From the high to the low
Chancesare that you leaf thru or buy this month’s issue of Vanity Fair because of the statuesque Kate Upton on the cover and inside. It’s the 100th anniversary issue of the magazine and we would not usually direct you to it if not for the article on the engineering feat that is inside. And we are not talking about Ms. Upton’s swimsuit.
But to an article, ‘ about the construction of the new subway line in New York City. It is fabulously illustrated by Gina LeVay (www.ginalevay.com) who is portraying the work of the sandhog, the underground workers, who toil hundreds of feet under the Big Apple, digging aqueduct and subway line.
If you have the time over the next few days, take a drive to Ayer’s Cliff to see what will soon be underground in New York. It’s just behind the fairgrounds, on Westmount Avenue, at the Everest plant. As we reported a couple of weeks ago, it’s a form machine, a rather huge thing; a sort of 225 ton Swiss watch.
While that is underground, the work done in Terrebonne by ADF is more visible: the company has built all the difficult parts of the World Trade Center’s new building.
Both cases involved tricky engineering and uncompromising quality control. In both cases, you have to build right here, dismantle and reassemble on site. Make a millimeter mistake when you start and you’re doomed. At 1776 feet above or 200 feet below.
Jokingly, I told Ayer’s Cliff mayor that his town must be the high tech capital of the Townships, if not the province. With more or less 600 citizens per hi-tech company, exporting products all over the world, competing head on with rather tough, when not nasty, competitors, Everest and Wulftec are proof positive that a town entrepreneur’s resolve is the most important factor of real success.
Wulftec doesn’t get any breaks from its competitors, mainly Chinese, offering products at highly discounted prices. But then as we wrote before, cheap has no value when the product is not functioning when it should.
And as was the case for ADF winning the World Trade Center contract, Everest did not obtain the one for the subway on good looks and a desire by the Americans to foster competition. Americans are protectionist to a fault and before letting any foreign company win a contract they will try every trick in the book to have an American firm get it. More so if it is 100% tax financed as is the case of the NYC subway.
Nothing predisposes Ayer’s Cliff to take this leadership position. Let’s be honest, it may be close to a main autoroute, but getting there is another story as any truck driver will tell you. It has not seen a train in decades, has some basic commercial infrastructure but nothing to brag about, still it exports worldwide!
Right now, Everest is looking for employees; we suspect that the starting wages are way above minimum. This subway contract will bring more and more, as it did for ADF, so if you want to see what success looks like, drive by the structure while it’s still there. You will feel a lot more confident about the future of the region when you do.
Local Liberals gathered at the Cep d’Argent winery, in Magog on Sunday, for the Estrie region’s Regional Congress. Seen in the photo are (left to right): Ghislain Bolduc, Megantic MNA; Karine Vallieres, Richmond MNA; Philippe Couillard, head of the Quebec Liberal Party; Pierre Paradis, Brome-Missisquoi MNA; and Pierre Reid, Orford MNA.