Giving Back: Truckin’ For a Cause (NOLN)

Cover Feature of Amalee Mueller for NOLN, Oct. 2018.

Save the Racks NOLN (Article PDF)

Article Link

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Hiring Workers In a Tight Labor Market (NOLN)

NOLN article/Sept. 2018

Last May, the U.S. unemployment rate dipped below 4 percent, the lowest it had been in 18 years. June’s rate ticked up to just over 4 percent, but the current tight labor market is here to stay. This is posing problems for anyone hiring both skilled and unskilled labor. All industry sectors are affected, especially those with a customer-facing component, like the quick lube industry.

In an interview with Marketplace, Tony Lee, vice president and head of talent acquisition at the Society for Human Resource Management discussed how companies are going to have to adapt.

“Companies are scrambling to try and find the right people for the right positions,” he said. “A lot of companies are realizing they’re going to have to change their standards a little bit.”

For industry leaders like Valvoline Instant Oil Change (VIOC), they’ve recognized this need to change. As the second-largest quick lube business in the U.S., closing in on 1,100 locations nationwide, that means adaptation.

Read the rest of the article:

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Bucksport: Life After The Mill (Island Journal)

Cover-2018 Island Journal

Bucksport: Life After The Mill(PDF)

[Article for Island Journal (2018), produced by Maine’s Island Institute for their Innovative Waterfronts/Waterfront Innovators issue]

Bucksport: Life After The Mill
by Jim Baumer

Maine has endured a litany of paper mill closures in recent years. These have been devastating to the communities that leaned heavily on the jobs and tax base these mills provided. But only one town moving into the state’s post-paper era can leverage its rich coastal assets.
When Bucksport’s Verso paper mill closed in 2014, eliminating 500 jobs, the community was already at work embracing a future that includes new uses of its waterfront, while leaning on an outside nonprofit to help the community find its new heart and soul.
Still, the demise of a mill whose history dates back to the 1930s, isn’t easily glossed over. Some of the pain and loss has been captured powerfully by the town’s “poet laureate for life,” Pat Ranzoni, in her collection STILL MILL: Poems, Stories & Songs of Making Paper in Bucksport Maine 1930 – 2014.
In her introduction to STILL MILL Ranzoni wrote,
“…what was happening in the Bucksport area was part of a larger, state and country-wide loss of industry just as the coming of our paper mill had, in the first place, contributed to the industrialization of the Penobscot River, of the State of Maine and of the United States.”
Losing a legacy industry can cause people to “get stuck.” Moving on often becomes difficult, but Bucksport’s response seems different. It may be because Bucksport hasn’t seen itself as a traditional mill town for a while, but rather, a town with a mill.
Andy Lacher, owner of BookStacks on Main Street, and a downtown retail fixture since 1997, has seen downtown hold its own, even as the fortunes of the mill have declined.
“While it might seem counter-intuitive, I’m seeing more business now, then when the mill was open,” said Lacher.
When Lacher launched BookStacks, he was one of just three retail stores along Main Street.
“Now there is a tanning salon, a wine bar, a gift and card shop, the Alamo (theater) is showing films regularly—downtown hasn’t dried up without the mill,” he added. Continue reading

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Chatting With the SheCANic, Patrice Banks (NOLN)

My June 2018 book review and interview for National Oil & Lube News.

SheCanic-PatriceBanks

Women in the Industry-Patrice Banks (NOLN, June)

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The Nuts and Bolts of Offering Total Car Care to Your Customers (NOLN)

My March 2018 article for National Oil & Lube News on how Fast Lubes can enhance what they offer their customers by embracing the total car care model.

March 2018 article on Total Car Care for National Oil & Lube News

PDF article march 2018

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OpEd in Memory of My Son

This is the Maine Voices OpEd published in the Portland Press Herald the day before the first anniversary of the death of my son, Mark Baumer.

Mark Baumer’s life and final walk offers all of us an example and a model of how to live our lives in the midst of a crumbling nation, led by a president intent on imposing authoritarian rule. Our own state has a governor who along with our president thinks it’s 1950 and that oil and gas is the energy plan for the future. Mark mentioned leaders like these, who seek “profit as the world burns.”

Mark didn’t have a “woe is me” mindset. On his final walk, he had to push through pain, dealing with cold (in Ohio), and a host of other challenges. Yet, he got up every morning for 101 days and showed us a way forward. If not for the actions of a driver in Florida, I have no doubt Mark would have finished this epic walk. He left behind videos, blog posts, and poems from his trip. Better, I think he provides a way for us to #resist, one where small acts add up to something much greater.

While Mark didn’t see what he was doing as heroic, anyone who isn’t wearing ideological blinders, or lacking a heart should admire the way he lived his life with honesty and compassion. He was a one-of-a-kind young man and we are missing him the day before the one-year anniversary of his death.

Mark Baumer at Textron World Headquarters, Providence, RI

Continue reading

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Increasing Profits By Reducing Waste (NOLN)

My December 2017 article on increasing efficiency for National Oil & Lube News.

Increasing Profits by Reducing Waste (NOLN)

Increasing Profits by Reducing Waste (NOLN)

NOLNjbaumerDec

Article Link

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Taking Convenience to the Next Level Co-branding Your Business (NOLN)

NOLN Nov2017

Taking_Convenience_to_the_Next_Level

(Article Link: National Oil & Lube News)

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Lighting Up Your Wash and Shop (NOLN)

October, 2017/National Oil & Lube News

October, 2017/National Oil & Lube News

Lighting_Up_Your_Wash_and_Shop

(Article link: National Oil & Lube News)

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Fresenius is Open for Collaboration (ABQ)

[Written for American Builders Quarterly]

For decades, corporations in the United States had a stereotypical look and design.

Traditional work spaces were built to house people doing their own tasks. But just as technology, globalization, and shifts in the 21st century culture of work have transformed employment, these same factors are also leading to changes in physical spaces.

Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA) is headquartered across four different campus locations in Waltham and Lexington, Massachusetts. The company, which is focused on offering high-quality care to people with chronic renal conditions, is also the world’s only fully vertically integrated renal company. The physical plant houses specialty pharmacy and laboratory services, clinical, and product development, as well as manufacturing, marketing, distribution, and other departments.

In renewing its leases, Fresenius was able to ensure its current footprint for the next 12 years. This also appeared to be the ideal time for corporate team members to examine ways to “open up” the current work environment.

“There has been a company-wide push toward creating a more vibrant, open space, recognizing that it will lead to greater collaboration across work teams,” says John Gioioso, senior director of corporate building operations and real estate at FMCNA. “Clearly, this is the direction that tech companies like Google have gone in. But even traditional industries and companies are seeing the benefits in opening up their work places.”

While Gioioso does not believe one will see employees at Fresenius tossing around footballs anytime soon, he and his corporate team partners believe that there are benefits to drawing people out of their traditional workspaces and into common areas. Enhancing communication is one of them. It’s also a nod to recognizing the changing dynamics and demographics commonly found in the workplace. Continue reading

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