Posted: August 2, 2015 in Uncategorized
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This will appear in the Bernice Banner, Bernice, Louisiana, USA the week of Aug 3rd, 2015

In a time of increased government oversight and regulations it’s time to step back and view proud moments in our past that have made us so great. I have been fortunate enough to have spent many years in a profession that I totally love. This is project management and includes design, procurement and construction projects. Some of these projects were extremely large and I have a deep respect for all the effort required to get a facility from the drafting board to a finished building or plant. I sit in amazement at some of the accomplishments our forefathers performed as they build our great country. One of these is the Empire State Building.

For many years the Empire State Building was the tallest building in the world. Then the Sears tower claimed that title but the Empire State Building remained the tallest in New York City until the World Trade Center claimed that prize. The events of 9/11 reinstated the Empire State Building as the tallest building on the New York skyline. Eventually the building lost its dominance when the reconstructed tower at the Trade Center was capped at an elevation greater than the Empire State Building.

The supremacy of this building and the romantic nostalgia that has been captured in movies and books is not the true accomplishment of the Empire State Building. Movies such as Sleepless in Seattle with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan meeting on the observation deck and Faye Rey being carried up the wall by King Kong has placed the Empire State Building into the common language of Americana. This is not its’ real claim to fame. The part of the story of this structure that I stand in awe of is the fact that from the time that the first draftsman sat down to begin the design until the final piece was put into place on the structure took only eighteen months. Construction was accomplished in thirteen months. This is an example of American enterprise and ingenuity at its best. It took eighteen months to perform an impact study of the Keystone Pipeline only to hear that the project needed to be restudied and rerouted. The Empire State Building was completed in 1931 at a time that regulations were few in quantities.

Ironically, key individuals that helped to build the New York monument to our ingenuity had ties to our local area. Al Smith was president of the Empire State Building Corporation. In 1928 he was the Democratic nominee for president. His campaign manager was Franklin Roosevelt. A secret agreement with the Louisiana Delegation helped to insure that Smith received the nomination. The individual that provided a large amount of the construction material for the building was Jim Farley. Farley was an organizational genius. He merged a number of small material suppliers and formed a large supply company. Al Smith then used Farley to provide the material for the construction of the Empire State Building. Farley was also instrumental in the growth of the United States. He was Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s campaign manager for President. Farley then became the Post Master General and was instrumental in building the air mail service. This action helped to build Delta Air Lines. Farley would later become the Chairman of the Board for the Coca Cola Exporting Company after falling out of favor with Roosevelt.

These men and others like them displayed the leadership it took to build our country. While I was researching one of my books I came across correspondence where Farley had asked about the political climate in Louisiana and specifically asked about individuals from the north Louisiana area. At one time the North Louisiana area held prominence in the politics and direction of the country.


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