It’s a Small World

Greg Kozera

Shale Crescent USA facilitated a Zoom conference this week bringing together two companies we have been working with. This was an introductory call. What made it unique is we had 12 people on the call from the two companies in many different locations in the USA, Europe and in Asia. Everyone could see each other. It was almost like being in the same room. Fortunately, everyone spoke English, the language of business. As facilitator I could observe the interaction between people of different companies, countries, cultures and ethnicities, most of whom were total strangers at the beginning of the call. They worked and communicated well.

The participants quickly recognized the synergy between their two organizations and the potential win-win opportunities. After signing a NDA there will be additional calls and ultimately face to face meetings. If all goes well, they will create economic growth and new high wage jobs in our region. Technology has made the world a much smaller place. Zoom and other video conferencing services were unique before the pandemic. The pandemic made video conferences commonplace. Video conferences are now routine for Shale Crescent USA. This call had more attendees than normal. The major cable media seem to prefer to focus on our differences. These two companies focused on what they have in common and how they can work together. A lesson for everyone.

Because of business, Lynnda and I have friends all over the world. At an economic development event three years ago, we met Moazzam, a business owner from Pakistan who wants to expand to the USA. His wife was with him and Lynnda was with me. The women sat together and found they had a lot in common. In addition to their families, Moazzam’s wife is a doctor and Lynnda is a Registered Nurse. We connect with Moazzam and his wife routinely. He is still planning to expand to the USA but the pandemic slowed things down. They are planning to return to the USA later this year.

From our travel to places like Japan and meetings, we now have friends all over the world. Governments are different and sometimes can’t get along. We find people around the world are more alike than different. They care about their families and friends. People want to live in peace. Russian parents don’t want to see their sons and daughters go to war and don’t know what to do about Putin. People want clean air and clean water. Our European friends are worried about freezing this winter. The most googled term in Germany is “firewood”. Their utility bills have gone through the roof. At a conference in Chicago in April a French CEO said all Europeans will be driving electric cars in 10 years. This reminded me of Marie Antoinette the last Queen of France, when told “The peasants had no bread.” she said, “Let them eat cake.” She lost her head in the French revolution. If Europeans can’t pay their utility bills how can they afford a new electric car.

What happens in Europe, Africa and Asia impacts us. I never thought about it before. It was out of sight and out of mind. As we meet and have friends in countries around the world it becomes personal. A ship stuck in the Suez Canal raised prices here in the USA. The Ukrainian war has taken a human toll but has also impacted energy and food prices globally.

Many of the products we import have been historically cheaper to make overseas in part because they don’t have to deal with the USA’s tough environmental standards. Since 2005 our imports from China have more than doubled. These are everyday household products, clothing, shoes, flooring, healthcare products, medical equipment and pharmaceuticals. These are products we can’t live without. The Chinese have added electric capacity from coal and increased coal mining liberating tons of methane to meet our needs.

I’m not a big fan of the Chinese government but I love the Chinese people. They are intelligent and hard working. I have spoken to a number of Chinese groups visiting the USA thru an interpreter. They loved my soccer stories. I’m the “coach”. Their pollution including the radioactive lakes from refining rare earth metals is in large part to supply our needs. Our air and water are cleaner because many of our products are made overseas. Is this morally right? In an article by the Union of Concerned Scientists, they said according UNICEF & Amnesty International 40,000 children are involved in cobalt mining in Democratic Republic of Congo. That seems like a lot of children. Even if the number is much smaller it doesn’t make it right. If we are going to use cobalt to make our batteries should we mine it here? We have the resources. Our environmental regulations are much tougher. Should companies buying cobalt take some of responsibility.

I never thought about these things until we started having friends around the world. We have friends and family in Florida that we checked on during Hurricane Ian. All were okay. When things happen around the world we check on our friends like Moazzam.

If the two companies we connected on the Zoom call this week are successful, they will be working together to make a product our region currently imports primarily from China. They will lower the cost for consumers in our region. They will create high wage jobs. They will create a cleaner planet and a lower carbon footprint by operating under U.S. environmental law, eliminating ocean transportation, using U.S. raw materials and energy. The world has gotten smaller. People are more alike than different. Working together we can create a cleaner, safer, more just and abundant world. We can feed the world and raise living standards. We might even make some friends in the process.

Greg Kozera, [email protected] is the Director of Marketing and Sales for Shale Crescent USA. (You can follow SCUSA on Facebook) He is a professional engineer with a Masters in Environmental Engineering and over 40 years’ experience in the energy industry. Greg is a leadership expert, high school soccer coach, professional speaker, author of four books and numerous published articles.

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