Thursday, October 30, 2008

Partnerships matter

[From the Bangor Daily News]
Coastal Enterprises Inc., (CEI) a Wiscasset-based community development organization, has received a federal allocation of $112 million that will allow it to help finance small businesses and development projects in low-income communities.

“Coastal Enterprises continues to provide invaluable services to communities throughout Maine,” Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins said in a joint statement on Oct. 20. “Investing in affordable housing and community development in Maine’s rural and underserved areas will provide an opportunity for economic revitalization.”

You can read the rest of the BDN article here.

CEI is a private, nonprofit Community Development Corporation (CDC) and Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) with roots in the civil rights movement. Founded in 1977, the organization provides financing and support in the development of job-creating small businesses, natural resources industries, community facilities, and affordable housing. CEI's primary market is Maine, but, in recent years, has expanded several of its financing programs to northern New England, upstate New York and beyond.

Much of CEI's efforts occur "below the radar," without splash, or hoopla. Yet, without the work and efforts of this organization, it's hard to imagine what other organization, if any, would have picked up the slack over the past three decades.

Over the past two years, CEI has invested over $100,000 in local projects in the five counties (Androscoggin, Kennebec, Oxford, Somerset, and Franklin) of Area 3, partnering with the Central/Western Maine Workforce Investment Board. Because of this, our board recognized CEI's president, Ron Phillips, and Paul Scalzone, a project manager with CEI, with an annual Spotlight Award, at WIB's annual meeting, in October.

Phillips, Scalzone and CEI have been key community partners in the collaboration required to build private/public models of workforce development in the state, and have been a key player in our board's efforts to develop the requisite skills that Maine’s businesses are looking for.

[Ron Phillips and Paul Scalzone receiving a Spotlight Award from Director, Bryant Hoffman]

Friday, October 24, 2008

WorkReady gets positive press

The WorkReady program, an innovative soft skills training initiative, orginated in Central/Western Maine, received a nice write up in this morning's Bangor Daily News.

Reporter Sharon Kiley Mack, who covers the Mid-Maine beat for the newspaper, was in attendance yesterday, for the graduation ceremony, in Pittsfield, for 10 former shoe workers from the San Antonio Shoe factory that closed earlier in the year.

The well-written article begins,

Ten women sat on one side of a long table Thursday with their work portfolios and resumes proudly displayed in front of them. Their hair was recently styled, their makeup was in place and they were exuding self-confidence.

Together, the women represented more than 178 years of faithful service as employees of San Antonio Shoe. "I was there when they opened," said Frances Huff, 59, of Burnham. "I was there for 24½ years."

But earlier this year, SAS abruptly closed and moved its Pittsfield operation to its home base in Texas, and women who only had made shoes for most of their lives were suddenly faced with finding new jobs outside a factory setting.

You read the entire article, here.

For more about the Pittsfield WorkReady, check out this blog post, from the program's mock interview day, with local employers.

[Graduation photo]

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

New Mainers Workforce Partnership-L/A hosts first graduation

Back in April, a group of community partners got together and formed the New Mainers Workforce Partnership-L/A. The objective was workforce development and training and specifically, the focus was oriented towards designing a training program specifically targeted to non-English speakers.

In May, Maine's Department of Labor released a report, An Analysis of the Employment Patterns of Somali Immigrants to Lewiston, from 2001 to 2006. The report provided something more than anecdotal evidence of concerns that many had been voicing, concerning unemployment within the immigrant/refugee population in Lewiston/Auburn.

With the release of the report, the NMWP-L/A had hard data to warrant the efforts of a diverse group of local partners, representing the Central/Western ME Workforce Investment Board, Lewiston Adult Education, Coastal Enterprises, Inc., the Lewiston CareerCenter (MDOL), Catholic Charities of Maine, DHHS/ASPIRE, and STTAR (Refugee Acculturation & Self-sufficiency services) Consultancy.

Lewiston Adult Education did a remarkable job making key modifications to an existing, successful ready-to-work curriculum specific to the need to introduce workplace language skills to non-English speakers. Components of the ready-to-work training consisted of 60 hours of soft skills, with an additional 60 hours targeted towards cultural skills specific to helping trainees understand the ways of the American workplace.

[proud graduates display credentials]

Beginning September 8, 13 new trainees embarked on a rigorous six week training pilot, the first offered in Lewiston (Portland initiated a somewhat different pilot back in 2007). Four hours per day, this group of six women and seven men spoke in English, wrote in English, and processed all activities in English, all designed to improve their basic skills in preparation for employment and/or additional training.

While the majority of participants were Somali, other countries represented were China, Puerto Rico, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

[Two trainees pose for photo]

[Trainees and their two training facilitators/instructors]

During this six-week program, each week, a local employer came into the classroom and spoke for an hour about business practices, expectations of new employees, and opportunities at their place of business. These businesses represented manufacturing, customer service, staffing, and telecommunications. One week ago, nine local employers participated in two days of mock interviews, preparing each trainee with additional opportunies to hone an important aspect of getting a job, helping them with the nuances necessary for success.

Yesterday, 13 proud trainees were awarded credentials indicating completion of the seven standards of the curriculum at a ceremony at The Green Ladle, Lewiston Regional Tech Center's new culinary arts center.

All in attendance (which included several local businesses) could clearly see how pleased these trainees were of their efforts and the significant progress they had made. In fact, one young lady expressed her thoughts about the program by saying that completing the training was like moving from "darkness into light."

Funding for this program, as well as a second pilot to be offered in early 2009 came from Maine's Department of Labor, as well as Coastal Enterprises, Inc.; significant in-kind support also was contributed by the various partners, and members of Lewiston/Auburn's business community.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Entitlement America

When Gretchen Neels, a Boston-based consultant, was coaching a group of college students for job interviews, she asked them how they believe employers view them. She gave them a clue, telling them that the word she was looking for begins with the letter "e." One young man shouted out, "excellent." Other students chimed in with "enthusiastic" and "energetic." Not even close. The correct answer, she said, is "entitled." "Huh?" the students responded, surprised and even hurt to think that managers are offended by their highfalutin opinions of themselves.

So begins a recent article from the Wall Street Journal's Careers section, which adapted it from a new book by Ron Alsop, on the millennial generation in the workplace.

Alsop, who is a WSJ columnist, gives an in-depth profile of a generation, 80 million strong, and set to turn the world of work on its head, not to mention turning manager's hair gray. Born between 1980 and 2001, the youngest work demographic is a paradox of values and motivations--entitled and expectant, but also philanthropic and community-minded, not to mention, often possessing skills in abundance. The question becomes, how do we harness them in a way that they don't overturn the workplaces that aren't set up strictly for them?

Alsop's book reminds me that we seem to be in an entitlement phase at this time in America. Young and old alike seem to think that life owes them something more than an opportunity to access success.

I've been musing lately about where this attitude originates. It is certainly influencing our current race for president, as many are making their choice for the next leader of the free world entirely based upon, "what choice of candidates will do the most for me?"

While Alsop's book is focused on the younger set, an attitude of entitlement isn't reserved merely for those younger than 25. It infuses all stratas of the American demographic landscape, IMHO.

Maybe my thoughts on this subject have been influenced by my choice of reading material of late. I'm reading Studs Terkel's classic, Hard Times: An Oral History of The Great Depression, which was written in 1970.

I'm amazed by the stories in Terkel's book, about how our country, 75 years ago, was such a different place. Americans were tougher, able to withstand adversity and economic deprivation with a spirit that's long disappeared from our shores.

Today, every little inconvenience is fodder for a string of complaints, and an attitude permeated by expectation.

I'm old enough to remember men and women from my youth that told me stories similar to the ones in Terkel's book. Given that our own economy has taken a turn southward, I thought it might be time to revisit the past for some wisdom and coping skills. I haven't been disappointed.

One thing that I'm impressing on every person I counsel about work skills and what employers are looking for, is to focus on helping them create value, as well as modeling the right values. These two things, gleaned from the past, will serve anyone--millennial, Gen X, boomer, or traditional--well in the coming weeks and months.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Smart (growth) reading list

As the fall begins to fade, and the darkness of winter encroaches, it is time to think about reading material to get us through that period that The Tragically Hip referred to as "rent-a-movie weather," in one of their songs.

While movies are good, books, IMHO, are great.

Thanks to the good folks at GrowSmart Maine, you now have a great list of books to add to that holiday shopping list for friends and significant others. Even better, there's a link to one of Maine's great independent book stores, Books Etc.

There are two books on the list that I highly recommend.

I'm a history kind of guy, so Changing Maine: 1960-2010, edited by the Muskie School's Richard Barringer will provide valuable context for anyone that cares about our great state.

I've referred to this book often in my research on Maine. It includes a great assortment of essays from Charles Colgan, Lisa Pohlmann, Chris Potholm, David Vail, and others. Well worth the $20 you'll pay. I guarantee you'll be pullling it down off your bookshelf frequently.

A new bit of information about the book; an index has been created for the book, which the lack of had apparently generated criticism. As a publisher of books of my own and others, I know what type of effort is required to produce an index (and why I don't have one of my own for my first book, which regularly gets mentioned). Well one has been developed and can be accessed here.

The second book I'd recommend if shopping on a shoestring would be Stacy Mitchell's Big-Box Swindle: The True Cost of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for America's Independent Businesses. If you need ammo to answer friends and family's disdain and doubt when you tell them you don't shop at your local big-box, this is the book you'll go back to time and time again.

Mitchell lays the facts out so clearly, and in a readable way that its impossible to read this and not think twice about not supporting your local downtown retailer.

I plan on scoring several books from this list sooner, rather than later. I urge you to do the same.

[Name the Tragically Hip tune I reference at the top and I'll send you a copy of my latest book, Moxietown--I'll even sign it, if you like.--JB]

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Notes from Summit 2008

[This is my own highly subjective report from yesterday's GrowSmart summit, in Augusta. You can read an excellent and detailed account by Christian, at the GrowSmart blog.--JB]

I attended most of yesterday’s Summit 2008: Charting Maine’s Future, put on by GrowSmart Maine. I had been invited to LiveBlog the day’s events, but decided to forego lugging around a laptop, and instead, took notes and hope to recreate a summary of my experience based upon those.

This was my second summit. I attended last year’s, which was good, but I thought this one was more pertinent to what I do on the workforce side, and the morning breakout session I sat in on was excellent.

GrowSmart’s President, Alan Caron welcomed the attendees to the Augusta Civic Center for the day and set up the day well, drawing upon the past week’s economic issues, and emphasizing the importance of the work that his organization does. GrowSmart is unique in that it is a non-ideological organization that is committed to ensuring that Maine is able to maintain its uniqueness of place, while also emphasizing growth that is sustainable and tied to perpetuating the geography of place.

[GrowSmart Summit 2008 opening address by Alan Caron-McNeil photo]

There were two morning keynotes following Caron. Bruce Katz, from The Brookings Institution, lead author of “Charting Maine’s Future” report, gave a progress update on where Maine’s come since its release in 2006.

Jim Chrisinger, of Public Strategies Group talked about Maine can get beyond its perennial fiscal crises through government innovation.

You can read about both of the keynotes via Christian McNeil's live blogging from the conference. I’m going to focus on the morning breakout session, as the green economy is an area I’ve become particularly interested in.

Adaptation and Building a Green Innovation Economy featured a panel made up of Ned Raynalds, Union of Concerned Scientists, John Dorrer, director for the Center for Workforce Research and Information/Maine Dept. of Labor, and Commissioner John Richardson, Dept. of Economic and Community Development.

The breakout was well-facilitated by GrowSmart’s Bruce Hyman, and included opportunities for members of the audience to ask questions, and posit some of their own ideas about how Maine responds to climate change, high energy costs, as well as seizing opportunities to utilize green solutions in growing our state’s economy.

I’m going to focus mostly on the workforce emphasis of the panel. I don’t want to slight Mr. Raynalds, but you can read the gist of his orientation by reading, Confronting Climate Change in the U.S. Northeast fact sheet.

I thought Mr. Dorrer was particularly strong on the panel. He contextualized well the intersection of the often talked about, but rarely defined, green jobs. In the midst of our current financial crisis, Dorrer believes that looking forward could be Maine’s “salvation.”

Dorrer expressed concerns about the capacity and skill makeup of Maine’s current workforce. Given the state’s demographics, the state’s labor supply continues to be constricted. He spoke of the need for a “massive inflow of capital,” which he believes is necessary to “engineer our future.” Rather than the typical call by government officials merely for capital, Dorrer also indicated his belief that there must be transparency when it comes to accountability and by extension, accounting structures must be in place to provide that to taxpayers, as he said “we owe that to them.”

With so much hype being made about jobs that are green, what specifically are they? Dorrer maintained that “many of these new jobs will look like the old jobs.”

Engineers will be needed (for R & D) and fabricators will be required to construct alternative energy infrastructure, like windmills. To match the capacity that will be required to meet the opportunity, Dorrer believes that it is essential that many more Maine students are channeled into science and engineering, which currently is not happening. I agree with Dorrer’s views, but without some type of change in our current emphasis at the state level, this is not going to happen. This is very much tied to the idea that Maine needs to orient its education to where are jobs are in the future, and by-and-large, this isn’t occurring now.

Commissioner Richardson spoke about the book, The Clean Tech Revolution: The Next Big Growth and Investment Opportunity, saying that “Maine is positioned nicely” to seize upon many of the tenets of this book.

Richardson, who resides in Brunswick, cited the efforts to develop the former Brunswick Naval Air Station as a “center of excellence” for alternative energy and innovation.

Some of the audience comments were very good. One young man asked about “Maine’s load capacity” as a state. How many people can the state support and still maintain a sustainable level of growth?

Another young professional spoke about the need to “bridge the gap” between the green social movement and the economic development model that leans green.

Discussion about the amount of total household income Mainers spend for energy (40 percent) was talked about. This is a significant issue, as it impacts any discussion about growth.

Ron Phillips, president of Coastal Enterprises, Inc. mentioned that today’s green movement is similar to the 1960s movements for change that he came out of, as a boomer. He mentioned the need for both state and federal tax policy to be adjusted to “promote green policies.”

Brian Doyle, a business development specialist for DECD, said that Maine’s youth need to be encouraged to move into the area of skilled trades, the earlier the better.

Not to overly emphasize Dorrer, to the exclusion of others, but he talked about Maine’s hope for success in the area of green technology requiring a “systems solution” resonated with me. Maybe it’s because I’m confronted (and frustrated) daily by systemic issues affecting workforce development, but I recognize that Maine has to meet this challenge and seize this opportunity, or, as Dorrer said, we’ll face “dire consequences.”

The day wasn't all wonking and policy. There was time for socializing, also. I met Peter, from Future Freeport blog. At lunch, I saw old friends from my activist days in Portland. I spent lunch catching up with another friend who I see too little of. He works for a Maine-based environmental organization. We had a chance to talk about the conference, some of the issues we see related to sustainable growth, and since we are both baseball fans, we managed to work in some conversation on the night’s opening ALCS game between the Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays.

Joel Rogers, co-founder of The Apollo Alliance, gave the afternoon keynote, after lunch.

Rogers talk was entertaining, as he blew through his PowerPoint at warp speed. Rogers spoke about “Climate, Energy, and Prosperity.”

Rogers, who lives and works in Wisconsin, drew similarities between his home state and Maine in that its residents have an almost prejudiced passion for their home state and its uniqueness. Rogers asked two questions. What makes a region rich? What makes Maine worth fighting for?

Building on the views of others, like former governor, Angus King, Rogers cited Maine tremendous wind potential. He also spoke about how investment in jobs tied to alternative energy/energy efficiency could create good career ladders that Maine no longer has, with the loss of many of its traditional jobs.

I had to cut out after Rogers’ keynote, to wrap up my week at the office.

The conference was worthwhile and I came away encouraged that a vision about where Maine should be headed was clearly laid out. The key will be whether collaboration and leveraging of resources can be achieved.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Summit 2008: Charting Maine's Future

Tomorrow, I'll be at GrowSmart Maine's Summit 2008. I attended last year's informative conference and I'm looking forward to seeing old friends, meeting new ones and learning more about the state I love, and ways to keep Maine unique and special.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Training provides hope for former SAS workers

Maine’s economic realities can be tough on its people. Times have changed from when many were able to make a decent living in traditional industries like shoes and textiles. Those industries, if not completely disappeared, are on the road to extinction.

Pittsfield, Maine is a small community of just over 4,000, located 20 miles north of Waterville. Like many communities that built strong 19th century economies helped along by Maine’s abundant rivers and waterways, Pittsfield developed as an agricultural trade center, and later, textiles were introduced when the town’s first mill was erected in 1869. The Pioneer Mill was an economic anchor, producing textiles and jobs that helped Pittsfield prosper in the mid-19th century.

Like many Mainers, Pittsfield was often just a name on an exit sign on journeys I’d make northward to Bangor and points beyond. With no relatives, or any other pressing reason to jump off I-95, I knew very little about the community.

Back in 2004, while working as a freelance writer, I was commissioned to write an article for an online magazine for families. The article, about Maine’s summer festivals, gave me an opportunity to learn about the Central Maine Egg Festival, held every fourth Saturday in June.

While I didn’t get a chance to visit Pittsfield during the writing of the article, I made a point to drive through Pittsfield later in the year while doing research for my first book. I’m sure I may have been through the town once or twice before, but my early fall visit in 2004 helped me to appreciate the quaintness of the town, as well as recognizing that Maine Central Institute, the railroad station, and the town library were holdovers from a time when the community's econonomy was robust.

I first learned about San Antonio Shoes (SAS) several years ago when I was trying to find a pair of American made casual shoes for work. Buying American, particularly shoes, was becoming more and more difficult in early 2001. The salesperson at Thom McCann showed me a pair of SAS walkers that while not real stylish, were one of the most comfortable shoes I’d ever owned.

Back in 2003, I heard the news reports about the company surprising employees with Christmas bonuses of $1,000 for each year of service. Some employees got as much as $20,000 of holiday cheer.

The realities of capitalism sometimes are harsh, and never was this more apparent than for workers that were feted with holiday bonuses just five years prior, and then cast aside when SAS announced in April that it was closing its Pittsfield plant, transferring operations to Texas. Nearly 150 workers in Mid-Maine were affected.

[San Antonio Shoes in Pittsfield]

[Front of the SAS factory]

There are various protocols established to handle plant closures, involving Maine’s Department of Labor, the workforce system, legislators, and other community leaders. Because of the nature of the layoffs in Pittsfield, Trade Adjustment Assistance was available to workers affected. A National Emergency Grant provided funding to assist in helping workers transition.

The Central/Western Maine Workforce Investment Board has been offering the WorkReady program throughout its five counties, including Somerset County, which is the county that Pittsfield is located in. From discussions which originated with the Maine Department of Labor, local adult education officials, town leaders, a decision was made to offer Work Ready training to workers from SAS that were interested. In addition to some of the curriculum components that make up WorkReady’s 60 hours of soft skills training, an additional 20 hours of computer literacy was added, in an effort to give these workers the added technology skills required by almost all jobs prevalent in the 21st world of work.

On Monday, September 22, 10 former employees of SAS began the first ever WorkReady program comprised of workers affected by a layoff. Comprised entirely of females, most are looking to transition from manufacturing to some other industry.

On Thursday, we held our mock interview day where local employers visit our training program and conduct actual interviews with training participants, providing them with constructive feedback based upon each interview. Despite a day that began miserably, with torrential rains, and accommodating a fire drill at Warsaw Middle School, where the training is taking place, the ten employers were great sports and each trainee sat through four 30 minute practice interviews.

[WorkReady participants readying for their mock interviews]

Employers participating represented manufacturing, banking, customer service, hospitality, healthcare, and staffing firms. This diversity represented a positive dose of positive reality to a group of former shoe workers that just weeks before, were discouraged about the possibilities of finding new employment opportunities.

[Local employer interviewing a WorkReady participant]

Despite a great deal of doom and gloom perpetuated by national media, the reality in places like Pittsfield, Maine is that employers are looking to add employees, particularly those who can demonstrate the types of skills that these women will graduate the program with on October 23.
Programs like WorkReady, and in particular, this program facilitated jointly by MSAD 54 and MSAD 53 adult education, provide opportunities for workers with solid work histories the opportunity to quickly retrain and retool their skill sets. Even better, many are now seeing this as a terrific opportunity to possibly pursue a career that captures where their interests and passions reside.

While there has been much written of late about government that is negative, this program in Pittsfield is an example of taxpayer dollars being used wisely, conscientiously, and in a way that will offer real returns the investment.

Inquiries about the WorkReady program, and workforce development as it occurs in Central Maine can be made to the Central/Western Maine Workforce Investment Board at (207) 753-9026.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Postives helping to dispel the abundant pessimism

It’s easy, if one isn’t careful, to overdose on bad news. Too much television in the form of cable news, with its incessant drumbeat of doom and gloom political intrigue and partisan bickering can make it seem like the sky is ready to come crashing down upon us.

Granted, when the DJA dive bombs 700 basis points and your retirement account’s value plummets, it’s not easy to be a glass-half-full type of guy. But hey! It’s only money, right?

All frivolity aside, a few positive things have come across my desk that are worth noting.

Ideology aside, some type of rescue plan is coming down the pike, whether we like it, or not. Like most people that follow politics, I have strong opinions about the subject. My hope is that a plan is put together that benefits the majority of taxpayers, and also recognizes that Wall Street and financial services only make up six percent of the country's workforce.

I’ve been far too busy to mention that two weeks ago I attended the Maine Development Foundation’s Annual Meeting for the first time. The Augusta Civic Center’s main auditorium was filled with a veritable who’s who of movers and shakers in Maine. Even better, I ran into many friends, and others I haven’t seen for awhile.

Highlights for me were Shannon Haines, executive director for Waterville Main Street, being awarded the Ken Curtis Leadership Award. Shannon is an example of the kind of young professional energy Maine needs more of. She epitomizes passion for healthy downtown communities, and is about the right kind of vision, IMHO, for keeping our downtowns vibrant. Her remarks upon accepting the award challenged those in the room not to give into sprawl and big-box development, and support local businesses and the kind of community that Waterville is striving to be.

[Waterville Main Street's Shannon Haines with her Ken Curtis Leadership Award]

The Advanced Engineered Wood Composites Center at the University of Maine was the recipient of the public/non-profit sector Champion for Economic Development Award. AEWC Director, Dr. Habib Dagher, accepted the award and got everyone in the room fired up about the good things happening in wood-nonwood composite technology, at the University. Dr. Dagher showed why the AEWC is truly one of the state’s real success stories that far too few know about. If you haven’t been to the center, you need to make a point to visit and have a tour.

[Dr. Habib Dagher getting passionate about AEWC]

I was in Pittsfield this morning, attending the Somerset County Transition Team meeting, at the Pittsfield Town Office. Afterwards, I visited our WorkReady program, meeting at Warsaw Middle School. The 10 women that are participating, were not the same women I met two weeks ago, Monday, when I drove to Pittsfield for our informational meeting presenting this training opportunity to a group of laid-off shoe workers from San Antonio Shoes. I’ll be going back tomorrow to welcome 10 local employers who will be participating in our mock interview day. This was another reminder that despite an economic downturn, Maine’s employers are still looking for workers that know how to work, and can provide value. When these candidates graduate, October 23rd, they’ll be an asset to any employer that hires them. (I’ll be posting in the future about our mock interview day)

Lastly, staying on the positive track, I want to encourage anyone that hasn’t signed up for GrowSmart’s Summit 2008, to do so. The Summit takes place, Friday, October 10, in Augusta. Attendees will find out where we are at charting our future, and whether we’ve made progress since the release of the Brookings Report, Charting Maine's Future, in 2006. Joel Rogers, from the Apollo Alliance, will be the afternoon keynote. He’ll be speaking on “Building a Green Innovation Economy in the Face of Energy Challenges and a Changing Climate.” I’m looking forward to hearing his thoughts on this subject that is close to my heart and an area of passion for me. I’m slated to be doing some live-blogging from the event, so stay tuned.

Maine is far from perfect that’s for sure, but there’s more to our state than just high taxes and lack of economic opportunities that far too many harp on ad nauseum. Our state offers a measure of life quality that most points south of here don’t have. For too many of the “locals” however, I fear that it has become a classic case of “you don’t know what you got, ‘til it’s gone.” People love to complain about the Pine Tree State, but when viewed from afar (or from a plane, upon one’s return), it’s not out of the ordinary to find oneself reciting Dorothy’s mantra, “there’s no place like home.”

[Almost forgot--Dr. Jack Shonkoff's keynote at the MDF Annual Meeting--get the tape if you can; amazing stuff!!--JB]