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Opinion
Diamond Fiberglass exemplifies resurgence after a disaster

A slow-moving motorcade winds its way down Old Bloomington Road to the Port of Victoria. Leading the way are two of the largest vessels built by Diamond Fiberglass.

Upon arrival to a newly paved dock, Diamond Fiberglass President Don Porr emerges from his vehicle, positions a hard hat on his head and gazes upon the fruits of his labor as they are readied to embark on a journey across the Gulf of Mexico to Port Fourchon in Louisiana.

Diamond Fiberglass has rebuilt their company from nothing but a concrete slab after suffering from a fire during the summer of 2017 and a mere two months before another unexpected disaster would strike the region – Hurricane Harvey. And that seemed to be only the beginning of a series of unfortunate events for the company.

Despite Porr spending months to find a new bank to do the loan for the company after the previous one backed out, hiring a new contractor, bearing the blow of an increase in prices and losing employees due to the difficult conditions of their temporary facility, Diamond Fiberglass pushed forward and opened their new building in October 2018 stocked with brand new equipment and designed to operate more efficiently.

An important aspect of recovering from a disaster is having an appropriate plan in place. Adversity never occurs at a convenient time, but being prepared can help employees feel supported, reduce recovery time and help a business bounce back.

Here are the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s tips for small businesses recovering from a disaster:

  • Implement your disaster plan. Assess damage and consider if a backup location is needed.
  • Shift your team and leadership from preparedness to recovery.
  • Implement a communications strategy to ensure that the facts go directly to employees, suppliers, customers and the media.
  • Encourage employees to take appropriate actions and communicate.
  • Document damage, file insurance claims and track recovery.
  • Cultivate partnerships in the community with businesses, government and nonprofits.
  • Provide employee support and assistance.
  • Connect with chambers of commerce, economic development and other community support organizations.
  • Document lessons learned and update your plan.

Paul Cohen, co-owner of Diamond Fiberglass, attributes the company’s successful return to the relationships they had built with their customers and their ability to refer business to competitors while recovering.

Porr credits his strong workforce of 73 dedicated employees.

The orchestrated send-off of these two colossal vessels not only exemplifies the tremendous comeback of Diamond Fiberglass after hardship but also illustrates the strength and will of our community as a whole to recuperate after disaster.


Political cartoon for July 12


Opinion
Online comments
Online comments on 'Victoria County avoided bidding process because of Harvey emergency' from July 10

I think the Advocate’s reporting was fair and informative. Simply because Zeller couldn’t get something together to explain what he explained in the meeting doesn’t mean that the Advocate didn’t do its due diligence. And nobody was claiming that there was fraud or theft; simply that there were a lot of unknowns, which do nobody any good. We don’t want Victoria County to end up like a certain Port Authority Board, and sunlight is the best disinfectant.

Grace Butler

Grace – I agree with you concerning the VA reporting. The best sunlight would be for the matter to not just fade away. The VA also did a great job with that “certain Port Authority Board.”

Glenn Wilson

Online comments on ‘Goliad County commissioners vote down referendum for controversial tax after petition’ from July 11

Who pays the road and bridge tax, and how is it collected?

Glenn Wilson


Opinion
Words
Bible verse - Psalm 136:6-9; quote by John Ruskin

To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever. To him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever: The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth for ever: The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Psalm 136:6-9

“Let every dawn be to you as the beginning of life, and every setting sun be to you as its close.”

John Ruskin (1819-1900) was the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, as well as an art patron, draughtsman, watercolourist, a prominent social thinker and philanthropist;h e wrote on subjects as varied as geology, architecture, myth, ornithology, literature, education, botany and political economy


Opinion
Guest column
Cultivating creative minds for our students

What is creativity? How do you define it? Can you learn it or are you born with it? How do you cultivate a creative mind? Do you want to teach your kids to be creative thinkers? These are big questions and the answers are important.

Countless books have been written on the subject. We all heard that we lose our creativity the older we get, but I think we do that to ourselves. I’m not convinced there is a biological reason for this.

There are tips and tricks to get your mind into a creative state. There are some commonalities in cultivating a creative mind and there is also some uniqueness for everyone. I think it’s important we help cultivate creative minds for our students and our adults at Victoria ISD. That is part of the reason we created a “director of innovation” position in this past year. Creativity exists in the “space in between,” which is part of the reason I like task forces. Lots of people with diverse knowledge bases come together and will always find space in between where new ideas can grow.

I recently wrote a post on LinkedIn about impedance and energy flow. Here is a quick recap of that post:

Impedance is a measure of how a system resists the inflow of energy. A system can be changed to accept energy more efficiently by adding something called and impedance matcher. Machines depend on impedance matchers to move energy from one part of the system to another (ex. Automobile transmission, transformers, engines, etc.) A trumpet bell is the same principle (in reverse). Without the bell, much of the sound wouldn’t be able to couple with the air. I’m not aware of anyone in leadership or organizational theory who has applied the concept of impedance matchers to our work, but effective leaders have an intuitive sense about these things. Finding the key impedance matchers to transfer energy from one part of our organization to another, to magnify energy when appropriate, or dampen energy if necessary is key to managing organizational change. Start looking for it and you’ll find it everywhere.

It was a short post, and I got some interesting feedback from my network on LinkedIn. There is nothing inherently insightful about this post. I wrote it just to see if anyone in my network could point me to any reading that connected this concept from the field of engineering to organizational theory or leadership because that is what I’m interested in reading right now.

Lately, I’ve been reading a lot about various engineering concepts and relating that new information back to what I already know and do a lot (leadership and education). I am certain every one of you reading this experience creative insight nearly every day. I share the post above and my experience with “creative insight” only to make a point about creativity for our students. Creativity for adults and kids alike is a bit like a school playground. If we commit ourselves to becoming an expert in just one area, it is a like a playground with only a set of swings and nothing else. When we pursue our diverse and changing interests, passion and genius; we are filling up our mental playground with all kinds of ideas we can play with. In most instances, creative insights have come from people who can draw from any number of interests and find the spaces in between. This is where creativity tends to peak and ideas spark.

Back to the questions that started this article: How can a parent cultivate a creative mind in their child? Help them explore their interests and curiosities. Ask them what they are interested in. Ask them what they want to know more about. We don’t need to pin them down to a job or career interest or even a “passion.” If they have an interest, help them build a playground of knowledge. Then encourage them to make the time and space to play with ideas around the stuff they are interested in. It’s just that simple.

The more we cultivate a mind to learn new things and then play with those ideas, the more insightful and creative our kids become.

Enjoy the rest of your summer. Go be creative, and we’ll see you soon.


Opinion
Letter to the Editor
Reader invites others to play at Hatch Bend Golf Course

Editor, the Advocate:

Hatch Bend Country Club in Port Lavaca has recently installed a massive new irrigation system with an improved pond and pump system. The course has never looked better! I would like to remind everyone that Hatch Bend is a public country club that serves great food every Wednesday after the weekly 9-hole scramble. The scramble is a blind draw and starts at 5:30 p.m. The menu changes weekly. There is also a great pool available for members and their guests.

Russell Cain, long time member, Port Lavaca