Working to deadline, Jason provided valuable copy editing and feedback to a key customer report that was over thirty pages long. Jason’s changes provided the critical polishing that greatly improved the impression the prospect received with the final report.
Thanks for all of your edits. I accepted them all and then this morning went through your comments one by one. It’s great to have a good editor looking over my shoulder.
You’ve outdone yourself. Tears of joy in my eyes. … I love this story. Really beautiful and quirky and unexpected. It’s a huge story on the front page right now.
Last December, I developed an interest in Vancouver’s hidden music makers—the builders of musical instruments. I wrote a double-barrelled story about natural fibre horn maker, David Gowman, and harpsichord maker, Craig Tomlinson. Now, let me tell you about the Furnaphone, and why “anything’s a potential instrument.”
Daniel is making a name for himself as a drummer (and guitarist) around town, but for someone who plays an instrument that is legendary for its lack of portability, it’s his mode of transportation that caught my attention—by bicycle.
I was initially drawn to VanDusen Gardens this rainy Victoria Day week-end through a friend, and fellow musician. He posted a concert on Facebook of the Little Mountain Brass Band‘s forthcoming performance at Van Dusen Gardens, although the main event was the British Classic Car Show. Hosted by Western Driver, the car shows draws classic auto enthusiasts and gawkers of many stripes from around Vancouver, BC, and several US states to the south.
For $14, I got to hear a little bit of sweet band music and see more Morgans, Triumphs, Minis, Metropolitains, Bentleys, Rovers, and MGs as well as more brollys than I may ever need to see again. In fact, with the re-appearance of the rains, it gave me an added sense of Britishness to stiff-upper-lip it with the tweed set, hobnobbing with those who’d prefer to debate shades of hunter green than, say, head to the beach.
I was at a Balkan music festival and was compelled to write a review (compelled and too stoked to sleep). Below is an excerpt from the review posted on the Vancouver Observer site.
Tonight, I attended part one of the two-part concert week-end known as Ederlezi – Balkan Brass Festival (6-7 May at the Russian Hall). Billed as a “Roma Spring holiday”, it features no fewer than three Balkan-style brass bands: Orkestar Zirkonium from Seattle, Brass Menazeri from San Francisco, and our own Orkestar Slivovica. There were also two lovely belly dance troupes, (and assorted vendors of Balkan eats and drinks), but the stars of the show are the brass bands.
The evening began with Orkestar Slivovica, which I thought was playing a little more up tempo than the last time I heard them at the Ukrainian Hall. Perhaps, they were intimidated by the quicker and sharper performances of their American counterparts. Gradually, they eased into their signature pelvic back beat and things began to heat up. That’s the thing about this music: if you’re not willing to let go with the hips, you’re not going to enjoy it. But they let go, and so did we—especially as the Šljivovica (Balkan plum brandy) started flowing.
In addition to the Hawaii Electric Light Company’s (HELCO) success with reducing fuel consumption, using Webtech Wireless’ Quadrant location-based services (LBS) and telematics solutions (see previous Blog post), HELCO has also found Quadrant to be a necessary tool in times of crisis.
With its own home-grown volcanoes, the Hawaiian Islands are no strangers to nature’s fury. At the center of the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii must also be prepared for dangers from its far-flung Ring of Fire neighbors—in the form of tsunamis.
Tsunami from Chile
The effectiveness of the Quadrant system in emergency situations was tested in February 2010 after the devastating 8.8 Mw earthquake in Chile, which put all of the Hawaiian Islands on tsunami alert. HELCO’s emergency plan was kicked into high gear, which meant immediately locating all of the company’s mobile resources and redistributing them to key points on the Island and HELCO installations, away from areas that could be vulnerable in a tsunami event. “It made such a difference to have that information available in real-time and on my computer so that I could easily direct our staff, and if needed, share that information with other emergency organizations,” said Kelvin Kohatsu, HELCO’s Fleet Administrator.
Fortunately, Hawaii was unaffected by the quake, but it was a good test of HELCO’s preparedness and the Quadrant system.
Tsunami from Japan
On March 11, 2011, the tragic 9.1 Mw Sendai earthquake and resulting tsunami in Japan, again demonstrated Quadrant’s usefulness in times of crises. As Pacific Rim nations raced to secure their coastlines before the tsunami hit, Kelvin was able to use Quadrant GPS to allocate trucks and drivers, and to prepare to assist with evacuations and clean up on the Big Island.
With a tsunami bearing down on the Hawaiian Islands, Kelvin rushed to HELCO’s headquarters to check that fuel acquisition, standby contractors, dispatch, and equipment were available and ready. In addition, he hurried to ensure HELCO trucks located in the tsunami inundation zone were relocated to higher ground.
As Transportation & Maintenance Unit Leader for the Logistics Team at HELCO, he credited Webtech Wireless’ Quadrant solution (particularly Dispatch Management) as crucial in supplying needed vehicles to support Operations. “GPS remote vehicle management technology is invaluable in these situations,” he claimed, adding that “having a comprehensive GSP system allows us to instantly locate units and plan for dispatch of those resources. Other organizations would use two-way communications, if they’re operational.”
This first operational period lasted until the tsunami warning was lifted, which came the following day. After the emergency period passed, HELCO transitioned to the recovery period, where it supported Operations in clearing and cleaning up debris and damage from the tsunami, which fortunately was minimal.
Quadrant has also been of use in more minor situations such as when a localized oil spill affected Hilo Harbor and HELCO vehicles and personnel were involved in containment and cleanup efforts.
Citing safety and savings as its primary reasons, Hawaii Electric Light Company (HELCO) has decided to renew its Quadrant Enterprise service contact for an additional two years.
Within the first two years of deploying the Quadrant solution (2008-2009), HELCO realized a fuel savings of over 22,000 gallons (US). In 2010, HELCO saved an additional 18,000 gallons. Kelvin Kohatsu, HELCO Fleet Administrator, credits the impressive reduction and subsequent cost savings for their decision to renew the contract and attributes lower fuel costs to a combination of “GPS technology, driver training (operator knowledge), more fuel efficient vehicles, and improved dispatch management.”
HELCO, a subsidiary of HECO currently has Quadrant Locators in approximately 220 of its 240 vehicles and as part of the renewed service contract, will implement Job Management, using Garmin® in-vehicle navigation devices, which integrate fully with the Quadrant system. With the ability to enhance communication with drivers even more, it is expected that HELCO can expect even more dramatic savings over the next two years.
Quadrant customer, MTS Sales & Service, has reported “a tangible reduction in the cost of fleet management costs of 69%.” This figure is based on the difference in the cost of their old fleet management solution and savings in vehicle usage using Webtech Wireless’ Quadrant. Gino Venditti, VP of Operations, says that in addition to the superior quality of service and reliability (at the above-mentioned reduction in cost), it is now possible to manage routes, forecast fuel usage, and monitor assets with real-time notifications of unauthorized vehicle use.
He added, “Having used other GPS-based solutions we knew of the positive ROI that this type of technology created, however other providers were unable to provide the quality of service and up-time that we found with Webtech Wireless”.
In addition to tangible cost reductions, they have also seen improvements in another, often less tangible way a company can make great gains: customer service. “We have improved customer satisfaction through the use of GPS based dispatching and resolved conflicts with customers revolving around service times using the GPS technology”, says Mr. Venditti.
MTS Sales & Service installs commercial kitchen equipment, such as dish machines, beverage equipment, and all other types of hot and cold commercial kitchen equipment. They also provide on-site repair and preventative maintenance services to their clients in western Pennsylvania.