Wednesday, September 13, 2006

from "Exxon-Valdez" One morning, I was with ADES, watching in awe as Pete Wuerple spun in circles in the middle of the room, barking out orders. Resources were arriving from across the nation and around the world: Boom from Norway flying into Anchorage on Northern Air Cargo aircraft, and caravans of ATCO trailers coming into Valdez down the highway. The place was a frenzy of activity. Then some little guy walked in and spoke loudly, everyone stopped and turned to him. I can’t remember his name, but he was from the governors OMB (budget/finance) office.

“I’m ordering all acquisitions to stop.”
You could hear a pin drop
He continued, “From now on, I will be the only one issuing purchase orders. Anything you want will be properly listed on numbered requisitions, and the requisitions will include the cost of the items and the estimated cost of shipping to Valdez. Some items may require competitive bids from suppliers, and that will be up to you to get them. Turn those requisitions over to me for approval. Then, I will issue the purchase orders.”
Pete, stood stunned. His shirt was rumpled, he had been sweating and his hair was sticking up. His staff all looked at him.
“Oh, great.” He said. “The elephants are stampeding, and we’re tripping over piss-ants!”
The OMB piss-ant never acknowledge the statement, he just acquired a desk and sat down. I always admired Pete. I admire anyone who will work himself into such a lather that he has to be hauled away in an ambulance, which is exactly what happened about a week later. He recovered of course.