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Standing on our region’s own two feet

This week physical therapy was exciting for me. For the first time since Oct. 27 I actually stood on my own two feet.

After lying on my back in bed and sitting on my butt in a wheelchair, it felt good to be vertical again. I needed coaching to get me on my feet for the first time from the chair to a walker, then to a therapist’s table so he could work on my legs and knees. We moved to the parallel bars, where I got to pull myself up and actually walk for the first time in weeks using the bars for support. Just a few times back and forth, but it was a start.

In order to stand unsupported, I will need to strengthen my legs significantly. I am surprised how quickly muscles atrophy when not used. The muscle mass of my legs has decreased significantly. As a runner and soccer player, my thighs were large. It has been over six weeks since my legs have had to support any weight. The road back has at least started. I know I have a lot of work ahead.

The MacMillan Dictionary defines the phrase, “stand on your own two feet” as: “To behave in an independent way, especially by not asking for financial help from anyone.” Or, “To do something without help.” Or, “Fend for yourself.”

In my case I’m literally working to ultimately stand on my own two feet without help or support from anyone or anything. My goal is to walk again without the help of parallel bars or a walker. That is what it will take for me to once again be fully independent. I want to be able to drive again and run a half marathon by this time next year.

When we hear “stand on your own two feet,” some of us may think about our children or grandchildren. We want them to be financially independent. There is a time when they need to leave the nest and make it on their own. One of my brothers lived with my mother until she died. He never paid rent or utilities. Mom cooked his dinner and cleaned his room. They did help each other out.

My brother never fully grew up until Mom died and the house had to be sold. It was a struggle for him. The rest of us brothers helped some initially, but our goal was for him to be independent. He still needs assistance occasionally, but he is now standing on this own two feet. He feels better about himself since he is on his own.

In our businesses, we should want those who work for and with us to be able to make many decisions on their own — to stand on their own two feet, instead of running to us before they do anything. When I took over as regional manager in one of my former lives, the manager I replaced was very controlling. He made all the decisions. I was shocked by all supervisors coming to me for decisions they should have been making on their own. I know I’m not the brightest bulb. I knew they could make better decisions than me in their area of expertise. It was time for them to stand on their own two feet. It took a few months to make the adjustment. Once the supervisors started standing on their own two feet, I had more time to do my job because they were making their own decisions. Our supervisors were happier being in control of their departments. Morale improved across the board. The supervisors were making better day-to-day decisions than I could have. As a result, our profitability soared.

We all want to see job growth. We want to see more high-wage jobs coming to this region. No one is going to come riding into town on a white horse and solve all our problems. Washington, D.C., isn’t focused on jobs or infrastructure. They are focused on and distracted by impeachment. If we are going to see job growth ,it is up to all of us. We have to stand on our own two feet and each do our part. We need to keep our attitudes positive. We can help grow our skilled workforce by encouraging young people to consider the skilled trades and technical school. We all have a network. We can share the story of our region’s advantages.

We need to understand the advantages we have that are unique. We have abundant water. We have an experienced workforce with a strong work ethic. We have abundant energy. We are close to major markets. The Shale Crescent USA is the ONLY place on the planet where a company can build on top of their energy and feedstock while being in the middle of their customers.

The mission of the Shale Crescent USA organization is to create high-wage, permanent jobs and to raise the standard of living of people in this region. The Shale Crescent founders realized we couldn’t wait for government. There are many things a small, non-government organization can do better with no bureaucracy and the ability to act quickly.

We have been able to market the region globally. We can work closely with companies because we are a neutral third party. We don’t promote a particular state or site. We need government for infrastructure improvements and to close deals with their sites and economic incentives.

Just like coming back from my injury, it takes time. We are seeing the results of everyone’s work. This is a magical time of year. Continue to believe! Thoughts to ponder.

Kozera, gkozera@shalecrescentusa.com, is the director of marketing and sales for Shale Crescent USA. He is a professional engineer with a master’s in environmental engineering and over 40 years’ experience in the energy industry.

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