Hello to all HeadsUp Readers!
It’s been months since I’ve sent out the HeadsUp newsletter. In fact, the last issue was sent in January. I’ve reread that New Year’s message. It was filled with hope and excitement about this new decade. By the end of January, we all saw what was happening in Europe with the Coronavirus moving out of China. Then came February and the disease showing up in the West Coast of the United States. By March it was in all 50 States.
At the beginning of February, I wrote a newsletter still eager for what 2020 would bring, imbued with the positive attitude I learned from my father. As the disease swarmed through my country and other nations, I put the article aside as its tone might have seemed insensitive to those whose loved ones or friends had contracted the disease.
By mid-March, the office was closed, and everyone was working remotely, learning to deal with the new reality enveloping the world. You all have experienced this difficult time yourselves.
Throughout those three months, my father’s cancer was spreading after decades of his beating the odds. On March 28th, my beloved father, mentor, best friend, and most amazing person I knew passed into the next adventure that waits for us all.
So, you will all forgive my silence, I know.
But, as my father taught me to be, I am still eternally, even chronically hopeful for all of us. We are resilient, we humans. Our forefathers made it through plagues and wars. And so will we.
Of course, there are moments when resilience comes hard won. But resilience is what we need. I had set aside this article on the topic long ago and meant to send it out in March, before the world changed. It seems almost laughable now that we thought our pre-Pandemic days were sometimes difficult to navigate. We always seemed to be searching for ways to deal with the daily stress, to be tougher. But it turns out that it isn’t about being tougher. Resilience is gained by simply taking the time to recharge, not by pushing through. A lesson even more urgently needed as we face each new day. We need to seize resilience as we don our masks, wash our hands, put on gloves, and venture out into the COVID World.
Because we will get through this if we are careful and protect each other – the parents grandparents, children and siblings you love, the neighbors and friends you cherish, even the stranger next to you in the aisle of the grocery store. We take precautions not for just today, not just for ourselves, but for tomorrow when the vaccine is found and distributed and shot in our arms and we push on. After recharging.
Carpe diem et mollitiam – et carpe larva tua!
Headworks International Inc.
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Happy New Year to All of Our HeadsUp Readers!
It’s 2020 and I’m hopeful that it will be a great decade for the world’s people. I’m truly excited to see what new ideas and technologies will be developed over this decade. Ten years from now, what will the world look like? How will we communicate, what will we be driving, how will we be sharing the resources on Planet Earth with each other, will people have started colonies on the moon or Mars? There are just so many possibilities.
Cities in water-scarce areas like Goodyear, Arizona, need to remove as much debris as possible from the wastewater their growing cities generate so that they can turn it into reusable water. Our Case Study this month tells the tale of how and why Paul W. Litchfield, then a junior executive at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, came to Arizona in 1917 during WWI to start a cotton farm in the middle of nowhere. Litchfield was a brilliant inventory and leader and it is clear why he ultimately became the president of the tire company. It’s a really interesting history which I’m sure you’ll enjoy! Sr. VP Gerald Seidl recently visited the city and the Perforator® perforated plate screen we supplied them back in 2016. We are extremely proud of the recent testimony given by the Operations Supervisor, Gary Tuning, to our Perforator’s quality and durability included in the article.
Companies like ours continue to work on innovations to improve the quality of the world’s water, find new ways of harnessing water for reuse, and teach the public about ways each of us can make a difference. Even the Weather Channel is making a difference with their Forecast: Change initiative, changing their name to The Water Channel for World Environment Day back in June. We have a short article with some fun links covering not just their initiative, but how you can save 25% off your home electric bill while saving water!
So, the holidays are behind you, you have a plan on how to save water for the world and save on your electric bill, too, and now it’s time for a break. What better way than to meditate. Meditation has limitless benefits and can be done anywhere, anytime. You can do walking meditations, meditate at your desk, meditate when you wake up or go to sleep. No lotus position required! Haven’t tried it before? Well, no class required, either. There are countless apps out there that will guide you through meditation until you feel comfortable doing it on your own. I use a couple of them. One I like is by Sonima which also covers yoga, fitness and food. Their guided meditations are a great place to start.
What will this do for you? A mere 10 minutes a day of meditation will change the way you react to everything, not just improve your mental and physical condition. The article discusses the benefits of meditation and gives additional tips on how to save that precious morning time for the important tasks at hand when we are at our potentially most focused. Ever wish you had thought about what to say for just a second before you spoke? That is what you can gain from a regular meditation practice of 10 little minutes a day. I’ve saved this Harvard Business Review article for just the right HeadsUp issue. What better time to share it with everyone than the beginning of a new decade!
Wishing all of you a happy, healthful, thoughtful and successful 2020!
Hello, HeadsUp Readers!
Years seem to be getting shorter somehow. 2019 is already coming to a close. I’m sorry to see it go as it was a tremendously productive year. The Headworks Team has been hard at work fulfilling customer needs, designing new and innovative solutions for finer screening and anaerobic treatment of highly contaminated industrial wastewater, and receiving newly awarded patents. The Team also has had the privilege of designing the first MBBR plant to be installed in Hong Kong as it moves towards expanding and upgrading its systems.
When I first met Gerald Seidl, he was just moving back from Hong Kong to Vienna, Austria, his hometown. The stories he told of his adventures in Hong Kong have always entertained our family and friends and he now shares them with you in the article he has written about what Hong Kong was like when he first moved there in 1988 and the changes he’s seen. Gerald personally introduced the Headworks Bar Screen to Hong Kong in the early 90’s, and now our Team is providing the first MBBR plant there. For Gerald, it is a lifetime of achievements.
The holiday season is upon us in many parts of the world. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, visiting a Christmas market can be a fun way to spend time and feel the joy of being part of a community. See the gorgeous decorations, have warm food and drink, listen to holiday music, and simply observe the interactions of people together in a unique setting. A Christmas market can dispel any bad mood. Feeling up to traveling during the season? Perhaps you can pick a city to visit with one of the 17 best Christmas markets in the world. Or maybe you’re lucky enough to live in one of these beautiful cities. Vienna has many Christmas markets all around town, the most famous of which is the one at the Rathaus, or City Hall. There’s even an ice rink set up that circles around the decorated giant trees! They always have the most beautiful decorations to buy, and our tree in Houston this year will be filled with them again.
Vienna was also my home for many years. There, we celebrated the changing of the seasons and the holidays quite differently than the traditions I knew from the United States. One of the most horrifying experiences I’ve had during the holiday season was my first December 5th evening as a mother of a 1 ½ year-old toddler, my husband away on business. There was a knock on the door to our third-floor apartment. The house couldn’t be entered without someone buzzing you into the ground floor main door. Who was it? Well, I’ll tell you here if you’re curious. And don’t miss the embedded link to the children’s celebration on December 5th in Linz!
One of the best, and funniest, explanations of the differences between the way Austrians celebrate the holiday and the way we do in the USA is an interview of Christoph Waltz by Jimmy Fallon from 2014. It makes me laugh every year.
I hope you enjoy the holidays, no matter where or how you celebrate!
See you in 2020!
Welcome to all of our HeadsUp Readers,
Here we are, already well into November. With WEFTEC behind us, our team is focusing on responding to requests by all of our visitors at the show and finishing out the year for our existing customers. There was a lot of interest in our new developments this year. If you didn’t make it to Chicago, here is an enlightening article on Headworks International’s newest technologies.
Thank you to each of you who stopped by the Headworks WEFTEC Booth to introduce yourselves as HeadsUp readers. It meant a lot to me that you would take the time out of a very busy conference to say hello! The feedback you all give me makes a huge difference, I assure you.
Speaking of writing, did you know that November is NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month? The challenge is to write the first 50,000 words of a draft of a novel or memoir between November 1st and November 30th. I’ve been working on a memoir for a while now. As I already had 30,000 words of the draft pounded out, I’ve taken on the challenge to add 50,000 more by month’s end. I work much better with deadlines and as of today the 10th I’ve added about 12,000 more words. By the end of the month, my first draft should be complete and then I can begin the arduous editing process, which I’m perversely looking forward to.
Our regular readers will have read about my father in past issues. And, yes, he’s in my memoir, of course. People who meet him are always surprised that he is 94 as he looks and acts like a very fit man in his early 70’s. Just last night at our favorite local sushi place, the manager was amazed when Dad pointed to a beer sign and mentioned that he had served on Okinawa during WWII, now the home of Orion Beer and the Orion Beer Fest. Next time we’re back, she’s promised that the meal’s on her!
How did he achieve his never-ending youthful attitude and appearance? We now have a name for it: he’s a Super Ager. Super Agers have certain things in common, as you can learn in this article that pulls all of the studies together. You too can be a Super Ager. Dad’s tips to his agelessness? He’s rowed 20 minutes a day 6 days a week for the last 40 years; he generally eats healthily on fish, fruits and vegetables (TIP: he has a cup of blueberries with his breakfast each day); he exercises his brain with his voracious reading habits, world travel and political debates; and he hangs out with friends and family more than once a week. His smile is famous and wherever he goes, people immediately have a crush on him. This can be your future, too!
Two years ago, our house flooded in Harvey and we ended up selling it. Since then, we’ve moved three times, always to high rise apartments, the higher the better. It’s time we settled down, so we’ve bought a condominium on the 19th floor of one of the older high rises in Houston. As it still has all of its 1980’s appliances, we’ve been spending weekends visiting Best Buy and other showrooms and googling online reviews of various appliances. While doing this research, I came across this article on bacteria in our washing machines. It’s a cautionary tale about how sometimes trying to be eco friendly by washing in cold water can be deadly, particularly to babies whose immune systems are still fragile. Fortunately for most of us, we have built up our resistance to the normal bacteria in our own homes, so in general cold water washing is fine. But keep this article in mind when you have guests!
OK, I have to wrap this up and get another couple of thousand words knocked out on my draft. An average book has 70,000 to 120,000 words. I can do this thing, one word at a time, just like every other life challenge. Like eating an elephant, one bite at a time. Words to live by. Actually, that’s 9 words to live by… maybe I add them into the memoir now.
Wishing you well on getting your exercise in for your mind and body this month. Keep thinking young!
Hello HeadsUp Readers,
At Headworks International, our focus is on the continuing improvement of the processes, technologies and equipment needed to treat water and make it once again reusable. Water is a limited resource, and the very best environmentally sustainable approach we can take towards the reserves we have is to recycle water efficiently, economically and effectively.
There are a number of methods available. Some are more appropriate in a given set of circumstances than others. Although the methods we specialize in are extremely flexible and can be implemented in virtually any industry, not just in municipal sewage treatment, our team of process engineers is devoted to advising our customers on how they should proceed, even if the best choice of technology is not part of our portfolio. It is this dedication to wanting only the best for our customers which sets us apart from our competition. This month, we include a tale of two cities, highlighting two very different applications of one of our technologies, “IFAS”, including an explanation of how it works.
We are just a few short weeks away from WEFTEC 2019. This is our 25th Exhibition at the largest water-related tradeshow in North America. Frankly, it is hard to believe that so many years have gone by. Our first WEFTEC experience was in Chicago with our industry-changing bar screen and our 3-month-old baby daughter. As our daughter is now 25, it must be true that a quarter of a century has passed… You’ll find the team this year again in Chicago. Come by and say hello at Booth 3442, see our equipment, and talk with our awesome engineers!
Extreme weather events are happening in many countries. While writing this issue of HeadsUp, Hurricane Dorian is only starting to leave the Bahamas, which it slammed into on Sunday as a Category 5 hurricane. Having lived through several hurricane events in Houston, none of them good, it is clear to us that the hurricane suddenly stopping over the islands for more than a day was the worst outcome possible. Although it is now a Category 2 hurricane, it has expanded in size as it inches away from the Bahamas on its way to the United States. Our prayers and thoughts are with everyone in the path of such a storm. As an independent commonwealth, having gained independence from Great Britain in 1973, we hope the world comes quickly to their aid. The Red Cross is already ready to help as word comes in that whole communities have been wiped out and Nassau is still three feet under water, including all hospitals, after twenty feet of water was pushed across the Grand Bahamas by the force of the storm.
Meanwhile, a quarter of the world’s population is running out of water. Some of these are naturally arid countries, but many are countries where their precious water resources are being wasted unnecessarily. An August article in the NY Times maps out for us the areas in high stress. You can see on the map that India is particularly widely hard hit, but no continent is immune. Additionally, the Wall Street Journal ran an article a week ago entitled “India is Running Out of Water: We Can’t Waste a Drop.” As our populations continue to explode, adding additional pressure to the finite resources on the planet, responsible planning and actions should be the focus of each local government. Lack of water, food and the opportunity to create a safe and fruitful life drive people to extreme measures, from fleeing from everything they know to a foreign location in order to survive, to choosing violence as a way to control the chaos around them. Our team can convert wastewater to reusable water, but if there is no water in the region, reusable water could be non-existent. Better water management, including recycling used water, is imperative.
October 23rd is the fifth annual Imagine a Day Without Water campaign. For one whole day, people around the world will be focused on this essential resource with community and school events, editorials, company events, and other creative ways to educate people on the value of water. Our readers all understand water’s value, obviously, and are well positioned to bring this awareness to their communities. What will you do on October 23rd? There are many ideas at the website link above. Hopefully, you will take the time to register and start your own mini-campaign to highlight the value of water. This issue needs to be at the forefront of our environmental dialogues as we consider how we will be a more sustainable inhabitant of this lovely Planet Earth.
As we hear at the end of beer commercials, drink [water], but responsibly!
And please donate what you can to the people in the Bahamas.
Warm regards from Houston,
Welcome to our August HeadsUp Readers,
First, I want to thank the reader who kindly pointed out how insensitive I’d been in my last newsletter. I do understand that not everyone is convinced that climate change relates to man-made activities, and many of those people are thoughtful and intelligent. So, if my flippancy offended, please accept my apologies. Mea culpa.
Population growth in many areas has caused cities to rethink the way they handle their sewage. In the early 80’s, a regional view was taken in the Sacramento area and a whopping 222 treatment plants were replaced by the Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility. The Facility receives an unusually high amount of physical debris, some of which is quite odd. For the last 14 years, Headworks Bar Screens have been capturing the solids, and some of them are even on display at the plant. Sr. VP Gerald Seidl visited there recently and created one of his awesome videos of the operations for our viewers. To learn more about why cities are repeat customers and see some of the weird things our screens have captured there, check out this month’s Case Study.
Are you a reader? Ever think of also being a writer? Well, this month’s Summer Book Review is right up your alley. Reading Like a Writer by aptly named Francine Prose was written for people who want to get more out of their reading. And for those who may be reading to learn more about how to write. This excellent book is routinely referred to by writing instructors and in writing workshops. Even if you don’t have an urge to get that “one book everyone has in them” onto paper, you will find this a fascinating read which will allow you to better appreciate how carefully constructed your favorite tomes were by their authors.
A few weeks ago, my family traveled to Alaska with my father to get away from the heat in Houston and spend time together. Did you know that a majority of Americans do not take their fully earned vacations? There is some corrupted thinking going on that it is a badge of honor not to have taken a vacation in years. Phooey on that, I say! I am deeply grateful for the marvelous team at Headworks who enabled me to go on vacation without interruption from the office. That mental and physical break was priceless, not to mention even more importantly the memories my family created with our time together. Just before we left, my husband sent me this fun link on how best to set up an “away message” on my email account so people wouldn’t expect a response until I returned. Although I didn’t use the exact example, I did find my email was noticeably calm in my absence. My advice? Take a vacation and stay off of your digital devices. You’ll be amazed at how well you function when you return.
It will come as no surprise that while we were in Alaska, we regularly feasted on salmon. We even saw salmon jumping in the ocean and running in the streams. A great advocate for sustainable and conscientious use of our natural resources, Craig Murray, whose Nimmo Bay Resort is on my all-time bucket list, suggested that I look into the research on salmon being done by Alexandra Morton. What I learned was disturbing. More years ago than I would like to admit, while obtaining my degree at Texas A&M in Wildlife & Fisheries Science, I learned what keystone species mean in the world’s food chain. Salmon is a keystone species to the First Nation tribes of Alaska and Canada, the bears and eagles that live there, and many other animals whose most important food source is salmon. The documentary Salmon Confidential will convince you to purchase only wild salmon, not farmed. The farms, often located adjacent to the mouths of rivers wild salmon return to for spawning their young, are infecting the wild fish as they swim by with sea lice and European viruses. There is an epidemic of salmon deaths in the rivers. Without a real and convincing pushback by consumers, salmon farming may soon cause salmon in the wild to become extinct, triggering a cascade of devastating consequences to all of the species that depend on the salmon for sustenance. I hope you take the time to learn about this issue and spread the word.
In our continuing mission to make wastewater generated by cities and industries reusable wherever possible, we are currently looking for an experienced national salesperson with deep experience in the food and beverage market to pursue our MBBR/IFAS technological sales. If you or someone you know are interested, you can learn more on our website here.
Getting away on vacation, no matter how far you travel or how long you stay, will free your soul and bring you back to your everyday responsibilities refreshed and recharged. Perhaps enough to write a book, even. Who knows? Whatever your passion, seek it out. Life happens today.