Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence (HMI) – a Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services Client – is Playing an Important Role in a Project That Will Help Humanity Acquire a Better Understanding of the Universe

Installation of Asturfeito Radio Telescope in Northern Norway (Image credit: Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence)

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is a national leader in exhibition services and event project management.

Our client list includes winning and successful companies across almost all industries. On the list are some of the largest and best-known multinationals … and also small, recently started companies that you may not have heard of … yet …. but you will.

Among our clients are organizations that create and invent, and bring to market, the technology that makes commerce more efficient, more cost-effective, and which improves quality of products and services.

One of those organizations is Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence (HMI) .

It our privilege to service, and to work with, HMI.

Based in North Kingstown, RI, HMI designs and produces solutions that optimize the use of measurement data “to increase production speed and accelerate productivity while enhancing quality” in industrial manufacturing projects around the world.

As explained at the HMI website, “Through a network of local service centers, production facilities and commercial operations across five continents,” HMI is “shaping smart change in manufacturing to build a world where quality drives productivity.”

HMI is a division of the Swedish company Hexagon AB, a “leading global provider of information technology solutions that drive productivity and quality across geospatial and industrial landscapes.”

A major project – a project that benefits all humanity – in which HMI solutions are now being used, is the installation in northern Norway, inside the Arctic Circle, of two large radio telescopes, each 13.5 meters (44.3 feet) in diameter.  On this project, HMI technology is employed to assure that the telescopes are assembled with the highest accuracy and precision.

Overseeing the engineering and assembly of the telescopes is Asturfeito, a company headquartered in Spain.  Asturfeito has been an HMI customer for five years.  Asturfeito provides, organizes, and coordinates services for engineering, manufacturing, and commissioning of capital goods for large industrial projects.

In 2013, Asturfeito and HMI teamed as part of the effort to bring into full operation the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), an astronomical interferometer (an array of radio telescopes that operate and record data in unison) located in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile at an elevation of 5,000 meters (16,000 feet).  The ALMA interferometer, developed and constructed by an international coalition of scientific organizations and private companies, contains 66 radio telescopes. Planned and built at a cost of $1.4 billion, ALMA is the most expensive ground-based telescope in the world.

In the installation of the radio telescopes, Asturfeito is using HMI laser tracker systems.

Radio Telescopes

Radio telescopes.  What are they?  What do they do?

Answers to these questions are found in the article, “What Are Radio Telescopes?”, published on the website of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO).  Here are the first two paragraphs of the story:

“Just as optical telescopes collect visible light, bring it to a focus, amplify it and make it available for analysis by various instruments, so do radio telescopes collect weak radio light waves, bring it to a focus, amplify it and make it available for analysis. We use radio telescopes to study naturally occurring radio light from stars, galaxies, black holes, and other astronomical objects. We can also use them to transmit and reflect radio light off of planetary bodies in our solar system. These specially-designed telescopes observe the longest wavelengths of light, ranging from 1 millimeter to over 10 meters long. For comparison, visible light waves are only a few hundred nanometers long, and a nanometer is only 1/10,000th the thickness of a piece of paper! In fact, we don’t usually refer to radio light by its wavelength, but by its frequency.

“Naturally occurring radio waves are extremely weak by the time they reach us from space. A cell phone signal is a billion billion times more powerful than the cosmic waves our telescopes detect.”

Radio telescopes are essential and fundamental instruments and devices to the practice of radio astronomy, which is, and here we refer again to language from the NRAO website:

“Radio astronomy is the study of celestial objects that give off radio waves. With radio astronomy, we study astronomical phenomena that are often invisible or hidden in other portions of the electromagnetic spectrum.

“With giant, sophisticated radio telescopes, we watch stars turn on, shine, and expend themselves, and then we spy on their fascinating corpses. We watch planets form from dust and ice. We clock the spin of our Galaxy and thousands of others. We see the echo of the clumpy Big Bang and the Universe’s very first stars and galaxies. And we spot the chemical precursors of DNA, floating in space.”

Radio telescopes collect and track data emitted from machines, space probes and satellites, that people send into the cosmos.

If you click here you will be taken to the area of the NRAO website where is found interesting history and explanation about radio astronomy.

Jansky’s “merry-go-round” radio telescope (Image credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF)

As for those radio waves, which are sort of the precursor to radio astronomy, they were first identified almost 80 years ago by Karl Guthe Jansky (1905-1950), an engineer at Bell Telephone Laboratories, the organizational genesis of what today is NOKIA Bell Labs.  Mr. Jansky had been hired by Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1928, and tasked with locating and identifying static and turbulence that interfered with telephone communications.  To accomplish the mission, Mr. Jansky mounted an antenna on a turntable so that the antenna could be rotated to pick up radio waves coming from all directions.  “Jansky’s merry-go-round”, built on Bell Telephone Laboratories property in Holmdel, NJ, was the first radio telescope.

Using the radio telescope, Mr. Janksy identified all the sources of the radio disruption except for one.  Yet he would discover that source as well.  In 1931, he found that stars were what had been that mystery emitter of radio interference.

Today the name for a unit of radio-wave emission strength is a jansky.

It would be late in 1932, when Karl Guthe Jansky first published his findings on stars and radio waves.  Mr. Jansky launched a discipline and a science that an astronomer and engineer named Grote Reber (1911-2002) would usher along and on which he would build.  Before 1932 was out, Mr. Reber attempted to devise and adapt a shortwave radio to detect radio waves transmitted by the stars. The shortwave radio experiment didn’t work.  What did work though was an antenna he built in his backyard in Wheaton, IL in 1937: bowl-shaped and 9.4 meters (31 feet) in diameter.  This device – bearing a resemblance to the radio telescopes of today – enabled Grote Reber to improve detection of, and learn more about, radio waves, and to develop the first mapping of radiation across the Milky Way, the galaxy we Earthlings call home.

Messrs. Jansky and Reber pioneered a science, what started humanity on the path that led to us the radio astronomy technology of today, what the NRAO calls the “giant, sophisticated radio telescopes” – those like the two being installed in Northern Norway, inside the Arctic Circle.

And why inside the Arctic Circle? There are surely far more accessible and environmentally hospitable places.

Radio telescopes are installed in locations far removed from concentrations of human habitat – such as the Arctic – to avoid electromagnetic interference (EMI)  from manmade electronic devices, such as radio, television, radar, and motor vehicles.

And HMI technology is relied on to keep the radio telescope installation perfectly aligned, precise, and balanced … even when the work being done is in some of the coldest and windiest and miserable conditions on the planet.

Yeah, it can get like that in the Arctic.

Benefits of Astronomy – Whether Radio or Optical

Whether – and this is greatly simplifying the concept – it is visible light data and information that an optical telescope collects, or the radio frequency data and information a radio telescope gathers, both are a trove that astronomers and other scientists analyze and study to help humanity know more about the universe.

A primary, an overarching … and we dare say … cosmic benefit … of astronomy is that it helps humanity consider, even if we cannot ever begin to fully understand, how impossibly minute and tiny is the place, the planet, we call home, as a component of the galaxies and the never-ending outer space.

And, in this way … as well … it instructs us just how special is Earth, and how important it is that we take care of  our home.

How small and how remarkable is Earth, and how small and how remarkable are its residents, is beautifully conveyed in a short film called “The Blue Dot” that the legendary and great scientist Carl Sagan – whose scientific creds include that of all-star astronomer – created.  The Blue Dot refers to a photo of Earth that the NASA Voyager 1 spacecraft shot on its 1989 mission. It was Mr. Sagan, a member of the NASA Voyager 1 imaging team, who, as the spacecraft was about to leave our solar system, successfully urged NASA officials to turn and train the camera on our home and take the image.

Carl Sagan used the photo, in which Earth looks like a blue dot, as a visual set against a speech he wrote and delivered. Please click here to be taken to the film.

Astronomy provides us answers to questions we did not know to ask.

Astronomy abets humility even as it exalts our station amid the unfathomable vastness.

Oh, yes, of course, astronomy supports the explicitly tangible and innovation and development that makes living, and making a living, easier, safer, happier, and more productive.

In the following excerpt from an article, “Astronomy in Everyday Life,” published on the website of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) –and authored by Marissa Rosenberg and Pedro Russo (EU-UNAWE), Leiden Observatory/Leiden University, The Netherlands), and Georgia Bladon and Lars Lindberg Christensen (ESO, Germany) – describes specific areas that benefit from astronomy, while also giving a nod to those cosmic contributions and benefits of the science:

“The fruits of scientific and technological development in astronomy, especially in areas such as optics and electronics, have become essential to our day-to-day life, with applications such as personal computers, communication satellites, mobile phones, Global Positioning Systems, solar panels and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners.

“Although the study of astronomy has provided a wealth of tangible, monetary and technological gains, perhaps the most important aspect of astronomy is not one of economical measure. Astronomy has and continues to revolutionize our thinking on a worldwide scale. In the past, astronomy has been used to measure time, mark the seasons, and navigate the vast oceans. As one of the oldest sciences astronomy is part of every culture’s history and roots. It inspires us with beautiful images and promises answers to the big questions. It acts as a window into the immense size and complexity of space, putting Earth into perspective and promoting global citizenship and pride in our home planet.”

If you click here you will be taken to the full article in which you can read more about how astronomy makes life better.

We also wanted to point out … and we just had to, because it is all so immensely intriguing and engrossing … an example of how astronomy is enlisted in the quest to find out if we Earthlings share the universe with other intelligent beings.

Consider the ongoing radio astronomy commotion, and vibrant conversation, and deep analysis, and far-reaching conjecture, which rises from the phenomenon of fast radio bursts, or FRB, first identified in 2007 within data that radio a radio telescope had collected.

Now it seems that established and respected scientists believe that it is possible that these FRBs are power sources for alien spacecraft traveling through the galaxies.  Really.  To learn more about the scientists positing this theory, and the science behind the theory, please click here to be taken to a Popular Mechanics story, “Harvard Scientists Theorize That Fast Radio Bursts Come From Alien Space Travel: Could these mysterious flashes of radio waves come from a planet-sized device to power alien spacecraft?”, written by Jay Bennett, and published on March 9, 2017.

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Whether in the field of electronics or navigation or MRIs or searching for beings from other galaxies … or the many, many other sectors of life … astronomy plays an integral and important role.

And Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence (HMI) plays an integral and important role in enabling astronomy technology and devices and instruments to operate with optimum accuracy.

 

The Declaration of Independence, July 4th, and Events and Pageantry and Celebrations and “Illuminations”

 

Visitor to the National Archives in Washington, D.C., views the Declaration of Independence (image credit: National Archives and Records Administration)

(Note: This post, originally published on July 2, 2018, was updated on July 6, 2018)

“We find it hard to believe that liberty could ever be lost in this country. But it can be lost, and it will be, if the time ever comes when these documents are regarded not as the supreme expression of our profound belief, but merely as curiosities in glass cases.”

PRESIDENT HARRY TRUMAN, speaking on December 15, 1952, at the National Archives, where is housed the original copy of the Declaration of Independence

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is a national leader in exhibition services and event project management.

Established in 1987, we are now in our fourth decade in business.

And for more than 30 years, it has been our good fortune to operate in a free society, one in which capitalism is vibrant, and which is hospitable to and supports and rewards hard work, daring, personal initiative, and creative thinking that builds and produces more effectively and more efficiently, and in higher quality and higher quantity, than any other nation on the planet.

Of course, freedom and liberty – the natural state of humanity – has enemies, and is often attacked, infringed on, subjugated, and destroyed.

2012 Macy’s July 4th Fireworks over Manhattan, New York City (Image credit: New York Daily News)

Preserving and protecting, and winning back, freedom and liberty, has often required great sacrifice, mountainous loss of life and suffering, bold and epic leadership, and indomitable will and perseverance.

Such qualities, such character, were firmly resident in the 56 men, delegates from the 13 American colonies and members of the Second Continental Congress, who signed “The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America” – the title of which has been transmitted to posterity as the “Declaration of Independence” – a sacred text approved on and dated July 4, 1776.

On this blog, Willwork, from time to time, likes to tie the business in which we work – shows, events, celebrations, and conventions – to holidays and current events, great episodes in history, and admirable and virtuous people and their accomplishments and contributions to society.

Now, for sure, what took place in Philadelphia in the early summer of 1776 is the among the most momentous of events in history – and one that has, from its inception … as it always will … inspired and launched and fueled the grandest and most colorful celebrations of light and sound.

Countdown to July 4th, Independence Day

While the American Revolution was already underway, and with its armed conflict between the American colonies and England launched on the morning of April 19, 1775 in the Massachusetts towns of Lexington and Concord, the Declaration of Independence took things to a new level.

No longer did the rebellion of English citizens in America include the possibility that the colonies would remain part of the British Empire if King George III and Parliament assented to cease imposing unjust laws and regulations, including onerous taxation, on Americans.

No, that ship had sailed.  Now the fight was about establishing a new nation.

Declaring independence meant there could be turning back, and not acceptable to Congress would be any solution to the crisis that included the colonies still under English rule.

On June 11, 1776, the Second Continental Congress, anticipating that soon it would be ready and have the consensus of support to win a vote to declare separation from England, named a Committee of Five to draft a document would be sent to King George and Parliament, and which would be made universally available, that declared independence and described and explained the reasons for the declaration.

Members of the Committee were Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts,Benjamin Franklin (Pennsylvania), Robert R. Livingston (New York), and Roger Sherman of Connecticut.  Thomas Jefferson, 33 years old, was appointed the lead in writing the document.

The Committee of Five, on June 28, presented a draft of the declaration to Congress.

On July 2, 1776, delegates from 12 of 13 colonies – New York abstained – voted to approve a resolution put forth by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia to declare the colonies independent from Great Britain.  (New York voted, on July 19, to join in supporting the Declaration of Independence, and therefore, also, the resolution of July 2).

It is understood how John Adams believed, as he exulted in a letter to his wife, dated July 2, 1776, that the day of year would be commemorated in perpetuity in the following manner:

“… it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty; it ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

After the passage of the Lee Resolution, Congress devoted two days of debate and discussion about, and proposing and making changes to, the treatise. Yet, for sure, the final text largely remains the result of what was transmitted by the extraordinary mind and pen of Thomas Jefferson.

On July 4,1776, the Continental Congress approved the declaration, even if it would be not until early August that most of the delegates signed the document.  (Jefferson actually made some minor changes to the declaration on   July 5.)

And what a declaration … and what a document.

With the rarest of literary precision, and with timeless beauty, poetry, and eloquence, the Declaration of Independence made the case for, and advanced the argument that, England had deprived the residents of its American colonies of the natural rights to which all people are heir at the moment of their birth (even as it would be a long while in the nation before non-whites and women were permitted to fully enjoy and experience those rights).

The entire Declaration of Independence is a gorgeous piece of writing and argumentation – and unto itself, the preamble, which we share here, is enshrined in our national consciousness and an inspiration for freedom-loving and freedom-yearning people the world over:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, – That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Celebrating and Announcing Independence; The Fireworks and Parades Commence

A nation had been born.  And either England would consent to the American independence, and not oppose it – or England would continue to contest, by arms, the colonies breaking away from the Crown, and crush the insurgency.  Or the colonies would win what the Declaration of Independence proclaimed.

And the news spread of what happened in Philadelphia – and launched were the first July 4th celebrations.  Below is an excerpt from a study, The Declaration of Independence: First Public Readings, researched by James R. Heintze, a professor at American University:

“The Declaration of Independence was printed during the late afternoon on Thursday, July 4, by John Dunlap, a local Philadelphia printer.  Congress ordered that copies be sent to ‘the several Assemblies, Conventions, and Committees or Councils of Safety, and to the several Commanding officers of the Continental Troops, that it be proclaimed in each of the United States, and at the head of the Army.’  By the next morning copies were on their way to all thirteen states by horseback and on July 5 the German Pennsylvanischer Staatsbote, published by Heinrich Miller, became the new nation’s first newspaper to announce that the Declaration had been adopted.  On Saturday, July 6, the first newspaper print edition of the full text of the Declaration appeared in the Philadelphia Evening Post.  On Monday, July 8, the Declaration of Independence was ‘proclaimed’ (read aloud) by Col. John Nixon of the Philadelphia Committee of Safety at the State House in Philadelphia.  It was also read again that evening before the militia on the Commons.  Throughout the city, bells were rung all day.  On that as well the Declaration was publicly read in Easton, Pennsylvania, and Trenton, New Jersey.  It was these first public readings which constituted America’s first celebrations of the Fourth of July.  Typically in towns and cities across the nation accompanying the oral declarations were loud shouts, huzzas, firings of muskets, and the tearing down of the British emblems.  In Baltimore, for example, on July 29, the town was illuminated and ‘the Effigy of our late King was carted through the town and committed to the flames amidst the acclamations of many hundreds.  The just reward of a Tyrant.’”

Still, while the creation and the adoption of the Declaration of Independence were necessary to founding the United States of America, independence would not be won without continued and immense sacrifice of blood and treasure.

It was not until October 19, 1781 – more than five years after Philadelphia and July 4, 1776 – thatBritish General Charles Cornwallis surrendered his troops to an American and French force at Yorktown, Virginia, which resulted in the cessation of almost all fighting … and America gaining its independence … even if small clashes continued for two more years.

The American Revolution formally ended in Paris on September 3, 1783, with American and British representatives approving the Treaty of Paris.

But there could be no doubt that what happened on July 4, 1776 announced to Britain … and to the world … that this upstart assembly of colonies were prepared to give all to be free.  Indeed, all those men who signed the Declaration of Independence, in that they were considered by England to be subjects of the Crown, were deemed by the Mother Country to be committing treason, a crime punishable by death.

Benjamin Franklin understood the risk and peril. A letter he wrote which he sent to his colleagues in the Second Continental Congress just prior to the vote on the declaration, included these words: “We must, indeed, all hang together – or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

A big deal.  A very big deal.

And John Adams was right.  America declaring its independence will be “solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

As for those fireworks, if you click here you will be taken to a Travel + Leisure story, “The Best Fourth of July Fireworks in Every U.S. State,” written by Emily Cappiello, and published on June 30, 2017.

There can be no July 4th without fireworks – without “illuminations.”

May there always be July 4th and the fireworks – from sea to sea.

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services shouts out a “Happy Birthday America!!”

 

On the Subject of Prodigies, and Being Gifted and Wise Far Beyond One’s Years – and of Stefan Vilsmeier and Brainlab

Brainlab AG founder and CEO Stefan Vilsmeier (Image credit: Brainlab AG)

Let’s talk prodigies.  Encyclopaedia Brittanica defines a prodigy as “a child who, by about age 10, performs at the level of a highly trained adult in a particular sphere of activity or knowledge.”

Merriam-Webster defines a prodigy as “a highly talented child or youth” – a definition which, it would seem, allows for prodigies who are older than 10. Perhaps 16? How about 17?  Maybe 18?

Now, for sure, broadly and generally, in society, the term prodigy is applied to children, or teens, or those in early adulthood (let’s call 21 the cutoff age), who are exceptionally … and we mean exceptionally … gifted, skilled, and talented beyond their years.

A poster child for prodigies is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  Born in Austria in 1756, Mozart played the piano skillfully at 3; he taught himself the violin at 4. At 6, his piano playing wowed and enamored audiences across Europe.

Pablo Picasso was a prodigy.  Born in Spain, in 1881, it is said he could draw before he could talk.  And when he started to talk, he did so by saying, “piz,” which is short for lápiz, the Spanish word for pencil.

Picasso applied to the School of Fine Arts in Barcelona when he was 13.  The application process usually took a month. Picasso finished the application in a week, and so impressed the admissions jury that it enthusiastically chose to accept him.

Of course, for both Mozart and Picasso, their childhoods and adolescences were foundations and jumping off points to lives of extraordinary artistic prolificacy, and delivering work that is brilliantly transformative in beauty, power, and revelation.

Mabou Loiseau is a prodigy.  When she was 8, Ms. Loiseau, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, spoke English, French, Arabic, Spanish, Russian, Mandarin, Creole, Japanese, and knew and was able to communicate in American Sign Language (ASL); yes, that’s nine languages.  Ms. Loiseau skillfully played the piano, violin, drums, guitar, harp, clarinet, flute, and conga.   Ms. Loiseau, a New York City resident, also was involved in dance and sports.  Mabou Loiseau is now 13, and continues to learn and be amazing.

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services has ties to … we are only a degree or two separated … from a man who holds true and solid prodigy credentials.

Stefan Vilsmeier is his name.  Mr. Vilsmeir is a medical technology titan.  Before Mr. Vilsmeir was a medical tech titan, he was a prodigy.

Stefan Vilsmeier is the founder and CEO of Brainlab AG, a global leader in developing, manufacturing, and marketing “software-driven medical technology, enabling access to advanced, less invasive patient treatments.”

It is and has been the privilege of Willwork to provide services to, and to work closely with, and for, Brainlab AG.

Stefan Vilsmeier and Early Brilliance, Early Achievement

Born in 1967, Stefan Vilsmeier grew up in a suburb of Munich. As a teenager, he taught himself computer programming.  An enthusiastic gamer, he used his technology talents and imagination to create video games.  At the age of 17, Mr. Vilsmeier wrote a book on 3D graphics that became a bestseller, with more than 50,000 books sold.

With a bestselling book behind him, Mr. Vilsmeier then coupled his creative and programming gifts, with high energy, a driving work ethic, entrepreneurial zeal, and excellent entrepreneurial insight to build the groundwork and foundation for Brainlab.

Following is an excerpt from Mr. Vilsmeier’s bio at the Brainlab website:

“In 1989, Vilsmeier enrolled at the Technical University of Munich, Germany, to study Computer Programming and The Theory of Medical Technology. However, his enterprising nature and burgeoning business in computer-assisted medical technology left little time for theory. While still in the first semester, Vilsmeier founded Brainlab GmbH from the proceeds of his book. During the following years, Stefan Vilsmeier spearheaded new developments in the area of neuro-navigation and radiotherapy.”

Please click here to be taken to the full Stefan Vilsmeier bio.

Stefan Vilsmeier and Brainlab Capitalized on the Value of Tradeshows

Early in his stewarding and directing Brainlab – and Willwork just has to point this out – Stefan Vilsmeier capitalized on and accessed the opportunity of tradeshows to market and sell his company and its technology.

In 1992, Mr. Vilsmeier and Brainlab made a strong and strategic foray into the U.S. market, exhibiting at the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) Annual Scientific Meeting in Washington, D.C.  The Brainlab exhibit at the show, and this should not be surprising, was one that Mr. Vilsmeier designed and built himself.

Last year, close to half of Brainlab’s $311.1 million (€ 260 million) in revenue was generated in the United States.

Stefan Vilsmeier and Brainlab Continue to Believe in Tradeshows

Today, Brainlab, still based in Munich, employs 1,300 across 19 locations internationally.  There are almost 12,000 Brainlab technology systems operating in more than 100 countries.

And, today, Stefan Vilsmeier and Brainlab remain deeply and strongly committed to tradeshows as an integral component of marketing Brainlab technology, telling the Brainlab story, and strengthening and solidifying the Brainlab brand.

As explained at the Brainlab website –

“Every year Brainlab participates in dozens of large and hundreds of regional tradeshows all around the globe. Events are a great way for us to not only get to know our current and future customers, but also present new products and gain valuable feedback for products that are still in development. We look forward to welcoming you at the next Brainlab event!”

This all sounds good to Willwork.  Then, again, we sure don’t have to be sold on the value of tradeshows.

Willwork looks forward to continuing to provide optimum tradeshow and exhibit services and value to Brainlab, the company founded by a prodigy, and which produces the “software-driven medical technology” that heals and delivers hope and improves lives the world over.

 

 

 

 

HONORING AND THANKING THOSE WHO GAVE ALL TO PRESERVE “THE LAST BEST HOPE OF EARTH”

Changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington National Cemetery, 2005. U.S. Army soldiers, from left to right, Sgt. Benton Thames, Sgt. Jeff Binek, and                Spc. William Johnson. (Image credit: Sgt. Erica Vinyard, U.S. Army)

 

“The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it.  And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission.”

JOHN F. KENNEDY

“Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it.  It flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it.”

UNKNOWN

 

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is a national leading exhibit services and exhibition management company.  In 2018, we entered our fourth decade in business.

When Willwork launched, in 1987, our sole service was exhibit installation & dismantle, and for the first few years we were in business, we rarely worked outside of Southern New England, with Boston the location of about 80 percent of all our jobs.

Today, Willwork works in cities, towns, villages, and hamlets across America. We also handle, on occasion, international assignments.  Willwork maintains offices in major metropolitan areas throughout the United States.

Our client list includes among the largest and most successful multinational corporations, and also small, recently started companies, which you may not heard of … but you will.

In this space, we often publish posts that tie our business to historic events, and short-term and long-term historic legacies.  Maybe this has something to do in that Will Nixon, President of Willwork, is a former high school history and social studies teacher.

Memorial Day is an annual national day of observance and for honoring those who died in defense of our republic while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Memorial Day is a day of reflection; it is a day of remembering history.

If you click here you will be taken to a story about Memorial Day and its history at History.com.

Among the information to be learned from the story is that the origins of Memorial Day go back to the Civil War, a conflict so deadly and so costly and so terrible that a consequence of which was the creation and establishment of America’s first national cemeteries.

Willwork notes, here, on the occasion of Memorial Day, a historic and notable connection our company holds to the Civil War and martial sacrifice.

Willwork’s corporate headquarters are in South Easton, MA, which is a section of the incorporated town of Easton (Incorporated 1725), which about 25 miles south of Boston, about halfway between Boston and Providence.

Men from Easton were in the first regiment from the Union that stepped on to Confederate soil in the Civil War.  Responding to the call to save the Union were 277 men from Easton, 47 of whom perished in the conflict.

Of course, it was in Boston, and the nearby communities of Concord and Lexington, where Americans first started to die to establish the United States of America.  Men from Easton – a town, again, incorporated 50 years prior to the start of the Revolutionary War – fought for independence.

Last year, for Memorial Day, on this blog, Willwork honored the sacrifice of American founding patriots, and also described an epic and extraordinary feat of logistics performed by General George Washington’s soldiers – a feat of logistics which forced the British army, in March of 1776, to evacuate Boston.  This evacuation was a tremendous strategic and moral victory for a nation ascendant.

Clicking here will take you to the 2017 Memorial Day post.

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services and its employees, and its contract workers, are immensely fortunate to live and work in a land that is imperfect and flawed – and which is far and away, of all nations, the greatest provider of opportunity and protector of freedom.

President Abraham Lincoln was thoroughly correct when he wrote of the United States of America that it was “the last best hope of earth.”

Willwork recognizes that integral and fundamental to “the last best hope of earth” is the framework of the constitutional republic that was founded in 1776.  Freedom and liberty that our constitutional republic – this nation of laws – protects includes the political and economic system of capitalism, the private ownership and means of production, which draws people from all parts of the world to our shores to chase and work for their own American Dream.

And across America, from shore to shore, from sea to sea, across all 50 of these states united … and in places far, far from our home … are found the memorials to and final resting places of those – and here we invoke again words of Abraham Lincoln, words found in the sacred text he delivered at Gettysburg – who “gave the last full measure of devotion” so that America “might live.”

Willwork hopes for all a happy and safe and fun Memorial Day Weekend.

For all those who have served or are serving in our armed forces, Willwork says thank you. We know that for you Memorial Day is necessarily and especially solemn and holds a meaning that the protected cannot know.

But the protected can show respect.  At the very least the protected can show respect.

We can embrace and hold on to and be guided by and act on what General Colin Powell told us and expressed in the following excerpt from his address on stage at the 2013 Memorial Day Concert in Washington D.C.:

“It’s easy to celebrate the brave men and women of our armed forces and appreciate their sacrifice on Memorial Day and then return to our daily lives.  Let us practice the lesson of the Good Samaritan.  To not pass by on the other side of those in need. But to reach out a helping hand, as true neighbors. We can all do something. Volunteer to welcome our vets and their families back into the community.  Encourage employers to hire veterans.  Get involved with your local veterans organizations. Simply listen to their stories.  These men and women are our heroes who stood tall for us in every dangerous part of the world.  They have kept us safe.  So keep them and their families in your hearts and minds – and find tangible ways to help and honor them, always.”

Yes, as General Powell advised, “We can all do something.”

(Willwork is fortunate and benefits from the contributions of employees who served honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces. In fact, Will Nixon is World War II-era veteran who served with the U.S. Army.)

Please click here to be taken to the audio-video clip of General Powell’s full speech at the 2013 Memorial Day Concert.

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services earnestly and fervently hopes … and earnestly and fervently calls for … that all Americans always remember that the freedoms and liberties we enjoy, and from which we benefit, while they are the birthright of all humanity, they are also protected and secured and safeguarded by the expenditure of the most extraordinary love and giving and sacrifice.

And if we, America, hope to remain free and live in liberty, we need to be a nation of people who live in a way, to build and live lives, that honor and thank those who gave all for the nation.

We need to live this way, and build and live those lives, not just on Memorial Day, but every day.

 

 

Infrastructure Week – Building America and Supporting the Skilled Trades

It is nice, encouraging, and inspiring when there are initiatives that receive broad-ranging support, and which are championed by Democrats, Independents, Republicans, liberals, and conservatives.

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services gives a call out to one of those initiatives: Infrastructure Week – actually, more specifically, the 6th Annual Infrastructure Week – which is ongoing and upon us, with this year’s edition running from May 14-21.

Infrastructure Week is the baby and brainchild of the nonprofit organization of the same name.

Here is a descriptor of Infrastructure Week from the organization’s website:

“Infrastructure Week, a non-profit organization, convenes a national week of education and advocacy that brings together American businesses, workers, elected leaders, and everyday citizens around one message in 2018: Americans are waiting. The future won’t. It’s #TimeToBuild.  Each year during IWeek, leaders and citizens around America highlight the state of our nation’s infrastructure – roads, bridges, rail, ports, airports, water and sewer systems, the energy grid, telecoms, and more – and the projects, technologies, and policies necessary to make America competitive, prosperous, and safe.

“Our bipartisan Steering Committee and nearly 400 affiliates host events, drive media attention, and educate stakeholders and policymakers on the critical importance of infrastructure to America’s economic competitiveness, security, job creation, and in the daily lives of every American. As a business, union, non-profit, government, or an individual who depends on infrastructure, you have an important story to tell. Find a way to participate and tell your fellow citizens and policymakers: We’re tired of waiting. It’s Time to Build.”

And here is some language taken from the FAQ section of the Infrastructure Week website: “Infrastructure Week is non-partisan, is not affiliated with any political candidate, and does not take a position on any legislation or elections.”

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is a national leader in exhibition services and event project management.  Fundamental and integral to our success is our deep reserve of highly skilled tradespeople.  And, of course, we find tremendous merit in infrastructure-based development and construction, for it puts skilled tradespeople to work.

It is important to remember that while, in the U.S., the history of infrastructure building and maintenance and renovation is largely and vastly one of publicly financed projects, there have also been many infrastructure projects financed through public-private partnerships, also called P3s or PPPs.

Actually, P3s are more popular as a financing mechanism in other countries than they are in the U.S., with the main reason being that America, as is the case with only a few nations worldwide, exempts the interest earned on local and state bonds from the taxes that Uncle Sam assesses.  The U.S. bond market, as a result, is bigger and more advanced than in other countries, making exclusive public financing of infrastructure attractive.

Yet, states and the federal government are looking for new streams of financing, and there are more and more P3 projects in the U.S.

An example of a successful P3 is Florida’s I-595 Corridor Roadway Improvement Project a partnership between the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the private concessionaire I-595 Express, LLC.   The project, approved in 2008, and commenced in 2009, involves design, building, financing, operation, and maintenance over a 35-year term – and to date has been coming in on time and on budget.

Smart, innovative, and strategic infrastructure investment is necessary for the overall strength of America.

Infrastructure Week advances a good and noble cause.

 

 

 

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services Heralds the Ennobling Power of the Love of Mothers, and their Role as Foundation and Nurturer of the Best of this World and Humanity

Mommy cheetah and her cub (image credit: Desktop Nexus)

 

“Mama was my greatest teacher, a teacher of compassion, love and fearlessness. If love is sweet as a flower, then my mother is that sweet flower of love.”

STEVIE WONDER

“Any mother could perform the jobs of several air traffic controllers with ease.”

LISA ALTHER

Almost every great achievement and endeavor, every extraordinary accomplishment, is owed in some way – and in most cases in a major way – to the influence and love and guiding hand of a mother.

For sure, owed considerably to the success of Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is the work and giving and guidance of so many mothers whose influence was integral in bringing up exceptional people with strong virtues who now do exceptional work for our company.

It needs to be noted here that Willwork president William F. Nixon and his wife, Helen, married for 52 years until Helen’s passing in 2007, had eight children.  And, indeed, Helen Nixon was known for her strength, devotion to family, and amazing ability to budget the salary of her husband – who, during the formative years of the children, worked as a public high school teacher and coach – so that all the kids (six girls and two boys) wanted for nothing.

Every day should be Mother’s Day, of course, but it is wholly proper and good and appropriate that yearly a day is dedicated to honoring and thanking and doing something especially nice for mom.

Mother’s Day in the U.S. has been with us for a little more than a century now.

In the entry on Mother’s Day at the HISTORY website, we learn that “the American incarnation of Mother’s Day was created by Anna Jarvis in 1908 and became an official U.S. holiday in 1914.”

And we are also informed in the entry that “Jarvis would later denounce the holiday’s commercialization and spent the latter part of her life trying to remove it from the calendar.”

Now, we hear and can empathize with the lament of Anna Jarvis – and we know that commercialization of Mother’s Day, and other holidays, is overdone.  But in that Willwork does a considerable amount of work with and for the hospitality industry, we suggest and we submit that taking mom out for dinner, and perhaps to a show or concert, or on a local tour, or maybe even on a trip to a place far away … and also purchasing for mom flowers and other gifts … can be done in a manner that is measured and balanced and wholesome, and which is a healthy extension of true love and devotion.

Then, again, a bit of lavish spending on mom can be totally in order.  Provided, of course, that the purchase of “things” radiates from that true love and devotion, and that it doesn’t put the buyer in financial straits.

Still, and this will always be the case, the most valuable gifts are not bought in stores, as moms around the world explain every day with their actions

All too often, though, sons and daughters don’t appreciate and recognize just how much mothers give to, and do for, them.  Sometimes, Mom’s children don’t appreciate and understand all that Mom has done for them until she is gone.  Sadly, there are those children who never comprehend what Mom gave and the effort she expended to make their lives better.

All-star motivational speaker Mark Mero is a former professional wrestler and amateur boxer who, in earlier days, lived an unhealthy life, associating with the wrong people and boozing and drugging.  A primary reason that the bad influences did not destroy him is because he had a mother who always looked out for him, and who never gave up on him.

Please click here to be taken to a video of Mark Mero delivering a powerful and moving talk to young people in which he honors his mother, and in which he discusses that it was not until the immediate aftermath of her sudden death that he gained a much fuller and insightful recognition of the positive and enduring influence she served in his life.

The mothering and maternal instinct compels exceptional women to not only take care of their biological children, but the biological and noble impulse compels them to take care and watch over all children, and to work to make better the lives of all young people.

Irene Sendler, mother of two, savior of 2500 children (image credit: People’s Republic of Poland)

Irene Sendler, a Polish Catholic woman, and mother of two, during World War II served in the Polish Underground, and risked her life over and over in leading an effort that smuggled 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto, saving the children from transport to the Nazi concentration and extermination camps.  Sendler was arrested by the Nazis, who tortured her to extract the identities and hiding places of children she had saved.  Sendler refused to divulge the information.  She was sentenced to death, but was saved on the day the sentence was to be carried out when, a German officer, bribed by a Polish citizens group, allowed her to escape.  After the escape, Sendler continued her rescue efforts.  Irene Sendler died in 2008 at the age of 98.

Josephine Baker is best known as a pioneer for black entertainers and an icon of the Jazz Age.  Born in St. Louis in 1906, she achieved stardom as dancer in Paris during the 1920s.  In 1934, Baker became the first person of color to star in a major motion picture (Zouzou), which cemented her status as the first person of color to achieve international renown as an entertainer.  Soon after Baker married French industrialist Jean Lyon in 1937, she became a citizen of France.  Baker assisted the French Resistance during World War II.  After the war, and into the 1960s, Baker traveled to the U.S. where she refused to perform for segregated audiences, and contributed to and took a prominent role in the Civil Rights Movement. Baker adopted 12 children whom represented a diversity of ethnicities and religions, and collectively which she called “The Rainbow Tribe.”

Josephine Baker, in 1959, with members of the Rainbow Tribe. At right is Baker’s husband Joe Bouillon (image credit: St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter fantasy novel series, the best-selling book series in history, wrote the first Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, while a single mother of a young daughter, and suffering from depression and receiving public assistance. Rowling, now mother of three, has said, “I am prouder of my years as a single mother than any other part of my life.”  Her days as a single mother motivate her.  Among Rowling’s philanthropic causes is serving as president of Gingerbread, an organization that provides support, education, and is an advocate for single-parent families.

Motherhood is not an obligation and a duty that only we humans respect and observe.  Across the animal kingdom, mothers will do all for their children.

Please click here to be taken to a video which is a compilation of remarkable and sometimes courageous conduct of mommy animals in the protection and care of their young   The video was created, for Mother’s Day 2017, by The Dodo, a company that develops and produces a treasure of excellent and fun media for animal lovers, and also advocates for animal welfare.  Clicking here will take you to The Dodo YouTube channel.

Willwork hopes you have enjoyed and found interesting this honoring of, and tribute to, mothers and their vital role and work in improving and keeping healthy society and civilization.

To All Mothers out there – whether human or of another life form – Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services wishes you the Happiest of Mother’s Days!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MUSEUMS AND EXHIBITIONS, AND TOURS, THAT HONOR AND EDUCATE ABOUT THE BLACK EXPERIENCE IN AMERICA

The National Museum of African American History & Culture, on the day of its opening, September 24, 2016 (Image credit: Monica Morgan/WireImage.)

 

“It was in 1964 when the author James Baldwin reflected on the shortcomings of his education. “When I was going to school,” he said, “I began to be bugged by the teaching of American history because it seemed that that history had been taught without cognizance of my presence.”

Opening paragraph of the January 29, 2016 Time magazine story, “This Is How February Became Black History Month,” by Julian Zorthian

 

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is a leading national exhibition services and event management company.

Founded in 1987, we are now in our fourth decade in business.

We are a company that benefits from the diversity of America, and from our diverse work force.

Willwork recognizes strength in diversity.

In the U.S., every February since 1976 has been officially designated as Black History Month – a month-long celebration and commemoration of the contributions of blacks to the nation and its culture.

Canada and the United Kingdom also celebrate and commemorate February as Black History Month.

Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950) is the founder of Black History Month.

Woodson, the son of slaves, earned a bachelor’s degrees from Berea College, a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Chicago, and a PhD from Harvard University.  He became established and distinguished as a teacher, author, and historian.

Carter G. Woodson, Founder of Black History Month (Image credit: Biography)

Woodson employed his vocation and profile to fervently advocate for teaching, chronicling, and preserving history of the African diaspora.

In 1926, Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) – which in 1973 was renamed the Association for the Study of African American Life and History  (ASALH) – jointly announced that the second week of February would be Negro History Week.

Carter Woodson and the ASALH were motivated to pick the second week in February because it contained the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and Frederick Douglas (February 14), both events that blacks had revered and honored since the late 1800s.

Starting in the 1940s, in certain areas of the country, expanded to a month was the week that Carter Woodson and the ASALH had designated as one in which there was a special and particular societal focus on the history of blacks in America.

This change and expansion of the event grew fast and strong in the 1960s.

In 1976, on the 50th anniversary of what would become Black History Week, the ASALH transitioned the event to, and established, Black History Month.

That year, President Gerald Ford, as would every succeeding president every year, designated February as Black History Month.

While, of course, it is wholly requisite and demanded of a good and noble society that every day be a day in which black history is acknowledged and learned and honored, Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services felt it appropriate to feature in and designate a blog post – yes, a blog post in February – to a selection of museums and exhibitions, and tours, that advance the mission and hopes of Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.

The National Museum of African American History & Culture

The National Museum of African American History & Culture (NMAAHC), a Smithsonian museum in Washington D.C., is the “only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture.”

Established through an act of Congress in 2003, the NMAAHC opened its doors on September 24, 2016, and became the 19th Smithsonian museum.

Officiating at the opening ceremony of the museum was President Barack Obama.

Point of Plains slave cabin in “Slavery and Freedom” exhibit in the National Museum of African American History and Culture (Image credit: SEGD)

Sir David Frank Adjaye, a Ghanaian British architect, was the lead designer of the remarkable and awe-inspiring NMAAHC building, which is located on the National Mall.  The building is clad in 3,600 bronze colored panels, has 350,000 square feet of floor space, and 10 stories, five above ground and five below ground.

Exhibited within the museum are approximately 37,000 artifacts, including photos, banners, statues, letters, Bibles, sheet music, audio recordings, clothing, film, musical instruments, digital images, paintings and drawings … and much more.

On exhibit in the museum are shards of stained glass that remained after the September 15, 1963 terrorist bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL that killed four girls: Addie Mae Collins, 14; Carole Denise McNair, 11;  Carole Robertson, 14;

Shards of broken stained glass remaining after the terrorist bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL on September 15, 1963 (Image credit: National Museum of African-American History & Culture)

and Cynthia Diane Wesley, 14.

Displayed are stools from the F.W. Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, NC, where, on February 1, 1960, four black men – Ezell Blair Jr., Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil, and David Richmond – sat in the “For Whites Only” section.  This courageous protest launched the “sit-in” movement that spread throughout the South.

A training robe and headgear of Muhammad Ali’s is part of the exhibit dedicated to the great boxer, civil rights leader, and cultural legend.

There is a Carl Lewis exhibit where you can see up close three of the nine Olympic gold medals he won (he also has a silver medal in his trophy case).

Stools from the lunch counter of the F. W. Woolworth department store in Greensboro, North Carolina where four black students conducted the historic “sit in”. (Image credit: National Museum of African American History & Culture)

Carlotta Walls was the youngest of the Little Rock Nine, the heroic nine black students who, in 1957, under the protection of U.S. Army troops, enrolled at previously all-white Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, AK.  Carlotta Walls, like her Little Rock Nine brethren, endured intense bigotry, taunting, and abuse.

Walls graduated from Little Rock Central High School in 1959.  At the National Museum of African American History and Culture on exhibit is a dress that Carlotta Walls wore while attending the high school.

A hallowed and sacred place is the National Museum of African American History & Culture.

Museum of African American History

At the Museum of African American History (MAAH) – which has a campus in Boston and on the island of Nantucket – the focus is on telling the history and story of blacks in Massachusetts, from the colonial period through the 19th Century.

Boston was the heart of the abolitionist movement in America, and Nantucket had a thriving black community in the 1800s, and was also a safe haven for blacks fleeing slavery.

MAAH is comprised of four properties – two in Boston and two on Nantucket.

African American Meeting House in Boston (Image credit: History.com)

In Boston, the MAAH operates the African American Meeting House (1806), the oldest black church building in the U.S., and the Abiel Smith School (1835), the oldest still-standing school building in America constructed to educate black children.

One of the MAAH Nantucket properties is the Florence Higginbotham House, constructed in 1774 by Seneca Boston, a former slave, for the occupation of he and his wife, Thankful Micah, a Wampanoag Native American – and where the couple would raise their two sons:  Freeborn and Absalom, who would achieve renown as a whaling captain.

From the day that Seneca and Thankful took residence of the house, and for the next two centuries, with the exception of one year, the home was owned by and the residence of a black family.  There is no record of any home older in the nation that was built by free blacks for their own occupancy.

The MAAH-owned African Meeting House on Nantucket (circa 1827) is, as described on the museum’s website, as “the only public building still in existence that was constructed and occupied by the island’s African Americans during the nineteenth century.”

The Tuskegee Airmen, and the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site

The Tuskegee Airmen were the first black aviators in the U.S. armed forces.  During World War II, a period of official segregation in the U.S. military, these men signed up from across the nation to serve and defend the republic.

Tuskegee Airmen (image credit: Tuskegee University)

Tuskegee Airmen – whose roles included fighter pilots, ground crew, navigators, medical staff, cooks, and other needed services – trained in Alabama, at Moton Field (now a part of Moton Municipal Airport), and at the Tuskegee Army Airfield (now Sharpe Field), which had been designed by Hilyard Robinson, a black architect and engineer.

Tuskegee Airmen took classroom and academic training at nearby Tuskegee Institute.

Enduring racial discrimination at home and overseas, the 996 pilots and more than 1500 support personnel of the Tuskegee Airmen, performed with honor and high skill and effectiveness.  In World War II, Tuskegee Airmen flew 15,500 combat sorties in the European Theater and were awarded 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses for heroism.

Museum at the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic site; the “Red Tail” Mustang is prominent (Image credit: Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site)

Tuskegee Airmen are often referred to as the “Red Tails”, for the red markings on the Mustang fighter aircraft they flew in combat.

The Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site , located at Moton Field, is a National Park Service property and on the National Register of Historic Places.  At the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, there is a visitor center, and a museum (housed in an airplane hanger) where are exhibited aircraft the Tuskegee Airmen flew and other artifacts and items related to their service.  Also at the museum, there are many audio commentaries, some narrated by Tuskegee Airmen, which visitors can listen to.

Harlem, and Harlem Heritage Tours

Harlem – a neighborhood in the north section of the the New York City borough of Manhattan – is a name that is closely and long identified with the black experience in this nation.  When the Great Migration, the large movement of blacks from the American South to American Midwest and Northeast, commenced around 1910, Harlem was a favored destination.

Harlem became a locus of black culture and business.

During the 1920s and ’30s, an extraordinary florescence of the creativity and production of black artists was centered in Harlem, and was known as the Harlem Renaissance.

The legendary blues and jazz singer Billie Holiday, musician greats, Ben Webster, left, and Johnny Russell, right, in Harlem, 1935 (image credit: JP Jazz Archive, Redferns)

In 1950, the percentage of the Harlem population that was black peaked, at almost 99 percent.  Across the ensuing years, even as Harlem remained widely identified as the capital of black urban America – a designation still firmly in place today – whites and Hispanics moved in to the neighborhood and grew their percentages of the Harlem population.

Today about 40 percent of Harlem residents are black.

An enriching and engaging way to learn first-hand about Harlem and its history – and to participate in and contribute to an economic renaissance ongoing in Harlem – it to take one of the bus or walking tours offered through Harlem Heritage Tours.

You will be engaged and learn a lot about what makes Harlem so special.

****

The National Museum of African-American History & Culture, Museum of African-American History, Tuskegee National Air Museum, and Harlem Heritage Tours are all cultural and historic treasures.

A visit to these places, and experiencing the exhibits and events and education they offer, is highly recommended – for it builds an understanding and appreciation for a fundamental and essential component of the greatness of America.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services Remembers A Solemn Event And Celebrates A Holiday Tradition

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit and Event Services is a national leader in exhibition services and event project management.

In 2017, we have been celebrating our 30th year in business.  Yes, we started out in 1987 – and when we did so, we were a company that focused exclusively on providing exhibit installation & dismantle labor for shows and events in the Greater Boston area.

Today, Willwork has offices in major urban areas across the U.S., and from coast to coast we work in cities, towns, villages, and hamlets.

Our client list includes some of the largest and most established multinationals, and smaller and newer companies of which you may not have heard, yet … but you will.

Our valued clients and our valued business partners, and our exceptional and hard-working employees, enable and make possible success – and are the foundation of the Willwork legacy of excellence.

Here, deep into the holiday season, Willwork cites and points to and heralds an epic and historic example of noble and human endeavor, of compassion, and of the most heartfelt and enduring gratitude – all generated from a terrible tragedy and immense loss of life.

Looking across Halifax Harbor two days after the explosion (image credit: Nova Scotia Archives and Record Management)

It is an episode, still playing out, that joins two cities on the Atlantic Ocean: Boston, our hometown, and Halifax, the provincial capital of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia.

It is a story of extraordinary organization and logistics and labor and the most estimable human achievement and virtue.

This year is the centennial chapter and installment of the story – for it was 100 years ago that destruction and fire emanated from the waters just off of Halifax, and the people and resources of Boston quickly were marshaled and dispatched to come to the aid of the city.

The “Halifax Explosion” took place on the morning of December 6, 1917.  In the following excerpt from the Wikipedia entry on the disaster, the magnitude and devastation of the maritime explosion is explained:

“The Norwegian vessel SS Imo collided with SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship laden with high explosives, in the Narrows, a strait connecting the upper Halifax Harbour to Bedford Basin. A fire onboard the French ship ignited her cargo, causing a large explosion that devastated the Richmond district of Halifax. Approximately 2,000 people were killed by the blast, debris, fires or collapsed buildings, and an estimated 9,000 others were injured.  The blast was the largest man-made explosion before the development of nuclear weapons, releasing the equivalent energy of roughly 2.9 kilotons of TNT 2.9 (12,000 GJ).”

For more information on the Halifax Explosion, including its background and aftermath and legacy, please click here to be taken to the full Wikipedia entry, and here to be taken to a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation interactive about the event.

As Halifax smoldered, and was engulfed in suffering, the city and Nova Scotia and all of Canada mobilized to treat the wounded, bury the dead, and provide housing, and embark on a broader rebuild.

Also mobilizing, in a big way, were Boston, and the Massachusetts government; they quickly teamed to send a train to Halifax which carried nurses, doctors, surgeons, and medical supplies.  When the relief team arrived, it went right to work, coming to the aid of the exhausted Canadian physicians and medical staff.

Boston Mayor James Michael Curley and Massachusetts Gov. Samuel McCall took the lead in establishing the Halifax Relief Committee.

Massachusetts donated $750,000 to the Halifax relief effort.  For perspective, adjusting for inflation, that $750,000 in 1917 represents about a little more than $13 million in 2017.

Nova Scotia, the year after the disaster, expressed its gratitude to Boston and Massachusetts by sending to the Hub a large white spruce Christmas tree.

The Christmas tree was originally a one-time gift, but it would become an annual tradition, starting in 1971 when the citizens of Nova Scotia again sent a giant white spruce tree to Boston.

As for what constitutes “large” or “giant”, the white spruce tree that Nova Scotia every year gives Boston is in the 45 to 50-foot high range, with the 2017 edition (donated by the the married couple, Bob and Marion Campbell, of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia) actually a bit taller – 53 feet.  Yes, a large tree … a giant tree.

By the way, the journey from Nova Scotia to Boston on and along which the tree is transported is one of about 700 miles and takes two days.

And every holiday season, since 1971, the tree given by the people of Nova Scotia is the Christmas tree that takes center stage, complete with tree lighting celebration, on Boston Common.

On Thursday, December 12, 2013, Boston magazine published on its website an interesting and informative story by Madeline Bilis, titled, “Throwback Thursday: Boston’s Helping Hand After a Disaster in Nova Scotia: Nova Scotia sends a tree for the Common each year to say thanks.”

If you click here you will be taken to the article.

Also interesting and informative is a Q&A that Madeline Bilis conducted – published on November 15, 2017 in Boston magazine – with Dave MacFarlane, 41, who for the past 20-plus years was the truck driver who drove the white spruce from Nova Scotia to Boston.  (And who drove the tree to Boston in 2017?  That would be Dave MacFarlane.)

The following comment is among those Dave MacFarlane provided in the interview:

“ …. You know the tree is always a big deal in Nova Scotia. A lot of people compete over it. Every year they have several trees that people want to go to Boston, and they pick the best tree.

“But I just really like it. It’s just fun to see all the people, all the warm wishes, and everybody’s excited to see the tree. It means a lot to all the Nova Scotia people what Boston did for us in our time of need when the explosion happened. I’m proud to be a part of the position … ”

By clicking here you will be taken to the full interview with Dave MacFarlane.

A truly wonderful story and history, one which further testifies to how when fate and circumstances confer the worst, the most good and caring and decent of humanity arises and responds to meet the challenge, and to alleviate and heal anguish and hardship.

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Servics Wishes All the Happiest of Holidays!!

A Thanksgiving message from Willwork, Inc. Exhibit and Event Services

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is a national leader in exhibition services and event project management.

In 2017, we are celebrating our 30th year in business.

Back at the launch of Willwork, in 1987, the company had the sole purpose of providing exhibit installation & dismantle labor for shows and events in the Greater Boston area.

Our corporate office was a room in a house basement. Our office equipment consisted of a steel desk, a wood chair, a telephone, an answering machine, a floor lamp, and notebooks and pens – and that was about it.

And, oh yeah, Willwork had one employee.

Today, Willwork, still based in the Boston area, has offices in major cities across the U.S.  We have 60 full-time employees.  Depending on the show, the event, we have run crews of over 200 skilled laborers.

The Willwork workforce, strong on diversity, is the best and most capable in the industry.

Our client list includes some of the largest and best-known multinational corporations, as well as smaller enterprises that you may not have heard of, yet – but you will.

Willwork operates and functions within a team culture.  Our employees work together, and they hold themselves and their teammates accountable.

Outcomes are achieved together.

We work hard, and understand that it is beyond our good fortune to live and do business in the United States of America, a republic flawed and imperfect, and far and away the greatest nation on earth.

It is a privilege for the employees of Willwork to be a part of and contribute to the commerce that is an important and necessary component of the strength of our nation.

To be a great company, it is incumbent on those within that organization to be thankful for the opportunity and freedom to work and earn a living.

This opportunity, this freedom, can never be taken for granted.

Never forgotten, and always top of mind, should be the brave and noble men and women, the best of our country, who have served and sacrificed, and today stand guard, to preserve and maintain our rights and way of life.

On the occasion of Thanksgiving, Willwork sounds a particularly clear and loud note of thanks for all that we have and for all that we have been able and allowed to accomplish.

And, to All, Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services Extends and Wishes the Happiest of Thanksgivings!!

 

 

 

 

A Story of Labor, Industry, Exhibition, Logistics – and Beauty and Excellence and Efficiency in Design – all Told in the Face of a Sunflower

(This post was updated on February 21, 2018)

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is a national leader in exhibition services and event project management.

We work from coast to coast, and operate offices in major cities across the U.S.

Fundamental to our culture and the way we do is business is to strive to– and here we enlist the words of            Vince Lombardi – “do things right … all the time.”   We always try to do our best for our clients and customers – and we seek to be cooperative and valuable teammates with our business partners and suppliers.

We care about and are dedicated to developing our employees, our most valuable resource, and providing them with the support and training necessary to achieve optimally.

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services believes that throughout an organization, a passion for one’s work, and commitment to doing that work supremely well, is fundamental to the success of the organization.

We believe that a company can do well by doing good – that a company should give to the community, and that it should consider itself and act as a custodian of the natural environment.

In that Willwork is in the exhibition and events and show business, we believe that we should be about promoting beauty and excellence and efficiency in design and production.

We are about admiring and exalting top performance and meeting exacting standards.

To that end, we commend here the header photo of this blog post.   Denise Franzen, Administrative Director for Willwork, used her mobile phone to take the photo on a warm afternoon in early October.  The photo is of the face of one sunflower among a long row of sunflowers that were in bloom in front of the Willwork headquarters.

Every year, from late spring through early fall, there is that row of blooming sunflowers at Willwork.

Helianthus is the scientific name for the sunflower, derived from the Greek helios, for sun, and anthos, for flower.

Busy is the face of this sunflower pictured here.

Three different insects – bumblebee (bombus), ladybug (coccinellid), and painted lady (Vanessa cardui) – are dining at and on the flower; they are consuming its nectar and pollen.

Planted as seeds in early April, the sunflowers grow fully by mid summer, and range in height from around five feet to a little more than nine feet.

The sunflowers are part of an extensive and vast selection of flowers, shrubs, trees, ornamental grasses, and vegetable plants that wring and ornament the grounds of the Willwork corporate offices. Our property is a gardening showcase – carefully and creatively planned, designed, and constructed.

“We choose plants and arrange them in a way that the landscape is attractive and draws positive attention throughout the four seasons,” said Laurie Johnson, Director of Grounds and Maintenance for Willwork. “Willwork puts a lot into the gardening and landscaping, and we are gratified to receive many compliments.”

Laurie handles and plans the arrangement, planting, cultivation, and caretaking of plants outside and inside Willwork.  Laurie also picks the ripe produce which is given to Willwork employees and those who visit the company.

Gardening and growing and harvesting are all part of a Willwork commitment to sustainability.

“Willwork management believes in sustainability – and in taking care of and managing the land we own,” said David King, General Manager for Willwork.  “This belief, and this mindset, is behind the gardening and landscaping here – and also other initiatives, like the solar panel field on the top of our headquarters, which provides a considerable amount of the energy that the building uses.

“Conserving energy, and using energy more efficiently, and practicing sustainability, is in keeping with what we strive to do for our clients: deliver increased value and cost savings.”

Sustainability and Efficiency in Design and Function

Remarkable – the sunflower … the face of that sunflower.

Talk about industry and natural synergy, and brilliant design and structure. It is all here.

Actually the inner disc of the face of the sunflower is a composition of many flowers, or florets, each with its own source of nectar and pollen. Beneath the florets is the seed head, formed from spirals of seeds, which are also the fruit of the plant.   For the bumblebee, painted lady, ladybug, and other insects, sunflowers offer a motherlode of nourishment – plenty of nectar, plenty of pollen.

In New England, there are also bats and birds who eat pollen; as well, there are a few birds in this region who consume plant nectar.

In making available a landing place and food feast for insects, the sunflower supports pollination, and repels deer and other herbivores that eat flowers and leaves, both processes that are necessary for seed plants to reproduce and continue their species.

Of course, the sunflower is an effective marketer and advertiser of its fare, with its showy and large and bright external ray petals inviting and beckoning dining patrons.

Bumblebees, painted ladies, and ladybugs are all pollinators; they do the work of pollination – transferring pollen, produced in the anther, the male part of the plant, to the stigma, the female part of the plant.

This transfer occurs as a bumblebee, or painted lady, or a ladybug moves from flower to flower, with pollen becoming attached to the bodies of the insects and spread along the journey.

Not just insects, but any animal that eats pollen – for example those bats and birds – are pollinators.

Of the three types of insects on the face of this sunflower, the bumblebee is the king pollinator, but ladybugs and painted lady butterflies do good pollination work as well.

The Remarkable and Versatile and Useful Sunflower

 “Sunflowers are like people to me.”

JOAN MITCHELL

Helianthus has a trove of uses – beyond as a source of pollen and nectar. 

Sunflower seeds– raw, roasted, plain, and salted are a popular food for humans. Sunflower seeds are also a favorite food of birds.

Sunflower seeds can also be ground into a butter, or used to make bread. Oil extracted from seeds is used as a cooking oil and refined into biodiesel fuel.

Sunflower leaves are used in cattle feed, as is the “cake” that remains when oil is removed from the seeds.

Fiber from the stem of the sunflower is used to manufacture a high-quality paper.

Seed Patterns in the Sun Flower – the Perfect Math of the Fibonacci Numbers Sequence; the Golden Angle

“The Fibonacci Sequence turns out to be the key to understanding how nature designs… and is… a part of the same ubiquitous music of the spheres that builds harmony into atoms, molecules, crystals, shells, suns and galaxies and makes the Universe sing.” 

GUY MURCHIE

A considerable aspect of Willwork’s success and the value and advantages we provide our clients relies on a variety of precise arithmetic. Precise measurement, precise estimates, precise timing, and precise angles.

A fraction-of-an-inch less than precise can result in a failed job.

Sunflowers represent precise and beautiful and consistent arithmetic that is hardwired and programmed into their system. Like many other organisms, sunflowers enlist what is called the Fibonacci numbers sequence to optimize growing and reproduction.

Fibonacci numbers were identified and introduced by the Italian mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci who lived approximately from 1175 to 1250.

In the Fibonacci numbers sequence, every number after the first two is the sum of the preceding two numbers; hence – 1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34,55,89 ….

Again, beneath the florets on the face of the sunflower is the seed head, with the seeds arranged in a series of spirals that originate at the center of the sunflower face.  Each successive spiral curves in the opposite direction of the spiral that precedes it – alternating between clockwise and counterclockwise.

In most sunflower heads, there are a total of 34 spirals that curve in one direction, and 55 spirals in the other, with 34 and 55 being adjacent in the Fibonacci sequence.

Other sunflowers have higher, respective, Fibonacci spiral counts, such as 89 and 144, numbers also adjacent in the Fibonacci sequence.

Yet no matter the total alternating spiral counts, starting with the third spiral, the seed count in the spiral is equivalent to the total number of seeds in the preceding two spirals: a Fibonacci sequence.

Now, for sure, and since nature isn’t perfect, the Fibonacci sequence is not always present and exactly realized in the sunflower seed arrangement, but it is fairly routine; it is the modus operandi of the sunflower.

And across the natural world, the Fibonacci sequence is evident – as described in the following excerpt from an article on the Fibonacci sequence in nature, written by Robert Lamb, and published at the HowStuffWorks website:

” …  Some plants express the Fibonacci sequence in their growth points, the places where tree branches form or split. One trunk grows until it produces a branch, resulting in two growth points. The main trunk then produces another branch, resulting in three growth points. Then the trunk and the first branch produce two more growth points, bringing the total to five. This pattern continues, following the Fibonacci numbers. Additionally, if you count the number of petals on a flower, you’ll often find the total to be one of the numbers in the Fibonacci sequence. For example, lilies and have three petals, buttercups and wild roses have five, delphiniums have eight petals and so on.”

And more math – and more precision.

As more seeds are produced and the spirals arch further away from the center of the face of the sunflower, each seed migrates away, and stays fixed at an angle of 137.5 degrees from the seed that had preceded it in the flower’s seed production.  Mathematicians and scientists refer to this angle as the “golden angle”.

The golden angle, as does the Fibonacci sequence, affords and supports the best opportunity for the sunflower to successfully grow and reproduce.

Where there is a Fibonacci sequence there is a golden angle.

 

Bumblebees are All-Star Pollinators – But So-So Honey Makers  

“I felt the richer for this experience. It taught me that even the insects in my path are not loafers, but have their special errands. Not merely and vaguely in this world, but in this hour, each is about its business.”

HENRY DAVID THOREAU, on observing the conduct of bees

About those bumblebees.

Bumblebees don’t produce honey … well, not real honey.  The reason for this is that, unlike honey-making honeybees, entire hives of bumblebees do not survive cold winters in temperate climates, and therefore don’t need to make use of that nutrient-dense food.

Actually, to be precise, it is the male bumblebees who do not survive the winter. Females, aka queen bees, mate in the fall, and as it begins to get cold, enter diapause – a resting phase, usually spent underground, for the entire winter.

Queen bumblebees prepare for diapause by eating ravenously to build fat stores, with pollen and nectar the primary food.  Nectar that queen bumblebees consume, they process into a honey-like substance – think honey light – which it saves in honey pots made of wax that they secrete from their abdomens.  Queen bees will feed on this processed nectar, and it will also feed the nectar, along with pollen, to the queen’s offspring.

Male bumblebees only consume nectar, and only to feed themselves.

When spring arrives, queen bees lay eggs that had been fertilized prior to winter – and the nest and colony begins anew. Queen bees will continue to lay eggs throughout the spring and into the summer.

In service of collecting pollen, a fascinating characteristic and trait of the bumblebee is that they have the ability to detect and analyze electric fields on a flower, which tells them whether that flower has been visited recently.  Understanding whether a plant has already been tapped of its pollen, allows bumblebees to conserve energy by passing on a pollen-depleted plant and moving to a more bountiful pollen reserve.

Bumblebees are nature’s all-stars in pollen transfer. A bumblebee’s hairy body alone works wonderfully in collecting a dusting of pollen which is then transferred to other flowers as the bee makes its rounds.  As well, and here electricity plays another role, when bumblebees approach a flower, they rapidly flap their wings, with this activity building up an electrical charge that helps anchor pollen to the hairs on its body.

Female bumblebees also groom pollen into pollen baskets that are attached to their hind legs, with these baskets containing as many as a million grains of pollen.

Yes, as Henry David Thoreau observed, bees have “special errands” and “each is about its business.”

The Painted Lady, a Pollinator, and a Sometime Migrator

“We are all butterflies.  Earth is our chrysalis.”   

LEANN TAYLOR

The painted lady is one of the most common varieties of butterfly and is found on every continent except for Antarctica and Australia.

This butterfly, which flies in a peculiar screw-shape pattern, is sometimes called the cosmopolitan because, within a region, it shows up just about everywhere: woods, fields, sandy areas, swamps, and vacant lots … you name it.

It is valuable pollinator in that the species will feed on up to 100 different types of plants.

Their appearance in northern areas of the Western Hemisphere, including outside the Willwork corporate headquarters, is irregular. They may show up these parts some years, and not in others.

The total lifespan and growth phase of the painted lady runs from 45 to 60 days, and is comprised of four main stages:

  1. The egg is laid, and within three to five days it hatches.
  2. Once hatched, the larvae or caterpillar stage begins which is completed in five to 10 days.
  3. Next up is the chrysalis or metamorphosis phase, of seven to 10 days, in which the caterpillar spins a silk pad from which it hangs, and while suspended its skin splits from head to toe, revealing a hard case called the chrysalis or pupa. Within the chrysalis, the organism becomes totally liquid and forms into a butterfly, with the butterfly emerging from the pupa.
  4. The Painted ladies live for about two to four weeks.  During their short life, they focus on mating and reproducing.

A lineage of painted ladies may include eight generations in a year.

These generations are not only produced across time – but oftentimes vast space.

You see, a curious characteristic of the painted lady is that it is a migratory creature, yet unlike some other types of butterflies … most famously the monarch butterfly … its migration practice is not consistent from generation to generation.

That’s right, depending on a variety of elements not totally understood, a family line of painted ladies living, for example, in the Western Hemisphere may make a complete round-trip migration between the ancestral winter habitat of the species – which is northern Mexico – and the northern reaches of the United States and parts of Canada, toward which painted ladies travel in the spring.

Or painted ladies may may complete a large segment, but not the entire migratory path – or maybe a small segment; or maybe next to no migratory journey.

And there are episodes of mass migrations of the painted ladies – with clusters of millions of butterflies leaving northern Mexico, with this multi-generational migration continuing northward, and continuing with clusters comprised of millions of butterflies, until reaching their historic northernmost destination, in late spring or early summer.

Along the way, new generations come and go, and the migration continues … with one butterfly, over one short life, able to cover 1000 miles or more. Painted ladies fly at an elevation of only six to 12 feet off the ground, and at speeds of up to 30 miles an hour.  A painted lady butterfly can travel 100 miles in a day.

As autumn arrives, painted ladies living in the northern climes will begin the migration south.

As for the painted lady in this photograph, for all we know it has just about run its course on earth, or it is a newly minted butterfly who is about to up and leave and will be in Connecticut in 24 hours.

Pitching in and Helping Out – the Ladybug  

“A small speckled visitor
“Wearing a crimson cape
“Brighter than a cherry
“Smaller than a grape
“A polka-dotted someone
“Walking on my wall
“A black-hooded lady
“In a scarlet shawl.”

JOAN WALSH ANGLUND

And there is the ladybug, which is actually a beetle. A little background on the name ladybug. It has a religious origin – from Europe and the Middle Ages when the continent was beset with insect crop pests.

As legend has it, Christians offered prayers to Mary, Our Lady, and soon came the arrival of a cloud of these tiny bugs colored red and each with seven black spots (coccinellids in other parts of the world have different numbers of spots).

What was interpreted is that the bugs, as they commenced to devouring the pests, which were probably aphids, had descended from Heaven.

Then there are the coloring and markings of the bug; they were interpreted as a sign, as during this period artists often depicted Mary wearing a red robe, and the seven black spots were thought to represent the Seven Joys and Seven Sorrows of Mary.

People variously called the beetle “Our Lady’s Bug” or “lady beetle” or “lady bird” … or ladybug.

Through the centuries, ladybugs have been admired for their beauty and form, and have been painted, drawn, sketched, photographed … and represented through many other art forms.

Ladybugs are certainly a gardener’s friend.  They voraciously feed on aphids, mites, mealy bugs, scale insects, and other destructive nuisances.  A ladybug can consume 50 aphids in a day.

The livelihood of the ladybug pays off and is a plus in the form of a pollinator, an exterminator, and as a source of beauty and artistic inspiration.

As the Short and Cold Days are Upon Us

During winter, the gardens and grounds at Willwork are not as colorful as during spring and summer, and early fall; but even in the coldest stretch of the year, our property has plenty of beautiful evergreen trees and ornamental grasses for decoration (with these grasses also producing seeds on which birds feed).

Plants are in a dormancy period now. Female bumblebees, and ladybugs of both sexes, are finding covered and secluded places to winter, with ladybugs favoring the indoors of houses if they can gain entry.

Painted lady butterflies have flown away.

And the cycle continues – and again in the summer the sunflowers will grow and establish seed spirals with Fibonacci counts and with seeds spaced at golden angles, and the bumblebee, the painted lady, and the ladybug will return to their eating and their industry.