Monday, December 12, 2011

Last Few Days in China

Well, it’s December 11 and I have been home for two weeks.  I just have not taken the time to wrap up my story about my first three months in China.  It’s been a great experience.  There are many things that I did not show you, and I love talking about it and showing my pictures, so if you are truly bored and want me to punish you, ask me to show you some of the pictures of my trip – especially the awesome videos.  Here are a few shots of my last few days in China before returning home for a long Christmas break.
   Birthday party at the home of the Marketing Department Office Manager.

Birthday party at the home of the CFO (Chief Financial Officer).  The party was attended my most of the department managers and their wives and children.  

Goofing off in my office at the factory.  On my left is Ms. Jia, the marketing office manager.  Behind me is my administrative assistant, Miss. Dong.  Jia cannot speak any English, but we are great friends.  We communicate by using Instant Messenger.  She has to translate what I type to her.  Miss Dong’s English is improving daily.  I am slowing adding to my Chinese vocabulary.

Passing out candy bars to the factory workers to celebrate my upcoming birthday.  My assistant Miss Dong went around with me to help me communicate with the workers.

Posing for a photo in my office with Mr. Liu, the manager of the Service Department.  He is responsible for about 20 service and repair people who maintain the elevators on a regular basis.  I am wearing a custom-made silk jacket that was given to me Dr. Yu, one of the joint venture partners.

The entire workforce came out to the front gate for a picture with me in front of the Schumacher sign.

Lunch at a downtown restaurant with the marketing and service department staff.

Photo with some of the sales staff in the marketing offices in the Runfa corporate tower.

I just had to have a photo with the guard posted at the front lobby of the Runfa building.  I always greeted him in Chinese when I arrived in the morning and he always greeted me in English.  How would you like to sit in the same spot all day long and do nothing?  I salute the patience of this man!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Morning Visitor

Well, I got a bit of a shock the other day coming out of the shower.  I am on the 6th floor of my hotel, so I don't really need to worry about people looking into my room, but this guy took me by surprise.  I'm a bit more cautious now, although he probably won't be back for 6 months.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Work Permit Application is Completed

After several months of trips and paperwork back and forth to the Chinese government offices, the paperwork for my work permit is done.  I had to go through an extensive physical examination, submit my resume, work history, professional experience, references, letter from Schumacher Elevator saying that I was really going to China for a joint venture project, and even a letter from the Waverly Police Department saying that I was not a bad person with a criminal record.  Whew!  Now I still need to have some paperwork done in Chicago before I return.  Here’s the team from Schumacher China that processed the paperwork.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Runfa Office Building

I just realized I am doing a post on 11-11-11. There must be something special about this day. Maybe I should go get some ice cream. Oh wait, I'm in China. They don't eat anything cold here. Well, what should I do tonight at 11:11? I have a few hours to think about that.

Okay.  As promised, this post is about the corporate office building, where I also have an office on the 7th floor.  Schumacher Elevator (China) Company is a subsidiary of The Runfa Group, which owns eight large factories in this area.  The elevator company is actually very small compared to the other eight companies.  The corporate offices for all the Runfa Group factories are in this building, which is right across the street from my hotel (which is also owned by the Runfa Group).  One day I was headed for lunch with a lady from marketing and we ran into the founding owner of the all the Runfa companies.  He is a visionary who has worked hard and made a big difference in the quality of life in his community.  Mr. Yu is now 74, and stepping back from the day-to-day management.  Every time he sees me he greets me warmly.

Jia Ai Ping (pronounced Jah), me and company founder, Mr. Yu

Close-up of the front entrance.  I am posing with two engineers back in September – potential buyers.

Inside the front lobby.  Pretty ornate.  This picture was taken yesterday after the customers signed a contract for four elevators.  They drove four hours to see our company.  We always show them the best offices when they come.  I think I was saying “money” when they took the picture.  Our closing rate was 30% before I came to China. We are currently closing 90% of our deals.  The sales manager is standing next to me.  The customers are on both sides.

The marketing department.  Most of the time the marketing people are working at the factory office.  This is just to impress the customers.

My office.  I usually spend my mornings here and afternoons at the factory.

View of the inner courtyard as I head for the front gate on my bike

Saturday, November 5, 2011

This Week in China

Work continues on the hotel swimming pool building outside my window.

View of the factory below from my office window.

Moved into the new offices at the factory.  Sorry, I haven’t had time to get all my technical journals in my bookshelf yet, Tim (ha ha).

Grocery shopping with my interpreter.  Compare this to the Fareway meat counter.  L-R Shrimp (with their heads and little eyes), duck heads (yes, they eat the brains) and pork (mostly bone, no meat).

Chicken feet and…chicken feet.  Would you like them spicy?  Edison bought a bag of six to snack on when he got home.

Typical snack for me.  Actually, this is was my supper tonight.

Lunch with a few people from the Marketing Department and Installation Departments.  Normally we eat a bland catered meal at the factory.  This was an impromptu run downtown for a few of us that were working at the Runfa building that day.  I'll tell you about the Runfa building in my next blog.

This was actually the best food I’ve ever eaten in China.  Every dish was very good.  Bethany thought you would appreciate more pictures of me, so here I am with one of the sales reps.  Note the “spoon” in my right hand.  I’m getting pretty good with the chopsticks.  I rarely eat with silverware anymore, unless I am having eggs for breakfast by myself - or oatmeal in my room. 

Annual safety inspection.  There are 36 elevators in this apartment complex.  We are in the machine room at the top of the elevator shaft.  We passed the inspection, of course. 

Visited a local company today where we outsource our laser cutting operations until we can afford to buy a machine.  Purchasing a high tech laser cutter is high on our To-Do list. 

This is a typical example of the flexibility and precision of a computer controlled laser cutting machine.  This machine can cut sheet steel up to 30mm thick. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

English Class

After a month at the factory, I decided to start teaching English class.  One of the things I have been talking about is “mutual cooperation and mutual benefit”, which is one of the company mission statements.  My job in this joint venture is to transfer technology from Schumacher USA to Schumacher China.  If we cooperate, we all benefit.  One of the ways I am building relationships is to go above and beyond the call of duty.  I am making an effort to learn the Chinese language, which they appreciate, and I also want to help them learn the English language.  Lunch time is a perfect time to teach some rudimentary English, so I have invited them all to join me for lunch in my conference room if they want to learn English.  I have about eight eager students.  

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Old Office Space

The remodeling of factory building #3 is nearly complete.   Soon we will vacate Factory Building #1 and move into our new space.  Here’s a quite tour of the old office space.

Heading up the stairs to the second floor.  “You are welcome again to Schumacher Elevator!”   ... and it ain’t Schumacher USA!  Bright red is the favorite color in China.  Bright blue is next, and all trim is gold or silver when possible.

Service, Purchasing and Marketing offices.

My office is all the way down the hall on the left.  The factory manager is at the end.

Halfway down the hall is the infamous bathroom with the squatty potty.

Entrance to my office.

So far I don’t have a lot of technical journals in my bookcase.  Check out the air conditioner.  It “conditions” the air in the summer and the winter.  Typical in China.

Conference room for my office.

Lunch time.  Around here they say “Tcher Fahn”, which means “Have lunch.”  I don’t know how to spell it in Chinese, but this is how to pronounce it.  Lunch time is a social time, but for me there is no talking because no one speaks English!  It’s still important for me to eat with them and be part of the group.  The Service Manager (gold glasses) knows about three English words.  The Engineering Manager (black glasses) knows about 1,000 English words, but he’s still pretty difficult to understand, because he hasn’t spoken English for ten years.

The ladies lunch table.  Sometimes I eat with them because I work closely with two of them, but I feel weird eating at the women’s table.  The young lady with the purple sweater speaks a little English, for which I am very grateful.  The rest just smile!