The experience (and joy) of business

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Admiral Porter's boats removing torpedoes and buoying the channel in Cape Fear River, March 1865
Admiral Porter’s boats removing torpedoes and buoying the channel in Cape Fear River, March 1865

There are days when we can simply enjoy life and count our blessings. Today, in Wilmington, North Carolina, I’m enjoying that magical combination of diversity and experience that allows someone entering his sixth decade to feel (and in many ways be) young, with a spirit of inquiry and adventure.

This isn’t an overland African expedition, of course, but the history here is fascinating, tracing back to its crucial role as the one port that could remain open for the Confederacy during the U.S. Civil War. The military history continues today, with the successful Fedcon Summit — an event that would cause leftists to shriek about the military-industrial complex, but which provides plenty of business opportunities for the construction community, and therefore is highly relevant to our readers here.

This Carolinas business seems incongruous to most people joining our organization. When I explain to a new administrative support person in Ottawa that we have business in North and South Carolina, the employee generally gives me a look of incredulous surprise. I then explain how we expanded the business to the U.S. in 2000, initially in Washington DC, and then to Baltimore and Atlanta. Then the business started to fail because of my lack of systems, processes and (most fundamentally) client respect and service.

The (original) North Carolina expansion should never have happened, except that I didn’t know what I was doing. Thankfully, the business crisis/contraction that ended, perhaps significantly, with the launch of this blog coinciding with Bob Kruhm’s arrival as a publisher here.  He stuck it out through some really difficult times and is now retiring. On Friday, I’ll interview some candidates to find someone to continue the Carolinas business after he leaves.

In the meantime, I’m in Wilmington. The serious summit business begins in a few hours, and there is much to learn.

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