The factory was always my touchstone, my home ground, the place where I was energized and renewed. It might have been a sugar factory, a corn mill, or a cookie factory in Romania- it didn’t matter. It always represented the values which returned me to my roots and that which I loved most.
There was nothing quite like walking through a factory, hearing the pumps and mills with their noisy but reassuring hums, the distinctive aromas, always on the alert for a sound or a different tone as a sign that there might be a problem. But usually everything was running well which would give me a moment to say hello to the crew on shift and ask them about their day. I could glance at their station reports or charts before I went on my way to the maintenance office or lab. Coffee never tasted as good as the reheated pot that was always in the lab.
There is a certain sensibility in a factory. It brings together the combined efforts of people, technology, and hardware to produce something tangible. This was the most fundamental of satisfactions that I could imagine. In this too-often abstract world of virtual images and cyberspace, it was reality to me. Although I would go on to other responsibilities, I never lost my love of the factory environment. Those years formed the foundation of my standards and approach throughout my career.