That Doesn’t Compute

I take exception to Mr. Norris’s viewpoint [“What are You Going to Do When the Well Runs Dry?” June 18]. It presents a one-sided view that serves only [one] purpose: to attempt to scare people over to his way of thinking. I am surprised that the ceo of a major corporation would fall so short in doing the “simple math.” The key flaw in his presentation is the computation of fuel usage “at the currently increasing rate.” He tells us that a 100-year supply of oil will be consumed in 36 years.

However, for Mr. Norris’ argument to be solid, it must assume that during the 36-year period, there will be no increase in the technology being used. Imagine that all of our current technological growth will suddenly freeze, but our current rate of fuel consumption will continue. Take a realistic look at what has happened in our industry within the past 36-year period, and you’ll see why this scare tactic is flawed. If revolutions in science are factored into his “simple math,” you’ll see a much different outcome. Maybe that will reduce the fear level and lead to more realistic, well-planned policy.

Kevin O’Donohue

Publication date: 07/02/2001

The Rise and Fall of the Family Empire

If someone were to ask me today what I felt about their kids working in the same business, I’d have to say forget it. You can teach a son about the trade, but you also teach him your faults that will hamper the business after you’re gone. Different blood, ideas, and attitudes are needed in this day and age of outstanding technology and business sense.

My four sons were encouraged to try going out on their own to become employed in the plumbing trade. Two have done that successfully, another is in the U.S. Coast Guard, and the other in advertising. The plumbers are at the top of their employment. They run jobs as foreman and have many more skills than I had.

If a person has office personnel that are offspring or wives or (heaven forbid) brothers-in-law, that person has limited himself to his own thinking. And that limit is a sure demise. I have seen and watched it many times: sons complaining of treatment by a senior worker; the senior worker told by the boss to lay off; and nepotistic office help that is allowed to know more than senior technicians experience.

All small potatoes, but basically chipping away at the fabric of the business that employs them. I know of one journeyman who jumped up from under a sink and drew a circle around a boss’ son’s feet, ran to the truck, obtained what he needed, and ran back in. The son asked what the circle was for. The journeyman replied, “I just wanted to see if you moved while I went to the truck!” He had not, just stood there and looked at the circle. The journeyman had been asked to go easy on the kid. Makes you wonder.

Gary Fereday

A Fereday Plumbing

Salt Lake City, UT