the schedule should I have an interview.  All told, job search is roughly a 60 hours per week endeavor.

Sounds like a lot, but feels like not so much.  To sum it all up…this so far is a good learning experience, and just a good overall experience.

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Grand Canyon R2R2R 2013

Brutal.  We were either out of shape or are just getting too old or it was too damn hot.  We are sticking with hot.

John and I recently completed our 4th annual last Saturday of April R2R2R; joined by Tracy, a veteran of the first two years.  No PB’s this time.  We wilted under the heat, well over 100F, struggling on the return between the Pump House and Skeleton Point.

We started just before 3am sputtering to a 9pm finish, too nauseous to stomach our traditional celebratory beer.  Thankfully, Sadie’s in Tusayan held the door for us.  I’ve now eaten there 4 times, all following R2R2R hikes, the staff always welcoming despite the trail grime and stink.  Last Saturday was no different.  We drank copious amounts of ice water, ate maybe 1/3 of our meals, and toasted our “success” with a single margarita.  Afterwards a shower and bed. 

Dehydrated doesn’t begin to tell the story.  Sunday morning I had brown urine, highlighting the physical distress.

But still, we’ll do it again.  Maybe even this October as well.


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Tuesday Disappointment; what next Republicans?

Tuesday was a disappointment, but that is the way our system works; sometimes your guy wins, and sometimes he loses. Usually there is little downside to losing, but I think differently about this election, and that our collective decision to continue the current track will yield a “Greek moment” for our country within the next four years.

I voted for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan for 2 reasons:

1. Mitt Romney advocated for lower tax rates and fewer deductions

2. Paul Ryan is a singular politician with the will to tackle our debt accumulation problem head on

I don’t even agree with the details of their proposals, BUT the willingness to put real issues on the table I decided, was worth my vote.

Well, what now?

The Republican Party is clueless. It refuses to toss aside dinosaurs like Todd Akin (“legitimate rape” WTF?), supports single issue moralists, and now think they need to evolve positions and co-opt those held by the Democratic Party. Hogwash. “Amnesty for Illegal Aliens” confirms yet again that Sean Hannity is little more than a mouthpiece for the Republican Party establishment.

And the Democratic Party remains hell bent on printing and/or borrowing money to buy votes by promising and/or giving “free” stuff to very narrow single issue constituencies.

Let’s step back from the precipice and think for a moment. We remain a very centrist nation, but the centrist voice is drowned out by angry I want free stuff-ers on the left and angry moralist dinosaurs on the right.

Let’s examine another stand…The Constitution. The Constitution sets forth the precepts for governance of this great nation, precepts imbued in the DNA of the vast majority of Americans. What are they?

“We, the People of the United States in Order to form a more perfect union, establish
Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…”

If the Republican Party wants resurgence they must declare for this. What might it look like?

We can stand FOR individual abortion rights and AGAINST government funding of abortions, government funding of Planned Parenthood, and FOR the right of religious institution to refuse to provide birth control. This position is consistent with Liberty and limited Government.

We can stand FOR gay rights and FOR gay marriage and FOR the rights of churches to refuse to marry gay people. This is standing for liberty.

We can be FOR the same tax rate for business income, personal income, capital gains, dividends, etc. Eliminate the payroll tax. Eliminate the Medicare tax. Just a single rate, and eliminate all exemptions. Everyone pays the same rate 20, 22, or 25% whatever it needs to be. This is just.

We can be FOR the dream act and FOR secure borders. This is a just stand for the children of illegal aliens and a stand for our common defense.

We can stand FOR a strong military and AGAINST non-defensive military action. We can insist it be Congress who declares wars and not the President.

Why is it so damn hard?

Let the single issue free stuff-ers, and the single issue moralist dinosaurs devour one another.

In the meantime, Republicans in Congress, toss Boehner and the establishment aside. Promote leadership strong enough to stand against the free stuff gang running the White House and the Senate. Promote leadership strong enough to isolate and marginalize the dinosaurs. And promote leaders who will take the stand for Justice, domestic Tranquility, common Defence, general Welfare, and above all Liberty.

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Dodgers Baseball

I recently made a run to LA to see my first game in Dodgers Stadium in 10 years.  When first shopping for tickets I was trying to go cheap, but decided to throw caution to the wind and bought out 4 season tickets and saw a Dodgers game the way we dream to see it.  Up close and personal.


And given that we saw the Dodgers beat the Cubs 3-1 we made our way to Tommy’s at Beverly and Rampart, and celebrated with about 300 other Dodgers fans.


I’ve seen at least a hundred games at Dodgers Stadium.  But this was sweet!  From 6pm until about 12 midnight, this was the ultimate Dodgers baseball experience.

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Of Course I Had Help

The President said, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” And then the expectedly predictable chatter of conservative commentators and talk show hosts. And both have it wrong.

Of course I had help!

I got help the day I convinced Art Oviedo to let me take on a paper route at age 11 when the rule was age 12+. He gave me that first break and my first real job. And I had help when later my parents agreed to let me keep it.

I got help from my scout leader Ken Borg when he allowed me to Den Chief for the Webelos in Pack 18. From this experience I learned to teach, I learned to mentor, and the value of being a trusted advisor.

I got help from my dad who taught me the simplest yet most profound lesson in honesty.

I got help from Ms. Hill my 5th grade teacher when she allowed me to learn as much math as quickly as I could master it. I was in 8th grade algebra by the 2nd semester of that school year.

And I can list more examples, and you can list your own. For most of us, we received and continue to receive help throughout our lives.

But the source of this help is not government. This help might have stemmed from self-interest, self-initiative, or love. It doesn’t matter. It is help we receive because someone decided on their own, of their free will, to give. Not government.

So please talking heads, stop the false arguments. Let’s all take up the siren call and thank the people who believed enough in us to help us along the way. And let’s stand for remaining a free people that these miraculous daily encounters can continue in abundance.

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