2009 b

I quit my day job today.  After 36 years with one company (although the name changed from American Gas Association Laboratories to International Approval Services to CSA International), I took early retirement (62) to leave a stagnant situation and find out what life is like without bosses (and regular paychecks).  Jean Armstrong and crew planned an excellent party that was the intimate pizza lunch that I preferred.  In a very nice gesture, they named the hallway after me, put my name in a DQD, and gave me too many presents. [JAM 4/30/2009]

(This is the first draft of my retirement speech: I decided not to give a prepared speech and spoke off the cuff.  The people who needed to hear this were not in the room.)

Thank you for the party.  I have been dreading this day for about three years.  CSA/AGA has been a very good place for me to work.  It has paid the bills, allowed me to travel to exotic locations and has given me a comfortable life.  I met my wife here and made many friends along the way. I started with AGA as a test engineer (now known as project holder) in 1973.  I decided to stay because I thought the job was important.  CSA is in the consumer safety business.  The important people here are the project holders.  They do the work that allows CSA to be in business.  The rest of us are just here to support them.  If the project holders cannot do their work, there would be no revenue, no business and no job for you.  The support staff should come to work every day asking themselves what they can do to help the project holders.  When we hire good people, pay them well and give them the best equipment, there will be no shortage of work.  And, everyone will get salary increases and bonuses. I accepted a management position in 1984 because I was frustrated with the problems that management was not solving for engineers.  I thought I could make a difference.  In the last 22 years I have tried to make improvements but I am not sure that I have been very successful.  The same problems occur over and over.  The people who do the billable work should have the best equipment and the best support system.  However, it seems that CSA spends an inordinate amount of time focusing on the bottom line at the expense of safety and quality.  I believe that if you focus on safety and quality, the revenue will come.  CSA should be viewed as the safety certification agency that provides the highest quality. Our project holders cannot perform at the highest level using equipment and systems from the last century.  Computer systems should be designed to make their jobs easier.  Too often, systems are designed to work easier for management or support departments.  I have seen this happen over and over again.  The greatest evidence of this is the fact that every project holder spends more time trying to negotiate computer mazes than performing safety tests.  When I started working at AGA, the opposite was true.  I spent most of my time on my feet.  Report writing was a small part of my job. Project holders, inspectors and other staff members should take all things into consideration before accepting a management position.  There is a little bit more money to be made but a lot less job security.  A good project holder will always have a secure job here but management positions are expendable especially when goals are not met.  In my present position, I have four levels of management above me.  It is very hard to wade through all of the politics to affect change.  We spend too much time on mission statements and business plans without considering how high-level decisions will affect our important employees.  If you like office politics, then management is for you. Thank you for allowing me to stand on the soap box.  Good luck in your careers and maximize your 401K if you want to leave early like me.

I retired from CSA International (formerly A.G.A. Laboratories) on April 30, 2009 after 36 years with one organization.  During the week before I retired, I took the local members of my department to lunch (Jo Miller, Andrew Wu, Bob Toprani and Justin Chang).  Raghu Nathan (who would take my place) was the photographer.  Office Manager Jean Armstrong organized a nice office party for me and created an office hallway sign ("Jerry Moore Way") that was displayed in the Irvine lab after I retired.  [JAM 6/13/2020]