Sunday, April 26, 2015

Failure Coach by Wes Morgan - Available Now

Alan Edgewater finds himself a best-selling author and motivational speaker. His base of operations in St. Louis, Missouri allows him to stay somewhat grounded but with growing influence and aspirations he becomes something of a local industry. His team of advisors and a hapless mega lottery winner influence his marketing strategies as he builds on his business. At the core of his enterprise is the idea of embracing failure instead of fearing it. Surprising outcomes come as Alan lends his name to an unconditional scholarship program and the scholars provide insight into unfettered life choices. Alan’s journey and that of his close-knit associates create a tapestry of extraordinary events in this thought-provoking novel.

Wes Morgan is a marketing communications specialist whose career is built on a foundation of education (University of Miami B.A. and M.B.A.) followed by New York full-service advertising agency experience and marketing communications leadership roles in west, southeast and Midwestern regions of the country. Experience spans packaged goods; kids’ marketing; promotional planning and implementation; new product development and launches; business development; and more. As a corporate executive he lead corporate communications for A/E/C firms and global communications for a metal welding and cutting hard goods manufacturer. Morgan is founder of Morgan Studio/East, a firm dedicated to helping companies with planning, design and execution of sustainable strategic marketing communications. Morgan volunteers as docent at Laumeier Sculpture Park and is a substitute teacher and para-educator with the St. Louis Special School District. He is an avid writer of poetry, blogs, and strategy. He is husband to wife, Lynn and father to two remarkable adult children Lindsey Morgan Dewey and John Benjamin Morgan.

The novel, Failure Coach, is available now on now. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Docents Touring Docents

Of Mere Being
By Wallace Stevens

The palm at the end of the mind,
Beyond the last thought, rises
In the bronze decor.
A gold-feathered bird
Sings in the palm, without human meaning,
Without human feeling, a foreign song.
You know then that it is not the reason
That makes us happy or unhappy.
The bird sings. Its feathers shine.

The palm stands on the edge of space.
The wind moves slowly in the branches.
The bird’s fire-fangled feathers dangle down.
The incomparable Ann Bauer was as the edge of the parking lot as the scheduled tour began to assemble. The students from Washington University, St. Louis arrived in two or three separate cars. At least one had time considerations because she had return for an evening class. 10 students in all with Ann, two Laumeier docents in training and myself. Ann was already teaching the group with an overview of what the tour might include. She pauses only briefly to suggest that I would take the lead after she – on doctor’s advice – heads to the hospital. (My goodness, we are fortunate to have Ann as our kick off presenter, but by all means Ann, listen to your doctor. I am happy to take the lead and hopeful that Ann seeks appropriate medical attention. It seems reasonable for a ninety year old to do so – even if that ninety year old has the spirit of the very college students listening intently.)
Ann asked me to elaborate on the Jackie Ferrara second original. She wanted to make sure this tour included the Sam Durant Free Hanging Chain, the newly refreshed Donald Judd and what Ann referred to as the Juan William Ch├ívez ghost piece. I obliged Ann, in due time, over the course of the next 90 minutes. Along the way this group of youngsters exuded the joy of being outside together. They are docents too (at the wonderful Mildred Lane Kemper Museum located on their campus) – some for only a semester – and by show of hands most self identify as artists in their own right.
The youthful energy resulted in smart phone group photos, selfies, and childlike joy in discovering Ian Hamilton Finlay’s site specific Four Shades and finding Vito Acconci’s Face of the Earth. We walked around Charles Ginnever’s Crete as the views frame the lush green Spring landscape against the patina of Cor Ten Steel – an especially beautiful site this day because of the light and energy this group brings to the work.  
I assigned Of Mere Being as homework -- the Wallace Stevens Poem that inspired Richard Lobe’s Palm at the end of the Parking Lot along with the challenge to return to our sculpture park again and again. I hope they do. We are a better place for having them as guests.    

Contact: Allison Fricke
Work Telephone: (314) 935-5624 
Complementary Tour for Student Docents with
Allison Fricke, Assistant Educator @ Kemper. Collection Highlights Tour/Info on LSP Docents
Lead Docent:  Ann Bauer
Docent 2:  Wes Morgan (Q’s about Docent Program)
Docent 3: Loren Ludmerer/shadow
Docent 4:  Florence Kramer/shadow

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A message from Ron Unterreiner

To my HBE friends:

With the recent news that this company we all know well will cease to accept new business which ultimately will mean operate at a level somewhat foreign to all of us and/or drift off in a Colorado sunset in some manner, I started having many reflections.  Wes has inspired me to share some of these.  I promise to be brief which for all who know my writing style is a promise most likely to be broken.

I suppose many of these thoughts and reflections came about from reading all of Karen’s updates on Gary which triggered many memories.  Gary’s situation is so unfair as he deserved many good years outside of the pressures of high level design and construction.  We all wish we could wave some magic wand over Gary’s tangled up brain and bring him back to his cussin’, pleasin’, sometimes ornery personality.  Personally, I hold out some hope that one day in the future that will happen—time does wonders for many.

I wish there was some way to elevate the reputation of HBE in this marketplace as we (I am going to regress and use the word “we” which certainly includes anyone reading this) have made and continue to make such a significant impact on design and construction in the St. Louis region.  The talent that we brought to St. Louis is quite staggering really and there is not a week that goes by that I do not feel the presence of HBE employees helping to keep the design and construction business happening in our area.  On the massive Wash U/BJC Campus Renewal project, HBE alums have their stamp all over this building, both on the design and engineering side as well as the construction side.  Bill Wagner is one of the key leaders of ACW Alliance, the GC, and Dean Foth will be the lead field guy putting the pieces together.  I could quickly name a dozen more HBE alums that have shaped this project---one of the largest game changing healthcare projects ever in our city.  A little closer to home, Rhodey is about five weeks away from finishing over $35M of improvements at the St. Louis Zoo, all under the vision and the guidance of a kid (David McGuire) who used to  build models in our model shop.  And that ever changing campus at Wash U School of Medicine is all pretty well under the control of ex-HBE professionals who consistently treat all of their HBE brothers and sisters with respect.  Personally, all this HBE induced involvement throughout the St. Louis landscape makes me proud.

I have been missing from the halls on Olive since September of 99 and in my fifteen years of working in St. Louis since, I have watched, met with, worked with, reported to, drank with, lunched with and partied with innumerable HBE alums.  One thing that always hits me when I run across an old friend from the war (pretty close metaphor I suppose) is the level of professionalism, knowledge and work ethic as compared to many others in my path.  We hired some good people and no question, gave employees some outstanding lessons in healthcare design and construction.  You have to admit, we seemed to have no shortage of clients and projects to practice with.

Another observation would be that the quality of documents put out by HBE architects and engineers takes a back seat to no one.  The clarity, completeness and simplicity of our documents is something that others in our marketplace should emulate.  We certainly were not perfect but compared to what I deal with on a daily basis, believe me, we did a professional job and were a credit to our respective professions.  For sure we did not play the “alternate” game that seems to be the way of the times in this market and our addendums, seemingly many through the years, probably pales in number to what I see happening.  The recent Arch Museum project bid by City Arch River had over thirty addendums, sometimes two and three in one day right up to bid time.

I realize the times have changed and hard to compare one era or one client to another but the point I want to make to all ever employed at HBE is to always hold your head up high and be proud of your work and your time helping the clients of HBE realize dreams they never thought possible.  The company may wind down to a fraction of what it once was but there are hospital buildings across this land that never would have existed had it not been for the ability of this company to practice discipline in our work and work within budgets and schedules at no sacrifice to quality.  Through the many years we brought new life and hope to quiet country towns with simple, affordable buildings—buildings with interior spaces that met their needs and that worked well.  That is the way I see it anyway and I would sit and discuss nicely that opinion with anyone that wants to challenge it.

Fred was (I am sure still is) tough, demanding and often times off base when compared to conventional ways of doing business but I will always say that his business ideas were right on—it was simply the implementation of those ideas—the total inflexibility in that implementation—that made all of us toss and turn at night and seek work elsewhere.  What a shame—I always feel a sense of failure in that I was never able to change that over the years by way of my position at HBE and my relationship with Fred.  People are hard to change though; especially successful business people.  Personally, I define success in other ways; many of us do.  In my mind, HBE could have been so much better if we would have just backed off the pedal a notch but then none of truly know the answer to that thought. 

Nice of Wes to organize a site where we can share some ideas and some good memories.  I hope many do and I truly hope they are all positive.  I work hard in my business dealings to always talk high of HBE and our work and especially our impact on our local industry.  There is no reason to do otherwise.  To all still employed at HBE, when the time comes to exit due to lack of work, I can assure you that you have many friends on the outside that will guide you to continued employment.  If not, we will certainly share a drink and a story with you.  We all have plenty of stories.

To all those now employed at other firms or out and about realizing their dreams but reaching back now and then for memories, may we all enjoy the moments of life to come in good health, in peace and free of the stress we have all shared and may we always seek to extend a helping hand to those in need.

I wish all well that are closing down the shop and I sincerely hope that the days and months ahead will bring a soft ending for those still engaged.  You are still performing needed work for good clients that depend on you and that will not go unnoticed.

I hope to bump into many of you in the years ahead—it is always a pleasure.

Ron Unterreiner

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Do you want fries with that?

There’s a Starbucks Coffee right next to my office. I have been going there for coffee nearly every work day for the past year. I noticed recently that my usual dull “tall coffee” order is automatically triggering the cashier/barista to ask “Do you want anything from the pastry case?” I think it ought to be clear by now that I am a regular who just wants my morning Joe. Nothing more. Nothing less. Now, I know it’s tough to get by on the 400% markup on the coffee alone but I wish they would spare me the suggestive sell.
The practice of training employees to up-sell is pretty common these days. Maybe it started to become a widespread practice in the fast food business. But does anyone really need to be reminded that the burger place also sells French Fries?

How does all this relate to Marketing? Well, let’s face it “everything is Marketing” and the interaction you have on-premise is an important part of your brand personality and equity in your business. If there is a Marketing Research Student working on a doctorate out there searching for a study topic, how about “the erosion of the brand at point-of-purchase.” Surely you could win a PhD if you could quantify the damage we do at retail.

And it isn’t only the quest for an incremental sale. When you are at the airport, ticket counter people are so burdened with the routine Spanish Inquisition and national security they forget to tell you to have a nice flight. Surely there is a better way to handled routine checks and still provide friendly and efficient customer service.

And the cashier line at the grocery store is either going to ignore my “paper or plastic” preference or roll her eyes in disgust over my demand for paper. (It’s not a “green” thing with me, I would rather have bags that will stand up on their own than those flimsy plastic sacks.)

The point is simply this. We have to find ways to put humanity back into transactions. Let’s throw out the scripts and provide customer service with a smile. We’ll all feel better about the people and the brands for which they stand.