Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Two things in Little Rock

Last night my wife and I attended the banquet in Little Rock at which the Governor's Awards for Quality were presented to Arkansas corporations. One of the Governor's Award winners is a name that woodworkers will recognize as being the maker of the best electric motors in the US. Baldor.

Baldor motors have a reputation for quality and reliability, so it is no surprise that they could earn this prestigious award. Many of their best motors are made in Arkansas.

The Arkansas Quality Awards, presented by the Arkansas Institute for Performance Excellence has grown into a pretty big deal since I was first involved in designing the award base 20 years ago. I was pleased to see photos and short videos showing corporate CEOs in their offices with their quality awards proudly displayed, and last night 3 companies received the top award. I felt awkward in such a large crowd, but it was nice to look up at the stage and see three award bases I had made lined up in a row to be presented by Arkansas Governor Beebe.

We also went to the Clinton Museum Store, and I was reminded of when then Governor Bill Clinton bought some of my inlaid boxes to carry as gifts of state on a trade mission to Asia. It seemed to me that selling those boxes through the museum store would be an obvious hit. One of the best business decisions I made as a craftsman was that of working with woods from my home state, and emphasizing their beauty and value. Ironically, the small inlaid boxes and my making the Arkansas Governor's Award for Quality are connected.

Twenty years ago, I got a call from Barbara Harvel, then director of the Arkansas Quality Awards program just starting in Arkansas. She told me that my name had been given her as a possible designer of the Award base. She wanted to see a sample of my work, I told her that I had made small boxes for Governor Clinton that were for sale in Little Rock. She looked down on her desk, and said, "Oh, like this?" She turned over the Doug Stowe box on her desk that had been given to her by her husband Paul and discovered my signature underneath. That coincidence clinched the deal.

I know this blog post has all been rather chatty. My point is simple. We tend to take things apart in our minds, noting the differences between two things. The truth is far less complex.

Make, fix and create...

1 comment:

  1. Doug, What do you use to sign your work? I find that ink is often smeared by the solvents in many finishes, such as shellac or lacquer.