Thursday, October 15, 2020


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 JLL Marketplace with a View from the Field

“I’d tell any JLL employee who is not using JLL Marketplace for their account to get with the program!”

– Charles Statman, Operations Manager (Applied Materials)

Charles Statman is a JLL Operations Manager responsible for maintaining a Research and Development Wafer Fabrication plant for JLL client Applied Materials. Charles and his team of 18 Union Stationary Engineers maintain 95 percent uptime across Applied Material’s chemical and water treatment plants, clean rooms, air scrubbers, HVAC and Building Management Systems often conducting their work around massive storage tanks of corrosive and volatile chemicals. This team began using JLL Marketplace in March of this year and it has quickly become their standard for ordering all their supplies to keep this unique facility operational, safe, and environmentally accountable. We recently sat down with Charles to learn more about their experience with JLL Marketplace at Applied Materials

JLL Marketplace: Charles, thanks for taking the time to tell us about your experience with JLL Marketplace. You obviously run a very unique facility. Tell us what that is like.

Charles: Even during the constraints of COVID-19, we’ve been working on site around the clock at Applied Materials. Our client never sleeps, so neither do we - 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Because of the volatility of some of the chemicals we work with, our plant maintenance goes beyond basic HVAC, plumbing and electrical. For instance, at our facility we have HVAC units that run on banks of 40 filters at a time. Our site also includes wastewater treatment for heavy duty chemical waste. When you’re filtering hydrofluoric acid, sodium hydroxide and anti-scalants through a maze of pumps, motors and 20-ton scrubbers, something is bound to go wrong. We need to be ready to respond to issues that arise as quickly as possible to achieve our 95 percent uptime target.

JLL Marketplace: That certainly is a unique environment compared to other facilities JLL operations. How does JLL marketplace fit in?

Charles: In this strange “new normal” that we’re working in, the speed of fulfillment through JLL Marketplace has been a major differentiator for our client. I often get calls late at night saying, “Something is broken, we need parts now.” Using JLL Marketplace, I can have them ordered, approved by management and ready for pickup at Grainger will-call the next morning. Since we operate in a clean-room type of environment with protocols only heightened by COVID-19, it may take weeks, yes, WEEKS for something to work through the client’s receiving dock to get to our guys. The time savings we’ve been able to leverage with Grainger’s in-store pickup have been phenomenal. Applied’s previous provider didn’t have anything like JLL Marketplace so they aren’t used to this kind of turnaround. They are very pleased with our performance as JLL as a result.

JLL Marketplace: Besides the speed of getting what you need, how else does JLL Marketplace help?

Charles: Since we started using Marketplace in March it quickly became our standard for our common supply needs as we expected. But with an R&D facility, we also have many one off, hand-built tools and parts that we historically purchased from local, mom and pop-type shops. With JLL Marketplace we’ve been able to leverage Grainger’s special order desk to offload that sourcing responsibility to JLL Marketplace, which saves us the time of sourcing these one-off product needs and allows us to focus more on the client. That’s been a pleasant surprise.

It has also really helped us with our spending process. For instance, the purchase history reminders we get on the platform keep us from ordering things like a bulk shipment of air filters too quickly after our last order. Thanks to the ease of use and savings driven by Marketplace, our spending was reduced by 75 percent. The discounts are often such a high percentage I have to look twice! The union engineers really like the platform as well and want to know when they’ll be getting their own credentials so they can start ordering too.

JLL Marketplace: Any final words of wisdom for those considering JLL Marketplace for their client?

Charles: Based on my experience, I’d tell any JLL employee who is not using JLL Marketplace for their account to get with the program! It’s as easy to use as Amazon AND – it allows you to easily track all your orders in one place. It is easy, transparent and fantastic! 


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Sunday, October 11, 2020

 Foolishly a pal offered me more than I thought my KTM 350 was worth, so I sold it to him.   After the big crash in 2018, tibia plateau and all, I realized at 56 i need to stop jumping doubles and start slowly and accurately riding technical trails.   Used the money from the KTM to buy a brand stinking new Honda CRF250L.  Street legal, underpowered hamster.

Another pal bought the super duper Ducati Hyper Motard, and convinced me a street ride up and down Mt. Uhmunum would be an enjoyably spent afternoon.  He blamed the lack of speed on brand new bikes, and breaking in the motor, blah blah.

At the top of the mountain were some obviously very fast young men on their Suzuki G S X R one MILLIONS and Ninja-ceptors, making comments about why someone rode their pit bike up the hill.

Taking the que from my distant mentor and inspiration, I apologized for being a tired, frail, harmless old man.

We were kind, gave then a good 5 minute head start down the hill.  I mean, they were very very fast guys.    Caught up and passed them about 10 minutes into it.   I dont think they understood that my catching them was not the issue,  it was that my motor was OFF, and I was coasting in Neutral, that they should have taken umbrage about.

i have not learned to edit video footage, I recommend turning the sound off, cause its too dang loud   - but here is a few minutes of beautiful california vistas and so on..

I believe this was some flatter areas where i had to run the motor and waste fuel  ---

My pal Brad and I saw the very fast young lads made it safely and didnt require assistance.... Not that a harmless old man could have helped anyhow.

Back to the basement, I have a Vintage plane coming together in Balsa, that needs some sanding.  My kit is old, and NOT laser cut.

I need to learn how to convert PDF to DWG - and drive laser cutters!  - 

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Pirogue - or - there is no honoring the dead - do whats right for YOU

 P-I-R-O-G-U-E - pronounced "pee-row" - Cajun for "cheap boat"

For years, I wanted a Cajun style flat bottom canoe, a Pirogue. Famous from the Hank Williams Sr. version of the timeless classic "Jambalaya"

Now, before I'd heard Hank sing it,  I knew Mr. Cormier.  He was an Operator at Texas Eastman that worked with my dad.   I say worked WITH - as that's what my dad taught me.   The people on his team did not work FOR him, they worked WITH him.  His success was directly tied to their efforts, and he knew it and shared it. - Management lessons came early and many for me.

Mr. Cormier was a backwoods Cajun.  My mom thought he had a speech impediment cause the way he spoke, she didn't know till years later, it was cause his upbringing.  Mr. Cormier (i don't know if he had a first name, everyone at Tx. Eastman used last names only) would invite us over to his fish camp on Lake of the Pines every so often a Sunday.  Once he served soup in the cutest bowls mom ever saw, till she figured out it was turtle soup ..... in the shell.

Anyhow, Mr. Cormier had a long pirogue he'd pole in the cattails and  reeds around the lake, picking up ducks.   Took me along once, and I was astounded at the quite, the calm, the efficiency.   I had no idea it was so he could hunt illegally and the game wardens never noticed.  :)

I wanted me a Pirogue ever since.
Now you can buy a fiberglass Pirogue CHEAP. --- but I live far from Louisiana -

Flash forward a few decades, and I commissioned my now deceased pal Mark Alpen to build me one.  Now Mark?  he knew boats,  and motorcycles.  He grew up racing outboard tunnel hulls in Alviso, and graduated to the team building world class unlimited hydroplanes.   Like the Miss Budweiser.

So I contracted Mark, who build me the MOST EXPENSIVE PIROGUE in the world.  He had never actually seen one in person, but saw plans, photos, and put one together for me.  Sara and I took Saul to Calreo reservoir in it exactly once.

its fierce heavy, takes 2 adults to move, and is not really stable, unless you are poling though the cattails

On Car (transport is an issue)


 Baby saul sitting in it -- no seats really, very basic, and you do get wet

but?  it made him smile some.

Well, flash forward almost a decade of hanging in the Kingfisher Garage, I moved it over to 13th street.  Build a rack, had it overhead, and?  earthquake, it tumbles out of rack *my bad design,   and both seams split open

NOW!   as I mentioned:
- highly invested

- build by deceased pal

- beautiful wood


I think "it would not honor Mark for me to just destroy it."
then I realize, Mark is a cremated pile of ashes sitting on a shelf at a Veteran's Cemetery.  He is not a bewinged angel floating on clouds playing a lyre, looking down and going "Charles, fix the damn boat"

Don't spend your life working to honor others.   do whats right for YOU.  Here and now.
Do I have time to learn about boat building? - no
however?  I build model airplanes, how much different can it be?

As I am sanding and cleaning to get to the wood, I find out he took beautiful marine grade plywood, sealed with some lacquer, painted with marine paint, then sealed with a layer of some epoxy based marine paint.

I know this because after rounds of chemical stripper, sanding, and pushing a paint stripping blade over it all, I am pulling the layers off the outside.

Finally figured to mount it to sawhorses, put one of the sawhorses on a moving dolly, so I can pick the other end up and easily move it in and out of the garage.    I'm going to spend free time sanding and scraping till I get it down to  bare wood.

the PLAN(tm) is to scrape paint off sides and bottom.   all paint.   (guessing 5-10 lbs lighter after)
Sand the wood.  
Remove as much glue as I can, and re-glue and clamp the hull back together
Sand and remove broken bits in interior.
replace broken bits
add in thwarts (cross beams) which can act as seating

then?   figure out how to seal it.    Maybe pay an auto shop to spray a light, clear epoxy.
But build first.

Will keep ya'll informed.

now time to rest.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

56 in the Pandemic times

56- how could that happen?  I certainly don't FEEL 56. July 25th marked the day.  Woo Hoo, happy birthday to me.   I wanted some spicy caldo de camarones, so I made myself some.  Saul was here. Penny was here - it was low key but nice.

except, you see, some days I do feel 56. Some days I feel a million.  Everything aches, I am tired, and I don't feel as sharp as I used to.

I don't think its the 'rona - I believe it is just fatigue from the entire situation.

My mother used to enjoy telling the story of my first grade predictions.  Students were tasked to write a paper predicting their life.  Seven year old Charles wrote something similar to the following.

I will have to go to school until I am 18
I will graduate and get a job
When I am 20 I will get married
When I am 21 I will get a dog
When I am 25 I will be old and die.

Oddly, I'm still amazed I made it past 25.

Churchill was quoted as saying "If you do not indulge, do not eat too much, do not drink too much, do not smoke too much, and exercise? you will live to be 100. But it will feel like 200."

For me, life is about hard work, with intermediate breaks to include motorcycle rides, a nice meal, and sometimes fun.  The pandemic has removed a small part of the small allocation of fun.  You cant this, you cant that. blah blah

DO NOT MISUNDERSTAND - I wear my mask, gloves, PPE, and pay attention to my surroundings.  I dont go needlessly into crowds.  I avoid everything I can - except work - they want me there.

And there is a certain fatigue this brings. THAT combined with age? is making me feel a bit old.  My blessing is so many friends telling me on facebook, calls, emails "you inspire me"  or "you are so positive, thank you"

I'm here like "WTF? do you even know ME?  I am KING of doom and gloom"

Fortunately, I do not project this to my friends.  Somehow.   I try to remain positive, and help convince the rest of the folks - it will get better.  Its just what more of us need right now.

besides, I've already lived 31 years more than Seven year old Me projected.  I am ahead of the game.

be strong
do your best
be kind


Thursday, July 16, 2020

Work Eats My Pants

When I started new job in November, I'd come in wearing slacks, button down shirt and sport coat.  I'm an Operations Manager.   I know what that means.  Lead teams, build great teams, monitor KPI, increase productivity.   I know how to do that.

Then they changed my assignment to on-site, .... at the chemical plant ... that supports a wafer fab.

I work at a huge chemical plant.  Thanks Dad.  I just can't escape chemistry, even though I could not pass organic chem to save my hide.

Managing a mostly good crew of Union Stationary Engineers, their job is to keep the chemicals flowing to and from the fab, and processing/cleaning all the waste.   When they say wastewater treatment, they dont mean poop.  they mean water that has washed through the manufacturing process, and is full of HF, Copper, Lead, Arsenic, etc. BIG tanks of the nasty stuff, that have to be purified and cleaned.

Outfit change.  5 brand new pairs of black Dickies canvas carpenter pants, and 5 brand new black long sleeve shirts.

almost 8 months later, all my pants are faded to near grey, covered in holes, frayed seams.  The caustic used to process the chemical waste is everywhere.  It eats through your clothes if you brush against it.   I've replaced the black shirts so often, I lost count.   Its the pants that are weirdest.  These were some high quality pants,   and now? close to rags.

My Union Chief Engineer is a great guy.  I like him as a friend. And if you know me, you know that has meaning.  I managed to get my company to finally authorize and get a uniform service for the guys.  They provide shirts, pants and laundry/repair service for all our engineers.    My Chief says "I talked to the uniform company guy - just try on a pair, and they will deliver some for you weekly."  (Like I said, I like him, he is a great guy)

I may have to do it.

Because my work eats my pants.

I know, (thanks again dad) what happens to guys who work long term around these kinds of chemicals.  Life is shortened, the end is horrible, usually a cancer.   Work doesn't just eat my pants,  it is slowly going through my body

I know I am supposed to be grateful to have a job "in these uncertain times" - and I do need health insurance.   --- but some days are harder than others.  Not a lot of companies are hiring.  they say they are, but in reality... not so much.

Today I was told TWICE "if you dont xyz, .... I may have to fire you" --- none of the successful managers/leaders in my past? thought threats were the best way to get work done.

I need something different.

While work eats my pants
My leadership is eating my soul.

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