Monthly Archives: March, 2017

Letters to the Power Plant #83 — Dell Programmer in Training

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the eighty third letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

9/2/03 – Dell Programmer in Training

Dear Sooner Plantonians,

I hope everything is going well with you guys.  I was in training last week in Kansas City, and this week I’m in Dallas for the rest of the week.  My manager told me that he never saw one person have as much training as I have had in the past 7 months.  Let’s see.  Just to give you an idea, here is a list of the training I have had since February:

ASP.Net programming

MBA Course:  Economics of Management

Answer First Presentations

Memory Improvement Seminar (I don’t quite remember what that was about).

Training Seminar on Microsoft Project 2002 and Visio 2002

Business Acumen

Financial Acumen

Programming in C#

Mentoring Awareness for I/T

Finance for Professionals

Winning with Integrity

MBA Course:  Ethical and Legal Environment of Business

Business Process Improvement Yellow Belt Training

Requirements Management with Use Cases

Work/Life Effectiveness

Advanced D3 Training (Data Warehouse Reporting Tool)

Managing Your Performance For Individual Contributors

Oracle Database High Availability

Project Office Express Training

Software Configuration Management Process Overview

DevPartner Studio training

MBA Course:  Financial Decision-making

Then there are the courses that I took last Week.  They are all Kronos Application courses:

Daily Operations

Pay Period

Scheduling

Setup and Administration

Then the course that I am taking this week:

Kronos Connect Basic Interface Programming

Those are all the courses I have taken since February.

So what are these guys at Dell trying to tell me?  Either that I’m important enough to send to every training course that comes along, or that they are trying to find something that I’m good at, so they keep sending me to training until I finally learn something.  I think they might change my job title to “Professional Trainee”. – Or “Perpetual Trainee”.

So.  The big news is what happened last week when I was in Kansas City.  I ran into my best friend from High School.  Some of you may remember me talking about him before.  His name is Jesse Cheng.

For those of you who know the stories, This is the same Jesse in the phrase  “Jesse!  Come get your Chili!!!”  Yeah.  He’s my very smart friend who has his Engineering degree from Yale, his Medical Degree from Missouri University and his Masters in Public Health from Harvard.  So needless to say, I spent all my spare time last week catching up with my old friend.  I hadn’t seen him for 16 years.  He lives only 7 miles from where I was going to training.  Isn’t that a neat coincidence?

It’s also a neat coincidence that Jesse picked a barbecue place to go eat dinner named Fiorelli’s Jack Stack Barbecue.  Why is that neat?  Well.  When I talked to my mom about it, she told me that the restaurant is owned by her cousin Carmen Fernano’s brother Jack Fiorelli!

I thought the Barbecue tasted familiar.  I used to eat there when I was a kid.  It’s better than KC Masterpiece which was in the same parking lot as the hotel where I was staying.  Isn’t that a neat coincidence?

Well.  Now I’m in Dallas and there is no “neat coincidences” here.  Unless you think that it’s a neat coincidence that the traffic in Dallas is almost as bad as it is in Austin.

Or maybe it’s a neat coincidence that the last time I was in Dallas for training was when I came here for Advanced Protective Relay Training and one of the guys in our class (Randy Loesing) was from my High School class back in Columbia Missouri (the same High School where Jesse Cheng went), and now there has been a major blackout back in the east where this guy was working (Well, not exactly where he was working), and the root cause of the blackout has to be because the protective relays didn’t operate properly. —  A neat coincidence?  Or have I just entered “The Twilight Zone?  Bee Boo Bee Boo…..

Well. I guess this letter has rambled on long enough and strange enough.  So I will end it here.  Keep in touch.

Your friendly Dell Programmer in Training,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #82 — More Training at Dell

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the eighty second letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

8/22/03 —  More Training at Dell

Dear Sooner Plant Friends,

I have a few minutes while a database job is running to stop and write to you guys.  It has been a couple of weeks since I wrote, and I thought I would let you know how things are going.  “Thanks” for those of you who told me about Diana Brien’s accident.

I trust that she has recuperated, and is back at work lugging her tool bucket around repairing all the electrical equipment with lightning speed.  That was a close one.  I’ve been in on a few of those, and when I think about those times, I still get the shivers.  (well.  I get this tingly feeling that runs up and down my spine anyway).

Next week I have to go to Kansas City to go to school.  I leave on Monday morning and get back late Thursday night.  So that about takes up the whole week.  I’m going to be trained in our timekeeping software.  It’s called Kronos (So this guy in a cubicle catty-corner from me has been calling me “Mr. Kronos”, because he wanted to go to all the training I’m going to, and now he’s sore about it).

I’ll still have access to e-mail and stuff in the evenings.  Actually, the way we work here, all we need is a telephone or a cable modem in a hotel room, and we are hooked up to Dell!  It’s pretty neat.

They have been working on a “Flex Plan” where I can work from home 20 hours a week.  Or work 4 -10s if we want (so I could work 2 days from home and 2 days in my cubicle).  When I have some spare time, I’m going to look into this a little closer.  Some days I work from home anyway, since I can hook up to my cable modem and it’s just like being connected at work.

Anyway.  The week after next I have to go to school in Dallas for 3 days.  Wednesday through Friday.  That’s Labor Day week, so I will only be in the office on Tuesday.

That reminds me.  I have this pager that they gave me about 8 months ago.  They asked me to wear it so people can page me when they want to find me.  The only time it goes off is when someone is looking for me so that we can go out and eat lunch or something like that (or to find out what room the meeting is in).

The pager only works when I am in the Austin area, so it won’t work while I’m on vacation…… Oh, I mean “Training”.  But if you guys would like to send me a text page you can go to http://www.arch.com/message/  and then enter my id which is 5129070340  (which happens to be the phone number for the pager) and you guys can send me a page whenever you want.

I keep it on “silent mode” all the time, because I’m always in meetings or something and I don’t want my pager going off just when my VP is telling me how he hates it when he’s in a meeting and pagers are going off the whole time.  —  Which you know will happen the minute I turn the beeper on, on the pager.

Anyway.  I’m telling you about my pager because no one ever pages me, and when I’m sitting in a meeting and my pager goes off I can quietly whip it out and look at it to see what you are saying, and get a look on my face like something is really important, but it can wait until the “very important meeting” that I am in now is over.

Oh look!!!  My database job has finished running.  I guess I can go look at the data now and see if it looks like I want it to look, or fix it and run it again.  Anyway.  You guys keep in touch.  It was good to hear from many of you that last couple of weeks.

Talk to you later,

Your friend from Dell,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #81 — Things are Happenin’ at Dell

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the eighty first letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

8/7/03 – Things are Happenin’ at Dell

Dear Sooner Plantians, and other less significant people (in the eyes of the Sooner Equipment Support Supervisor),

I hope all of you are having a nice cool summer sitting around in the shade of the boilers sipping on some refreshing Lemonade, and watching the dust devils drifting across the coal pile — Remembering those days when Walt Oswalt used to drive the big dozer back and forth pushing coal around before he left for his retirement.

Yes.  I still remember those days.  I remember once when a big black dust devil kicked itself up on the coal pile and grew to the size twice as tall as the smoke stacks (about 1,000 feet tall), and headed right down the 10 – 11 Conveyors and went right between the two smoke stacks.

It was on a Sunday afternoon in 1980 when I was a summer help, and I was out watering the mud so that someday we would be able to mow some grass around that plant.  There was a Pinkerton Guard riding around in his jeep, and he stopped his vehicle and sat on the hood and watched the Dust Devil glide across the Intake.  It was poetry in motion.  Unless of course you happened to be one of those pigeons that was floating around up there when that thing came barreling down on the plant.

Note to Reader:  To learn more about when I was watering the grass and saw the huge dust devil see the post When Power Plant Men Talk… It Pays to Listen.

Well.  In a couple of weeks I will have been here for two years (August 20).  I think they feel like that was long enough to be treating me like the “new guy”.  Actually, they stopped doing that after I had been here about 3 months.

I’ve told you in the past about how fast paced they are around here.  Well.  It is still that way.  Right now I’m on three different projects all at the same time.  I’m supporting an application while another guy is on vacation, and this darn program keeps messing up. (Who wrote this thing anyway?  —  Not Me!!).

I’m allocated 50% of my time on a project where I need to rewrite an application that is in ASP, and I need to make it in ASP.Net, and C#.  At the same time, I need to add a whole bunch of new stuff and make it more secure.

I’m allocated 50% of my time on another project where we are upgrading an application because it’s old and doesn’t run on the new operating systems.  For that project I have to go to about 2 1/2 weeks of training.  Then I have a project that I have allocated 50% of my time where I have to rewrite a program so that it no longer pulls data from Oracle, but from Teradata (which are two types of Databases).

Then I have to spend about 75% of my time babysitting this guys application while he’s off on a cruise in the Caribbean.  So.  You can see.  I still have time to stop and write a quick letter to my buddies up in Oklahoma (and beyond).  — Life is sure rough.  —  Oh wait.  I only have allocated 225% of my “time” for these projects.  Not 100% of my “soul” like some Equipment Support Supervisors demanded.  —  Isn’t life swell?  —  Thanks for cheering me up guys.

I better get back to work now.  I haven’t heard much from you guys lately.  If it’s anything like it is here, everyone’s gone on vacation.  —  Well.  That’s what’s Happenin’ at Dell.

Your Friendly Dell Programmer,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #80 — Bridge over the River Dell

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the eightieth letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

7/25/03 – Bridge over the River Dell

Dear Soonerites,

I have a few minutes of my busy day free, so I thought I would write to let you know how my week has been, since it has been a little interesting.  I hope everything is going well with you guys, and that the “heat” hasn’t been too “Hot” for you.  I hope you guys haven’t been having too many pastures on fire around there.  I would hate to think that the Fire Department might run out of water or something…..

Anyway.  I was in training for three days this week.  I was learning the fun and exciting technique known as “Requirements Management with Use Cases”.  Yes!!  That’s right!!!!  I actually was able to attend that training!!!  After trying for so many years to go to “Requirements Management with Use Cases” training at OG&E, Dell has sent me to that class!!!

I’m sure you are all impressed that I have finally received training in “Requirements Management with Use Cases”.  —  No wait a minute………  It was Precipitator Training that I was always asking for when I was at OG&E.   —   Silly me.  That’s right.  It’s all coming back to me now.

For 17 years I was requesting Precipitator training and they kept telling me that I didn’t need it.  Then 4 months before I left the company they not only gave me precipitator training, but they told me that I had to take the class. —  Boy do I feel silly.

All week I kept thinking that I was finally getting that training that I had been requesting for so long.  Now I realize that I have never requested to go to “Requirements Management with Use Cases” training.  —  Well, at least I thought I wanted it when I was taking it.  I’m sure that helped me to pay more attention since I thought I was learning something that I thought I wanted to learn.  — Oh well.

Well.  Yesterday we had an “I/T All-Hands meeting. (again).  We went to this place called “The Alamo Cinema Draft House”.  It’s a movie theater where you can eat dinner and watch a movie at the same time.  So they gave us an unlimited supply of pizza and drinks and popcorn and we sat there and watched a 3 hour movie. (Which meant 3 hours of eating pizza and drinking cokes and eating popcorn).  The movie we watched was called “The Bridge Over the River Kwai”.  —  I’m sure a lot of you have probably seen that one before.

They told us to watch this movie and think about Dell as we did.  —  It was funny how, when you do that there are a lot of times in the movie where it’s supposed to be rather serious, but it comes out being very funny when you think about it as if it was your company saying and doing those things instead.

I suppose you could say that we were watching the movie as part of our training curriculum.  —  You know.  It might be a fun team-building activity for your next Men’s Club if you showed “The Bridge Over the River Kwai” during your next meeting.

Oh.  I forgot.  Men’s Club is only 1/2 hour long.  Well.  You could save up a few Men’s Clubs and then show the movie and make popcorn and enjoy yourselves for three hours and you might recognize a lot of things in the movie as things that happen at work all the time.  —  It’s really rather funny.  —  Especially the last line in the Movie.

Well.  As always, I better get back to the grind.  —  You know.  All this paperwork and stuff.  I’ll write to you guys later.  Have an enjoyable weekend.

Your friend from Dell,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #79 — New Name at Dell

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the seventy ninth letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

7/18/03 – New Name at Dell

Dear friends from Sooner Plant and Beyond!!!

If you look at my signature tag at the bottom of the e-mail, you may notice that Dell has changed their name from “Dell Computer Corporation” to “Dell Inc”.  This is in order to keep up with the new movement that was started with the movie “Monster’s Inc.”

We have come to the conclusion that we are more than just a “Computer” company, and therefore it would be less “constrictive” if we didn’t have the word “computer” in our name.  Most people are used to just saying “Dell” anyway.  No one really says, “I think I’ll order a computer from Dell Computer Corporation.  So we changed our name to Dell Inc.

It is true that one of our main competitors, HP (which stands for Hewlett-Packard), is not much more than an “ink” company.  They make most of their profit by selling ink for their printers.  They sell computers below cost so that you will buy a printer from them.  Then they sell printers below cost in order to get you to buy their ink.  Which is where HP makes their money (that and selling servers and services).  Maybe we are thinking that if we put the word “Inc.” in our name, then people will think that we are an “Ink” company also.  Who knows.  It might work.  We do sell Dell printers now.

Yesterday we had a business group come over and serve us Ice Cream Sundaes and cookies and stuff.  I’m still full from eating all that.  They said they wanted to serve us something since we had been serving them so long.  —  Isn’t that precious?  Now I’m getting so fat, I can hardly push my chair away from my desk, because it’s embedded in the carpet.  Oh well.  That’s life in the Fat Lane.

Well.  You know what those guys were after, don’t you?  Serving us all that ice cream.  It’s not like I was just born yesterday.  —  You guessed it.  Just when all of us were so full, we couldn’t stand up, then they said that since they had been so kind as to come all the way down here from the Round Rock Campus (five miles away), that we should remember that and do anything they ask us from now on.

Uh Huh.  That’s what they said.  They also said that they were just joking, but they only said that was so that we didn’t get so upset that we started puking up all the ice cream that we had eaten.  But I thought that was the reason all along. —  If they only knew the truth.  We do just about everything they ask anyway, whether they give us Ice Cream or not.

You guys know what I mean.  When Arnold says, “Go in the boiler and fix that tube leak as fast as you can.  You don’t have to take all the safety precautions as long as you don’t get hurt.”  You just run right out there and dive right in, almost before the fire has been put out and it’s still 350 degrees in there.

Yeah.  I see you shaking your head saying, “I never do that.”  —  Really?  — Yeah sure.  You’re right.  At least you don’t ever “remember” doing that, since that part of your brain was permanently fried to the point that you have to eat some ice cream in order to cool your brain down enough to jog those memories out of there.

I think I still have an Ice Cream Headache from yesterday.  When I ate that Ice Cream, all these memories about working in the super hot areas all came back to me.  My hardhat melting on my head. —  You guys know what I’m talking about.  —  When it gets to be around 160 degrees and your hardhat gets so soft that you can squish it down flat just like a baseball cap.  —  Boy.  What a headache I have from thinking about that.

Note to Reader:  To learn more about working in the heat in the boiler read the post Luxuries and Amenities of a Power Plant Labor Crew.

Don’t think I have forgotten the time when Eddie Hutchins wanted us to stay in the boiler while they were dynamiting in there because it was taking too long for us to climb in and out every 15 minutes, so he just stood in there when the dynamite blasted off to show us it was safe (as if that would have convinced us).  —  After the dynamite went off, he came stumbling out of there all wobbily and said,  “I guess that might not be such a good idea.”  (It sounded more like “aaaa gesh tha my nud be uh gud I dee ur”)   —  And we looked at him like, “Did you really think you had to tell us that before we knew it?”  —  Gee,  Those Ice Cream headaches bring out some long lost memories.

Note to Reader:  To learn more about Eddie Hutchins standing in the boiler when dynamite exploded read the post Cracking a Boiled Egg in the Boiler and Other Days You Wish You Could Take Back.

I don’t think anyone is still around from that day except Chuck Moreland, and Larry Riley.  I don’t even remember if they were standing there when Eddie did that.  I remember James Kanelakos and Ronnie Banks, and Ron Luckey and Bob Lillibridge and Fred ….  Fred……. (Oh.  You know.  The tall thin guy on Labor Crew that moved to Diluth Minnesota), were there when Eddie did that.

Well.  I hope you guys had a great week.  Have a nice weekend.  I’ll talk to you guys later.  —  Crocker!!!!  That’s it!  —-  Fred Crocker.  —  It’s amazing how something pops in your head when you have decided not to think about it any more.  —  Later.

Your friendly Dell Inc. Programmer from down under,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #78 — Happy Holidays from Dell

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the seventy eighth letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

7/11/03 – Happy Holidays from Dell

Dear Sooner Plantians et al,

“et al” means “and others”, in case you were wondering.

I hope all of you had a great time during the Fourth of July.  I did.  I’m sorry I wasn’t able to come out and visit you guys.  What, with the “terrorist threat” and all, the Plant Manager or his faithful Equipment Support Supervisor, or the ever vigilant Business Support Supervisor decided it would probably not be safe for me to show up at the plant.  —  Let me tell you…..  I could feel the “Love” all the way down here in Austin.

Those guys just care so much about my health and well-being, it is really touching.  —  I suppose that if they are so concerned about my health, that all of you guys were probably given the whole day off of work in order to keep you safe also.  Who really needs a Safety Task Force with those guys looking after you?

Note to Reader:  To learn more about he Safety Task Force see the post Taking Power Plant Safety to Task.

It’s just as well that I couldn’t come out to visit you guys.  I was too tired on Thursday morning after driving all the way up there the night before, that I just slept in until 9:00 or so, and spent part of the afternoon sitting in the pool at the Hampton Inn in Stillwater (When I wasn’t in Tulsa picking up my grandmother from the airport).  —  It’s about time that Stillwater had a decent hotel.  That place is really nice.

Well.  I did learn something from all that “care and concern” that I received when the “You-know-who”s thought I was going to show up to their safety meeting.  I learned that those guys not only care a lot about my safety, but they also care enough to have someone show my letters to them.  —  That’s interesting to me, since when I asked who wanted to receive these letters, none of them said that they did.

Anyway.  It’s just good to know.  —  By-the-way, I did remove one name from my address list.  I thought, “What the heck”, if those guys want to read my letters, let them ask me.  I’ll add them to the list.  That way they can get their information straight from the programmer’s mouth.

I had to turn in my “Mid-Year” self assessment today.  —  That’s why I have time right now to write to you guys.  —  You remember me.  —  The “360 Assessment Counselor”.

Note to Reader:  To learn more about how I was a 360 degree Assessment Counselor at the Power Plant see the post 360 Degrees of Power Plant Grief Counselling.

For me, that stuff doesn’t take very long. —  I had a one-on-one meeting with my manager this morning, and he said,  “Tell me that story again about how you had to request a clearance 24 hours in advance of the time you had to have the hold tag placed on something.”  So I told him.

Then he said,  “Tell me that story again about how you used to have Quality Teams, and an Action Team and a whole Quality Process and you guys just gave it all up when your super-intelligent Equipment Support Supervisor took over.”  So I told him.

Then he said, “Tell me again how you used to sacrifice pigeons on top of the precipitator in order to get the precipitator to run better.”  And I said, “Did I say I did that?  Boy I must have really been drunk at our last team-builder.”

He just loves to hear all those great stories about Boiler Rats, and Sparkys and Bubble-Busters.  I think we both had sore necks after that meeting from shaking our heads so much in disbelief.  I know the sides of my mouth hurt from grinnin’ so much.

Well, maybe the next time I come to town, the whole plant can just go out to “Bad Brad’s” and eat BBQ.

Stay Safe.  Talk to you later.

Your friendly Dell Programmer,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #77 — Summer at Dell

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the seventy seventh letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

6/30/03 – Summer at Dell

Hello friends from Sooner Plant (and other less fortunate souls),

I looked at my old e-mails this morning and I realized that it has been over 3 weeks since I wrote last.  That surprised me because it seems like it has only been 2 1/2 weeks.  I have been busy working with my summer intern (and going to meetings), so the time has been flying.

The Friday before last we had our I/T All-Hands meeting at some place way out in the country.  It was called “Fiesta Ranch”.  I think I mentioned it before.  Well.  It was a very hot day.  I didn’t bring my swimming suit so I wasn’t able to cool off in the “Waterin’ Hole” with those that had the foresight to bring theirs.

So after our team building activities, I just sat in the shade and talked with some friends who were equally as short-sighted as I was.  Our Vice President had his head shaved because he challenged all of us to turn in 95% of our “Satisfaction Surveys”, and we did.

He knew what he was doing.  It was at least cooler without any hair…..  I guess.  As long as he was able to wear a cool hat so that he wouldn’t get a sunburn on the top of his head (like I did —  because my hair is getting a little thin up there).

Well (That’s a deep subject).  I am going to be in Stillwater late Tuesday evening.  I was thinking about visiting the plant on Thursday morning.  Are you guys going to have a Safety Meeting on Thursday morning?  —  I thought maybe us old “retirees” could drop by and eat a doughnut with you guys.  That is, if you had an accident-free month.

I had a class last week called “BPI”.  That stands for “Business Process Improvement”.  Does that sound familiar to any of you guys?  “Business Process Improvement”?  Yeah.  It’s the “Quality Process”.

Down here, when you do process improvements you can receive a belt like you do in Karate.  So you start out with no belt, and then if you make any kind of quality improvement (and turn in the paperwork), then you become a “Yellow Belt”.  Then you can become a Green Belt, and then a Black Belt if you save the company millions of dollars (which around here isn’t too hard to do.  You could practically sneeze and save the company a bunch of money just by the fact that we make so much).

Anyway.  When I was in the BPI training I met this guy there that was tall and thin and had a moustache.  He looked and sounded very familiar.  I kept looking at him and thinking that I had seen him before.  —  Let me describe him just one more time….  He was tall…. Thin….. And had a moustache…..  he acted like he was a mechanic or something.  —  I finally figured out who he reminded me of……  Stick.

I almost asked him if his nickname was “Stick”.  —  Anyway.  I wrote down his name so I wouldn’t forget it, and it wasn’t Gary McCain.  He did have a calculator with him, and I almost asked him if I could look at it so that I could see if I could program it for him, but I didn’t.

Note to Reader:  To learn more about “Stick” and Gary McCain read the post Making Power Plant Friends with Motor Alignment.

Evidently, the “Quality Process” has been going on around here for a long time.  Every year they have a “Quality Day”.  I told my manager that we used to do that same stuff at Sooner Plant before we figured out that we didn’t have to do it as long as we had a super-intelligent Equipment Support Supervisor.  He was all the quality that we needed.

Note to reader:  To learn more about the Quality Process at the Power Plant, see the post A Chance for Power Plant Men to Show Their Quality.

Yeah.  They still do “Fishbone” diagrams and “Root-Cause Analysis” and “Flowcharts” and stuff like that.  They haven’t figured out that they only need to tap into the unlimited intelligence of the “Super-Intelligent Equipment Support Supervisor” and his trusty Human Resource Representative in order to immediately have all the Quality you could possibly need!!

Anyway.  I took “Yellow Belt” training.  So now I need to join a team somewhere and come up with a way to improve a process somewhere in order to receive my Yellow Belt.  —  I’m looking right now.  —  I’m getting out my “Fishbone diagram and figuring it out.  I’m developing a Process Map!!  My Brain is Storming!!!  I’m fitting it all into a Pareto Chart!!!!  I’m applying a Root Cause Analysis!!!!!  —  Oh!!!!  There it is!!!!!!

Oh.  Wait.  I dropped my pencil……   Let see….  Where was I?   Oh yeah.  I was writing a letter to you guys.  It seems like I was having an idea.  But I forgot what it was.  Oh well.  I guess it wasn’t that important.

I look forward to seeing you guys later this week if I can make it out to the plant.  Will I be able to make it through the front gate?

See you later,

Your friend from Dell,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #76 — Diversity at Dell

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the seventy sixth letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

6/06/03 – Diversity at Dell

Dear Sooner Plantians,

I understand the remorse all of you are going through with the recent retirements that have taken place.  I was told that Sonny Kendrick’s last day was last Friday and that Walt Oswalt retired some time ago.  —  I had been wondering what that hint of apathy was in the recent e-mails that I had received from Sooner lately.

Note to reader:  To learn more about Sonny Kendrick see the post Singing Along with Sonny Kendrick.

To learn more about Walt Oswalt read the post Power Plant Trip Leads to a Game of Frogger.

I know now that it was just the shock of losing two such highly motivating individuals from the ranks of Superstars that make Sooner Plant the most efficient power plant in the country (it still is the most efficient plant in the country isn’t it?).  There has been such a broad mixture of individuals at Sooner that have led to its success that when these individuals leave, it has such an impact on the way the plant runs that it is noticeable all the way down here.

Dell is very serious about creating an environment of Diversity because they see the benefits of having a highly diverse workforce.  They have a whole bunch of categories that people can be broken down to show what a diverse workforce includes.  There are some categories that are obvious such as Age, Gender, Language, Ethnicity, and Race.  Then there are some that you don’t normally think about like:  Smoker/NonSmoker, Religious Beliefs, Education, Work Background, Military Experience, Income, Marital Status, Communication Style, etc.

There is one category of diversity that they are missing and I have always thought that it was an important one.  I have been trying to convince them that by ignoring this range of diversity and actually trying to eliminate it, Dell has been missing an opportunity to reap the benefits from it.  That is the category of:  “Hard-Working vs Laziness”.

Dell has been trying to weed out those people that are deemed, “Lazy” and keep those that are “Hard-Working”.  By doing this, they are creating a workforce that is less diverse and less efficient.  —  “Why?” you might ask.  —  Well.  From my experience at Sooner Plant, we had a lot of hard working people, and we had a few who were kind of lazy (or people categorized them as such).   I noticed something over the years, especially when I had worked around the “lazy” people for a while, (or actually took on that role on a ‘few’ occasions), that those “so-called” lazy people were actually the ones that came up with an easier or better way to do things.

Sure the “Hard-working” people didn’t mind slaving away doing it the same way for 35 years!!  But the lazy ones had a whole shelf full of special tools and techniques for making the work a lot easier.  They were the ones that were constantly looking for ways to get out of work.

Yes.  It’s true that some would work harder trying to get out of work than the work actually was, but that was pretty rare.  Most of the time when someone said, “Do we really have to do that?” it was not one of the “hard-working” people that said that, it was someone on the other end of the spectrum.  Often, though, there really was a better way to do a job, and the lazy person came up with it.

Down here at Dell, just about everyone is a work-a-holic.  I fit in with them well (believe it or not).  But I see people wearing their fingers out on the keyboard trying to get things done as soon as possible, and I think, “Maybe there’s a better way to do this.”

I have told my manager that I think we should keep a handful of lazy people around just to come up with the good ideas to get out of work.  He told me that he had never heard such a thing.  He also didn’t think that it would be something that they would like to do. —  I told him that since we are focusing on Diversity that we should be open to a diverse workforce that has both lazy and hard-working people.

I don’t know.  Maybe this idea is just a little before it’s time.  —  I suppose after a few lawsuits from lazy people being discriminated against, things will change.

Well.  I have been rambling long enough.  Today I am driving up to Lawton, Oklahoma to bring Kelly and the kids to visit Kelly’s sister for a week.  Next week I have Jury Duty, I don’t know what will become of that.  —  I know.  I’ll suggest that they should have just as many daydreaming people on the jury as alert people in order to make it diverse.  —  Maybe they will just tell me to leave and go back to work.

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer…..

I’ll write later,

Your friendly Dell Programmer from the Diverse Dwelling at Dell,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #75 — Dell Interns and Stuff

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the seventy fifth letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

5/30/03 – Dell Interns and Stuff

Dear Friends from Sooner Plant and others,

It has been brought to my attention that I haven’t written a letter in a few weeks….   Well.  When I looked back at my “Networking” folder I can see that it has been 3 whole weeks since I have written a letter to you guys.  Gee….  Has it been that long?  Well.  It seems like just yesterday.

It’s interesting how time flies when you’re having…..  Now what is that word?…….  Oh yeah,  “when you’re having fun.”  Well.  Before I tell you about my day, I would like to congratulate you guys on an Accident Free Overhaul. (It was accident free wasn’t it?).

I hear that Scott Hubbard and Charles Foster did a great job on the Precipitator.  Everyone should give them “High Fives” for their great work.  I know from the past that when the Precipitator is working well, no one ever gives any recognition for that, but when it’s fouling up real bad, it’s all the Electrician’s fault.  —  Good job you guys!!!!

Well (That’s a deep subject).  I now have my own personal “Summer Intern”.  I’m the only one in my organization that has an intern and everyone is trying to figure out how come I get one and no one else.  So I just say,  “Well, did you fill out a requisition for one?”

No.  Not really.  I don’t know why I got one, but I’ve been teaching him all week how to program in VB, VBScript, ASP, Oracle, and HTML.  He doesn’t have any of these skills, and he’s going to need them if he’s going to follow me around this summer.  I’ll let you know if we make an “Intern video” of all the “brilliant ideas” he comes up with during the summer (like those interns on the commercials).

Well.  We were going to have a team builder with our group, and our Vice President told us that he would rather we have one big team-builder with everyone in his group, so we are combining the whole thing and having some sort of “All-Hands” meeting at some place called “Fiesta Ranch” in 3 weeks. (So instead our 2nd level manager gave us a half day off last Friday, which is why I didn’t write to you guys last week).

This isn’t the same place we went to last summer.  That was called, “Reunion Ranch”.  —  Notice how a lot of places down here have the word “Ranch” in them?  Isn’t that interesting?  I suppose that we should expect horses and cowboys and pasture when we show up.  —  If I remember correctly, Reunion Ranch didn’t have any horses there when we went there last summer.

I haven’t heard anything about “Fiesta Ranch,” where we are going next.  My guess is that it won’t be a ranch at all.  —  It’s like these roads down here that are called “Ranch Roads” (Or “Ranch to Market” roads).  These roads are right in the middle of town and there isn’t a ranch anywhere in sight.  I think it gives these guys a feeling that they are out on the prairie chewin’ on a piece of hay or something when they drive down “Ranch Road 620”.

They might say something to their friend while they are sipping their coffee at Starbucks like this, “Hey Luke.  How’s about us takin’ a ride down the ol’ Ranch Road an’ see iffin’ we can catch us a sight of some coyotes (pronounced “kye – oats”)?  Then maybe we can drive across the north 40 (Which is a highway, not a bunch of acres on a ranch) and catch us a bite ta eat at “Cheddars”, (which is a restaurant like “Chili’s” not some greasy spoon run by an ancient hispanic character that has only one eye and a game leg — like it sounds).

They talk like that because they want to believe that they are living in the “Old West” and not sitting in a Starbucks getting ready to get on the highway during going home traffic with a million other cars in a large metropolis in south Texas.

Well.  —  You guys know what I’m talking about.  You work at Sooner Plant.  —  Yes.  That place out in the middle of no where where you have to make your own lake and purify your own water to drink, and you have to stand out there in all sorts of weather doing your “chores”.  And you have to bail the hay out in the pasture for Ken Scott to come and steal.  And you have to chew on a piece of hay to keep from saying things to upper management that you know you would like to say, but it just wouldn’t get you anywhere if you did.

Sooner Plant.  The place where the workers at the other plants do not want to go on an overhaul in the winter because there is nothing between Sooner Plant and the 60 mile an hour wind blowing down from the Rockie Mountains (brrrr.  I’m getting chills just thinking about it).

Well.  Keep up the good work at Sooner.  I’ll write to you guys later.  Let me know how things are going.  —  Say.  I noticed that “Richard Maxwell’s” e-mail is no longer valid.  —  He wrote me and told me that he was going out in the Texas Panhandle to work for some company that was going to pay him more money.

Have a great week,

Your friendly Dell Programmer,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #74 — Money Matters at Dell

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the seventy fourth letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

5/9/03 – Money Matters at Dell

Dear Friends at Sooner Plant,

Do you guys remember when we had those Money Matters meetings?  They gave us a water bottle, or a cup or something that had Money Matters on it (oh, I remember, it was a coffee mug).  I’m sure you guys remember that.  We went to a workshop where they had a poster that had a bunch of cars and trucks racing down a road with the names of different power companies written on the side. —  How could you forget that?

We also went to one like that where there was a big canyon and management was on one side and the workers were on the otherside and some people were trying to build a bridge across while some managers were just staying on their own side of the canyon yelling across trying to tell the workers what to do.  —  Do you guys remember that?

Note to reader:  To read more about Money Matters at the Power Plant see the post Power Plant Men Learn how Money Matters.

Well.  The reason I’m asking is, because I went to a class this morning called “Business Acumen”.  It was about how Dell is competing in our industry.  Instead of vehicles racing down a road, they had sailboats and ships at sea racing to their customers.

There was a wind blowing the ships toward their customers, and our competition was all there trying to get their first.  It had a whole bunch of things to look at on the picture that had to do with how we stacked up against our competition.

The whole time I was looking at this, I kept thinking, “I’ve seen this before.”  —  Yep.  It had the same design as those “Money Matters” posters where they were trying to teach us where our company stood with our competition and where our revenue came from and all those other “Money Matters” matters.

I just thought I would share that with you guys, in case you were wondering if OG&E was the only company that had workshops like that.  —  Of course, that was quite a while ago when I last went to a “Money Matters” workshop at OG&E.  Are they still doing stuff like that there?

Next Month I’m supposed to go to another one called “Financial Acumen”, which sounds a lot like “Money Matters”.  It has the same type of poster with the symbolism of people climbing a cliff or some such thing.  That one kind of reminds me of the canyon one we had at OG&E when the Managers were all on one side and the workers were on the other.

Well I’m glad OG&E worked that out and built that bridge across so that Managers and Workers could all communicate a lot easier….or was it where they threw up their hands and all walked away….. I don’t quite remember.

Well.  I hope everyone is doing well up there and that everyone has been able to avoid the recent round of Tornadoes.  —  I know Austin gets a tornado here and there, but it’s nothing like up there in Oklahoma.

The weather reporters down here are not as good as those in Oklahoma.  They are usually right about the temperature within 10 degrees down here.  So when they say it’s going to be 85 degrees tomorrow, you can usually count on it being anywhere from 75 to 95 degrees.

I remember in Oklahoma those guys on Channel 4 would say it was going to be 85 degrees the next day, and if it made it to 86, the weather man Mike Morgan  or Gary England on Channel 9 would look embarrassed for missing it.  Down here all the stations just rely on the National Weather Service to tell them what their weather is.  It’s not like in Oklahoma where each TV station has their own weather computers that are the best in the world.

I’ve noticed that when they give the weather report down here, about half of the time, they don’t even tell you what the weather is going to be like today. —  So in the morning when I am watching the weather to find out what is going to happen today, they will often skip today’s forecast and tell you what it’s going to be like in two days (as if they know — because they change it every day).

They have a 5 day forecast, and it basically is the average temperature for that day of the year for this area.  —  I think the Farmer’s Almanac would be just about as accurate.  —  Not that I’m complaining.  I realize that I have been spoiled by Oklahoma Weather Forecasts.

Well.  I guess I better get back to work.  I need to hang up my “Business Acumen” poster in my cubicle.  I think I’ll put it over here right next to my Hardhat safety stickers from OG&E.  —  Let me know how things are going up there.  I’ll Write to all of you later.  —  Next week I’m supposed to be in training all week (this is for the course that was cancelled about 2 months ago for C# — pronounced “See Sharp” —  As in “See Robert Sharp Run”), so I’ll be back after that.

Your friendly Dell Programmer,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527