Opinion: Page (1) of 1 - 09/28/01 Email this story to a friend. email article Print this page (Article printing at MyDmn.com).print page facebook

What We do Really Does Matter

And we don't usually realize it By Denise Harrison
I was in a having a bad hair day at work recently and indulged with a good old-fashioned bad mood. The next day,

I was going through some files in my office and came across the following now-yellowed and frayed letter, written to me in 1989 after a terrible airplane crash in Iowa:

Dear Denise:

We at the Porterville Facility applaud your article about the Sioux City crisis and how our company played an integral role in helping to save lives.

The drama that unfolded that day was harrowing, indeed, but for those not involved, it was just a temporary headline or maybe a 30-second news bulletin. In today's society, people have become desensitized to these types of incidents unless it affects them directly.

We manufacture the circuit boards for various instruments, including the [product featured in your article - this was a medical instrument that was used in helping some of the injured in the aftermath of the crash]. The work is routine and it is sometimes easy to lose sight of what we do and why it is important to do it well.

Now we fully realize the importance of quality in our work. Even though the incident occurred some 1,000 miles away, we were there. Because that equipment worked, we helped save lives.

After reading your article, we take renewed pride and make renewed commitment in our work. Seeing our handiwork in action reinforces the fact that there is no satisfactory substitute for quality

The letter was hand-signed by eight factory workers.

Well, reading that again after so many years put a few things in perspective, took care of my mood, and reminded me of how important our jobs are, in ways we just don't know. Those workers made equipment that saved lives, and I, unintentionally, by just doing my job, helped them realize the relevance of theirs. And they turned around and helped me by leaving me with a letter I could happen upon so many years later at a time I could use the lift.

When I'm not spending time in horrific despair about the terrorist acts this week, I have wondered several times about the closed-door meetings among U.S. officials and what kinds of equipment were being used to help them track clues, share information, present findings to each other and conference with those in remote areas. And I didn't wonder just because I'm some AV technology fanatic. I wondered because, as I thought to myself, technology, yes including AV technologies which today allow communications with anyone, anywhere, is at its greatest, and it's going to allow those people who have to deal with this crisis to get their jobs done better than at any time in history. Technology gives me hope that we can learn what we need to learn, do what we need to do, and learn it and do it fast.

Before this week, perhaps we thought how important good AV systems are to making a rock star look and sound their best, or a corporate CEO come off with authority and as a great communicator. Today I realize the much greater significance of the industry and everyone involved. I know our government officials are thankful for the tools available to them at this moment.

Some of you, our Knews readers, installed that very equipment; others developed it. And somewhere, someone put the pieces together. I applaud you all and hope that, like the experience with the factory workers, we all realize that what we do is important in often surprising ways.

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