Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Drumroll, please...

Ok, so my news that I keep hinting at. Many of you already know this, but I am finally going to educate the masses.

In living up to my reputation as being the luckiest man alive (at least this is what my friends and fam tell me, even if it is dumb-luck), I have been offered a new job. I am the new Production Manager for a startup company here in Yantai called ATK Panel Systems LTD. They manufacture (or rather will... they don't have a factory yet) structural insulated panels (SIPs) which are used to build emergency housing for diaster areas like New Orleans. These panels can be used to build a single family home in as quickly as one day. They are the only company in the world who is endored by both FEMA and the UN. Because of this they already have millions of dollars of orders placed, and now they need somewhere to make them, which is where I come in. The first part of my task is to get the factory built. Most of that has already been planned, but I will be overseeing its construction. I start March 1st.

So, here's my schedule for the next year or so....

  • End of Jan - fly home to Philly for a few weeks
  • Mid Feb - fly to Singapore. Spend rest of Feb backpacking through Malaysia and Thailand. Go sea kayaking in Ko Phi Phi (where The Beach was filmed), scuba diving in Ko Tao (regarded as some of the best diving in the world), and attend one of the legendary Full Moon Parties on Ko Phangan (where over 10,000 people flock to one beach for a massive dance festival).
  • Feb 28th - my birthday... fly back to Yantai to my new apartment. I can't decide on the one with two floors or the one with marble floors... hmmm.
  • March 1st - start my new job. I expect 60 - 70 hour weeks as it is a startup. March is going to suck and I'm going to have to learn very, very quickly.
  • April - moving to Munich, Germany for one month. The factory line is being assembled there and I will go there to learn about its production and operation.
  • May - Back to Yantai. Over the course of the next 9-12 months we will be getting the factory finished, commissioned, and running. I will be in charge of production and the daily operations of the plant.
  • Then... if I've done a good job and haven't managed to get myself fired by then, they want to move me to Oman to build the same factory there. The deal was signed with the Sultan of Oman to build it a few weeks ago and I'd be dealing directly with him.

I hadn't posted this yet because I hadn't told my current company yet. I was worried they might find out if I put it up here. Anyway, I got final verification today (had my last interview) so I am resigning tomorrow. I hope they're not too mad. They wanted to move me out to Kenosha, Wisconsin for a few months to work at the Chrysler Engine Plant. Was supposed to be moving there in two weeks... oops.

The interview I had today was the strangest I could ever imagine. Well, at least the getting-there part. Seriously, this could only happen in China. I was to meet the Chinese president of the company in Jinan, which is a four hour drive from Yantai. The secratary called me to say that someone would pick me up at 6am this morning and drive me there. She also told me to dress warm because the heat in the car didn't work. I wake up at 4:30am this morning, out the door by 5:15, downtown by 6:00. The car shows to pick me up. It is a Buick minivan... two guys in the front, two empty seats in the back, and the rest of the van is filled to the ceiling with boxes of fresh seafood! Eels, tiger shrimp, crabs, fish... it stank! And, the heat worked just fine... what she really meant was, they couldn't use the heat because of the seafood. In fact, they had to blast the airconditioning the entire way! So, here I am stuck in a car with two guys that don't speak a work of English, and half a ton of fresh, stinky seafood, freezing my ass off for 8 hours. Yes, eight hours. Oh yeah, it is only a four hour drive to Jinan... but what no one told me was that we would be driving to approximately six other cities in between to make seafood deliveries! Unbelievable!

Well, we finally get to Jinan at 2pm. I had my interview, everything went fine, and then I had to take a four hour bus-ride back to Yantai. Needless to say, I am exhausted... but I am glad I finally got it all worked out and that I can tell you what it going on. Now lets just hope my old company doesn't want to kill me...

And seriously, how do I do it?