I am writing this column just after Election Day. I live in Ohio — one of the swing states that got bombarded with political TV ads, phone calls, door-to-door solicitors, postcards, more phone calls and did I mention TV ads? I didn't realize that folks in non-swing states didn't get as much attention until I saw a parody of the pre-election shenanigans on "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart (It's pretty funny if you want to watch for yourself.)
As usual, television networks on election night raced to be first to predict which candidate won a specific state, and who won the election. This time, the results seemed fairly clear-cut fairly early — except in Florida, of course. Indeed, people in the Eastern time zone only had to stay up until about 2 a.m. to hear Mitt Romney's concession speech and Barack Obama's victory address.
Voting and then quickly seeing how your ballot fits in the overall outcome certainly beats waiting to find out the results. That's why ChemicalProcessing.com grants you instant access to results of our polls.
Each month you can vote on a hot topic facing the chemical industry. By participating in these quick polls, you are doing two things: benchmarking your facility's status and helping us understand what issues and concerns are important. In the last year we have learned many things.
Nearly one-third (30%) of respondents stated that the level of engineering expertise has decreased at their company versus five years ago. Only 4% said that the expertise has significantly increased. We started suspecting this several years ago and have written a few articles to help companies combat the loss of knowledge. One article to read is "Retirement: Companies Keep Know-how in Place."
In another poll, we asked our readers to rate their site's corrosion monitoring practices. Half of them said their practices were marginal. One-quarter said they were adequate. There was an even split (13%) for having excellent practices and non-existent practices. Maybe this is why we have a lot of products focused on corrosion prevention. You can access all of our products at www.chemicalprocessing.com/vendors/products.
When we asked our visitors about their sites' efforts to optimize water use, 22% rated them to be poor and 3% categorized the efforts as abysmal. The rest considered their efforts to be adequate (36%) or better — 22% said good and 17% said excellent. Our Industrial Wastewater Resource Center includes articles that can help make the most of water.
On that same scale, we asked site visitors to rate their facilities' efforts to deal with dusts created during handling and processing. Nearly one-third (32%) considered the efforts poor and 11% said they were abysmal. Only 7% rated them excellent. This is probably why our webinars focused on dust control are so popular. We have several on-demand events ready to be viewed. You can access all on-demand webinars at www.chemicalprocessing.com/webinars.
So, while the Presidential election is over, you still can vote by participating in our quick polls.
Traci Purdum is Chemical Processing's senior digital editor. She's happy that the political commercials are no longer ruling the airwaves in Ohio. You can e-mail her at email@example.com.
On the social media front, be sure to check out her Google+ page.