Smokin' Ladies Cigar Club - Knoxville, Tennessee
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Have Cigar Will Travel

Random Thoughts

Well, I realize now that it has been way too long since last I posted anything here. So today, I'm just going to share lots of random thought from where I've been, what I've been smoking, and what I've been up to. So since my last entry in March, I have been from ocean to ocean, sharing insights on the use of modeling and simulation to increase awareness in manufacturing in Newport News, VA, to hosting an open house in the mobile classroom at Camp Pendleton, CA. I have also been to Zurich, Switzerland; Markdorf, Germany; and back to Accra, Ghana. And today, as I write this, I find myself in Montgomery, AL.

Mobile Classroom - I have shared some insight into the mobile classroom. I am serving as the Executive Director for a new non-profit organization called Visionary Center for Sustainable Communities. We are working to increase awareness in education and career opportunities in manufacturing targeting under-represented populations around the US. We just completed our first road show, starting at Camp Pendleton, CA, as part of a Hiring Heroes job fair, to Livermore, CA and finally a stop at Front Range Community College in Fort Collins, CO. Be looking for us on Manufacturing Day...logistics are in the works now.

Probably one of the coolest things for me, because my dad really was a Rocket Scientist, is gearing up for World Space Week in October (October 4-10). I went to the Space Symposium in Colorado Springs and learned about this great activity to increase interest in the space industry. My classroom is a perfect venue to support this, especially from a manufacturing perspective, given that there is a 3D printer on the International Space Station.

The reception has been amazing and justifies the niche that we are trying to fill. Manufacturers across the US say that they are struggling to find skilled workers, manufacturing technicians. Educational institutions have great programs for this career pathway, but individuals are just not signing up as quickly as many would think. One of the challenges is that many do not even realize what manufacturing looks like today.

So our classroom provides visitors a chance to see what manufacturers are doing here in the US, and actually see some of the tools and systems that are in use. It is no longer the dirty, dull and dangerous job it was once. Manufacturing is really cool and offers a great career choice. Check out our website (www.vcfsc.org) for more information. If you are interested in supporting our efforts, you can use the contact form here on Smokin' Ladies Cigar Club, or on www.vcfsc.org. Either one will reach me. We are looking for equipment, from virtual welding machines, to laptops, as well as funding to help move the trailers.

Waste to Energy in Ghana - this initiative is moving along well. We are now starting to seek potential investors and funding opportunities so that we can implement the first set of systems. This second trip included meetings with the community leaders in Akropong and with regulators. We also had a chance to see the great work done at Life Center since our last visit.

And What Have I Been Enjoying - Well this is the fun part. Probably the best part was turning 50 - yes, 50 and I'm not afraid to admit it. I have celebrated around the country with beer, wine, and whiskey, and of course, lots and lots of great friends!!!!!

I've had some great cigars and drinks along this last journey. Most recently, I toured New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, and Stranahan's Whiskey Distillery in Denver. I also FINALLY went to the Stanley Hotel and enjoyed some great rye whiskies at the haunted bar there. For cigars, well, you know what I had when I was in Europe. But I have found some new ones to enjoy here in the US. Check out Camacho's American Barrel Aged, aged in whiskey barrels. For those like me who enjoy a good whiskey and a cigar - well worth it!!!!

So What is Next? My travels will continue for the rest of the year....stops in Huntsville, AL (love the U.S. Space and Rocket Center); Montgomery, AL; Chicago, IL; Seattle, WA; San Diego, CA; and Washington, DC are just a few of the places that are on the list.

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