Wednesday, July 28, 2010

x4mr Talks SAIAT on WakeUpTucson

This morning I spoke with Joe Higgins and Chris DiSimone on the WakeUpTucson talk radio show, three ten-minute segments from 6:20 to 7 AM, discussing the SAIAT story in some detail. Joe invited me to join them on the show to speak about Raytheon's choice of Huntsville, Alabama over Tucson for an important expansion of its operations. Raytheon cited workforce skills and access to training resources as one of the pivotal reasons it chose Huntsville.

When Joe posts the talk on youtube, I will publish it.

Those who have read “Something Else” (red link at left) know that Raytheon was SAIAT's largest customer, with thousands of its employees visiting the institute each year. When the missile manufacturer transferred its software system to a new platform, SAIAT trained 6300 workers in six weeks. By 2006, the institute was serving over 100 local employers, from Lasertel to Modular Mining to EOS Technologies to Cybernetic Research to Vaisala to Spectraphysics to Catalina Tool to Advanced Ceramics Research to Arizona Capacitors....

In a tragic blow to Tucson's economic development, TREO decided its stash of cash was more important than the customized training of over 10,000 Tucsonans per year. To stuff its own coffers, TREO slashed SAIAT's funding by more than half, inflicting devastating losses that destroyed the institute and created a critical shortage of training capacity for its customers. Raytheon had to spend over a million dollars to build its own training center. Lacking this option, SAIAT's other customers just suffered without. When asked about the loss of SAIAT, Mayor Walkup demonstrated appalling ignorance, “Companies can go to the community college.”

When companies require high powered, fast track, customized training services (room, labs, equipment, catering, corporate grade course leaders) they can call PCC. Seen what PCC adjuncts get paid? Think PCC can fly a renowned subject matter expert from the east coast? Call PCC to rent a classroom with 18 computers running ArcGIS 10 on XP, and cater in a continental breakfast and have lunch set up at noon with beef brisket, mashed potatoes, veggies, a salad, and cheesecake for dessert.

Snell's 11/06 letter to Huckelberry lies, “Although the amount allocated to SAIAT has been reduced, I am pleased to report that the performance measures for SAIAT are expected to exceed last year's.”

SAIAT closed.

Snell's letter also asserts the SAIAT board approved gutting the institute for the sole purpose of padding TREO's cash reserves. Believe that?


Blogger Cigar Man said...

That show is a little early for me, so I missed it, but an associate of mine called me with considerable excitement and told me about it.

She said you were AWESOME, and that you talked about training with such wisdom and expertise that it was stunning, like you possessed new ideas no one else has grasped. She mentioned the way you broke training events into flexible components that could be pieced together.

She didn't understand the stuff about the raised floor, but said it sounded amazing. I had forgotten about the multiple fiber T3's on the backbone that could support a server farm.

God, this town really blew it. You were on track towards something that would have gained national attention, a self-sustaining non-profit requiring no public funds yet able to customize training resources with surgical precision for any training need.

You just keep making it clearer and clearer that producing results, making a difference, and contributing to the community have no place in the Cloth conversation. The Cloth conversation is about looking good in a make believe charade while shoving every possible cent into one's own fat purse.

Consider the millions, tens of millions, in value that TREO and greed soaked Snell torched, and for what?

To pad his own reserves by 130 grand.


7/28/2010 8:01 PM  
Anonymous Observer said...

When you realize that Albuquerque is about the same size as Tucson, and then you realize that the two towns were about the same 20-25 years ago, it becomes sickening how Tucson has so miserably failed to make progress.

Look at what Albuquerque has achieved since 1985, and it has an excellent SAIAT that serves its workforce training needs.

What a shame Tucson is so plagued with corrupt and contemptible schmucks who only care about their own personal fortunes.

Cigar is right. Snell destroyed tens of millions in community value to hundreds of businesses so he could steal $130K.

7/29/2010 8:20 AM  
Blogger Liza said...

That was a great idea to have X4mr on WakeUpTucson. I am really looking forward to listening to it when it gets posted here.

It is amazing that Joe Snell and his TREO joke are still around and still sucking money out of Tucson. The man apparently has the resilience of a Texas tree roach. He was on Arizona Illustrated just a few days ago.

7/29/2010 9:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm surprised you didn't say anything about TREO putting moles on your board who tried to fire you so they could take your place.

TREO wanted to take SAIAT over, fire you, change the name to "Business Convergence Center, and then take credit for everything you had built as if they had done it.

7/29/2010 1:19 PM  
Anonymous Thomas said...

You were awesome, x4mr. So authentic, real, and true. You spoke truth to Cloth BS.

Those impatient to wait for the youtube can hear x4mr at this link.

You have to wait a minute or so, but it does download and work.

7/29/2010 8:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just listened to it, and wow, x4mr.

It is absolutely UNBELIEVABLE that this town let TREO shut you down. Over 10,000 people per year!! Hundreds of companies! You had everything in place. The work was done.

There was no discussion about the value SAIAT provided? There was no need to justify shutting the place down? No one suggested an evaluation of some kind was warranted? No one (besides you) objected?

UNBELIEVABLE. I just don't get how one agency was just granted license to destroy any other agency, just like that, by stealing all of its funding, without having to forward some argument for doing so. It doesn't make any sense.

This is infuriating. The town is run by imbeciles.

7/30/2010 11:16 AM  
Blogger x4mr said...

Anon #2,
The first Anon is right as the story is more complicated, involving TREO infiltration of the SAIAT board to have me replaced by operatives taking their direction. Snell wanted to inflict losses bad enough to have me fired, and his moles tried to do it on 2/15/07 but failed. Vaughn (board chair) and I fired the moles.

This information is available in Chapters 12-14 of Something Else.

7/30/2010 11:56 AM  
Blogger The Navigator said...

I assume you realize that you are being used, x4mr, although probably with respect and without malice.

I can see how you would consent to this in either case. I was just wondering if you think this occurred out of any authentic interest in SAIAT or your work.

I suppose it doesn't matter. Your interview was great, and they're not bad guys, but you do get that this occurred out of their agenda.

And their agenda may be a good one. My point is that if you're getting an ego trip out of this, think again. Put another way, they didn't have you on their show FOR YOU.

Do you get what I'm saying?

7/30/2010 9:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe and Chris have long admired Matt's work to expose the corruption and lack of accountability inherent in Tucson's Clothosphere.

They co-host a radio show; they need interesting and compelling guests to keep people listening.

I wouldn't worry about their agenda or their motives.

One could argue that Matt "used" Joe and Chris too. I don't see a problem.

7/30/2010 10:19 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...

The Anon (10:19) that responded to you is spot on.

Remember in "American Pie" when the guy wakes up after losing his virginity to band camp girl, "I was USED."

Then he smiles, "Cool!"

Minus the sexual tone, same thing here. I totally enjoyed being on the show and thought they managed the conversation very well.

I read their blog Tucson Choices almost daily, and a lot of people who read my blog come from theirs.

When it comes to the Cloth, we are allies against its waste, corruption, and cronyism.

7/31/2010 8:42 AM  
Blogger Liza said...

I thought that was a great interview (thanks for the link, Thomas.) Anyone listening to that interview should be able to understand why a fast track, just-in-time local training center would attract and retain good employers. They should also be enlightened to know that Tucson had that kind of training center and it was well on its way to being self-sustaining. However, Tucson's training center was destroyed by "community leaders" acting to preserve their own private little empires and fiefs.

And a good many of them are still around, "leading" Tucson's so called "economic development" (in reality it is, of course, economic regression.) Just look around and observe the fruits of their labor, and then ask why they haven't all been run out of town with torches and pitchforks.

An amazing story, really. And the only reason we know about it is because X4mr spent months writing "Something Else" and spent years writing about it on his blog.

Tucson really can't afford these kinds of mistakes or the so called "leaders" who make them.

7/31/2010 10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anon2 said...

Just listened, and I just saw a lot. I always figured x4mr knew what he was doing and that SAIAT was a sharp outfit, but holy shit!

I think Joe and Chris did an OUTSTANDING job talking to Matt and helping him tie his work to its value in the community for the listener. While listening, it clicked for me at a much deeper level how brilliant Matt really was.

Cigar Man is right. This would have ended up attracting national attention, and Tucson would have been on the map for creating something other cities would want to copy.

Matt applied the principles of modularization to customized training. Company A just needs a room. B needs a room with internet and one computer for the instructor that projects to a screen. C needs a room with computers for everyone, but they have their own teacher. Bring in food so no one has to leave. Different room set ups for different kinds of courses.

Of course, there's whatever x4mr did in terms of how this is organized, managed, prepared, and priced. Jesus!! He was years ahead of his time.

TREO called all of this "property management" so Snell could gut SAIAT like a deer and pocket $130 grand.

It didn't come out in the interview like I'm saying here, but SAIAT was the way to address workforce development. The companies come forward, out of self interest, and specify what they need. With some public assistance (and less and less as time goes on), the non-profit keeps the prices low so small and medium sized business can afford to send their workers.

Workers get what employers say they need. Companies get smarter, can keep refining skills, and compete better and better. Over 10 thousand a year. Over 100 companies.

As x4mr has said over and over, the "Cloth" couldn't care less about anyone else. The only economy they wish to develop is their paycheck.

7/31/2010 5:19 PM  
Blogger Liza said...

That is an important point, Anon2, about SAIAT being able to service training needs that ranged from just providing space to finding an expert in some highly specialized area to teach a class. The net result is that the training could be totally customized for a specific employer for a specific need at a given time. The ability to do that, and do it well, certainly could have helped to "sell" Tucson to prospective employers paying higher than minimum wage.

Another important point is that X4mr actually followed up to determine the value of the training and this is what enables continuous improvement.

So, I wonder what Joe TREO Snell is doing this Sunday morning. Probably eating a big, fat steak with his eggs and muffins, resting up before going back to the office tomorrow to develop Tucson's economy.

8/01/2010 11:30 AM  
Blogger Sunshinesuperman said...

I hear there are some job openings in Bell,California!

Ever walk in the TREO office? There is no one there to greet you. I think they are a part of Rubicon.

8/03/2010 12:47 PM  

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