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Believe in the power of optimism

A year ago this week, I ruptured both of my quads playing soccer.

I spent two weeks in a hospital bed before surgery and a week after to recover. This was followed by a week in occupational therapy where I learned how to dress myself, get in and out of a wheelchair and transfer on a board from wheelchair to a commode.

I couldn’t put pressure on my legs for an additional six weeks.

They taught me how to bump up and down stairs on my butt., a useful skill when we attended our annual family Thanksgiving week gathering at the Outer Banks. The house had three floors and no elevator.

Being in a wheelchair was an education. Simple tasks like getting a cup of coffee or going room to room became complex.

I was a medical freak. No one including the doctors had ever seen a patient who had ruptured both quads at the same time. They couldn’t explain why it happened to me.

The only comment I heard was, “You are a little old to still be playing that game.”

One of my key doctors told me, “Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you are too old to do anything.”

He gave me hope and fueled my spirit of optimism. I went to work. My physical therapy team knew my goal wasn’t to just walk, it was to run. They worked me.

The week before Christmas I could finally put pressure on my legs. Our church congregation was used to seeing me in the wheelchair. I used a walker to get to the pulpit and do the Christmas reading.

This isn’t about me and my success. I was blessed with a great team of doctors, nurses, therapists, family and friends who supported and encouraged me.

At my lowest point, I was in bed helpless, in pain and depressed at my situation. The doctors hadn’t figured out the full extent of my problem and the prognosis.

The phone rang. It was my high school soccer team that I coach. They had just finished practice and called to have me do the closing cheer.

I yelled, “What’s the Dream?”

They screamed back, “State Championship.”

Two nurses ran into the room to see what was going on.

We always dream high. The call lifted my spirits.

I ran my first 5K race since the injury virtually because of COVID in early May. I am now running 8 miles and on track to run in a half-marathon again in December.

I can swim, play golf and basketball. Lynnda, my wife told me soccer is out.

I can still coach.

Optimism is powerful. Leadership expert John Maxwell says, “Leaders are dealers in hope.”

“If there is hope in the future there is power in the present.” Optimism is power.

America won WWII because we out-manufactured our enemies. Americans put a man on the moon in less than 10 years. American horizontal drilling technology got us out of the energy crisis and made us the leading oil and gas producer in the world.

When we vote shouldn’t we elect leaders at all levels of government who have an optimistic vision of the future?

We become what we think about. If a leader expects a dark winter, deadly lockdowns killing countless people from depression, suicide, abuse and lack of medical attention for curable diseases because they fear the virus, we will get them. If we vote for leaders who have an optimistic attitude and have high goals for us, we can get that, too.

I am excited to work with Shale Crescent USA. We always aim high. When we finished our first major study in 2017, our chairman, Mark, said, “We need to get this on the main stage at the World Petrochemical Conference in Houston.”

My original thought was, “That is a real stretch for a small nonprofit in Marietta, Ohio.” Mark’s belief was so strong I thought, “Why not?”

As a team we made it happen. Our message, based on the study IHSMarkit did for us, was: An ethane cracker built in the Shale Crescent USA is four times more profitable than a similar cracker built on the U.S. Gulf Coast. It stunned the conference.

It is fun to work with leaders.

Our message has reached the world. Shale Crescent USA has been on almost 60 radio shows since the pandemic started in March. Half have been nationally syndicated.

We were recently interviewed by a Japanese newspaper. Everyone, regardless of their politics, wants to know why and how we can bring manufacturing jobs back to the USA.

The answer is, companies can be more profitable in the Shale Crescent USA than in China. We have abundant, economical energy and feedstock.

Advanced manufacturing makes our labor costs competitive with the world. We are located in the middle of one of the largest economies in the world. We have a low carbon footprint because of our transportation advantage.

Companies are not coming unless they know this information. That is what we do.

Jobs are being created.

Companies planning to locate here have hired local engineering firms, contractors and consultants to do preliminary work. Local companies are expanding.

One company told me this week they have hired over 50 people since March. These are high wage jobs.

Companies tell us, they come in part because of the optimism and attitude of people here.

Our high school boys’ soccer team won the regional championship this week and are going to the West Virginia State Soccer Tournament for the 16th time since 1999. They have a positive optimistic attitude.

This was a challenge this year because of COVID. We couldn’t play half our games and had two weeks we couldn’t even practice because the county was red. The boys had hope, aimed high and kept an optimistic attitude. Shouldn’t we expect our leaders to do the same?

Have hope. Aim high. Stay optimistic. All things are possible.

Greg 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 who has over 40 years’ experience in the energy industry. He is the author of four books and numerous published articles.

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