Posts

Willwork Global Event Services Clients are Leading in Breast Cancer Prevention, Diagnosis, Treatment … and the Quest to Find the Cure

There is surely considerable and most justified cause for optimism concerning the fight to rid the world of breast cancer. 

Then, again, much more needs to be done. 

As documented by the World Health Organization, breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer in women in both the developed and less developed regions of the planet.

In the United States, among all cancers in women, only skin cancer is more prevalent than breast cancer.  Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in women in the U.S. and the leading cause of cancer for Hispanic women in the country.

Breast cancer is not only a female disease.  While rare, breast cancer afflicts men as well.

Breast cancer has been with humanity for a long time.

As reported in the Healthline story, “History of Breast Cancer, “… the Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus describes cases of breast cancer.  This medical text dates back to 3,000–2,500 B.C.E.”

Please click to here to be taken to the full Healthline story, which is an informative and interesting read that discusses, in addition to the Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus, other of the oldest historical references to breast cancer; significant milestones in breast cancer treatment; how the disease is treated today; and the prognosis and outlook for treating and preventing this form of cancer. 

The Healthline article links to and references a page at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website where is found statistics on breast cancer. Following is an excerpt from the page:

“Each year in the United States, about 245,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women and about 2,200 in men. About 41,000 women and 460 men in the U.S. die each year from breast cancer. Over the last decade, the rate of getting breast cancer has not changed for women overall, but the rate has increased for black women and Asian and Pacific Islander women. Black women have a higher rate of death from breast cancer than white women.”

In 1985, the American Cancer Society and United Kingdom-based Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) teamed to found and establish Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) and designate October as the date for the event.

Initially, the almost sole focus and purpose of Breast Cancer Awareness Month was to publicize the importance of a mammogram as the best option for making the earliest possible detection of the presence of the disease.

Almost 35 years later, the mammogram remains the best way to catch breast cancer at its earliest.

Today, beyond publicizing the importance of mammograms, BCAM has a broader writ and mission: raising money to fund and promote research aimed at finding more effective ways to prevent and treat the disease, fund and establish support services and programs for those with breast cancer … and to ultimately find a cure.

****

It is the privilege of Willwork Global Event Services to serve clients ranging in size from giant multinational corporations with hundreds of thousands of employees to small businesses with only a few employees.

Among our clients are those that develop, manufacture, and market products and services that are used in the prevention and treatment of illness; in healing; in making life easier, more efficient, and more convenient; and in helping to create a planet that is safer and more livable. 

Willwork Global Event Services clients are deeply and vitally involved in … and contribute to … the fight to defeat breast cancer.

In fact, one of those clients, AstraZeneca – a worldwide leader in the development of biopharmaceutical therapies – has organizational roots in the creation and launch of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

And here we share a bit of corporate history. 

In 1993, Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) – co-founder of BCAM – demerged its pharmaceutical and agrochemical divisions, which became a separate company, Zeneca Group.

In 1999, Zeneca Group merged with Swedish pharmaceutical company Astra AB to create AstraZeneca, based in London.

AstraZeneca invents medicines and therapies across four primary areas: oncology, cardiovascular, renal and metabolism, and respiratory.

It is now close to a half-century since AstraZeneca produced its first drug to treat breast cancer.  In 2019, AstraZeneca has five breast cancer drugs available. 

AstraZeneca has 10 potential breast cancer treatment pharmaceuticals in development.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted a priority review of AstraZeneca’s drug, trastuzumab deruxtecan, for the treatment of HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer

On April 2 of this year, we published in this space a post, “Willwork Global Event Services Clients Are Out Front In Developing And Applying Artificial Intelligence To Improve And Make Better The World In Which We Live.”

Featured in the post was the Artificial Intelligence (AI) work and innovation and discovery of Willwork clients IBM, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google

AI – which is also referred to as “machine learning” – inventions and discoveries of these organizations are relied-on and powerful weapons in the effort to identify breast cancer at its earliest and increase the chances for successful treatment.

A scientist stewarding and directing some of the most exciting and promising research on how AI can improve and make more accurate and earlier breast cancer diagnosis is Regina Barzilay, a professor at the MIT Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and a breast cancer survivor. 

In 2017, Ms. Barzilay was awarded a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” for her “significant contributions to a wide range of problems in computational linguistics, including both interpretation and generation of human language.

At the time that Ms. Barzilay received the MacArthur grant for her use of AI in the field of linguistics and language, she was also working and experimenting with machine learning to advance cancer detection.

To learn about the work of Regina Barzilay and colleagues in applying AI to breast cancer diagnosis, please click here to be taken to an NPR story and podcast, “Training A Computer To Read Mammograms As Well As A Doctor,” by Richard Harris and published/broadcast on April 1 of this year. 

Ruth Porat, CFO of Google parent company, Alphabet, talks openly about her battle with breast cancer, and is steering and supporting initiatives at Google that employ the company’s AI technology to improve healthcare, including in the area of breast cancer diagnosis.

(Image credit: MIT News)

Following is the first paragraph of a story, “The way we use mammograms is seriously flawed but AI could change that,” published September 16, 2018 in the international business news and commentary outlet Quartz:

“Google’s artificial intelligence technology, DeepMind, beat the world champion at the ancient Chinese game ‘Go’ in 2016.  It was a major AI victory, arriving nearly a decade earlier than most experts had predicted.  Now, the same technology has a new goal: improving reading breast-cancer screenings, which could directly affect millions of people across the globe.”

Please click here to be taken to the full Quartz story which was authored by Hope Reese.

In the April 2 post, we reported, “IBM is an AI pioneer. Indeed, its Watson computing system is the smartest and most famous AI technology platform on the planet.”

Watson is revolutionizing cancer research.

Here is an excerpt from a Becker Hospital Review article, “IBM AI predicts breast cancer up to a year in advance using health records, mammograms,”  written by Andrea Park and published this past June 18:

“An IBM algorithm combining machine and deep learning to analyze health records and mammograms was able to predict the development of breast cancer up to 12 months before its onset with nearly 90 percent accuracy, according to a study published June 18 in Radiology.

AWS’s AI platform Amazon Sagemaker hosts the Breast Cancer Disease State Predictor, machine learning software developed by Perception Health that enables scientists, researchers, and healthcare professionals, “predict disease before diagnosis, optimize care pathways and networks to engage patients earlier, and save more lives.”

Amazon Web Services created and sponsors the AWS Machine Learning Research Awards (MLRA), which rewards and supports the following mission:

“The AWS Machine Learning Research Awards (MLRA) assists faculty, PhD candidates, and graduate students with research to advance the frontiers of machine learning (ML) and its application across a wide range of problems – from finding new therapies for cancer to solving climate change and exploring outer space.”

This past spring, an MLRA was awarded to Zachary Chase Lipton, a professor of business technologies at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University, “for his work to improve the accuracy of diagnosis of breast cancer.”   

Willwork Global Event Services will dedicate a future post to advances in and the status of the quest to improve breast cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment – and to find a cure for the disease. 

Peach Became Pink

Charlotte Haley, a 68-year-old grandmother, mother, and housewife, had had enough. It was 1992 and she felt compelled to call attention to the fact that of the $1.8 billion annual budget of the National Cancer Institute, only five percent went to cancer prevention.

Ms. Haley was not lacking for motivation.

She was a driven woman.

Ms. Haley’s grandmother died from cancer at the age of 45.  Ms. Haley’s mother was in her early 40s when cervical cancer killed her.

Ms. Haley’s sister and daughter were breast cancer survivors.

Charlotte Haley thought up a way to call attention to the need to increase funding for cancer research, and for the National Cancer Institute to change its budgeting allocations. 

Ms. Haley started sending out postcards to which were affixed peach ribbons – she handmade at her dining room table – and which she requested people wear to help sound the clarion for the cause. 

When nationally syndicated columnist Liz Smith mentioned Charlotte Haley and her efforts in one of her columns, Ms. Haley immediately began to receive an avalanche of inquiries about and requests for ribbons from across the country.

With all the requests for ribbons, Ms. Haley had to change things up a bit so that she wasn’t paying for all the postage.  In exchange for self-addressed stamped envelopes people sent her, she mailed them the cards to which five peach ribbons were attached. 

Clicking here takes you to a Los Angeles Times story, “Peach Corps : Activism: Breast cancer has afflicted her grandmother, sister and daughter, so Charlotte Haley is urging people to wear ribbons to ‘wake up’ America,” written by Kathleen Hendrix and published on August 20, 1992.

Two people who took note of Charlotte Haley and her cancer awareness ribbon campaign were Evelyn Lauder, Senior Corporate Vice President of the Estée Lauder Companies and a leading philanthropist, and her friend, Alexandra Penney, editor of Self magazine.  

In 1991, with Ms. Penney at the helm, Self magazine published its first “Breast Cancer Awareness” issue. 

Ms. Lauder was the standard bearer for a fundraising and public awareness initiative that resulted, in 1992, in the creation of the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

That same year, Ms. Lauder and Alexandra Penney established the Breast Cancer Research Foundation

Also, in 1992, Evelyn Lauder and Alexandra Penney asked Charlotte Haley if Self, for its second-annual Breast Cancer Awareness issue, could employ and attach and feature her peach ribbon and symbolism and call to action.

Charlotte Haley, citing that she felt that the specific form that the Self issue was taking was too corporate and commercially aligned, declined.

Self consulted its legal team, and it advised a course that the magazine took – use a ribbon for the issue, but one that was the color pink.

Pink remains the rallying color.

Pink remains the motivating and inspiring color.

And pink unifies tens of millions around the world who have struggled and struggle with the disease, and the leaders and foot soldiers of the movement that will one day find the cure.

 

Harvest and Agricultural and Autumn Fairs and Festivals … and the Shows and Events Industry … Go Way Back

(This post was updated on November 13, 2019)

Charles Pappas, Senior Writer for Exhibitor Magazine, has won a slew of journalism awards, mostly for his writing about the conventions and meetings industry.

Mr. Pappas is author of the smart, entertaining, engaging, and enlightening book, Flying Cars, Zombie Dogs, and Robot Overlords: How World’s Fairs and Trade Expos Brought You the Future (Lyons Press, 2017).

There is much with which to happily occupy yourself, and much to learn from, in this book.

Among what the reader finds in Flying Cars, Zombie Dogs, and Robot Overlords is how fairs and expos, and shows and expositions, have their origins in agricultural marketing and selling (including the earliest farmers markets).

Consider this excerpt from the introduction to Mr. Pappas’s book:

“For hundreds of years, trade shows were as boring as the livestock, cloth, or herring they displayed on a rickety table or a reeking donkey cart.”

As explained in Chapter 64, titled, Farmegeddon, the broad and all inclusive sweep of the history of tradeshows and expos is largely one in which food and agricultural science played a starring role.

Then, again, the story of humanity is one heavy with the growing and raising of food.

Humans started farming about 12,000 years ago.  And across that stretch – even as farming systems became more effective and productive – the practice had largely been one that required of people to be hands on in lifting, pulling, pushing, and dragging — and commandeering beasts of burden that did the lifting, pulling, pushing, and dragging.

It is only over the past 100 years … which sort of coincides with the later stages of the Industrial Revolution and on through the Information Age and into the Digital Age … that the workforce rapidly, and in big numbers, moved away from agriculture.

During this period, as well, horses, mules, and oxen were relieved considerably of what had been for centuries their farm tasks.

Technology and improved systems made growing fruits and vegetables and raising livestock far less reliant on direct people and animal power.

In 1850, about 64 percent of the U.S. labor force was made up of those working in the farming industry.  A decade later the percentage of the U.S. labor force working on farms was at 54 percent. In 1890, the percentage number was 44. Thirty years later, approximately 28 percent of those working in our nation were employed in the agriculture.

Today, the percentage of working Americans holding a job in farming is between 1.5 and 2 percent. 

In the advent era of world’s fairs – that would be from the mid to late 1800s – their link to the promotion and marketing of the practices and new methods of growing and raising food were strong and far reaching.

Consider this excerpt from the Farmaggedon chapter:

“The very first world’s fair—the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations in 1851— offered tangible proof of these advances, with stacked pyramids of meat and champagne worthy of a pharaoh. Surpassing that, the Centennial International Exhibition of 1876 saw artist Henry Worrall’s models of the U.S. Capitol for the Kansas and Colorado buildings covered in a skin of apples. Later, for the 1881 International Cotton Exposition, Worrall masterminded a 3,000-square-foot pavilion ‘tastefully ornamented with grass, grains, corn and other farm products” and a diminutive railroad made of cornstalks.’”

Here we are, about 170 years after the inaugural world’s fair, and the kinship between shows and farming is as tight as ever. People have to eat. But what is also true is that in the total comos of all shows and events, those with a focus on agriculture occupy a far smaller percentage of space than in years past.

And we need to be ever mindful that the world population continues to grow, even as the growth rate has declined since 1970. 

How to best feed the planet remains a vitally important issue.

The final chapter of Flying Cars, Zombie Dogs, and Robot Overlords is titled “A Farewell to Farms.”

Featured in the chapter is a recent world’s fair, Expo Milan 2015, with its theme, “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.”

Keeping top of mind the theme of the Milan expo, we excerpt here from the chapter:

“One of the solutions touted at Expo Milano 2015 was vertical farms, where crops, stacked in rows often several stories high, are grown hydroponically, fed by a recycled water solution. (In one variant, the water solution is misted onto the plants’ roots.) The farms slurp down 70 to 95 percent less water than traditional areas of the same size, and, if placed in cities, can reduce food’s average journey from farm to plate from 1,500 miles or more to a few feet. Even better, most vertical farms rely on no pesticides whatsoever, contrasting sharply with the 5.2 billion pounds of insect repellents used worldwide.”

Fairs and other events that are much smaller in scope than those of the global variety continue to exalt and maintain a tie to farming and agriculture.

And of all times of the year, in the United States, and across much of the globe, it is early autumn … the time of harvest … the runup to Thanksgiving … that is most culturally, emotionally, ceremonially connected to and integrated within the efforts of societies to feed and sustain their people.

Following, and fittingly, Willwork Global Event Services takes a look at and discusses some of the best harvest and fall fairs and festivals in the U.S.

October – the first full month of autumn in our hemisphere – is a month of celebration and festivity aligned with the cultivation and ripening of that planted in the earth.

If we listen and pay attention, October and the fall … and the harvest … teach us about and reacquaint us with the importance of agriculture, and necessity of acting as responsible and caring stewards and custodians of the environment.

There is no fruit or vegetable that is more significant in Western culture, religion, and mythology than the apple.  Surely when you think of the harvest, of bounty brought in from the fields and orchards, the apple ranks with tomatoes, corn, green beans, and pumpkins as the produce that is most fixed our conscience and radar. 

Throughout our republic, come autumn, there are apple fairs and festivals.

One of the oldest and best apple fests is the National Apple Harvest Festival, held annually in Arendtsville, PA (about 10 miles from Gettysburg) over the first two full weekends in October. 

The National Apple Harvest Festival began in 1965.  While the event has always been about apples, even from its start 54 years ago it offered much more, with some of those attractions, including the antique car show, still on the festival schedule today.

“Mr. Apple” at the 2014 National Harvest Fair Festival

In 2019, the event has Native American dances, tractor square dances, a petting zoo, live  bands and … well … we have provided here an excerpt from the event website:

“ … the festival features over 300 arts and crafts vendors, an artisan demonstration area, strolling characters, antique farm equipment displays and of course food! Apples of all shapes, sizes, and forms, baked into just about anything you can imagine from homemade applesauce made fresh during the festival to pancakes, syrup, cider, slushies, guacamole, candy and caramel apples, pizza and much more. Plus, our famous pit beef sandwiches, chicken barbecue, sausage sandwiches, funnel cakes, sweet potato fries will surely delight your senses.”

Portland, Maine is an absolute treasure.  This small coastal city has great food, nightlife, a thriving tech industry, a vibrant artist community … and set all along a beautiful and rustic waterfront.

Twelve years ago, Harvest on the Harbor (HOTH) was created to herald and draw attention to Portland’s excellent and rapidly growing restaurant industry. 

Indeed, within the past decade, Bon Appétit, among the world’s best known and revered food and lifestyle media outlets, conferred on Portland two best-in-class awards and national distinctions: naming the city “America’s Foodiest Small Town 2009” and the “2018 Restaurant City of the Year.”

From its onset and continuing to the present, HOTH, held every October, has maintained its focus and honored the charge of telling the story about dining out in Portland, and recruiting people to give its food and hospitality a try.

For 2019, the three-day (October 17-20) is organized into several events, with each event requiring purchase of a ticket that covers all food, drink, and entertainment.   

Necessary to include in any list of U.S. harvest and autumn fairs and festivals is one that trumpets that particular winter squash, that gourd, which is the signature decoration of the season: the pumpkin.

One is not going to find a better pumpkin party and shindig than the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival which takes place in mid to late October in Laconia, NH.

The New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival is a street festival attended by 40,000.

A sort of figurative and literal keystone of the celebration – the main attraction and fundraiser – is the tower of jack-o-lanterns, which in recent years has been comprised of 20,000 pumpkins and is 34-feet high.   

It is a true community effort, the jack-o-lantern tower project, with people and groups paying $10 to place a pumpkin in the tower. 

Other featured events of the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival are pumpkin carving, pumpkin bowling, Zombie Walk, and the Jumpin’ Jack Car Show.

This pumpkin fest offers plenty of food and a beer garden.

The Oktoberfest festival, we know, is of German origin, with the first held in Munich on October 12, 1810 to celebrate the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig – the future King Ludwig I – to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen.  It was a public celebration with horse races as the main draw.   

A year later, an encore Oktoberfest was held in Munich, with horse races still the central attraction.  Added to the gala was an agriculture fair.

Oktoberfest is now something of an international phenomenon.

The original Oktoberfest is still held annually in Munich.  There are no horse races.  But, every third year the Munich Oktoberfest includes the agriculture fair. 

Oktoberfest Zinzinnati – conducted annually in downtown Cincinnati since its start in 1976 – is the largest Oktoberfest festival in America.  Close to 600,000 people attend every year. 

Oktoberfest Zinzinnati honors the strong German legacy of the southwest section of Ohio. 

A view from of the street at the 2018 Oktoberfest Zinzinnati

German food, German music, and German beer are the stars of Zinzinnati, held this year on October 20 and 22.  

We did say German food.  Cincinnati Regional Chamber compiled statistics on food consumption that took place at a recent Oktoberfest Zinzinnati; among the stats:  64,000 sauerkraut balls, 80,500 bratwurst, 702 lbs. of Limburger cheese, 1,875 lbs. of German potato salad, 16,002 strudel, and 400 pickled pigs feet. 

Willwork Global Event Services just had to include an annual event that takes place in Massachusetts – the state where our corporate headquarters is located.  More precisely, the event is held almost at the tip of Cape Cod, which is, admittedly, a bit of a trek – a little more than 90 miles – from Willwork corporate.

The community of Wellfleet on Cape Cod is known for its delicious shellfish, particularly the oysters that are harvested from the ocean beds just off the town’s coast.

Every year, during the third weekend in October, the Saturday/Sunday Wellfleet OysterFest happens in downtown Wellfleet. Twenty thousand people visit Wellfleet on the festival weekend.

Oysters are, appropriately, the star of the event.  Then, again, Wellfleet clams hold positive and popular distinction among food lovers.  Plenty of shellfish … raw and cooked … and prepared in a vast variety of ways, are served.  

Wellfleet oyster farmers at the 2018 Wellfleet OysterFest

The two-day oyster “Shuck-Off” contest is a cornerstone of the fest, with professional shuckers, local fisherman, and chefs competing.

There is music and locally brewed beers and ales.

Bands play and artists show and sell their work.

Enjoy and revel in the season – and the harvest – is the recommendation of Willwork Global Event Services.

To complete this mission, we further recommend that you attend a harvest of fall festival or fair – or any other celebration of this wonderful time of year.  

About The Blockchain – and How This is One More Area and One More Technology in Which IBM … a Longtime Willwork Client … Is A Global Leader in Providing Winning Solutions to Companies and Other Organizations

(image credit: SD Times)

Just about everyone has heard about blockchain (formerly block chain) – a method of digital ledger keeping that is the foundation of something that almost everyone has also heard about – cryptocurrencies – with the most famous of those cryptocurrencies being bitcoin, which … yes … just about everyone has heard.

Now, having said that we are all aware of blockchain and cryptocurrencies and bitcoin, it must be also noted that not many people know that much about any of it.

For a helpful and very … very … simplified and cosmic overview and description of blockchain, we share here an excerpt from a Fortune story, “Wait, What Is Blockchain?” published May 23, 2016, and written by Robert Hackett:

“ …. This coding breakthrough—which consists of concatenated blocks of transactions—allows competitors to share a digital ledger across a network of computers without need for a central authority. No single party has the power to tamper with the records: the math keeps everyone honest …. ”

Blockchain was born in 1991, co-created by cryptographers Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta.

Yet it would not be until October 2008, when a whitepaper, “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System,” was published, that commenced a rapidly unfolding, if you will, chain of events, that brought the term “blockchain” popular public attention, and introduced “bitcoin” to the public dialogue.  The author, or authors, of the whitepaper – commonly called the “bitcoin whitepaper” – was, and still remains, only identified by the pseudonym            Satoshi Nakamoto.

Cryptocurrency quickly skyrocketed as a phenomenon, attracting masses of investors, those looking to make money trading cryptocurrency, and people and businesses figuring on how to use cryptocurrency to buy and sell (to pay and be paid).

Please click here to be taken to the Crypto Timeline, which lists … and provides links to more information about … important events in the history of cryptocurrency, starting with the publishing of the bitcoin whitepaper and on up until August 2017.

Today there are close to 1,000 cryptocurrencies.  A cryptocurrency fever remains – yet one of a lower grade than the fever of years past.  Skepticism and serious doubts of the viability and durability of the cryptocurrency continue to grow.

Indeed, smart and insightful technology and business minds are presenting and discussing a cryptocurrency bubble.

Still, it is important to note that many brilliant and insightful financial minds are powerfully bullish on the future of cryptocurrency.

Consider that, earlier this week, Fidelity Investments – the company which, with $7.2 trillion in assets under administration, is the world’s fourth largest asset manager – announced the launch of a company to support institutional investors trade two cryptocurrencies.

Please click here to be taken to a Fortune story, “Fidelity Launches Company to Help Hedge Funds and Other Big Investors Trade Crypto,” written by Kevin Kelleher, and published on October 16.

Whether or not Fidelity has bet correctly, what does continue to be hot and increasingly used, and increasingly explored for utility, is the blockchain.  And, for sure, the blockchain digital ledger is a powerful and accurate form of record keeping, inventorying, and tracking that can be enlisted across the vastness of industry and human endeavor.

IBM IS A LEADER IN BLOCKCHAIN SOLUTIONS

IBM – a company that it has long been the privilege of Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services to call a client – is out front in developing blockchain solutions for organizations.   Big Blue has developed a business segment dedicated to helping private enterprises and other groups use the blockchain to improve operations and delivery of products and services.

Clicking here takes you to the homepage of IBM Blockchain, an area of the IBM online presence where the company markets its blockchain services – and where is found a trove of information about blockchain, including a “Blockchain 101” tutorial on the technology (offered is a free download of the IBM eBook Blockchain for Dummies), a description of IBM blockchain solutions, and examples of how companies and other groups are winning through the adoption and use of IBM Blockchain.

“Each day, forward-thinking companies are transforming blockchain’s promise into bottom-line business results,” it is explained on the IBM Blockchain homepage. “And they’re doing it with IBM Blockchain.”

(image credit: IBM)

Today, Willwork is highlighting and featuring an IBM Blockchain solution which is creating a global food supply that is safer, works more efficiently, has improved sustainability, and which three days ago the company announced it is making commercially available.

IBM Food Trust is the solution; it has been in development for 18 months.

Following is an excerpt from the Forbes story,  “Ready To Rumble: IBM Launches Food Trust Blockchain For Commercial Use,” by Aaron Stanley, published on October 8:

“The launch marks one of the first times that an enterprise blockchain network has been fully deployed at this degree of scale.

“The IBM Food Trust platform, as it is known, has heretofore been demoed exclusively in pilots and proofs of concept – to trace mangoes throughout a supply chain, for example. In September, retail giant Walmart announced that it would begin requiring its suppliers to implement the system to track bags of spinach and heads of lettuce [please see nearby graphic].

(image credit: IBM)

“But on Monday, IBM announced that its solution-as-a-service cloud platform is now available to all players in the food supply chain, a move that will likely drive unprecedented visibility and veracity into the sourcing and certification of fresh produce and proteins.”

One more example of IBM being a world leader in pioneering and innovating technology to serve humanity and commerce.

Here on the Insights blog we will continue to feature current and recent news about IBM.

 

 

 

Honoring Virtue, and Remembering Two Gentlemen Who Perished on September 11, 2001

(This post was updated on  September 11, 2019)

Something vital to remember about the attacks of September 11, 2001 is that almost all those who perished, were killed while they were working, or while they were commuting to and from work.

The America that the terrorists hate, and which fuels their murderous impulses and rages, is not the reality of the nation constituted of hardworking people who day after day get up and go to and perform their jobs.

Work is high virtue.

Terrorists don’t consider much those who faithfully hold a job, or who faithfully hold two or three jobs, to earn money for food, a roof over their head, clothes, gas for the car … yes, necessities.  Terrorists don’t understand that, for many, after paying for the necessities there is not much left over for luxury and indulgence.

Lost on the practitioners of evil and hate are the moms and dads whose commitment to working long and hard is one inspired and driven by a fierce devotion to, and providing for, their children.

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services, founded in 1987, is fortunate to day in and day out work across America.  We are fortunate to work in cities, towns, villages, and hamlets throughout our great republic.

Day in and day out we see and benefit from and are inspired with the work ethic and goodness of people.

We see and benefit from those who work for Willwork, some whom were born in the U.S., and some who were born in other countries and are now American citizens – and  all of whom are thankful for the opportunity to work and earn and build a life in a free society.

Oh, for sure, we also see the problems; we deal with the problems.  The United States has problems.  We are imperfect and flawed.  Injustice lives in our land.

We also know that the United States of America is the greatest nation on earth, and that we are ever ascendant toward higher greatness, toward fully realizing … and here we invoke the words of our secular saint Abraham Lincoln … “the last best hope of earth.”

Those of us who work in the tradeshow and events and hospitality industries contribute in a major way to the economy and strength of America.

Willwork remembers, today, on this momentous anniversary, two gentlemen killed on that day, and to whom we have a bit of a communal and cosmic connection.

We remember two workers  – two who did their job well and with fidelity.

Father Francis Grogan, C.S.C., 76, was a passenger on the plane, Flight 175, that crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center.  At the time of his death, he was in between jobs, and would soon be leaving his position as director of the Holy Cross Residence in North Dartmouth, MA, to take on a new ministry, that of chaplain.

Father Grogan – known to many as “Father Frank” – was much beloved and known in Easton, the community 25 miles south of Boston where is located the Willwork corporate headquarters. A World War II U.S. Navy veteran, who served as a sonar operator on a destroyer, Father Grogan earned degrees from the University of Notre Dame and Fordham University.

Father Francis Grogan (image credit: WPI)

Father Grogan was ordained in 1955.  Over his long career, he held many chaplain, pastor, and teaching posts, both in the U.S. and abroad.  Immediately after his ordination, Father Grogan became director of admissions and registrar at Stonehill College in Easton; and from 1965 through 1976, he was Assistant Pastor of Holy Cross Church in Easton.

Stonehill College is the alma mater of Willwork president, William F. Nixon Sr.  Willwork maintains an internship program with Stonehill College, and has many Stonehill College grads in its ranks, including Denise Franzen, Administrative Director.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, Steve Adams, 51, was at work.  He was working at his job as beverage manager for the Windows on the World restaurant on the 107th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center when Flight 11 hit the building.

On September 10, 2001, Mr. Adams and his wife, Jessica Murrow, had celebrated their seventh wedding anniversary.

Steve Adams grew up in Easton.  He graduated from Oliver Ames High School, the public school in Easton where William F. Nixon Sr. built his first career, as a highly successful athletic coach (he was most distinguished as the OAHS Tigers boys’ basketball coach) and history and social studies teacher.  Mr. Nixon coached and taught at OAHS during the the time period Mr. Adams attended the school.

Steve Adams (image credit: The Enterprise)

Mr. Adams lived a bit of bohemian lifestyle for many years, working at several jobs in the hospitality industry.  He earned a bachelor’s degree from Marlboro College in Vermont.  Early in his adult life, he wasn’t that successful professionally or at making money. 

It would be in middle age when Steve Adams found professional success and started earning good money.

In April of 2001, Mr. Adams was hired as beverage manager for Windows on the World.  It was a good job, a well-paying job, and one in which he quickly established himself as effective, reliable, and a deliverer of results.

Father Grogan and Steve Adams represent so much of what makes America good and great … one full of opportunity … one full of promise.   Father Grogan and Steve Adams are surely threads woven into a fabric of American greatness.

Great effort … some of this effort heroic … would ensue in the wake of the devastation of 9/11.

People did their jobs; they did their jobs to respond and heal, to protect and rescue, to comfort and bear witness, to inspire and spread hope, to rebuild and reclaim …and to visit justice on perpetrators of evil.

Members of our armed forces and first responders were out front in the response, with many being heroic in the commission of their jobs.

And, ultimately, it would be no small achievement that America … across all vocations and industries … continued working.  Some sustained merely a stumble and then got back to work.

We continued to build and fortify a keystone of American exceptionalism.

America continued to do its job.

For Labor Day 2018, a Reflection and Treatise on Work – and Curiosities Related to Labor

Labor Day postcard

“I learned the value of hard work by working hard.”

MARGARET MEAD

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

When we were founded, in 1987, we had one employee, and our office was in the basement of a residence – a house, more specifically.  Our technology and office furniture and equipment consisted of a desk, chair, lamp, paper files, and telephone and telephone answering machine.

Why Willwork is where it is now is because of many factors – primary among them, maintaining focus, a commitment to innovation, superior recruitment that contributes to a team of superior employees, supporting and providing our employees with many resources for professional development, our all-star business partners … and a lot of daring and enthusiasm.

Willwork has also benefited from operating and competing in a free and open and capitalist economy.

But, then, all these factors … all these conditions … will not bring about success if absent is hard work.

It is when you add hard work to the mix that you have something special.

Hard work is sacred – and hard work is high virtue.

Now in our fourth decade in business, Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is a legacy of hard work.

Across our social media network, Willwork frequently discusses matters pertaining to labor and work.  Then, again, that would make sense.

Please click here to be taken to the post we published for Labor Day 2017, and here to be transported to the post we published for Labor Day 2016.

On October 6 of last year, we published here a post on “Persistence.”   Work is at the core of persistence.

As well, on this blog, there is the post which ran on May 26 of last year, the focus of which is an epic demonstration and execution of work that played a pivotal role in the launch of the United States of America.  Clicking here will take you to that post.

For Labor Day 2018, Willwork, publishes here a reflection on work, on different perspectives on work.

What is the most important work?  It would be tough to argue that the dangerous and life-saving, freedom and liberty protecting work of those who wear the uniform of the U.S. military is not the most important work.  And, within that vocation, those who serve in a combat capacity know a particularly urgent and vital and sacred form of work.

Our first responders – police and firefighters – do among the most important work.  They are frequently called to put their lives on the line.

Doctors and nurses save lives; that is important work.  Teachers prepare, instruct, and inspire those who are the future – yes, that is important work.

Wait, how about parents, and grandparents?  When you a see a successful and well-adjusted and responsible person, there is a good chance … almost a certainty, actually … that she had an upbringing in which a good and caring parent, or parents, whether biological or not … or both … exerted strong influence.

What is hard work?

There are those who estimate that only hard physical labor is hard work.  They have a point, a point that can be supported. For sure, manual labor ranks near the top of  the most noble and admirable work – whether that work is exhausting or only mildly taxing.  Physical labor holds and transmits a special value and worth.

Loggers, stone masons, iron workers, house framers, roofers (and add your own physical laborer) – they know what it is to work.

And let’s not forget that physical labor and sharp reasoning and strategy literally … and figuratively … move the world.  Airline executive Colleen Barrett had it right when she observed, “When it comes to getting things done, we need fewer architects and more bricklayers.”

Yet hard work hard is just not hard physical work.  Hard work is an exercise that involves long hours and intense focus and effort, whether it is writing software code or writing a novel; building a stone wall or building a team; driving a truck or driving a nail; planting and growing plants in a field, or planting and growing ideas and imagination in a mind; planning and coordinating freight logistics, or driving the truck transporting the freight.

On another matter pertaining to hard work … let’s face it … there can most certainly be an element of pomposity and conceit in the declaration that to achieve financial wealth all it takes is hard work, and that the level of hard work one expends is commensurate with one’s net worth.

If that were true, ranking with the world’s richest (money wise) would be all dedicated and good parents and parental figures – and all farmers across the developing world.

What are other exhausting jobs – with exhaustion a mix of physical and mental exhaustion?

It would be tough to argue that the training and performance needed to qualify and become a member of the United States Navy’s Sea, Air and Land Teams (SEALs) does not reside near the top – if not the top – of the most exhausting jobs on earth.  Brutal … absolutely brutal … what is required to become a SEAL … to join one of the most effective and elite fighting forces on earth.

Then, again, even basic training for any of the branches of the U.S. military is a demanding experience.

Elite competitive endurance athletes – whatever the sport … running, rowing, cross-country skiing, cycling, swimming …  are in the running for most exhausting.  We mean, really, your job is to be tired, and frequently to go into oxygen debt.

Martial arts sports, like boxing, karate, kung fu, judo, jiu-jitsu .. and other forms … and mixtures of the forms … are a tough way to make a living.  So too are collision sports, like football and hockey.  Martial arts and collision sports are exhausting, and painful.

What countries are the hardest working?

On September 2, 2016, U.S. News & World Report published a story, “This Labor Day Weekend, a Look at the Hardest-Working Countries: At least 16 other countries clock in more working hours each year than the U.S.”  The story, written by Deirdre McPhillips, cites a study of 38 countries that was produced by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Here is an excerpt from the story:

“Struggling with work-life balance and often opting to pass up vacation plans to spend more time in the office, workers in the U.S. may be surprised to learn that there are a number of other countries in which workers put in more hours. In fact, the average 42.8 work week in Mexico is about a full workday longer than the average U.S. worker’s 34.4 hours work week.”

In 2016, Vin Scully retired as a play-by-play announcer for the Los Angeles Dodgers, a job he held for 67 years (when he started with the organization, in 1960, it was the Brooklyn Dodgers).  Mr. Scully is a legendary figure in sports announcing, and the length of his career is amazing.

Of course there is the gentleman who held a job with the same company for 80 years? To read about him, and other long-serving employees, please click here to be transported to the CNN Money story, “Meet the Vin Scullys of the American workplace,” published on September 26, 2016, and written by Ahiza Garcia.

Scariest jobs in the world?  On September 3, 2015, the news and entertainment site ScoopWhoop published an article,  “13 Of The World’s Scariest Jobs That Are Not For The Faint Of Heart.”  Written by Rohit Bhattacharya, the piece is an interesting read.

A note and teaser and spoiler here.  As listed in the article, the scariest job in the world – and among the reasons cited to support the ranking is that the job “makes up a third of all occupational deaths in Alaska” – is Alaskan king crab fisherman.  Coming in at number two on the list is … and this makes total sense … is piloting through a hurricane.

Then there are weird … strange … jobs. Dog surfing instructor, fortune cookie writer, and dog food taster are occupations (at least on a part-time basis) that you will find featured and described in the Business Insider story (published on July 10, 2015), “12 weird jobs you’ll be surprised to know exist,”  by Jacqueline Smith and Steven Benna.

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services believes that America is a nation whose marrow and soul is one that possesses a vibrant work ethic and inextinguishable fire that drives it to toil long and hard to achieve.

We also believe that no country on the planet provides more opportunity for those willing to work long and hard than does the United States of America.

Happy Labor Day to All!!