Article by: Dave Hirschman, AOPA Pilot Editor at large
About 40 employees based in Chino were focused on designing and building the two-seat M10J and M10 Trainers. Mooney intends to continue moving forward on those projects, but there’s no timetable for completing or certifying them.
“The M10 concept is very important to our investor group.” said Lance Phillips, a Mooney marketing executive. “It’s extremely important.”
Mooney has been owned by the Meijing Group, a Chinese real estate conglomerate, since 2013, and the company planned to manufacture M10s in China.
At Kerrville, where Mooney builds four-seat M20 Ovations and Acclaim Ultras, the company has sold all seven of the two-door models currently in production. Money officials declined to discuss how many additional airplanes have been sold, or the size of its production backlog.
Mooney has gone through a series of boom-and-bust cycles during more than 60 years of aircraft production at Kerrville. The Kerrville factory endured a five-year period of forced hibernation that ended in 2013 with a large-scale investment from China.
Everyone is Buzzing About the Wine Competition Results
Congratulations to All!
The 34th Lone Star International Wine Competition hosted 598 wines and 34 wine bottle labels from 96 wineries in Texas, from other states and two countries. Judging was completed on June 6 with 12 Double Gold Awards, 91 Gold Medals, 269 Silver Medals, 224 Medals, 6 Best in Varietal, and 12 Grand Star Best of Show. WOW! The most wines ever awarded at a Lone Star International Wine Competition.
Kerr County’s Bending Branch Winery was awarded the following medals in the Red Table Wine Division:
Silver Medals in the international Competition for their 100% Souzao (NV) and 100% Tempranillo (2014)
Silver Medal in the Limited Production Competition for their 100% Tannat (2013)
Silver Medal in the Texas Wine Competition for their 100% Tannat (2013) and 100% Tempranillo (2014)
GOLD MEDAL in the Texas Wine Competition for their 100% Mourvedre (2014)
Take a look at the winners and begin to shout the story on Social Media. Texas wines really made an impact at the competition.
This article is part of an ongoing series exploring changes in the workplace and in the nature of work. The first piece explored 12 megatrends, such as automation, big data, demographics, and diversity, that are revolutionizing the way work gets done. Subsequent publications will explore digital governance, talent, and culture.
The success of a transformation depends on an organization’s leaders, especially the CEO. In digital transformations, the CEO is even more critical because of the magnitude of change, the degree of disruption, and the power of inertia.
Digital transformation requires new ways of working, not just new technology. The scarcest resource at many companies is not necessarily technological know-how but leadership. Leaders need the ability to sift through an avalanche of digital initiatives, manage accelerating innovation cycles, and reshape the organization around new approaches such as agile.
Here are five golden rules of digital transformation for CEOs to follow.
LEARN FROM THE OUTSIDE BUT STAY TRUE TO YOUR DNA
Established companies need to embrace the innovations that are powering the digital economy. Digital natives such as Uber, Airbnb, and Spotify, for example, have successfully attacked the taxi, lodging, and music industries by meeting customer needs in new ways and taking advantage of technological innovation. Equally important, these companies have created new operating models and cultures.
Incumbents need to learn from the successes of these attackers, not assume that such lessons don’t apply or make only slight adjustments to the status quo. CEOs should carefully study how they can broadly apply new ways of working, new levels of customer service, and new technology platforms to their own organization. It’s not enough to take a quick road trip to Silicon Valley or Bangalore or put a tech executive on the board of directors.
At the same time, companies should not abandon their core strengths and culture. An organization that has been around for 50 or 100 years or more has enduring and proven qualities that do not just vanish in the digital age. The turnaround of the LEGO Group, for example, one of the most famous business stories of this century, was conceived as both a bridge to the digital future and a return to the past. “LEGO had lost its focus and its core…. What was it really that this company did better than anybody else?,” recalled Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, the CEO who orchestrated the transformation. “There’s an incredible community around the LEGO brand and the LEGO brick, and we didn’t nurture it well. Those were the things we started addressing, and that led us on an incredible journey of very strong growth for more than a decade.”
FOLLOW THE MAP, TRUST THE TERRAIN
Vision creates intention and establishes direction and ambition. Plans lay out responsibility and deliverables. Vision and plans are both critical requirements in a transformation. But digital transformations require room for course corrections. It’s impossible to button up every last detail and identify the transformation’s precise landing place.
Leaders, in other words, need to articulate a broad strategic outline and the purpose and context for change. But they also need to be open to feedback from people in the organization, from customers, and from partners. They need to be able to course correct. We call this approach adaptive leadership.
Adaptive leadership is not code for indecisive leadership. One commonsense way to become more adaptive is to perform more frequent reviews. Quarterly business reviews replace annual planning cycles. Course corrections happen weekly or even daily instead of monthly.
Another commonsense idea is to force face-to-face interactions to resolve differences. ING, the bank based in the Netherlands, has hardwired these interactions into decision making by running its digital transformation from an Obeya room. The room is “the heart of ING’s transformation,” says Roel Louwhoff, the bank’s chief operating officer and chief transformation officer. “The purpose is simple: having a full overview of the status of all projects and solving issues quickly. If an issue can’t be solved in five minutes, it’s escalated to the next level.”
PLACE MANY BETS
In the same way that leaders must establish a broad vision but allow for improvisation, they also need to take more than one approach to digital transformation. The level of volatility and ambiguity in the market makes it impossible for leaders to know precisely what will work and what technological and analytical capabilities they may need to acquire. There are at least two types of bets that companies should consider:
Open Innovation. Companies that have successfully transformed themselves generally participate in broader digital, innovation, and mobile ecosystems. They tap into developments beyond the organization and let outsiders improve upon their bundle of products and services. In open-banking initiatives, for example, many banks publish APIs, or entryways into their software, that allow financial technology startups to build add-on services.
Portfolio Construction. In terms of deal making, partnering, and venturing, digital transformations are built on many small, manageable bets. Companies should evaluate dozens of different approaches, investments, and partnerships; pilot or incubate a few; and then build and scale up only the most promising. These exercises need to occur in the context of the overall vision. “Let a thousand flowers bloom” is a nice slogan, but it can be a recipe for losing focus and wasting resources.
TO READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW!
Story by Susan McFarland, Staff Writer for the Kerrville Daily Times
An entertainment venue – such as Main Event – unique retail outlets that cater to young people, Kayak rentals along the Kerrville River Trail and a bicycle share program are a few of the things Tivy High School Students say the City needs.
Their input was sought by Kerrville city staff last week as an addendum to the recent community wide survey conducted by the municipality.
Participating were about 50 students from a wide array of student groups, including athletes, those in the Junior
Reserve Officer Training Corps and various leadership teams.
“We wanted to reach out to a group that wasn’t very well represented through our citizen survey,” Katilin Berry, public information officer for the city.
Out of the 1,800 surveys mailed to randomly selected households, there were 513 surveys returned, Berry reported. Out of those, 200 were from people older than 65, and only 4% were from people ages 18 to 24.
Brian O’Connor, head of the Kerrville Economic Development Corporation, helped facilitate the discussion, along with members of the Kerrville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Kerrville Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The same type of discussion was held with members of the Schreiner University Student Senate last week, Berry said.
What items were on the high school students’ wish list? More restaurants, a bowling alley, internet cafe, updated parks (aside form Louise Hays Park, which they love) and pedestrian-friendly walkways throughout the city.
“Everyone is attracted to kerrville, but when you get here, you’re bored to death,” said Bailey Havis. It would ruin it if we completely changed Kerrville. We just need to revamp it, be true to Kerrville…maybe a cool pool with a volleyball park.”
Students also want to see businesses that give student discounts, a driver’s education center and more part-time job opportunities.
They identified the city’s strengths as Kerrville’s “community feel”, noting the city is friendly, safe, has a beautiful natural environment, great community theaters with a good mix of shows and, of course, Tivy Pride.
Students were asked to fill out a form with questions about whether they plan on staying in Kerrville after graduation, how they get around in the city (by bicycle or car), how often they shop in Kerrville, what cities they go to for shopping, and how they feel about recreational, restaurant, and entertainment choices.
Berry said the students’ feedback will be used as the city moves forward, particularly as city leaders plan growth and development.
“We hope all this data will be useful if the city engages in a new comprehensive planning process, which the city council has expressed an interest in pursuing,” Berry said.
By Elan Head from Vertical Magazine
A new generation of electric air taxis could dramatically transform low-altitude urban airspace within the next decade — although these small vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft are unlikely to replace helicopters as we know them.
The e-VTOL revolution is being led by the ride-sharing technology company Uber, which has convened the Uber Elevate Summit in Dallas, Texas, this week to explore a future in which electric aircraft would radically expand urban mobility.
Why Dallas? As Uber chief product officer Jeff Holden announced on Tuesday, Dallas will be one of two launch cities for the Uber Elevate concept — the other being Dubai, United Arab Emirates. According to Holden, Uber aims to deploy its first air taxis in these cities by 2020.
“Dallas is the perfect place because it has this rich history of aviation,” Holden told the crowd at the Elevate Summit.
The Dallas-Fort Worth area also has supportive local governments, a real estate development partner eager to start building the necessary infrastructure, and aviation companies — including Bell Helicopter — that are fully behind Uber’s vision.
That vision is at once more practical and more ambitious than the longstanding science fiction fantasy of personal flying cars. While personal VTOL aircraft have always promised exceptional mobility, large-scale deployment of individually owned aircraft would present a host of safety, training, and deconfliction concerns.
Instead, Uber imagines a near-term future in which small e-VTOL aircraft would be operated commercially from established vertiports as on-demand air taxis. Cleaner and quieter than helicopters thanks to their electric propulsion — and consequently more readily tolerated by urban residents — these e-VTOLs could be deployed in numbers that would enable high production volume manufacturing and associated economies of scale.
Indeed, Holden predicted that in the near term, an e-VTOL air taxi’s cost per passenger mile could be as low as US$1.32, comparable to the present cost of an UberX transport. In the long term, he said, the cost per passenger mile could fall below the variable cost of a passenger car, which could encourage more people to rethink car ownership altogether.
“If we can provide ubiquity and low cost, people will actually dispense with their privately owned vehicle,” Holden said.
But achieving that kind of efficiency and affordability will require a very specific design approach — one that, among other things, trades hover performance for efficiency in cruise flight.
As Uber observed in a white paper published in October 2016, helicopters are designed for military and multi-use roles that require sustained hovering for extended periods of time, and are relatively inefficient in cruise flight. By contrast, e-VTOL air taxis will spend most of their time in cruise flight and can be optimized accordingly.
On the first day of the Elevate Summit, Aurora Flight Sciences unveiled one approach to that kind of design optimization. Based on the XV-24A X-plane that Aurora is developing for the U.S. Department of Defense, the company’s proposed e-VTOL air taxi uses multiple rotors low to the ground for hover capability, and wings and a rear-mounted propeller for forward flight.
According to Aurora e-VTOL program manager Diana Segel, the aircraft was designed to be extremely simple and efficient, and has already flown successfully in a subscale version.
“We really feel we have a viable concept here that can be realized near term because of its simplicity, and that we can also make available for a very attractive cost, compared to more complex designs,” she said.
Aurora isn’t the only company with a vision for e-VTOL air taxis. Also on Tuesday, Carter Aviation Technologies president and CEO Jay Carter announced that his company is partnering with Mooney International on an e-VTOL aircraft based on Carter’s Slowed Rotor Compound (SR/C) technology.
And, the German startup Lilium presented its concept for a five-place e-VTOL jet that promises a 300-kilometer (185-mile) range and 300 km/hr cruise speed.
Major aircraft manufacturers are also jumping on the e-VTOL bandwagon. At the Elevate Summit, A3, the Silicon Valley outpost of Airbus, discussed its previously announced e-VTOL concept, Project Vahana. According to A3 head of autonomous systems Arne Stoschek, vehicle development is underway in Silicon Valley, and the company has already completed some subscale flights.
Bell Helicopter is also actively involved in e-VTOL development. Although the company did not unveil a specific aircraft concept at the summit, director of engineering innovation Scott Drennan told attendees that Bell will have a “modular, adaptable and scalable” design. He said that Bell’s concept will be “agnostic” with respect to energy storage, able to accommodate both electric and hybrid electric systems.
But developing and certifying appropriate aircraft is only half the battle. A viable network of e-VTOL air taxis will also require significant investments in infrastructure, including vertiports with charging facilities. In Dallas, Uber is partnering on initial vertiport development with the real estate developer Hillwood, whose chairman, Ross Perot Jr., is also an accomplished pilot.
Speaking at the Elevate Summit, Perot expressed optimism that the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area will erect its first vertiports within the next few years, beginning with a vertiport at Hillwood’s Frisco Station development, just north of Dallas. “At the big entertainment hubs in North Texas, we can fairly quickly get these vertiports up,” he said. “It’s going to be wonderful to bring more and more people into this aviation community.”
Uber anticipates that on-demand e-VTOL air taxi operations will begin with piloted aircraft operating within existing air traffic control (ATC) systems. However, as operations expand, new ATC systems will be needed to handle the volume of traffic, and the aircraft will likely transition to largely or fully autonomous operations — which will present additional certification hurdles.
Given the myriad challenges involved, it could be quite some time before Uber’s vision is fully realized. But the company maintains that the potential benefits in terms of urban mobility and livability warrant its ambitious approach.
Of this brave new world — in which car ownership is optional, and nightmare commutes are a thing of the past — “we just want to usher it in as fast as possible because we all want to live in this world,” Holden said.
- See more at: https://www.verticalmag.com/news/uber-launch-electric-vtol-aircraft-dallas-dubai/#sthash.lClZwa6I.dpuf
Looking for a way to celebrate National Beer Day, which falls on April 7 each year? Look no further than these breweries across the United States.
This list comes from Yelp, which ranked breweries in the country using an algorithm that looked at the quantity and quality of reviews in the past year. Only two breweries per state could make the list, so you’ll likely find one near you.
All of these establishments brew beer on site, so start making your happy hour plans right… NOW.
Vivek Saxena, Chief Executive Officer of Mooney International Corporation, hosted a ceremony March 28 at the aircraft manufacturing facility to make Federal Aviation Agency certification of the two new Mooney Ultras official.
Saxena said this was only the 21st time in the history of Mooney that the FAA has certified a new design; and added that this is the first certification since the new ownership by the current investment group.
“Mooney is back and here is the proof!” he said, gesturing toward the red, silver and white plane on display in the sales hangar. “The industry has been waiting for this aircraft, not only Mooney.”
He noted the plane’s luxury interior and what he called the best avionics in the industry.
“The process wasn’t easy. I saw evidence of that even in my eight months here.”
He said Jim Grigg from the FAA was joined by two other Mooney executives and four representatives of the manufacturing inspection office in San Antonio to mark this occasion.
Saxena said he mentioned this because of the great teamwork they had during the whole design and certification process.
The approximately 150 employees gathered at the ceremony, too; and Saxena singled out some individual managers, engineers and other employees in experimental testing, quality control, production and manufacturing for thanks and appreciative applause.
He illustrated the reputation and sale-ability of Mooney planes with a story. He said his first day at the Kerrville facility, he took a customer from South America on a factory tour, a man who he knew already had made calls at other companies. Saxena said the man picked out a Mooney on the spot.
“The Mooney experience is the aircraft and the factory,” he said, complimenting the passion of the employees for their product.
Grigg signed the FFA certification papers at the podium; and said, “Folks, it’s official,” and shook Saxena’s hand.
Grigg also told the audience, “This is rare for us. The last one was about 10 years ago out of Fort Worth. Mooney is iconic; and we’re impressed. Congratulations!”
Lance Phillips, director of marketing, said they worked closely with the FAA through the nearest aircraft certification offices in Fort Worth and the manufacturing inspection office in San Antonio.
Grigg represented the FAA and came to the sales hangar in Kerrville for the certification ceremony to officially sign the paperwork Mooney required to produce and sell the new 2017 Mooney Acclaim and Ovation Ultras.
Robert Dutton, vice president of production operations, said their aim is to use the right materials for the right applications; and in the Ovation and Acclaim they use the “composite” material for the cabin (fuselage) section.
That material is paired with a steel tube “safety cage” to create the cabin.
It also allowed for an added pilot’s door, both door openings 4 inches wider, with no increased weight and no decreased structural safety. All doors and windows have slightly lowered sills for better visibility.
If the pilot and passengers are tall and/or big, every inch counts, they said.
The official description of the Ultras calls the pilot’s door an “added door” as historically airplanes had one door on the co-pilot’s side of the plane.
“Performance has been maintained and safety and passenger comfort increased,” Dutton said.
They said the “dashboard” is wired with Garmin avionics and an input computer keyboard, with soft-touch switches that look more like a Lexus, what the company calls a sports-car-inspired interior.
It also includes – in addition to two larger flight screens for pilots – two smaller standby computer screens in the event all else goes black. Those are separately wired from the rest of the electronic equipment.
It also has USB outlets for pilots’ and passengers’ electronic devices such as iPhones and iPads.
“This is a Ferrari of the skies,” and owner pilots are sometimes called “Mooniacs,” Dutton said.
They said most design and parts on the M20 series Ovation and Acclaim are similar, but the Acclaim has a turbo-charged power plant that allows that plane to go higher and cruise faster than the Ovation model.
Both models have the signature canted tails so recognizable on Mooney planes.
The full-color brochure about the new M20 series planes says, “As irrefutable evidence that Mooney is back with a vengeance, we present the reimagined Mooney M20 series – our latest manifestation of Al Mooney’s original vision of aerodynamic purity.”
New owners get to pick the paint job, and these are the other Ovation specifications.
It seats four; and has retractable landing gear and Garmin G1000 avionics; a maximum operating altitude of 20,000 feet, and 197 “knots true air speed” with 900-1,080 nautical miles range depending on fuel.
Long-range cruising speed is 170 ktas with a range of 1,240-1,450 nm depending on fuel.
The wing-span is 36 feet 6 inches; length, 26 feet 8 inches; tail height, 8 feet 4 inches; and cabin width, 43.5 inches.
The Ovation’s list price is $689,000 plus any other available options.
Under “weight,” the brochure says the typical useful load is 1,130 pounds.
Dutton said “useful load” (for non-pilots) means the combined weight of the fuel, people, baggage and whoever else comes on a flight including dogs.
For the Acclaim model, it seats four; and has retractable landing gear and Garmin G1000 avionics.
It has a maximum operating altitude of 25,000 feet, maximum cruising speed of 242 ktas, range of 700-830 nm, and long-range of 1,100-1,275 nm.
This model has the same wingspan and other dimensions; and its typical useful load is 1,000 pounds.
The Acclaim’s list price is $769,000 plus other optional items.
Specifications and performance date are preliminary and subject to change.
Dutton said the entire interior of each airplane is fabricated at the Mooney plant.
For more information on the new planes, contact New Aircraft Sales at Mooney International Corp., 165 Al Mooney Rd. N., Kerrville; 1-800-456-3033; or email sales@ mooney.com.
If Charlie McIlvain of the Kerrville Convention & Visitors Bureau had his way, and money were no object, Kerrville would be planning construction of a new convention center near downtown with at least 250 hotel rooms attached.
He thinks it’s possible and needed and shouldn’t be postponed any longer.
Otherwise residents and the “powers that be” will still be saying 20 years from now, “We could have built a convention center there years ago, but …”
“Since I came here, and actually when I interviewed for this job, I heard comments that our downtown and the Guadalupe River are under-utilized. And if we had a convention center downtown, that would revitalize Kerrville’s downtown,” McIlvain said. “There could be more opportunities to use the river, and people could walk into downtown for restaurants and shopping and entertainment.”
He admitted there are challenges to be overcome.
“People say there’s a parking challenge, but we have 1,200 spaces near the star on Water Street, with the free parking garage.”
“They say we already have traffic issues. But at a conference, the timeline for those people runs differently, but possibly with one or two free evenings. People will get out and walk and patronize restaurants and other sites.”
McIlvain said in his experience, which includes managing a convention center in Granbury, on the Brazos River, if a convention center is outside the downtown area, people won’t get in their cars and drive to downtown entertainment and shopping.
“And if they choose to do that from a larger hotel here, it’s as easy to drive to Fredericksburg as downtown Kerrville,” he said.
So here’s McIlvain’s “wishful thinking.”
“We need to plan one large enough to book a city-wide conference, with a 250-room hotel, and a 50,000- to 65,000-square-foot event facility,” McIlvain said. “If we don’t do something soon, we will lose opportunities to other areas. Already the Former Texas Rangers Foundation moved to Fredericksburg; and the Nimitz Museum is downtown there.
“Boerne recently announced they will be building a 17,000-20,000 square foot facility; and Fredericksburg could be looking at one 20,000-30,000 square feet. But if we build one that size in Kerrville, we will just be moving convention business from one hotel to another. The Inn of the Hills has about 22,000 square feet; and the YO Hotel about 11,000 square feet.”
He said we have to look at San Antonio and Austin to see what their convention centers have done for their cities.
“This could be done here with public-private partnerships, and once built 40 percent of the sales tax would be generated by visitors. Residents would have a lesser burden.”
“We’re not looking at a multi-million square-foot convention center here,” McIlvain said.
He said the key is to design the building to be as flexible as possible.
“The difference between a convention center and a conference center is usually that the convention center has a central huge exhibit area with rooms off to the sides; and the conference center is ‘divide-able’ into smaller and larger spaces that can be used multiple ways,” he said.
The key is to keep people and their meetings moving between rooms that can be for workshops or training at some parts of a conference, and “re-set” for luncheons or banquets during other times.
“And the staff would work different hours depending on what was scheduled, say 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. if a dinner space had to be re-set for another use the next morning.”
Site is a challenge
Another “variable” to overcome is finding space downtown where McIlvain recommends it be located.
“I’d like to see this next door and east of One Schreiner Center on the river-side of Water Street, toward the group of medical offices,” he said. “And before the old Schreiner Bank / Bank of America was bought by somebody else, we could have used that site to build up and connect the hotel to things downtown including the River Trail.”
He said they have to remember the distance to the parking garage.
McIlvain said people have pointed out the availability of the expanded facilities at the Hill Country Youth Event Center.
“We’re glad for the new space, and we’re seeing dividends from that event space already,” he said.
But McIlvain and his staff see two basically different types of groups who seek conference facilities, and some (such as the National Association of Auto Dealers) probably wouldn’t be willing to stay in Kerrville’s hotels and be bussed out to the HCYEC for conference events.
Some are looking for “larger” or “more upscale.”
“A new hotel would need to include a lounge and a restaurant and be ‘full-service’,” McIlvain said.
It also must have a kitchen and plenty of “back of the house” storage for sufficient tables of different sizes and shapes, chairs, podiums, sections of “flexible” portable stages and portable dance floors, and audio-visual systems built in for any future uses of space.
“Flexibility is the key to making this work,” he said.
McIlvain said he and his staff can document over the past 18 months the widely varied companies and organizations they’ve talked to at “sales opportunities,” a list of 72 groups and their required “peak room nights,” the city and state they last held an event, and required meeting square footage.
All needed 50,000 square feet minimum and some up to 75,000-100,000.
About a third needed less than 200 room nights, but the meeting space here is too small and Kerrville lost their business.
Parking, job opportunities
He said he’s had people say to him, the free parking garage in downtown Kerrville is a long way to walk, and complain any parking place is too far if it isn’t in front of the door of the store they want to go to.
He said if those same people get any reasonable parking place at Walmart, they’re walking farther to that front door than the downtown parking garage is from stores there.
And if they go to San Antonio or Austin, they can expect to park in a parking garage or lot and walk a considerable distance to their destination, he said.
Overall the challenges remain – funding, sites, and transportation, perhaps a trolley system.
McIlvain said a conference facility would create new jobs. “We already have one in 20 working people in Kerrville employed in the hospitality industry,” he added.
He and his staff are already promoting the almost-complete Athletic Complex on Holdsworth Drive. They are using a new advertisement to promote the complex and Kerrville in general.
“We’re competing with larger communities for the same tourist dollars. But our new ball fields are larger than Boerne’s and the fields are designed to be flexible.”
Asked about any possible hotel near the ball fields, McIlvain said there’s possible property near the Harper Road/IH-10 intersection for a hotel that could serve the complex.
He sees it as a good place for a connected water park, too, and a good product mix if the hotel includes an excellent restaurant.
But that location wouldn’t be good for a conference center, in his opinion. The family groups with youngsters wouldn’t mix well (different activities and noise levels) with mostly adult conference attendees.
Ward Jones serves as the past chairman of the Kerrville Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors, a past member of the Kerrville Economic Development Corporation board of directors and president of Benefit Choices Company in Kerrville
Reflections by Ward Jones
Before I begin today’s “Reflections,” I want to make it perfectly clear that the words and thoughts that appear in this column are those of its author and his alone. They are not intended to be representative of the position(s) of any organization or group to which I may or may not belong. If the thoughts presented here at any time are similar to or mirror the attitudes and/or positions of other individuals or groups, that result is purely coincidental. And now, let’s examine today’s topic.
Over the past 120 years, the United States society and economy have seen the development and growth of what is most commonly referred to as the “middle class.” There have been many attempts by some very brilliant people to define exactly what that term means.
While definitions may vary somewhat from one to another, certain characteristics seem to be common to this group. The vast majority of “middle class” Americans have graduated from high school, and many have gone on to further education, trade schools or other specialty training. Of course, as in all attempts to categorize a certain group, there are always exceptions to the definition.
Most economists agree that today, the “middle class” enjoys a household annual income of somewhere between $45,000-$90,000. Again, this is only an educated guestimate. This group has typically been the engine driving the U.S. economy. Until recently, it out numbered the lower and upper classes combined. While that may still be the case, in the last 20 years, the “middle class” has seen falling wages and, for the most part, stagnant economic growth and falling numbers.
It is not my intent here to analyze the reasons for this trend. However it is a fact that the deterioration of this group has led to a basic cause of one of the worst economic recoveries in the history of this country. Kerrville has seen much of this same dynamic.
All-Plastics LLC president Tom Houdeshell is vested in his business on Holdsworth Drive and in the community he enjoys
Faces of Kerr County by Bill Blackburn
Tom Houdeshell is intense, focused and proud of his company, All-Plastics LLC, which is on Holdsworth Drive across from the Kroc Center and also in Addison on Beltway near Midway Airport.
Houdeshell was born in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, and raised on the family’s 130-acre farm south of Tiffin, Ohio. His father farmed and was an auto mechanic, and his mother worked for the school in the day care program and in the cafeteria. He is the youngest of five siblings, which include one brother and three sisters.
A natural athlete, Houdeshell was captain of his football and baseball teams his senior year of high school. He was scouted by the Cincinnati Red Sox and invited to their training camp. he holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in management from Tiffin University, which was founded in 1888 in north Central Ohio. he was exploring engineering after graduation, when his mentor a chemical engineer from Dow Chemical, persuaded him to get his Master of Business Administration degree, which he did in 1984.
Houdeshell has now been in the plastics business for 30 years.