Feb 4 – A Belated “Happy New Year”

Well, here we are again. I’ve decided to keep the blog going at least until I go back to work. After that, I’m not sure what I’ll do. We’ll just have to wait and see.

We survived our trip during the holidays. In all we traveled a little over 2,700 miles. That’s just a couple hundred more miles than we covered while cruising, except we did it in 21 days instead of nine months. In all, we visited: our older daughter, son-in-law and granddaughters in Roswell, GA, where we spent Christmas; my older brother and his wife in Germantown, TN; my middle brother and his wife in Tallahassee, FL; Suzy’s mother, brother and extended family members in Shreveport, LA; Suzy’s sister-in-law and a nephew in Lake Charles, LA; Suzy’s cousin and her husband in Brandon, MS; Suzy’s cousin and her husband in Biloxi, MS; Suzy’s cousin and his wife in Hackberry, LA; a lifelong friend of Suzy, and his wife, in Shreveport, LA; our former pastor and his wife in Newnan, GA; and a former minister and his wife in Baton Rouge, LA.  We had a belated Christmas with our younger daugther, son-in-law and grandsons in Jacksonville, FL, after we returned home. It was a lot of driving, but we saw a lot of family and old friends, did a lot of laughing, and ate a lot of food.

Since the holidays, I’ve focused primarily on getting back to work… somewhere. I may be misreading the signals, but it seems my chances of returning to the WBA* may be slim. I have other irons in the fire, of course, but the preferred option has always been to go back home, and that means going back to the WBA, which would allow us to move back to our old home town, with our old friends and our old church family. But building airports isn’t something you can do just anywhere. You have to go where the work is. There appears to be a lot of work out there. I just don’t know which particular place I might end up. There is a non-airport possibility close to our old home. It is a kind of work that I have some experience with (but not a lot). I know the company and I respect the people I’d be working with. I’m grateful that they would consider me, but I’m not sure whether I could beat out other candidates for the job. But if I could land it, I’m pretty sure I would enjoy it. When it comes right down to it, though, running a project or a program is pretty much the same anywhere, whether it’s building an airport, or highways and bridges, or a harbor. Each one requires controlling four things — scope, schedule, budget and safety. If you can effectively manage those four things, you will always be in demand.

Fortunately, all the possibilities I’ve become aware of — airport or non-airport — look like they would offer exciting challenges. I’ve always enjoyed doing work that makes a difference, and when you do a large infrastructure development project, like upgrading a large international airport or building roads or bridges or harbors, you make a difference. And I want to tackle the challenges. I’m at an age where a lot of people are looking to coast into retirement. But the way I feel right now, I want to sprint to the finish line. I want to use everything I’ve learned over my long and varied career, yet learn still more. I want to use my creativity and imagination to solve new and unique problems. I want to lead people and mentor younger professionals. And then, in seven years or so, after I’ve poured out everything I have, I can blow out the seventy candles on my cake and feel like I’ve earned the right to rest.

*World’s Busiest Airport