Paul Volcker was a great man

The world as we know it has drastically changed in the past few years. The COVID-19 pandemic, a rare and unexpected black swan event, has brought about unprecedented challenges and has left an indelible mark on society. While trends can provide useful insights and information about the future, the pandemic has shown us the importance of recognizing the potential for black swan events and being prepared for the unexpected.

In this post, we will reflect on the past and learn from it, including the legacy of Paul Volcker, a towering figure in economics and finance. We will also pay tribute to the brave men and women who have risked their lives to keep us safe during these uncertain times. As we continue to grapple with the effects of the pandemic, it’s essential to remember those who have been affected and to acknowledge the sacrifices of those on the front lines. So join me as we delve into the past and present, and strive to find hope for the future amidst the chaos of this black swan event.

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March 2020 ~ at the usual quarantined family dinner the other night, my daughter Elise asked me what it was like during the 9.11 crisis compared to COVID-19. We’ll get to that shortly.

Late December 2019 I read an article about Paul Volcker after his death. The article on Volcker was a chronology from 1979 to present and a summation of the five past presidents and economic times.  It got me thinking about writing something based on that article as it relates to my life and most of my Baby Boomer friends or Yuppies as we were known, amidst my own economic turbulent times and current. As I was finishing the last edit, COVID-19 hit. The author’s historical perspective on Volcker got me thinking about how our President is handling things, along with the Fed, the SBA, congress and the senate. And the current SBA loan program including the Payroll Protection Plan (PPP), Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), the Main Street Lending program (MMS) and a host of other solutions, all attempt to right the ship. So here is my perspective on the current situation and my thoughts for the last 40 years of my life and ending with other historical crisis situations. I’ve enjoyed countless conversations with my friends inserting their own chronological perspective since Volcker’s entry to the world stage in 1979.

I’ll spare any political observations. It’s not my place nor necessary to comment on how leaders are handling things. This post includes my observations, thoughts and research on past and current statistics such as unemployment, the stock market, the GDP, and inflation. Now we watch the new stat, the death and hospitalization curves and the “when we’ll return to normalcy.” ZOOM meetings, masks and gloves, and social distancing have been the new norm.

The most current, Phase seven ~ the current COVID-19 and Saudi-Russia oil fight. 

Global widespread virus, layoffs and shutdowns have been the new norm.  Donald Trump was our president, Jerome Powell remains Fed Chair and our Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuncin are all-navigating a plethora of government programs, both at the federal and state level. Stock gains in Trump’s reign have been totally wiped out just like the decrease in NASDAQ in 2002. While the immediate effects of our current health and economic situations are impacting our daily lives, we see an even larger impact happening from the enormous stimulus and bailout packages that are going through Federal and State legislatures. The CARES Act, EIDL, and the Main Street lending programs are now enacted and many business owners have received  funding, while others sit and wait on phase two of additional government approved funds.

I expect that certain industries anticipate new solutions that will become even more compelling as people may need to change work and daily life patterns. With the need for governments to spend on COVID-19, the tax dollars for newer disruptive projects are going to be questioned even more so.

For 2019, unemployment was 3.5%, the GDP was 2.3% and inflation was 2.3%. The unemployment rate continues to skyrocket and set daily records and the rate is expected to reach or even exceed 10%.


Before the pandemic hit, as of February 2020, The BLS household survey showed that the US unemployment rate fell 0.1 percentage points in February 2020 to 3.5%. The unemployment rate peaked in October 2009 at 10.0% and is now 6.5 percentage points lower. From a post peak low of 3.5% in September 2019, the unemployment rate has now risen by exponential historical highs.

And here is an interesting statistic. As of April 15, 2020

Other historical crisis situations

The Vietnam War and the Blizzard of 77

I was too young, other than I kind of knew about Vietnam and the only reason I list the blizzard of 77 is everything was shut down for a week including a driving ban.

1980 ~ U.S. presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan reigned from August 1979 to August 1987 Paul Volcker was an American economist and was Chairman of the Federal Reserve.  Alan Greenspan took the reins a month before black Monday. We’ll get to that shortly. Upon Volcker’s reign, it was 1980 for me then while he was in charge. I finished college at the University of Buffalo. Interest rates on mortgages were 13.5%.  In 1981 I debated moving to Texas as things were booming there. We stayed in Buffalo, the interest rate on our first house was at 13.5% and unemployment was at 7.5%. I had three jobs during this phase and we had our first child in 1982. We bought our first house in 1985 and life was good. $33,000 was all we could afford at 13.5% interest rates.

1987 ~ Black Monday Ronald Regan was the President and Alan Greenspan took over as Fed Chair in September. The stock market crashed on October 19, 1987. There was a sudden and drastic unexpected stock market crash that struck the global financial market. The DOW fell 508 points (22.6%).  We got an 8% mortgage on our second home and I felt like we won the lottery.  Unemployment rates were at 5.7%, the GDP was 3.5%, and inflation was 4.4%. George H.W. Bush became president in January of 1989 after Regan’s eight years at the helm.

The real estate downturn in the 1990s ~ George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton were presidents in this era and Alan Greenspan was Fed Chair from 1987 to 2007. The introduction of S & L’s and often-inexperienced lenders led to the collapse of the commercial real estate markets in the 1990’s. Empire of America and Goldome were great clients and both bit the dust. Unemployment skyrocketed and layoffs were everywhere. The good news is legislation led to the passage of the Financial Institutions Recovery, Reform and Enhancement Act (FIRREA) of 1989. That legislation, aimed at bailing out the S & L industry, established the Resolution Trust Corp, which provided efficient selling off the bad commercial mortgages from the likes of Empire and Goldome.  That was a huge boom for our temporary staffing division and we flourished with placing the likes of many laid off workers. In 1991, the unemployment rate was at 7.4%, GDP was -.01% and inflation was YOY for December was 3.1%. We were at war, The Bills made it to the Super Bowl and I witnessed Whitney Houston singing the national anthem in Tampa and Scott Norwood’s wide right. A few years later life was good and the economy was flourishing. Sir Timothy Berners Lee and his team of scientists brought the World Wide Web to the globe for free and it was a remarkable run until 9/11.

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Five of the last six Presidents

9/11 ~ Tuesday September 11, 2001 ~ George W. Bush was the president; Alan Greenspan was still the Fed Chair.  Mortgage rates were 6.82% and unemployment was 4.9%, the GDP was 1.0% and inflation was 1.6%.  George W. threw a fastball at Yankee Stadium shortly after 9/11 on 10.30.01 , and America went back to war and stayed at work.

The 2001 dot-com bubble, or the dot-com boom ~ George W Bush was president Alan Greenspan was the Fed Chair. I was engaged in our staffing companies during this period where excessive speculation in Internet related companies sparked a period of massive growth. From 1995 to 2000, the NASDAQ rose 400% only to fall 78% from its peak by October 2002 washing out all its gain by 2002. Mortgage rates were 6.0%, the GDP was 1.7%, unemployment was 5.7%, and inflation was 2.4%.

2007-2008 subprime mortgage crisis ~ There were three presidents in this phase, George W. Bush, 2001 to 2009, Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017, and Donald Trump from 2017 to present. There were also three Fed Chairs, Ben Bernacke from 2006 to 2014, Janet Yellen took over as Fed Chair in 2014, nominated by Barack Obama, and in 2018 Jerome Powell nominated by Trump to be Fed Chair and confirmed by the senate on February 5, 2018. Mortgage rates peaked at 5.4% and unemployment rates peaked at 10% the GDP was -.01% and inflation was .01%. Many eager job seekers simply gave up looking for employment.  Needless to say, our temp business sustained and it was a rough few years finding people permanent jobs. The subprime mortgage crisis occurred between 2007 and 2010. Home prices declined after the collapse of the housing bubble spearheading mortgage delinquencies, foreclosures and devalued housing prices. Household spending declined and hiring freezes were ablaze. Tom and I took a two-week trip to Hong Kong and China exploring the possibility of an offshore IT programming entity. We all somehow survived the subprime dilemma.

Fed Chairs

Fed Chairs from 1979 to 2018: Janet Yellen, Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke and Paul Volcker

The Great Depression …began in September of 1929 on Black Tuesday worldwide was October 29,1929. My dad was one year old and my mom came two years later. We’ll get to her comments shortly. The depression lasted until the late 1930’s so mom will have a good perspective from her parents’ point of view. Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt were the two Presidents during this era of decline. Both my grandparents were crop farmers and farms and rural communities were especially hard hit with crop prices falling 60%.  The good news for my grandparents is they were primarily self-sufficient as they also raised egg laying chickens, dairy cattle, hogs and a fully efficient greenhouse.  Other than clothing, sugar and gas for the equipment, they fared ok and lived on the land.

Here’s a quote from my mother  “Joe  ………my  Mother told me a lot of other farmers in the area lost their farms………they were fortunate not to.   I asked how everything  was and she said  “not so bad as everyone was in ‘the same boat’, one had any money”.   That sounds like what we’re going through now.     The  loss of lives is a tragedy  here!        Love ya, Mom”

Worldwide GDP fell by an estimated 15% compared to just 1% during the 2008 – 2009 recession. The negative of the Great Depression lasted until the start of WWII. International trade fell by 50% while unemployment peaked at 23%.

Farm House

A hundred + years ago ~ The Spanish Flu

Or also known as the 1918 flu pandemic which wreaked its havoc from January 1918 to December 1920.  It infected 500 million people and estimates were never confirmed and deaths were estimated to be anywhere from 17 to 100 million lives putting its stamp on one of the deadliest pandemics of all time.

Amidst the Spanish Flu, World War 1 ended November 11, 2018 and Woodrow Wilson was our President. Neutral Spain’s King Alfonso XIII contracted the flu and that situation gave rise to the naming of the flu. In April of 1919, our president was stricken with the Spanish Flu while he was embroiled in Post World War 1 negotiations with the French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau and British Prime Minister David Lloyd George.  Wilson’s negotiating ability was hampered by the flu as he lay stricken and quarantined in a hotel room. Wilson eventually recovered from the flu but unfortunately suffered a debilitating stroke six months later. The Versailles Treaty was stamped June 28, 1919 and historians conclude Wilson succumbed to the harsher demands by the French and Britain’s due to his weakened state from the flu.

After many many edits, there is your answer in Elise.

*Occasional updates

May 1, 2020

As reported in the Buffalo News today By Nelson D. Schwartz, Tiffany Hsu and Patricia Cohen


WASHINGTON – “Despite trillions in stimulus spending and a rush to reopen shuttered businesses in some states, the U.S. economy continues to stagger under the weight of the coronavirus pandemic, with a further 3.8 million workers filing for unemployment benefits last week.

The figures announced Thursday by the Labor Department bring the number of workers joining the official jobless ranks in the last six weeks to more than 30 million, and underscore just how dire economic conditions remain.

The depth of the chill was evident when the Commerce Department reported that consumer spending in March fell by 7.5% from February’s level, a stunning decline that helps explain why the overall economy is so weak. Consumer activity ordinarily accounts for more than two-thirds of the country’s output.”

Jerome Powell

November 23, 2021 update

So it’s been two years now since I authored this post. Today President Biden tapped Jerome Powell to a new Federal Reserve Term and the secretary of treasury secretary is Janet Yellen who has served previously as the Fed Reserve chief. Inflation has skyrocketed to 6.2%, the highest in 31 years.  Employment remains at 4.2 million below its pre-pandemic peak while labor shortages are throughout the country and wage growth accelerates as employers continue to scramble to fill vacancies. Looks like Gov. Lael Brainard will be vice chairwoman.

November 15, 2022 update

A year later inflation on the rise yet, unemployment down and statistically there are three job openings for every two eager job seekers.Fed raises rates


I read some Confucius today, the Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher of the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history. One of his many quotes “Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” I’ve read it many times and it’s worth sharing today.

I enjoyed a magic moment today as we were settling up Elise’s tuition bill today. I asked her what she was going to do after graduation and she said “I’m going to work, dad. What’s your thought on what I should do?”

So I told her here is my take on work miss Elise.

“Elise. For most of my adult life I’ve been involved in finding people jobs. I was always fortunate to have a job I enjoyed.  I only had three after college, all with a good mentor along the journey. I often equated work comparable to my other passions.

My family, my friends, my work, my community, and my love of golf. They all are so enjoyable to me, even though my golf handicap slipped to double digits last year. These passions all have a lot of moving parts. It is what makes them so much fun. Enjoyment in life, in work, as in golf, comes from constant learning and improvement. From the tools, to equipment, to technology, to gaining knowledge, to being smart, to making good decisions, to teaching, to knowing how to dress, and tip, and behave, and being courteous, and competitive, and fun to be with. It’s all one cocktail.

So for me Elise, to render some sage advice. Make a wise and informed choice. Love what you do, who you do it with, how you do it, and tell people why you love what you do. Choose the right work and you’ll have the same fortune.

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Standards and Ethics

I was reading an article in the New Yorker the other day about the Google lawsuit against Uber, and it got me thinking about the start of my journey 25 years ago when I departed Robert Half to launch Advantage Professionals.   As I was reading the article, I was reminiscing about my ignorance and hubris at that point in my life. I was a young professional with a beautiful wife and two remarkable little kids. And although I had a good job, I always wanted to do something on my own.

The two biggest assets I had at the time were the client relationships I was building and what I had already learned about the staffing business [which, in retrospect, was not as much as I thought at the time].  One of the impediments to leaving and starting out on my own, however, was the one-year non-compete I had signed in good faith. I solicited opinions from three different lawyers [two telling me it wasn’t worth the paper it was written on, and the other one telling me if he worked for the plaintiff, he’d have me sitting on the beach for a year].

In parallel at the time, my prospective business partner [who became my best friend while building a variety of businesses together for the past 25 years], told me “Sit it out, it’s the right thing to do.  We can do other things for a year and then we’ll launch your new staffing business without any issue.” My new lawyer at the time, Frank Gaglione, told me “He’s right. Don’t take anything when you leave, not even a paper clip.”  I quit, we honored my non-compete, unearthed 66 other opportunities, and followed the Root Philosophy. So much has come from that year. While others would see it as business purgatory, I saw it as a unique opportunity – and I enjoyed a year of exploring other things and strategizing about my future.  Frank

For a couple of years before I finally departed, my pocket book was telling me to ignore my non-compete contract and just get after it.  Fortunately, I listened to Tony, Frank, and my mom – and here I sit, 25 years later – comfortable and proud with how we have built our businesses.  As I approach 60, I know I’m rolling along on the back nine, but I’ve always loved the back nine because that’s where everything happens.

But, back to that article. Google versus Uber

What I didn’t know back then was that non-compete contracts were more enforceable on the east coast than they were on the west coast.  That traces back to 1957, when Silicon Valley was created by a young group of engineers – and they were instrumental in creating a more fluid and less-restrictive environment.  The difference between William Shockley’s employees in 1957 and me in 1993 was that I lived by the decision making based on standards and ethics. To this day, we use that as our foundation as we continue to grow our businesses.

Sometimes the standards impact the ethics, and, for my sake, while paying heed to the standards, I leaned on the ethical side of the equation.  So, next time you ponder a decision, give proper weight to the standards but make your decision based on your ethics. I know doing that makes my mom proud.

Thoughtfulness and Gift Giving

Last night I picked my mom up for dinner, and on the way out of the house, I walked by the piano that she has always played and I asked her “Hey mom, when did dad buy you that piano?”

Since my dad died of Alzheimer’s Thanksgiving week of 2018, my mom and I have had some wonderful discussions about her life with my dad.  So many things are coming to light that I simply never knew in the 58 years that I knew Norm. Mom has detailed recall of his life on the farm, in the Navy, his career with the Yellow Pages, and the things he did with her and raising us. Fortunately Alzheimer’s hasn’t reared its ugly head with her. There are so many things that have come to light in the last 10 months since he passed. I can’t help but ask my mom countless questions about him about and things I really never knew. My best friend knows how my mind works, and when I see something, it get’s me thinking about something else, I change the subject,  I ask a question, I get an answer, and move on.

Norm and EllieSo I picked mom up for dinner last night and headed over to Dandelions’s, one of my dad’s favorite spots since they opened in 1984.   What’s really transpired, and tweaked my curiosity since he’s been gone, are countless reminders of him that pop into my head, and the countless questions to my mom and detailed answers she has to satisfy my curiosity.  So as mom is telling me about what Lester Holt had to say today, I’m walking by the piano in our house, and cut her off mid stream, and ask her how long we’ve had the piano. Anyone who knows me knows I like to ask questions (thoughtful ones in my opinion), and when I get my answer, I move on.  But not when my mom answers. She’s got my attention and we stick to one subject.  So she proceeds to tell me, in life, if she wanted something bad enough, she would constantly remind my dad, and after enough reminders, he’d usually deliver. Mom played the piano as a kid back on the farm along with her two sisters, and I recall as a child and later on in life, she had quite the gift as a pianist. I’m not sure my dad knew that, but what I do know, is he did many thoughtful things in his life, and one thing I’ve come to learn about him, is how he learned how to get buy, make a buck, enjoy life, and deliver some nice gifts along the way. Needless to say my mom got her piano.

All because of a farm girl playing piano back in the day and the burning desire to do it again.


I was talking with a group of friends about plum bobbing the other day and everyone had their own take on it. I have my own, from a book a friend gave me and from Mike Bender’s golf school.  My dad was one of the better putters I ever knew, and he just went with his gut, his wrists, and his feel.  As for plum bobbing, back to that in a minute. Although a good plum bob lesson in Caddyshack would have been funny.

Billies golf 1975

Golf teams. Will South 1975 and University Buffalo 1979.

 My love of the game

I love golf.  It started by caddying for my dad at Audubon, and in sixth grade I rode out to South Shore with him to buy his annual set of clubs from Iggy Banko. It was my turn to receive the hand me down set because Tim and Dan just got theirs the year before.  And so my golf career began. From Audubon to Ransom Oaks to playing in high school and college and onto many competitive events to scrambles to invitations and by far my favorite was the Lockport Invitation where my dad and I sniffed a victory.

Not only did I do it once, but I did it with a group of friends.

Continue reading



I read an article the other day about the evolution of the millennial generation and their ability as it relates to working for, working with, and having to work for Post War leaders, Baby Boomers, and Gen-X. It focused on workplace distractions, and it got me thinking about output and how output is what remains relevant in the workplace. Linda Ronstadt was quoted that no one has connected one generation to the next better than the Eagles, better than any Behavioral Scientist can. There is just something about music, and I concur, because all my kids love the Eagles, as do I. The Eagles

  1. “Currently, five generations make up our society.  Each of those five                                         generations has an active role in the marketplace. Depending on the                                     specific workplace, the workforce includes four to five generations.                                       Here are the birth years for each generation:
    1.   iGen, Gen Z or Centennials: Born 1996 and later
    2.   Millennials or Gen Y: Born 1977 to 1995
    3.   Generation X: Born 1965 to 1976
    4.   Baby Boomers: Born 1946 to 1964

      Traditionalists or Silent Generation: Born 1945 and beforeMartini.jpg

Post War Generational Behaviors

Let me begin by making some basic observations.  I grew up watching my father, a real post war stereotype, providing for his family and making many friends over the years.  He’ll be 90 this year, and I find myself talking about my observations as a child and teenager  He made a good living, he was paid on output, he did what he had to do, and then he found time to enjoy life. Distractions are different from generation, and if a three martini lunch wasn’t a distraction back then, I don’t know what was.

As much as  this new generation is welded to their tablets and smartphones, and employers at times ban them from certain workplace environment, every generation has been distracted at work, unless you consider the three-martini-lunch normal?  And even though certain kids are medicated or high these days, very few are getting hammered at lunch like the good old days.

Baby Boom Behaviors

We are a pretty vain generation. Certain Boomers on unearned income borrow money on things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like, and then there are those waiting for the trust fund to kick in.

With regard to how we work, one of my favorite sayings my friend shared with me in a sales meeting when he turned in his weekly report was “Don’t confuse activity with results.”  As for me, at age 24, I chose the same profession as my dad and embarked on a sales career.  I only had three jobs, and took pay cuts at every position move with incentives based on output.  I had to turn in a report every week about sales calls, phone calls, prospects, revenue generation, client retention, and community service.

Back in my 20’s and early 30’s, I worked for a public company with many offices.  Each office had a little dink word processor for correspondence and a fax machine, and that was it. I had the opportunity to visit many offices and teach my peers some sales techniques, including a stint in the UK.  I turned down a promotion to move there, and, looking back, I’m glad I did.

We sat in a bullpen and that was tough for some. What were my distractions?  A phone personal call or kicking back to read Sports Illustrated. We didn’t have desktop computers so there were no ergonomics concerns and no carpal tunnel leaves-of-absence.  The only thing you got was a stiff neck from being on the phone too long or a sore hand from too many handshakes.  I showed a friend of mine his old business card.  It didn’t even have a fax number on it.  I used to call his landline, write notes and delivered resumes via a cab driver.

We were taught to do one thing.  Get results.  And always with the understanding not to confuse business standards with ethics.  We all know there are many paths to output, from thank you notes to lunches and dinners to gifts to bribes.

Generation X

Known for work-life balance, less loyal than the boomers, more tech savvy, craves attention and reassurance they are doing a good job, and a bit of a free agent mentality to job hop elsewhere if they’re not feeling valued.

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Millennials earning their way to a billion dollars


Personally I’m looking forward to the millennials repairing the damage the Boomers have done. How things have changed.  We now put in cell phone lockers when we need all distractions eliminated.  Bring your pet to work, work with your shoes off, sit on the floor, and work from home.  But there is still only one thing that matters.  Output.

“Millennials have become the largest generation in the workforce.  Millennials are also the fastest-growing generation of customers in the marketplace, bringing the greatest lifetime value.  In addition, Millennials exhibit different attitudes toward employment, sales and marketing, which are challenging many conventional strategies and approaches.”  –

A 2014 Harris Interactive survey on behalf of CareerBuilder, a job recruitment website, found that 38 percent of U.S. workers had a younger boss, up from 34 percent in 2012.

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In closing

There is the current dilemma of long range planning for any business, private or public, and how to motivate the staff, regardless of which generation is steering the ship. A friend of mine helped give some clarity to what’s next:

  1. You can continue to learn as we grow and teach/coerce as we go;
  2. The management of a company can learn as they grow and be a valuable resource for the owners to depend on and enjoy building with;
  3. You can outsource the skill set necessary to take the company to the next level and beyond;
  4. Or cash out; and, finally,
  5. The owner can put the brakes on and let all of the employees enjoy their success for a while, and just sit back and listen to the Eagles.

What’s your choice?

The Courier Express and Buffalo News

It was Christmas and my mother gave me a hermetically sealed copy of the last addition of the Courier Express. It was right around the anniversary of the Buffalo Blizzard of 1977 and got me thinking about my day job in grade school and high school and the history of the Courier Express and my pals delivering the Buffalo News. I was 17 years old at the time of the great 1977 blizzard and it was the only time since I took over the route from my brother where I actually had a few days off. I had 100 customers of every size, shape, color and interesting and colorful personalities and a few stodgy cheap curmudgeons. Courier

That being said, we never got a day off, and if you were lucky enough to go on vacation with your family, you usually had to beg someone to take the route, lay out a map by hand, and overpay to take the route for the week. And how about when you got your license and you didn’t have to pull the wagon through the snow?  Who doesn’t remember dragging that wagon through the snow and when it got too deep, you’d anchor it to a sled for easy going? And how about collecting in subzero temps and the customer saying “You were here last week!! There is no way I owe for two weeks!!!” Your hands were so cold it was hard to make change by the end of collections. And waking up at 5:45 AM to see if they called your name on the radio for a free prize. A genius idea to get the carrier army up and roaring ensuring early delivery. And having to borrow money from mom to pay your weekly bill if collections fell short, and she gave it to you interest free. And oh, the bonus, the Christmas calendar, other gifts from some like holiday cakes and cookies, nothing from some, and the noticeable generosity of tips from others. The reward you’d get for being a good business person throughout the year. 

To this day I remain an early riser and I attribute it to the Courier.  We were armed with all the tools: the delivery bag, the collection tickets, the wagon and the delivery box.Courier 1Courier bag

That paper installed good business values. I read page by page the hermetically sealed copy of the last edition of the Courier dated September 18,1982. As I sifted through the sections and pages it was a walk down memory lane. I digressed and read some interesting historical data on the Courier Express, like Mark Twain was an editor in 1869 and they added a Sunday edition in 1875. I found a good friend’s engagement picture, close acquaintance Carla.  Was she surprised when I texted her a snap shot of it.


A bit of historical perspective

If you had the Buffalo News route back in the day there was no Sunday edition until 1979. My close friend Rich Weber had the same route I had delivering the Buffalo News.  We used to collect together and one of our notable customers was Syd Pastor whose family owned the Pepsi franchise.  On occasion he was home and usually owed us $50 each along with a generous tip. My Courier route Monday through Saturday paper count was 35 papers and it was usually a flimsy 35 pages. Rich delivered 65 Monday through Saturday Buffalo Newspapers to the same geographic area. I could stuff all my papers into two delivery bags over each shoulder and off I went. According to John Connolly, a seasoned Buffalo News editor and retired Air Force enlistee “The Wednesday and Thursday editions of the Buffalo News were gigantic compared to the Courier with coupons and advertisements. The Courier saved their coupons and ads for Sundays.” My last year  delivering was 1977 and the daily paper was ten cents and the big Sunday money maker was 75 cents.  I’d usually get a 15 cent tip on the weekly Courier charge of $1.35.

Connolly also noted “It wasn’t until 1979 when Warren Buffet took the helm that the News started Sunday delivery as well.”  As I was delivering and getting to know my customers, usually at collection time, I didn’t know the Buffalo News was the scrappy republican paper and often at odds with the sedate democratic liberal morning paper. I was too young to know the two papers were at odds over the new Bills stadium location where the News wanted the burbs and the Courier advocated for a downtown location. My customers were an eclectic mix of business folks, lawyers, stoners, engineers, moms and the highlight was Milt Northrop was on my route.

Oh those were good times and there should be some type of retired paper delivery alumni association for all of us.

Might be fun.


My Mom – Eloise Kreuz

My MomMom 92

March 19, 2023. Hello everyone! I am thrilled to share some wonderful news with you today! As many of you know, we have been sharing updates about my amazing mother, Eloise, on my blog for over 8 years now. And today, on her 92nd birthday, I am filled with joy and gratitude as I reflect on all the beautiful memories we have made together as a family. Through it all, my mother’s unwavering leadership and sharp mind have been a source of strength and inspiration for us all.

We have celebrated the births of more great-grandchildren, witnessed some incredible weddings, with two more coming this year, and marked many more milestones since that first blog post. And as we look to the future, we know that we have so much more to celebrate together as a family. That’s why we are planning an epic house party in honor of my mother – a celebration of her incredible life and the many blessings she has brought into all of our lives.

So, I raise a glass to my amazing mother, Eloise, and all the joy and love she brings to our family. Cheers to many more years of happiness and celebration, Mom. We all love you.

As we wind down 2015, I was at my parents’ the other night reminiscing about the year with my mother Eloise. I’ve been fortunate to be able to spend some quality time with her lately. I was thinking about all my friends and the one common link we all have. We often talk about our mothers. Some lost their moms early, some midstream, and some of us are still fortunate to have them in our lives. Living or deceased, who doesn’t enjoy talking about their mom in mixed company?

Mom has ten great-grandkids as of 1.1.2023, and my granddaughter Eloise is named after her. I happened to be there when my daughter told my mom what she was having and what they’d be naming her. That was a magical moment that I’ll cherish forever. As she cares for my dad, we’ve been enjoying talking about many things in our lives. She used to love watching Norm and me play gin rummy, and occasionally I’d pick a lucky card and win.

She’s had some great accomplishments in her life: number one in her class in nursing school, a skilled nurse, a lifetime accountant for the family Courier Express route, six healthy children, 18 grandkids, ten great-grandkids, a husband who always knew the difference between right and wrong, a hole in one, attended a Super Bowl, and sound relationships with all of her daughters-in-law and son-in-law.

Twelve years ago, we celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, and what a party it was, with that monstrous-size family of theirs. Twelve years later, they are still going strong, and Norman appreciates all she does for him. I made a choice not to move away 26 years ago, and as I look back at the life we’ve enjoyed in Buffalo, I’d say that was a pretty wise move.

Mom retired from nursing at age 75, and the caregiver in her has held strong for all of us. My family often wonders how many term papers she typed, how many cab rides she took us to the doctor, and how many times she walked to the grocery store.

I often tell her how much I love what I do, and she told me her dad retired from farming at age 93. That gives me hope for the next 27 years, and I hope to be as prosperous and successful as he was.

We spent many years traveling back to the family farm in Ohio, and those are memories we’ll all cherish forever. In the world of lavish vacations and social media, I wouldn’t trade those family farm vacations for anything.

The Kreuz Family farm house including green house, hay loft, chicken coupe and dairy cattle

Givers and Takers continued

Giva and Take

Date:  February 28, 2015

Blog Posting: 7

      I received some interesting responses to my Givers and Takers posting, and, as always, I appreciate them all.  Every day we are confronted with choices, and giving or taking plays an important role in all our decision making.  Over the past month, I have been involved directly and indirectly in two dramatic episodes impacting the fate of a couple of the several partnerships that we’ve been building.  It has been a telling manifestation of giving and taking.  And I can’t tell you how much I appreciate our good fortune, especially when it is challenged.

      On the one hand there was our elation over the remarkable sale of our FedCloud initiative, Autonomic Resources [], and, on the other hand, there was the contraction of our Consilium One partnership [which, unfortunately had to rely on the protection of the bankruptcy court].  For all of us who are involved in our Partnerships, the good has always significantly outweighed the occasional embarrassment.  

      And now, propelled by the successful sale of Autonomic Resources, we will be venturing forth with the Advantage Business Exchange, FedDROP, and Cloud 9 Resources, our three new ventures that will build on all our past and current successes [while always learning from our intermittent missteps].  These three new partnerships will join an incredible lineup of resources that include our Capax Global and AP Professionals partnerships [not to mention all of the resources of the Advantage Co].  The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.  Thanks for being a part of it.​

Givers and Takers – Part 1

Date:  February 9, 2015

Blog Posting: 5

A friend of mine and I were talking the other day about givers and takers.  It got me thinking about the differences in people, and I started running through all of the contradictory personality traits I’ve encountered over the years.

One instance that always stuck with me about raising my children was a recent trip to Florida with my youngest daughter, Haylee.  After I gave her some money to spend at Charming Charlie’s, she came away with a boatload of goodies from bracelets to hair ribbons to rings to necklaces.  I asked her “Why so many things?”  And she told me, “They are gifts for my friends.”  I wasn’t sure what to think when she first ran out with a bag full of trinkets, but after she told me her intentions, I was proud that I had a generous and thoughtful child.

A behavioral study I read about 4 year old children comes to mind.  Over many years, the study measured the greed or patience of 4 year old children to ascertain how certain behaviors at the age of 4 shaped certain adult behaviors.  It was noted that greedy kids typically weren’t stellar adults, and patient kids had more favorable measurable outcomes in adult life.  And while I’m certain there are many more academic studies out there, I just enjoy observing behaviors as I navigate through the back nine.

Have I given more than I’ve taken?  It’s good to give pause and offer that question some quiet consideration.  To a certain extent, I guess it depends on the eye of the beholder, but I am confident that I have always had everyone’s best interest at heart, and I believe that is the foundation of being a good ‘giver.’  Any incident of giving or sharing must consider whether you are expecting something in return or not.

Over the years I have given and received my fair share, and I’ve never really kept score, but I do recognize how fortunate that I have been. By the way, I try to stay away from the people who keep score, especially the ones who know who bought lunch last time.

So what constitutes certain personality traits?  As I was talking to my friend about it, it got us thinking about other behaviors and the different types we’ve encountered in our lives.  We’ve put together a short list for consideration:

  • Giver or Taker
  • Generous or Cheap
  • Thankless or Appreciative
  • Substance or Flash
  • Self Absorbed or Concerned
  • Positive or Negative

We all encounter these various types through family, business, and social activities.  It’s pretty easy to pick and choose where you think your friends, family, and acquaintances fit, but what if you feel like you are on the wrong side of the equation?  How do you change?  Can you change?  Do you want to change?  Is it a thoughtful note, a kind gesture, a random gift, or a random act of kindness that’s missing?  It has me thinking about all of my relationships.

Who hasn’t thought about these scenarios as you navigate through life.  Go ahead, give me your opinion, or just take my thoughts and move on [or make a note on your scorecard, I’ll owe you one].​