Of trains, buses and ferry boats
I enjoyed and agreed with Ray Marano's insightful perspective on Pittsburgh's underutilized waterways [Wrangled Wisdom, SBN Magazine, September 2001].
Pittsburgh is indeed blessed with three navigable rivers, all of which lead to the central business district. Outside of shuttles to sporting events (from a location already downtown), there are no water-based public transportation services in Pittsburgh.
I recently moved back to Pittsburgh from San Francisco, where there are several companies that provide ferry service to and from downtown. All of the ferry terminals are linked with public transportation so it is an easy matter to get to the waterfront to transfer.
Pittsburgh could easily create a series of terminals on each river with ample parking and connections to bus routes to get people downtown and up and down the rivers. The congestion on the roads would certainly be eased if commuters had a waterway option to get to work.
In addition, spending the morning looking over the rivers and their beautiful banks might just put workers in a better frame of mind to face the day's challenges. I'm sure, at the very least, that it wouldn't be any worse for commuters than staring at the back of a PAT bus for 45 minutes going from Greentree to the Fort Pitt Tunnel.
Of course, Pittsburghers are not usually accused of being early adopters or ones to embrace change. This is especially the case when it involves their morning routines.
Publicity campaigns and incentives for using the service would be necessary. Tie-ins with sporting events could be used to get people to try the service. If we are going to truly revitalize the North Side and downtown and make it an attractive place to live, we need to address not only how to easily get there but also how to get to the surrounding areas.
Ideas such as Mr. Marano's are definitely steps in the right direction.
Empowering Jim Liken
As former employee of Liken Home Medical and currently a small business owner, I am proud to say that I learned what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur from Jim Liken.
From his leadership training programs to his ''close the loop'' concept, he provided me with the foundation that allowed me to start my own business. I still use action plans and feel the burn when I don't close my loops.
I wanted to commend you on the article in September's issue. If anyone has a keen insight into what customers want and the immense importance of quality customer service, it is Jim Liken. He empowered me to become the co-owner of a very high quality reputable program, and it is encouraging to see that he continues to empower his employees today.
I am not surprised that, thanks to Jim's ability to empower anyone who comes in contact with him, and especially his employees, Respironics' stock has skyrocketed from $7.50 in October '99 to over $30 today.
As he stated in your article, ''Risk-takers are allowed to fail,'' and as long as your employees understand that and understand what the objectives are in order to honestly admit the failures and turn them into success, then you can't go wrong. His words of wisdom have reminded me what a true inspiration Jim Liken is not only to those who have been fortunate enough to work with him but also to those customers whose lives are better because of his focus, commitment and ability to empower others.
Wendy Long, CMC, CEO
The Caring Mission Inc.