Busy Winter – Lots of Visitors – Lots of Programming

In Visits, Journal by Steve Sliwa

This was our first winter based primarily in AZ.  At first we wondered what we would be doing, but as it turns out we have been extremely busy.

First, I agree to program up a new website for the new flying organization (Touring Motor Gliders Association or the TMGA) which I estimated initially as 100 hours of effort.  Of course, I over-reached and am over 1,000 hours into the product that I started a few months ago.  Obviously it has been all encompassing, but I have learned a lot (php, javascript, template programming, etc.) and think my technical capabilities and style have gone to the next level.  I am now applying my new skills on other sites including my booksite.  I am really psyched on a new capability that I am close to perfecting in my book-site!

Second, visitors.  We have had a nice and steady flow of visitors to our home in Arizona.  It has been great and was what we had envisioned when we picked out our place and set it up for ourselves and company.  I am going to look through my calendar and see if I can write down our guests:

  • Jeff & Tammy Thom – Jeff was a former Boeing assigned CFO at Insitu.  They visited for a weekend to start the season and came back in January with kids and grandkids to coincide with the Scottsdale Barrett-Jackson Auto Auctions.
  • Jeff & Lynn Kimpan – Jeff was a classmate of mine at Stanford business school and he just retired from GM.
  • Andie Sliwa, Michele Sliwa, and Kristi Garwood – As reported previously they came to visit in November.  Andie is my niece, Michele my sister-in-law, and Kristi is my former Executive Asst. at Insitu.
  • Mark and Tiffani Derbecker – Mark was a software manager at Insitu during my tenure and both are good friends of Rich and Tabitha.  They came for Thanksgiving.
  • Tabitha & Rich Colie – Came for short visit over Thanksgiving.
  • Paul and Joan McDuffee – We hosted them for our annual New Year’s get-together, but this time at our place in AZ.  Traditionally it has been in Florida.
  • Dave & Ann Anderson – Dave was a program manager at Insitu during my tenure and he visited with his wife and pre-teen boys.
  • Jim and Dee Hulbert – Our neighbors in White Salmon were also the owners of Bogie, Angel’s father,  came for a day visit and lunch.
  • Debbie & CJ Brignoli – Debbie is the wife of AJ Brignoli, who was a senior VP at Insitu during my tenure and a Stanford business school classmate.  Debbie is also a great pal for Nancy which CJ is AJ’s and Debbie’s daughter-in-law.
  • Brad Schrick – Brad is buddy of mine from undergrad (Princeton) and Stanford engineering.  He also worked with me at several places including Insitu. He was in town for business and swung by for a couple of days.
  • Steve & Mary Jane Heppe – Steve was my roommate at Princeton and I have known MJ almost as long.  Steve, who used to be the Chief Scientist at Insitu, was in town on a consulting project and MJ flew down to surprise him.  They spent a day with us and we did dinner together.
  • Chris and Marcie Smith — Marcie is Nancy’s flying buddy.
  • Susan Larson – Susan is flying buddy of Nancy’s and Marcie’s and after running into her in SAF, she decided to swing over in her plane for a visit.
  • Paul McDuffee and Dave Sliwa – Both were in town for the same meeting and we did dinner on alternating nights.
  • Darlene, John, and Matt Mazur – John and Darlene are neighbors and buddies when we lived in Florida.  We’ve known Matt since he was in elementary school and he worked with me at Insitu.  John and Matt flew with me in the TBM back up to WA.  Matt wants the world to know that he flew left seat in the TBM and hand-flew the departure, approach, and landing into Reno on the way.
  • Steve & Henry Nordlund – As a birthday present for Henry, they came a did a boys weekend in AZ with a couple of spring training games for the Mariners.
  • Rich Colie – Rich made a solo visit after a business trip and used it to rent a mountain bike and check out the trails near the house.  He came back and reported that they were amazingly good.
  • Susan Hill, Thane Hill, Marisa Hill, and Nathan Hill – My sister and her family came for a spring break visit.  We got lots done together, but spent a lot of time in R&R around the house.
  • Shannon Roberts – Nancy’s cousin came for a visit.
  • Drs. Mort Feinberg & Gracia Smith – My executive coach and consiglieri and his partner are visiting later this week.
  • Kristi Garwood & Cathy Carter – My former executive assistant and mutual friend are visiting, planning to coincide and overlap with Feinberg & Smith.

Whew!  What a list.  It has been great.

Third – I have started some consulting projects at the first of the year.  I am working with Optical Air Data Systems (OADS) and Ice Energies Inc. (IE Tech).

So I feel as busy as ever and, of course, wish I was more productive.  But I am happy while on this break and pressing on several fronts.  This is also the time when I started working on a new venture idea.


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