When they encouraged me to get a job in my junior year in high school, my journalism teacher told me about a local advertiser looking for an assistant to help create fliers and menus for area restaurants and advertisements for our daily newspaper. He would often give me the keys to his car to distribute the ads and to also pick up his kids and deliver them home at the end of their school day. During my senior year in high school, I landed a position as a teller at the local bank and as a relief teller at several of its branches. It was a neat opportunity to meet people and sock away a few dollars away for college. I even remember purchasing my first stock in that bank from my earnings. In each position, I was entrusted with a large amount of responsibility at a relatively young age and expected to execute my duties efficiently and effectively.
While I attended Indiana University, I spent each summer working at Bethlehem Steel’s plate mill that was state of the art at the time. Working a swing shift, I had the opportunity to see all sides of the operation from the slab to the finished piece. When work was slow, I really enjoyed walking along the catwalk high up over the production line and watching slabs being rolled back and forth through huge steel rollers that would press the slabs to the correct size before being trimmed and finished for the customer. Watching hundreds of workers contribute to a finished product was an amazing experience. It was a great education and a terrific summer job, but I was always happy to go back to school in the fall. Manufacturing that has remained in the U.S. has really changed since then, utilizing fewer workers, more technology and improved efficiencies to compete in the world marketplace.
As the base of our present day economy transforms itself from manufacturing and services to information technology and telecommunications, the nature of individual responsibilities and obligations is changing as well. Alan Greenspan continues to apply the brakes on investments and inflationary pressures and unemployment has fallen to its lowest level in forty years. In this day and age when companies cannot find workers, they are now competing against each other in bidding wars over the available talent. The availability of quality talent and trained employees is diminishing, and raising interest rates actually contributes to raising the intensity of the competition for the available workforce.
Most employers are struggling to keep up with the pace of change. They work hard to gather employees into their firms who are productive, loyal, dedicated, committed and trustworthy. Today, that appears to be a lot to ask from employees.
We are spoiled by our successes and our lengthy period of economic growth. Training and development of our existing workforce should improve productivity and performance. Without more workers, we will also need greater discipline, direction and flexibility. Individually and collectively, we need to maintain our standards and reclaim our work ethic, our commitment to education and our dedication to families to keep this country on course with the rapid pace of change.
Proposed River District – Crescent & Lincoln Harris
You may have read about the proposed River District being developed by Crescent and Lincoln Harris. Johnny Harris has considerable experience creating these communities. He and the Bissell’s developed SouthPark and Ballantyne. The River District will be southwest of Charlotte Douglas International Airport and just west of I-485 near its intersection with West Blvd. and Garrison Road in the Dixie-Berryhill area on the east side of the Catawba River. They have about 1300 acres they are proposing to develop over the next 20 years. Much of that area are wetlands. I recently attended a public presentation to learn more.
Their vision statement reads “River District is a master planned community that embraces its natural features, resources, preservation areas and open space as the principle organizing element in its neighborhoods, mixed use town center, employment, gateway and transitional districts. River District will be a vibrant and diverse place that fosters unprecedented economic vitality, diverse residential opportunities and a thriving built environment amidst hundreds of acres of preserved open space. The Districts will evolve over time, while remaining connected through an extensive network of parks/trails, open space and greenway linkages as well as a collection of multi-modal streets that provide a range of transportation opportunities. Unlike anywhere else in Charlotte, the unique location captures the natural beauty that extends from the Catawba River while maximizing the convenience of proximity to the global serving Charlotte Douglas International Airport.”
Please view their power point presentation.
You might enjoy leafing through their presentation and visiting their site, www.riverdistrictinfo.com.
What will be interesting is to learn about its impact on future growth plans for further expansion of the CLT Airport, on the environment and the Catawba River specifically, and further development of a logistics and distribution hub around the airport. We should also consider the traffic impact on the intersection of I-85 and I-485. There will be need for another access point to Gaston County across the river south of the River District.