In case you haven't noticed, the 2008 presidential election is heating up. Although we've still got well over a year to go until election time, the media blitz has already begun. Obviously, the war in Iraq is going to have a huge impact when Americans flock to the polls next year. If ever the American public has wanted its voice heard, the time is now.
But it shouldn't take a war in Iraq to get Americans involved in the political process. It's a safe bet that if our country weren't involved in this conflict, interest in the election would not be running this high—especially so early in the process. Sure, the candidates would find something else to debate—health-care costs, immigration policy, and rising fuel prices come to mind—but voter reaction would likely be a collective yawn.
As business owners and executives, logistics professionals need to be involved in the political process. Whether it's a local debate over a proposed wind farm in your community or a presidential primary, your opinion counts. Being involved at the local level is vitally important.
Just ask Paul Delp, the CEO at Lansdale Warehouse, a third-party logistics service provider that operates six facilities in Pennsylvania. By his own count, Delp has put in several hundred hours over the last few years attending meetings and lobbying politicians about proposed upgrades to a nine-mile stretch of rail track called the Stony Creek Branch. Primarily a single-track lane running through Montgomery County, it is used exclusively by rail freight companies to haul goods to Lansdale and other communities. Although the track is owned by the state, operating rights are leased out to CSX Transportation on the northern end and Norfolk Southern (NS) on the southern end—which makes maintaining the track, and making improvements, rather complicated.
Delp's mission is to get the stretch of track upgraded from Class 1 to Class 2, which would allow trains to run at speeds of up to 25 mph, as opposed to 10 mph. Though an agreement to upgrade the rail has been reached, the track needs $10 million worth of repairs before it can be upgraded. Delp— who lost a major customer because frequent derailments on the line led to a delayed delivery—is working with local authorities in Pennsylvania to drum up public support for the project.
"It's a process of educating the public and I keep going to all the meetings and trying to talk to as many people as I can about it," says Delp. "We've [now] got our state senators on our side. It's essential [to get involved]."
So, go ahead and follow Delp's lead. By simply making yourself heard, you can make a big difference.