Nolan Getaways – 1995

Travel by Lewis & Betty Nolan

 

 

Jan. 10-12: Washington, DC

May 27: Old Waverly

Jan. 17-18: Nashville

June 18: Old Waverly

Jan. 20-22: Nashville

June 23: Helena, AR

Jan. 25-26: Liberty Corner, NJ

July 2-9: Gulf Shores, AL

Feb. 3-6: Rio Rico, AZ & Mexico

July 18-19: Nashville

Feb. 13-14: Nashville

July 20: Old Waverly

Feb. 22-23: Nashville

Aug. 10-11: Old Waverly & Starkville

Feb. 27-Mar. 1: Nashville

Sept. 14-15: New York

Mar. 18: Old Waverly, West Point, MS

Oct. 1: Old Waverly

Mar. 27-28: Nashville

Nov. 2-5: Gulf Shores

April 6-7: Old Waverly & Starkville, MS

Nov. 7-9: Madison & Liberty Corner, NJ

April 8-16: Gulf Shores & Biloxi, MS

Nov. 27-28: Liberty Corner

May 8-11: Washington, DC

Nov. 30-Dec. 1: Old Waverly & Starkville

May 22-23: Washington, DC

Dec. 4-6: Liberty Corner & Kenilworth, NJ

May 30-June 1: New York

Dec. 20-31: Gulf Shores & New Orleans

 

Continue With Getaways – 1996  /  Return To Nolan Travels Home Page

 

Page Updated May 3, 2008  (Last Callup; 10:30 a.m. June 10)

 

To Washington to Visit State’s New U.S. Senators

 

Jan. 10-12, 1995 – To Washington, DC

 

I flew from Memphis to Washington, DC’s Reagan National Airport on a Northwest Airlines flight and stayed at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill I had a great dinner of lamb and fresh mussels at the La Colline restaurant near the hotel.

 

The next day I visited the offices of new U.S. Senators Bill Frist and Fred Thompson, both Republicans who won their recent elections by large margins. While in Washington, I did some research on my forthcoming book “Nolan-Miller Family History” at the Library of Congress.

 

But the reason for the trip was for me to attend and represent my company, Schering-Plough HealthCare Products, at a reception honoring Senators Frist and Thompson. Former Tennessee Senator Howard Baker and Schering-Plough President Dick Kogan at the exclusive F Street Club, near the White House at 1925 F ST, put on the big event.

 

There were over 100 persons employed by Schering-Plough or important to the company at the reception. Among those who came to greet new Senators Frist and Thompson were Tennessee members of the House of Representatives Quillen, Duncan, Gordon, Tanner, Bryant and Van Hillery. The only incumbents from the state who didn’t show up were Democrats Harold Ford Jr. of Memphis and Bob Clement of the Nashville area.

 

Others at the politically star-studded reception were former Senator Bill Brock, former Representative Dan Kuykendall, Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton, National Transportation Board chairman Jim Hall, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Wilbur Hawkins, Agriculture Department General Counsel Jim Gilliland and many other well-connected Tennesseans. Fellow Memphian Fred Smith, founder of Federal Express and possibly the most politically powerful businessman in Tennessee, kindly invited me to fly back to Memphis after the reception on one of his company planes. Pleased at the offer, I demurred in favor of staying over to spend some time in Washington with my company’s lobbying representatives – and picking up some frequent flyer miles and hotel privileges as well.

 

After the reception, I went to the nearby Dubliner Pub and enjoyed Irish beer and sandwiches with my Schering-Plough colleagues Dick Kinney of the Washington office and Ed McManic, who was the executive in charge of Operations for HealthCare Products in Memphis.

 

While staying at the Hyatt, I worked out twice in the hotel’s spa and fitness center. It was a grand trip that gave me a chance to say hello to a lot of people who are important to the corporation.

 

Tennessee Business Roundtable’s Task Force

 

Jan. 17-18, 1995 – To Nashville

 

I drove to Nashville in a Taurus rented from Fleet mark to attend a task force meeting for Tennessee Business Roundtable working on the business lobbying organization dealing with TennCare legislation to improve the state’s taxpayer funded support of health care for the less fortunate. Joining me at the meeting was Mac Wright of Atlanta, the regional lobbyist for Schering Corporation who was closely watching Tennessee developments and their possible impact on company drug sales.

 

Both of us stayed at Nashville’s Stouffer Hotel, a departure from my usual patronage of the Hyatt Regency across the street from the Legislative Plaza. Mac and I dined well at Mario’s, one of the favorite watering holes of lobbyists and a fine restaurant that specializes in expensive, Northern Italian cuisine.

 

About the best thing I could say about the Task Force meeting was that Mac and I succeeded in getting our company’s prescription drug formulary issues on the table. But a woman named Polly, whom I considered to be obnoxious, identified herself as a consultant for a Managed Care Organization (MCO) repeatedly challenged the prescription drug company representatives in attendance. My attitude toward her priggishness was hardened by the presence of a rather bad cold, which was severe enough to eliminate my customary workout in hotel exercise facilities when I’m on the road.

 

Betty and I Attend Gov. Sundquist Inauguration

 

Jan. 20-22 – To Nashville

 

Despite a lingering head cold, I returned to Nashville in a rented Taurus sedan from Fleetmark, driving the 200-plus miles with my wife, Betty, so we could attend the inauguration activities of my company’s very good friend, Don Sundquist. Don had given up his safe Congressional seat representing part of Memphis and a chunk of West Tennessee he won with the strong support of Schering-Plough’s Political Action Committee and senior executives.

 

Betty and I stayed at the swanky Stouffer Hotel in downtown Nashville and enjoyed a festive evening a few blocks away at a special party at the Crown Plaza that was thrown for and by Memphis residents on the Friday evening before Governor Sundquist’s Saturday morning, swearing-in ceremony. We saw a number of our political friends from Memphis at the party, prominent Republicans and several local office holders.

 

The swearing-in ceremony was across the street at the Legislative Plaza. Due to the crowds and ensuring parade of bands from across Tennessee, it was a huge, outdoor event that was held in the January cold. There were quite a few snowflakes falling. The warm breath of hundreds of spectators (possibly flavored with traces of whisky from the previous night’s parties formed little clouds of fog around the plaza. The marching bands produced a spectacle of heroic proportions, but I felt a little sorry for the scantily clad twirlers and some of the uniformed band members who looked miserable due to the cold. My guess was the temp was in the low 20s.

 

Betty and I walked to a nearby office of a lobbyist to warm up but returned to the politics of the day by attending a gala reception and dinner in honor of the new governor that evening. Schering-Plough was one of the sponsors, at $5,000, and we were seated at a table hosted by Republican Rep. Ed Bryant of Jackson, TN who now holds Sundquist’s former seat. At the gala, we had a chance to say hello to the governor and his family, including his beautiful and charming daughter Andrea, who is a product-marketing manager Schering-Plough HealthCare Products.

 

Betty looked terrific at the First Lady’s Ball at the Sheraton Music City hotel, wearing a new gown and jacket I had purchased for her earlier at the Saks Fifth Avenue store in New Orleans.

 

The next morning, we checked out of the hotel and drove home. A little less than halfway back to Memphis, we stopped at country singer Loretta Lynn’s estate and visitor center (includes campground, antebellum home, souvenir store and a beautiful fishing stream) at Hurricane Mills. All in all, it was a great trip despite my lingering head cold.

 

Communications Work Given High Marks in Survey

 

Jan. 25-26, 1995 – To Liberty Corner, NJ

 

I took advantage of some cheap airfares by flying Northwest to Atlanta and changing planes there for a flight on to Newark by Continental Airlines. The out-of-the-way outing reduced the cost from $826 to $298 and didn’t take all that much more of my time.

 

I spent the night at the Marriot Airport and enjoyed an excellent salmon dinner delivered by room service. I rented a Pontiac through Avis for the 30-minute drive on Thursday morning to Liberty Corner, N.J., where my employer Schering-Plough HealthCare Products has most of its executives and marketing staff based.

 

I was quite pleased when one of our divisional marketing research gurus, Stuart Rose, gave a presentation on the results of an employee communications survey his department had done for our operation. As Vice President Communications for the division and equipped with a very good staff and a healthy budget, I was glad to learn that the survey revealed high marks given our department’s work.

 

Making it especially nice was the fact that among those present to hear about what a good job we were doing were my boss, Bob Raub (Senior Vice President of Human Resources) and my former subordinate Claudia Robinson (whom I had helped several years ago with her promotion and transfer from Memphis to Corporate Communications in Schering-Plough’s nearby headquarters in Madison, NJ. Others present to hear the positive report on the survey of our divisional employee communications included interns Gina Evans of our Memphis office and Tina Antico of our Liberty Corner office; and Alex Lehner, Employee Communications Manager for the corporation’s Schering Pharmaceuticals of Kenilworth, N.J. There were also several Human Resources managers present for the briefing.

 

I flew back to Memphis that evening, again taking the Northwest-Continental connection through Atlanta.

 

Convertible Top Down for Desert Heat in February

 

Feb. 3-6, 1995 – To Rio Rico, Ariz.

 

Betty and I flew to the Sonorant Desert resort of Rio Rico on Northwest courtesy of Frequent Flyer tickets, arriving in Phoenix about 11:15 a.m. and driving a rental 1995 Mustang Convertible from there about three hours to the town south of Tucson. We were lucky to have a warm Friday afternoon for the drive, with the temperature climbing into the mid-80s.

 

We took a certain delight in paying more-than-usual attention to the weather reports coming out of the cold Northeast, with eight inches of snow hitting Newark where I’d been the week before.

 

The Rio Rico resort is atop a mesa that overlooks the Santa Cruz River Valley. It is quite nice and offers a large, heated swimming pool with hot tub, tennis courts, a weight room and exercise facility and one of the top golf courses in Arizona. Beautiful, desert scenery and rugged, dry mountains surround it. We thought the hotel restaurant, which overlooks the desert from a rounded room full of windows, served very good food at a reasonable price.

 

The hotel at the resort was formerly operated as a Sheraton and is now owned by a development company that owns 100 square miles of mostly empty land just a few miles from the Arizona-Mexico border at Nogales. The golf course was designed by the famous links architect Robert Trent Jones and claims to be rated No. 5 in the state.

 

I thought the course was one of the tougher ones I’ve played in the desert, but it is very playable with somewhat generous fairways. Even though I hadn’t played much recently due to the winter cold back home in Memphis, I managed to shoot a 97. My playing partners were Joe Darling, general manager of the entire Rio Rico development; and Tom Draper, the editor-publisher of the Arizona Golfer Magazine; and Robert Stuckey, a salesman for Cisco Foods. I was clearly out of my league with those three and lost $8 in a Nassau bet that paired Robert and I against the two others.

 

Betty and I drove a few miles south to Nogales two times, parking as recommended in a lot behind the McDonald’s restaurant 100 or so yards from the border crossing. We bought some of the cheaply sold vanilla sold in quart bottles, a bolo necktie for me and some silver bracelets for Betty and gifts for others back home. We also purchased some assorted souvenirs of our midwinter “getaway” to Mexico.

 

The mild temperatures and pleasant facilities made me want to get in my full quota of exercise during the trip. One day I did two miles on the hotel treadmill, following with a swim of 16 laps in the hotel pool (which was probably 25 yards long), or roughly a quarter-of-a-mile.

 

The most physically punishing activity came on Saturday afternoon when we went horseback riding. I had a large gelding named Thumper. Betty was on a mare named So Neat. Evidently the horses didn’t get along very well since Thumper would lag behind until I urged him to trot up to So Neat, causing my rear end to chafe from the bumping in the saddle. The resort’s Mary Barratt led the two-hour ride along the river, which had recently flooded and decorated riverbank brush and bushes with assorted debris and junk.

 

I’m sure I looked like a perfect greenhorn cowboy. I was wearing my relatively new cowboy boots, a cowboy hat and a bolo tie.

 

On Sunday, Betty and I drove the rental Mustang convertible to the nearby desert town of Tumacacori. It is an ancient, Spanish mission started by the legendary Father Kino about 1792. It is now a National Historic Monument. An affable Park Ranger gave us an excellent tour, which included his singing a hauntingly beautiful Mass song, Kirie, under the resonating mission dome where the heathen Pima Indians were introduced to Jesus Christ long ago. The Indians, unfortunately, were also introduced to measles and smallpox.

 

Later, Betty and I went to the Tubac Art Colony a few miles away, where dozens of artists have stalls and small shops offering desert art and other objects. We had arranged this trip around its annual Art Festival and toured the festival amid several thousand art fanciers and vacationers. Among the permanent galleries open to tour was Tubac Ironworks, a retail dealer for about 150 metal artists that include “The Metal Man” of Tucson.

 

While there, we had a passable lunch of Bratwurst at Johan’s, a German restaurant of all things in the desert. We were surprised to learn that there are no southwestern-style restaurants of any consequence near Tubac, or at least none that anybody we talked to would recommend.

 

We checked out of the hotel at Rio Rico on Sunday morning for a leisurely drive north through the Sonora Desert to Tucson. On the way, we stopped at the fabulous San Xavier del Bac Mission on the Tucson outskirts to marvel at how far the restoration project underway on the classic “Dove of the Desert” structure has come since out list visit two years ago.

 

We had a great trip and ideal weather this time and want to return to Rio Rico and the area for another winter getaway.

 

Inviting Tennessee Governor to Barbeque Contest

 

Feb, 13-14, 1995 – To Nashville

 

I drove to Nashville in a rental Taurus to attend the annual Tennessee Business Roundtable meeting, where I’m a member representing Schering-Plough HealthCare Products with major manufacturing plants and distribution operations in Memphis and Cleveland, Tenn.

 

In Nashville, I joined Mac Wright of Atlanta, a Schering Laboratories managed care executive for the region. We were at TBR to guide our company’s position on drug manufacturer access for prescription drugs in Tennessee’s TennCare Legislation action agenda. It worked out that I moved our motion at the meeting, which passed.

 

While at the Legislative Plaza and Capitol offices, I met briefly with Gov. Don Sundquist and invited him on behalf of Schering-Plough to participate in the wingding Memphis in May Barbeque Contest. He accepted. I visited that evening at a TBR reception attended by many legislators, including Senators Steve Cohen and John Ford and Representatives Dan Byrd and Rufus Jones. That evening Mac and I dined at the Wild Horse Saloon in downtown Nashville.

 

Both Mac and I stayed at the Stouffer Hotel in downtown Nashville and met with Deputy Gov. Tom McNamara (he had been legislative aide to Sundquist when Don was a member of Congress) the next morning before driving back to Memphis.

 

To Nashville to Party with Shelby County Delegation

 

Feb. 22-23, 1995 – To Nashville

 

I drove to just over 200 miles to Nashville in a Taurus sedan rented from Fleetmark to attend the annual Shelby County Reception for the State Legislature in the Crowne Plaza Hotel across from the Legislative Plaza downtown. As chairman of the Memphis Area Chamber of Commerce’s Government Affairs Review Committee, I was one of the hosts of the reception sponsored by the Chamber. I had the opportunity to visit with most members of our home Shelby County delegation, Shelby County Mayor Jim Route and Deputy Gov. Tom McNamara, who formerly was head of Governor Sundquist’s Congressional Office staff.

 

I stayed at the Hampton Inn near Vanderbilt University, a bit out of the way from my normal pattern when in our state capital. It was an uneventful trip.

 

Back To Nashville, Where Deputy Governor Is Hot

 

Feb. 27 – March 1, 1995 – To Nashville

 

I drove back to Nashville in a Taurus sedan rented (again) from Fleetmark and stayed at the Holiday Inn Crown Plaza across the street from the Legislative Plaza. I had a good workout in the hotel’s ground-floor fitness room shortly after arriving early in the afternoon, exercising on a stationary bike, rowing machine and on a Universal weight machine.

 

I had a passable dinner of fajitas at the hotel that evening and attended the Board of Governors meeting for the Tennessee Association of Business (TAB) the next day. I attended the TAB annual blowout reception that evening and had an opportunity to visit with Sen. Jim Kyle of Memphis and Mac Wright of Atlanta, a lobbyist for Schering Laboratories’ managed care unit. We discussed Kyle’s bill affecting the state’s formulary advisory committee that helps Tennessee establish policies and rates for prescription drugs for state beneficiaries.

 

That evening, I enjoyed an excellent dinner at Mario’s Restaurant (costing $400 billed to my company) with Deputy Gov. Tom McNamara, Carter Witt and Dave Goetz of TAB. Tom, whom I had gotten to know when he was the senior legislative aide to Governor Sundquist in Sunquist’s Congressional Office in Washington, went ballistic with us over some letters from the Memphis Area Chamber of Commerce that chided his longtime boss over the important legislative issue of the day (easing the franchise tax on inventory in transit). Tom also threatened to cut the state funding for The Med (Memphis’ charity hospital that serves thousands of citizens with no health insurance as well as a fair number of indigents from both Arkansas and Mississippi) and to close the state-supported Memphis Mental Health Institute.

 

Tom clearly was showing me and the paid leaders of the state’s largest business lobbying organization that he is not a man to be messed over the terms of state fiduciary policy. His volcanic demeanor suggested to me that he hasn’t fully adjusted from being a back-office legislative aide to a front-seat leader of Tennessee government.

 

I drove back to Memphis the next morning and joined my corporate government affairs pal Dick Kinney in speaking to the Memphis participants in Schering-Plough’s Grassroots Network. Dick and I later repaired to the Rendezvous Restaurant in downtown Memphis for a great evening of ribs and conversation.

 

To Old Waverly for So-so Round of Golf with Curtis

 

March 18, 1995 – To Old Waverly Golf Club, West Point, MS

 

I drove to Old Waverly in my Ford Taurus station wagon with my fellow member Curtis Downs and his golfing pal and client Lynn Akin. It was a great day for golf, sunny with a temperature climbing to about 75 degrees. This was my first time on the gorgeous course since last November and my long layoff showed up in my indifferent play. I drove the ball fairly well but my mid and short iron shots were awful.

 

I played off the blue championship tees for the first 9 holes, shooting a miserable 52. But on the back 9, I moved up to the white tees and was marginally better, shooting a 48 for a total score of 100.

 

To Nashville to Present U.S. Savings Bonds

 

March 27-28, 1995 – To Nashville

 

I drove to Nashville in a Taurus sedan rented from Fleetmark. I’ve found it actually costs my employer, Schering-Plough HealthCare Products, less money to pick up the tab for an overnight car rental at a preferred I get than to reimburse me for mileage in my own car as well as saving my car a lot of wear-and-tear from the 450-mile, roundtrip from Memphis.

 

As volunteer chairman for Greater Memphis in the annual U.S. Savings Bonds campaign on behalf of the U.S. Treasury, I traveled to Nashville to help present Savings Bonds to two 12-year-olds who had won the Tennessee Poster Contest. Their artwork pitched the purchase of bonds to consumers.

 

Both winners were students at a Middle School in Meigs, Tenn., Lakesha Moore (who won a $1,000 Savings Bond) and Rebecca Tyler (who won a $200 bond). Their artwork had been selected out of more than 1,500 entries from across Tennessee. Among participants were both kids, Paul Catan of the U.S. Treasury Department, art teacher Patricia McBride and school Principal Thomas Ward.

 

I stayed at the Holiday Inn Crown Plaza across the street from Legislative Plaza, which gave me the chance to say hello to several elected political figures from Memphis including Sen. Roscoe Dixon and Reps. Joyce Hassell, Tim Joyce, Larry Miller, Ulysses Jones and the Pharmaceutical Research Manufacturers Association lobbyist Betty Anderson, a onetime beauty queen who worked for Schering-Plough some years earlier. I also said hello to Deputy

Gov. Peaches Simpkins, Hardy Mays of Memphis, who serves as general counsel to the governor, and Deputy Gov. Tom McNamara.

 

I discussed with Tom the upcoming Memphis-in-May Barbeque Contest in Memphis and the timing of the governor’s visit to the barbeque team my company sponsors. We need to coordinate his visit with that of another potential chief cook, U.S. Senator Fred Thompson.

 

I drove back to Memphis that afternoon, pulling over at a roadside rest area near the Tennessee River for a 15-minute snooze after a very busy two days.

 

To Starkville for Dean’s Meeting, Old Waverly Golf

 

April 6-7, 1995 – To Starkville and Old Waverly Golf Club, West Point, MS

 

I drove to Old Waverly in two cars with my government relations pals Greg Duckett of Baptist Hospital and Ray Pohlman of AutoZone along with longtime Democratic Party leader Sidney Chism. Ray I went back to our days on the street covering the news of Memphis, me for The Commercial Appeal and he for WREG-TV, Channel 3. Greg and I went back to his days as a state rep for former U.S. Senator Al Gore and we had co-managed several barbeque teams for Memphis in May contests that had his boss as chief cook. I had gotten to know Sidney back in the mid-1970s when I covered labor for The Commercial Appeal and he was the top guy at one of the big Teamsters unions in Memphis.

 

The four of us were all enthusiastic golfers who struggled to shoot scores that can best be typified as “average.” Golf Digest, a considerable honor that all Clubs compete for, recently named old Waverly Golf Club, where I have been a member for several years, to America’s Top 100 Courses. It was ranked No. 88 on its list, the only so-honored club in the Mid-South and a “must play” venue for serious golfers in the region.

 

To change conversation and company, both cars stopped about halfway down the 150-mile drive to West Point so passengers could change cars. It was the first time I had the opportunity to talk to Sidney at any length and I was delighted to find him to be such good company. He was surprisingly wealthy for a career union man, having earned a retirement sendoff of $1.1 million in cash at age 55 due to wise participation in several retirement plans at the local and national level.

 

Once on the golf course, I played fairly well for the three sets of nines we played on a beautiful day. I shot a 50, a 44 and a 44, giving me an 88 for the last 18 holes. It turned out mine was the best score of our foursome.

 

Later, I drove 15 or so miles from West Point to nearby Starkville, home of my alma mater, Mississippi State University. I spent the night in the swanky Butler Guest in the shadow of the campus football stadium that was built to accommodate alumni. I had a delightful dinner that evening at which wines made at MSU were served. It was held in the Department of Oenology’s Chalet and hosted by Arts & Sciences Dean Jimmy Solomon. Also present were his staff and members of the Dean’s Advisory Board, upon which I’m honored to serve.

 

Several members of the board participated the next day in a golf outing at Old Waverly. Lee Welch, an MSU grad and very successful attorney in Memphis who represents First Tennessee as General Counsel, won the outing with a score of 85. He had played quarterback for the MSU football team some years ago. I shot an 89, not bad for me. I played in a group with Tom Dawkins of Starkville and Pam Plager of Manhattan, a fellow member of the Dean’s Advisory Board who works for a major firm on Wall Street.

 

After an enjoyable afternoon of golf, I showed at the club and drove home that evening, arriving back in Memphis about 9 p.m.

 

To Biloxi and Gulf Shores for Spring Golf, Work

 

April 8-16, 1995 – To Biloxi, MS and Gulf Shores, AL

 

Betty and I drove from Memphis to Biloxi, Miss., to Marty and Marge Pendleton’s new home there and to see Marty’s newly purchased Harley Davidson Ultra Glide motorcycle. We treated them to a very good seafood dinner at a local casino on a wharf by the Gulf of Mexico and spent the night at their home.

 

We drove the next morning across the Gulf Coast to Gulf Shores, on a very nice, spring day with temperatures rising into the 70s under sunny skies. Upon our arrival, I rode my 10-speed bike for 10 miles. The next morning, I met my longtime friend and golf buddy Curtis Downs at the State Park course, where I shot an 88 and he shot a 92. That was a turnabout because he usually beats me by several strokes.

 

Betty and I joined Curtis and his wife, Kathy, for a very good dinner at our favorite restaurant in Gulf Shores, The Spot. I spent most of that afternoon and the next day working on the telephone on the UVA index issue the press was covering. My company, Schering-Plough, had developed the index to measure the need for sunscreens and helped persuade the federal government to endorse the index to benefit our Coppertone and related businesses.

 

Due to my carrying a company laptop computer (a portable CPU unit that slides in and out of a docking station on my office Compaq back in Memphis, I was able to do a lot of writing work in our condo while Betty sunned at the beach just a few steps outside our door in the Gulf Village complex. Unfortunately, I was not able to get my laptop to import a series of documents I had created using the Word Perfect software.

 

Unfortunately, I’ve noticed that whenever my company hires a new computer-systems executive, they are quick to put in their favorite software program as the company standard. That means that even though Word Perfect had been the “official” software for word processing recently, it had not become all but antiquated and I was faced with the time-consuming process of learning the new company standard, Microsoft Word.

 

I played golf on Wednesday at the State Park course on a misty, overcast day. I was terrible under the somewhat lousy conditions, shooting a 51/49/46. However, my friend Curtis played very well and found liked the course a lot.

 

That evening, I spent a lot of time working on mail and editing company newspaper copy that had been written by my Memphis staff and sent to me by Federal Express and fax. Something that I have learned is that success in a prosperous, giant company is often rewarded with a larger workload. It’s gotten to the point that vacation is now more of a change in places to do work than relaxation. Due to the importance of communications with a fast-moving company like Schering-Plough HealthCare Products, I seem to work a lot more hours than I once did.

 

Again on Thursday, I dropped off some fax material at a print shop and played some more golf. This time I played at a new course called The Woodlands and designed by PGA tour veteran. I liked the fairly short but plush course and played off the white tees. I hit a mulligan off the first tee and ended up with the first of 7 pars on the front 9 holes for a score of 39 at the turn. It was a glorious day for both weather and my golf game. I enjoyed an element of luck that was somewhat unusual on the golf course. I happened to drop quite a few 8 or 9 foot putts. When confronted with OB (Out of Bounds), it somehow seemed that my ball would hit a tree outside the figurative boundary and bounce back into the fairway.

 

For the round, I ended up with one of my lowest scores ever, an 81 which was a surprise on a new course this difficult. That low score came despite my taking a 5 on the Par 3 No. 17 holes and a 6 on the Park 5 No. 18 after hooking a shot into the woods once I went for a big chance to make a birdie on the hole. In comparison, my pal Curtis shot an 85 – a pretty good score I think for even him on this course. It was a great day for me.

 

The next day, I cycled 10 miles and then sat on the beach in front of our condo with Betty. I was out in the sun too long for my fair skin and age so got bit sunburned.

 

I cycled again on Saturday for 10 miles and later walked a mile down the beach with Betty. It was joyful weather for a walk, with sunny skies and gentle surf washing up on the sand. Loads of teens and spring-breaking college students were working on their tans. We had a nice time but agreed that, as usual for this time of year, our time at the beach was too-short

 

To DC sans Credit Cards for UV Index Lobbying

 

May 8-11, 1995 – To Washington, DC

 

I flew from Memphis to Washington, DC on Northwest Airlines and stayed at the Hotel Washington at Pennsylvania and 15th Street, located one block from the White House and very convenient to a nearby Metro subway station at the sweeping mall in the nation’s capital.

 

I found at check-in into the hotel that I had stupidly neglected to transfer my credit cards to my traveling wallet (an error I determined to thereafter avoid by traveling with the same wallet I normally carry and sending it through the gate security in a plastic pan with other personal stuff).

 

Without my credit cards, I had to dig deep to come up with $190 in cash to pay for the hotel room in advance. I had enough money to enjoy an excellent filet mignon that evening at Ebbert’s Grill near the hotel. The unflappable attitude of the hotel’s desk clerk suggested to me that a guest discovering his or her credit cards are missing must be fairly common. A telephone call to American Express resulted in the hotel arranging to bill my card by phone and I was promised delivery of a new card the next morning. Meanwhile, my wife, Betty, FedEx’ed me my other credit cards so everything turned out OK. But it was sure a hassle.

 

The next morning I met with Assistant Secretary of Commerce Doug Hall, a Tennessean who had been close to my political pal Al Gore when Al was in the U.S. Senate. At the meeting were Dick Kinney, a Schering-Plough vice president in charge of government relations and our corporate office in Washington, Nancy Glick of our big PR firm, Hill & Knowlton, and Juli Cavnar of our divisional marketing staff. We made our company’s arguments to Secretary Hall about the importance of the government expanding its test of communicating the health benefits of sunscreens like our Coppertone’s inclusion of UVA ray protection.

 

Meanwhile, the Republican chairman to our dismay was proposing that the Commerce Department and about 100 of its programs be scrapped in favor of a small government. (It turned out that the UVA weather alert program we favored was expanded and became a standard feature in newspapers and TV weather programs across the U.S. (I was pleased when our company president, Dave Collins, publicly thanked me for my work on behalf of the program at a large employee meeting in Memphis.)

 

That evening, Dick Kinney and I had an excellent dinner of crab cakes in a private dining room at the exclusive City Club in Downtown Washington. I was reminded at just how rich and powerful my company really is when its influence counts and is on the line.

 

The next day, I visited Arlington Cemetery and placed a bouquet of flowers on the grave of my late father, who was buried there with military honors after his death a decade earlier. I also visited the Renwick Crafts Museum and the Corcoran Art Gallery, both of which are within walking distance of the Hotel Washington.

 

I then took a cab to the National Airport and managed to upgrade my coach ticket to First Class for the Northwest 6:05 p.m. flight back to Memphis. Unfortunately, but it seems increasingly typically, the plane sat on the ramp for 3 hours due to a halt in airport operations in the face of storms to the west. The flight was eventually cancelled due to the mandatory closing of the airport at 10 p.m. The snafu resulted in all the airport-area hotels being full. But since I had a cell phone with me in the plane, I was able to call the Hotel Washington and arrange for a room again that night and passage on the noon flight the next day back to Memphis.

 

While the weather delay was aggravating, it turned out that the trip was a productive one as my company’s heavy advertising of Coppertone for UVA protection did not have to be pulled and I got much credit within the company for the reversal in a government action to stay clear of the issue.

 

In retrospect, this was one of my finest moments at Schering-Plough, when the various skills and contacts I had worked so hard to acquire over the years in the news media and government relations paid off big time.

 

 

Still Hammering Away at UVA Index Issue

 

May 15-16, 1995 – To Liberty Corner, NJ

 

I flew from Memphis to Newark on a Northwest jet that is often delayed on the crowded flight. I’ve learned over the years that the Memphis-New Jersey traffic is usually full of high testosterone travelers full of New York charm. It is not a pleasant flight. This trip, I rented a cheap Corsica rather than my usual Ford Taurus and drove to the Somerset Hills, NJ, Hotel located a short distance away from our Schering-Plough HealthCare Products (HCP) divisional headquarters in Warren, NJ. I enjoyed a good dinner of salmon with my corporate counterpart and friend, Linn Weiss, also a Vice President.

 

The next morning I met with HCP Suncare product manager Juli Cavnar, Kurt Brynkman, Director of Suncare Marketing; Frank Glazer and Nancy Glick of Hill & Knowlton Public Relations, Russ Elliot, Vice President of HCP Advertising; and Dr. John Clayton, Senior Vice President of Scientific Research and Regulatory Affairs. We discussed the potential ramifications of what we had learned was a potential 60 Minutes TV show on so-called “Astroturf grassroots” political campaigns that big corporations were actually conducting in the name of public response to high-interest matters.

 

It was our wary understanding that the TV program investigators were specifically targeting Coppertone’s quiet support for a supposed public interest group called “Partners for Sun Protection Awareness.”

 

After some spirited discussion, we decided as a group that our company’s best strategy to deal with the issue would be to be as open as possible about our sponsorship, but keep our comments and actions as low-key as possible while continuing our new UV marketing program to pitch Coppertone in line with the importance of sun protection rather than a pure tanning enhancement product.

 

That afternoon, I met with Don Conklin, the new president of our division, HCP; Rich Whittaker, Senior Vice President for SunCare marketing; Russ Elliot, Vice President for HCP Advertising; Juli Cavnar, SunCare Marketing Manager; and Kurt Brynkmann, SunCare Marketing Group Director. We talked with Dick Kinney, Corporate Vice President of Government Affairs, by a telephone connection to his Washington office, about our legislative strategy. Underlying the considerable attention this matter in our was getting in our corporation was the fact that a huge advertising/marketing strategy and program behind Coppertone and related brands  – costing nearly $100 million - keying in on what we believed was the probable government UVA stance was already in place. Kinney agreed to meet with some pivotal Members of Congress on the House Science Committee to underpin our UVA Index-marketing push.

 

It was very helpful that our new president, Don Conklin who formerly headed up the Pharmaceutical Operations of Schering-Plough, bought into this risky strategy of “betting the brand” on the success of our efforts to keep the government on the UVA index approval track.

 

Completing what I had hoped to help accomplish, I flew home to Memphis that evening and lucked into a complimentary upgrade to a First Class seat on the Northwest airplane.

 

More on SPF Marketing Push by Coppertone

 

May 22-23, 1995 – To Washington, DC

 

 

I flew from Memphis to Washington DC on a Monday evening on Northwest and stayed at the Marriot Crystal Gateway Hotel in nearby Arlington, VA, where I had a good dinner in the hotel restaurant.

 

The hotel is near the airport and located on top of a shopping mall and Metro subway stop so is very convenient.

 

The next morning I spent some time in the hotel spa, where I did 30 minutes on an exercise bike and 15 minutes on a rowing machine before catching the Metro to the Foggy Bottom stop near quite a few foreign embassies. From there I walked a short distance to the Kennedy Center and the American Film Institute-leased space so I could attend a press conference sponsored by my company, Schering-Plough HealthCare Products. The shebang was in the name of our dummy marketing organization, Partners for Sun Protection Awareness.

 

Speakers at the press conference included Dr. Joe Friday of the National Weather Service, several luminaries from the federal Centers for Disease Control and several leaders of assorted physician and dermatology groups. They all lauded the new Ultraviolet Light (UV) index, which had been developed in large measure by my company. The speakers also pointed to some alarming statistics about the increasing incidence of skin cancer in the United States. The figures said there are now 1 million new cases per year as well as melanoma.

 

A goodly crowd of Washington-based reporters was present for the important press conference, with thanks due to the event-advancing efforts of our public relations firm, Hill & Knowlton. Nancy Glick, a real pro, ably represented H&K.

 

Also in attendance were several key employees of Schering-Plough including me, Russ Elliot, Vice President of Advertising, Juli Cavnar, Suncare Marketing Manager, and Dick Kinney, head of our legislative office in Washington. Wisely, all stayed in the background.

 

Happily, it turned out that the press conference and assorted announcements about the importance of using suncreens containing SPF ingredients (like Coppertone, of course) got a lot of press coverage in the national newspaper, magazine and TV media.

 

After the event, I joined Dick Kinney and Nancy Glick plus a law partner of our Washington lawyer, former Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker of Tennessee, for a meeting on Capitol Hill with staffers working for a politician I learned was so far to the right wing that he could have been a certifiable member of the Flat Earth Society. The House of Representatives Member Dana Rohrabacher of California. His aides summed up his opposition to our campaign to expand the government’s dissemination about the importance of SPF ingredients in sunscreens.

 

It was very obvious that the Republican congressman saw his opposition to the government education program we advocated as being based on cost cutting although there was little if any budgetary impact of the program.

 

Our group also met with Rep. John Tanner of West Tennessee, a good friend of our company who had agreed to be our champion in the matter. He pledged to help continue and expand the government’s test of the UV Index from 58 cities to 160 cities. Also agreeing to provide Congressional help for our company’s efforts behind the index – with the ultimate beneficiaries being members of the American public thereby avoiding cancer-causing skin damage – was Bob Castro, legislative aide to Rep. Zach Wamp of East Tennessee, who district includes many Schering-Plough employees who work at our sister manufacturing plant in Cleveland, Tenn.

 

That evening, I flew home on Northwest, satisfied that I done everything I could to advance our company’s marketing efforts for the sunscreen-laden Coppertone products – while advancing the health of my fellow Americans at the same time.

 

New York Ballet and Industry Committee Meeting

 

May 30-June 1, 1995 – To New York

 

I flew from Memphis to the Newark Airport on Northwest, and then saved my company budget some money by hopping a New York Port Authority bus for the 35-minute ride from the airport to Midtown Manhattan for $7. Once at the Port Authority garage, I caught a taxi to ride to the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza on Broadway, where I dined on a quick but excellent hamburger in the hotel restaurant for catching another cab to Lincoln Center.

 

Fortunately, the New York City Ballet company had given me a free ticket when I had complained back in 1993 about a surprise snowstorm diverting my flight from New York’s LaGuardia Airport, making me miss a long-anticipated performance of the famous ballet “The Nutcracker” by renowned dancer Balanchine just before Christmas that season.

 

The ballet company manager compensated me for the prepaid ticket to a missed performance by giving me the choice of several advance bookings and I had arranged to attend a major show by the ballet troupe of Verdi’s “Four Seasons” and of Mozart’s “Divertissement No. 15.”

 

I was given at no charge a choice seat in the big hall at Lincoln Center and hugely enjoyed the -exquisite ballet work by about 75 dancers employed by New York City Ballet. They put on a glorious demonstration of grace, discipline, training and artistic gifts that I shall always remember. Music came from a live orchestra. Not surprisingly, seeing that world-class display of the arts made me lose my fervor for attending the annual Nutcracker performance at Christmas-time put on by mostly amateur ballet students in Memphis.

 

The next morning, I swam 105 laps in the smallish, indoor pool at the Crowne Plaza (roughly one mile) before repairing to an opulent conference room at the Bristol Myers Squibb Building in Midtown Manhattan. The company had lent its facility to the Nonprescription Drug Manufacturers Association (NDMA) for a big meeting of its Public Affairs Committee, upon which I serve.

 

At the meeting of representatives of major drug makers with substantial interests in OTC products, I ended up leading a “charge” against a staff recommendation that the lobbying and advocacy trade group “pause” in some of its public relations efforts. I thought that with the regulatory storm brewing up in Washington, our organization should be more aggressive than ever.

 

After the meeting, I repaired to the nearby Tiffany’s jewelry store where I bought a sterling silver key chain decorated with a tiny gardening bucket to give to my wife, Betty, for Christmas. Later, I went to the Manhattan Ocean Club for an excellent seafood dinner then bought a half-price ticket at the discount shop on Broadway for a performance of “Smokey Joe’s Café.” The musical was highly entertaining and featured a fabulous rock ‘n roll revue of songs from the 1950s that had been made famous by Elvis, The Coasters and others.

 

The next morning, I drove a rental Avis car from Manhattan and through the Lincoln Tunnel to Liberty Corner, N.J., and headquarters of my company. I met with my deputy Melissa Faber, who was Employee Communications, to discuss her corporate goals for the balance of the year. I also met with her full-time intern, Tina Antico, about her program and obtained her promise that she with finish her PhD degree by May or resign to return to her home in Australia. I enjoyed a nice lunch with both women at the nearby Baskin Ridge Country Club, where our company has a membership that allows dining room privileges.

 

That afternoon I met briefly with my boss, Bob Raub, who gave me the news that his fellow executives Rich Whittaker and Bob Cullen were assuming what had been my annual responsibility for feeding divisional information to corporate investor relations Vice President Gerry Foster. I wasn’t quick enough to appreciate it at the time, but that was a sign of my dwindling influence in corporate governance matters after a long run that I had enjoyed regarding the collection and dissemination of positive investment climate information.

 

I was again lucky on the flight home to Memphis and because of my full-fare, coach status, I  was able to upgrade to a seat in the First Class cabin forward on Northwest.

 

Casey Nolan Shoots 78 at Old Waverly Golf Club

 

May 27, 1995 – To Old Waverly Golf Club, West Point, MS

 

My son Casey and I drove to Old Waverly and happily found the course at our private club to be in superb shape. It was a great day for golf and Casey had a great day. He shot what I believe is the best score I’ve ever seen him shoot, a 78. My golf was OK, but far below the skill level he demonstrated, with my scoring an 89.

 

Nonetheless, I was most happy to be a proud papa and what I believe to be a very believable witness to Casey’s great day.

 

Back to Old Waverly for Father’s Day, score of 90

 

June 18, 1995 – To Old Waverly Golf Club, West Point, MS

 

My son Casey and I again drove to Old Waverly to celebrate Father’s Day with a round on golf. I had the better of our scores for a change. I shot a 47 on the Front 9 while driving off the white tees. I dropped back to there blue tees for the back side and shot a 43 for a total score of 90.

 

Up Old Man River aboard Navy’s USS Whirlwind

 

June 23, 1995 – To Helena, AR for boat ride on Mississippi River

 

I drove in a Navy bus with Betty and about 30 other VIPs for a special excursion arranged by the U.S. Navy to be aboard the new ship USS Whirlwind on its maiden voyage up the Mississippi River from Helena, AR to Memphis. The commanding officer of the gigantic Navy base at nearby Millington, TN, Capt. LaMar Willis, is a golf pal of mine and civic-minded professional whom I see at various functions around Memphis.

 

The Whirlwind is the Navy’s new Coastal Patrol Ship, somewhat modeled after riverine craft used during the Vietnam War. It is 170 feet long and has a permanent crew who live aboard ship.

 

For political and public affairs purposes, the Whirlwind was coming to Memphis for the official swearing-in ceremonies on the city’s riverfront. The final, six-hour ride for the last leg of its journey up the river gave the Navy an opportunity to invite various civic leaders aboard for the ride and I was fortunate to be among them.

 

Other guests included retired Vice Adm. Ed Cooke, a leader in local military affairs activities, banker Bob Booth and his wife Melissa and my associate and deputy at Schering-Plough Health Care Products, June Davidson and his wife Punk. The Navy fed us an excellent lunch – barbeque beef and vegetables.

 

We had plenty of time to visit with the ship’s crew and tour their living and working quarters. The sailors were jammed in tightly on the relatively small ship, reminding me of a World War II submarine that is docked and open for tour in Mobile, AL. It was a delight to watch the Mississippi River glide by on this summer day.

 

At one point, the skipper (a young lieutenant fresh out of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis) cranked up the Whirlwind to show off its speed and power. With its four motors going at full blast, the ship hit a speed of 35 miles an hour-plus. That speed created a “rooster tail” behind the boat that was at least 20 feet high. It was a thrill for everybody.

 

It was obvious that the ship’s sailors had been carefully briefed when I questioned a sailor about the ship’s cannon potential and was politely told that such information was “classified” and could not be discussed.

 

Spending a half a beautiful summer day on the river in good company was one of the highpoints of my time at Schering-Plough. Later in the week, I arranged for a special barbeque meal to be catered at the National Ornamental Metal Museum, which overlooks the Mississippi from a high bluff just south of Downtown Memphis, and invited all the sailors of the Whirlwind to be our guests. Of course, I attended the official commissioning ceremonies that week and arranged the sponsorship by my company of a celebratory party for naval personnel and others at the Hotel Peabody.

 

Several weeks later, the Navy presented me with a plaque that today hangs on my home office wall proclaiming me a “plank owner” of the Whirlwind. I have only good memories of my work and support activities to help the Navy and at one time took advantage fairly often of a guest membership in the Millington base’s excellent golf course. However, once my pal LaMar retired and moved to Virginia, my activities and visits to the base dwindled considerably.

 

Busy Working, But At Beautiful Gulf Shores

 

July 2-9, 1995 – To Gulf Shores, AL

 

Betty and I drove from our home in Memphis to our condo in Gulf Shores, AL on a Saturday. Our son Casey, home for the summer before heading to the University of Virginia for the fall term, stayed in Memphis so he could work on his $7.90-an-hour job at Inman Construction Co., where he is helping build a public school near the ritzy suburb of Germantown.

 

We were faced with a lot of rain during most of the drive south down Interstate 55 to Jackson, MS, where we caught U.S. Highway 49 to Hattiesburg, MS, where we turned left to dash across much of Mississippi and part of Alabama on U.S. Highway 98 to Mobile, AL, where we caught Interstate 10 to the town of Loxley and then Highway 59 south to Gulf Shores. The traffic got terrible around Mobile due to the crush of weekend-at-the-beach traffic for the 4th of July. It actually took us a record 2 hours to drive the 29-mile stretch from I-10 to Loxley that customarily takes about 30 minutes.

 

Once in Gulf Shores, Betty and I had a relaxing week. We generally alternated our mornings between cycling and my playing golf. I spent quite a few early afternoons and some evening hours on my portable laptop computer writing and faxing drafts of our impending corporate announcements to my boss, Bob Raub, and his deputy HR Director Scott Schmeical.I was Vice President of Communications for the division so much of the responsibility for the communications element was mine, no matter how unpleasant the task was. The subject was a touchy one - a big restructuring of our sales organization that cuts our workforce by about 130 jobs.

 

While my work responsibilities took a big bite out of my vacation time, I was in a beautiful place and a great time of year to enjoy the beach, the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and a panoply of recreational activities available on the Gulf Coast.

 

One day we hauled our bikes to the car ferry at Fort Morgan and rode across Mobile Bay to Dauphin Island. We cycled the 7-mile length of the island and enjoyed a fine lunch on the island’s Seafood Galley.

 

Another day I enjoyed a good round of golf at the State Park course. I shot a very good score of 83, hitting 11 of 14 fairways. Meanwhile, Betty was her usual industrious self, finding time to paint most of our condo’s interior woodwork with fresh paint. We did some shopping for some needed equipment and I had the condo’s wall-to-wall carpet cleaned by a commercial service.

 

The weather was rather hot as is usual at this holiday time of year and there were fairly heavy crowds of swimmers and sunbathers on the beach. It was mostly sunny and the Gulf water was warm and clear enough to enable me to snorkel one day.

 

Don Holmes Shoots Par at Old Waverly

 

July 20, 1995 – To Old Waverly Golf Club, West Point, MS

 

I drove to Old Waverly with Curtis Downs, Don Holmes and surprise guest Thurman Glass, a great golfer who works at Schering-Plough HealthCare Products and always a pleasure to be with.

 

As is too-often the case, I was terrible this day, shooting a 103 on a fabulous golf course (ranked one of the Top 100 in the U.S. by Golf Digest) that really deserves a higher caliber of play than I can often manage. Curtis, a fellow member with whom I play a lot of golf, was also off his usual good game.

 

But Don was blazingly good this day and just recently the winner of Memphis’ Metro Tournament, shooting an even par. Don and his longtime golfing buddy, Thurman, also a winner of the city’s Publix Tournament, played Old Waverly off the tips. Thurman was only two strokes over par.

 

While my golf was below par, it was a joy watching two terrific golfers have their way with the tough course. We enjoyed some good fellowship in the Men’s Locker room after our round. The weather was so hot that we decided against playing another 9 holes then drove back to Memphis.

 

 

Golf at Old Waverly and Goodbye to Jimmy Solomon

 

Aug. 10-11, 1995 – To Starkville and Old Waverly Golf Club, West Point, MS

 

I drove from my home in Memphis to Starkville, MS so I could attend a send-off reception and dinner for Mississippi State University’s Dr. Jimmy Solomon, who had been Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences for several years. I have served on his Dean’s Advisory Board and was mightily impressed with him as a man, as a scholar and as a college administrator.

 

Unfortunately, Jimmy was a great man who was leaving State in favor of a somewhat comparable job at George State University. He was not happy at the snub he had gotten from State for a bigger job on campus and I thought it was a shame that my alma mater was losing his distinguished services.

On my way to Starkville, I stopped at Old Waverly and played 18 holes of golf, shooting a respectable 87.

 

The Advisory Board and other friends enjoyed a dinner in Jimmy’s honor at Starkville’s District Café. I stayed at the university’s Butler Guest House in the shadow of the campus football stadium. On my return to Memphis the next day, I again stopped at Old Waverly to play another round of golf, shooting a 91.

 

To New York for NDMA Meeting, Excellent Dinner

 

Sept. 14-15, 1995 – To New York City

 

I flew from Memphis to New York’s La Guardia Airport on Northwest and arranged a pickup at the airport from Ray’s Town Car Service and transportation to the Crowe Plaza on Broadway in Midtown Manhattan. The ride only cost $33, which was comparable to a taxi ride and worth every penny. I’m finding my frequent travel to New Jersey, New York and Washington for various meetings in plush places tiring. But I have discovered that the slight luxury of avoiding Third World cab drivers is usually worth the extra expense, which is picked up by Schering-Plough HealthCare Products anyway.

 

I enjoyed an excellent dinner of Triggerfish in Rockefeller Plaza’s Sea Grill that evening. The next day I went to a meeting of the Public Affairs Committee meeting of the Non-prescription Drug Manufacturers Association at the Bristol Myers Squibb suite of offices and conference rooms in a high-rise building at 345 Park in Midtown Manhattan. The meeting was uneventful and I flew home that evening.

 

To Old Waverly with Bob Hetherington, Curtis Downs

 

Oct. 1, 1995 – To Old Waverly Golf Club, West Point, MS

 

I drove to Old Waverly in my Ford Taurus station wagon with my fellow golf club member Curtis Downs and my guest and friend, Bob Hetherington, who held my former job as Business Editor of The Commercial Appeal. We had ideal weather and found the great course to be in great shape.

 

I shot a 98 for 18 holes and 46 for another 9 holes. Treating Bob to a day of golf at one of the top courses in the U.S. was a  treat. He enjoyed playing the beautiful, regionally famous course and it gave us a chance to spend some quality time together talking about various business issues affecting his newspaper’s coverage of the Memphis business community and my company.

 

To Gulf Shores to Assess Hurricane Opal Damage

 

Nov. 2-5, 1995 – To Gulf Shores, AL

 

Betty and I drove through hard rain most of the way to Gulf Shores, AL, making this possibly the worst overall drive of our four or so trips a year there from Memphis following our purchase of a condo on the beach there in 1986.

 

We were pleased to see that our condo development, Gulf Village, survived the big storm of the previous month pretty well as did most other developments near us on West Beach. However, we noticed the front swimming pool overlooking the Gulf of Mexico had been partly filled with sand and most of the fences, pool pumps and other equipment which had been on the ground were either gone or damaged. We learned that a 10-foot high surge of storm water had washed over the complex property, taking with it assorted decorative brick-a-brac on the ground and some of the exterior equipment.

 

Our upstairs, one-bedroom unit sustained water stain damage to the wall-to-wall carpet near the front door when water somehow washed under the door. However, State Farm Insurance declined to cover the damage, claiming that it was uncovered “wind damage.”

 

Betty and I walked along the beach in front of our and adjacent condo complexes and also drove up and down West Beach Blvd to have a look at a lot of similar damage to that our complex sustained to swimming pools and fences.

 

I played a round of golf at the State Park course, shooting an above-average round of 86 on a great day for outdoor activities. That evening, Betty and I ate at The Spot, our favorite restaurant that overlooks the public beach. We also ate during our stay at a new restaurant farther down the beach near the mouth of Perdido Bay.

 

Meanwhile, I did some corporate communications work on my portable laptop computer to help our division president, Don Conklin of Schering-Plough HealthCare Products, prepare for an upcoming employee communications meeting. It was a short but productive trip.

 

To New Jersey to Meet with Company Associates

 

Nov. 7-9, 1995 – To Madison and Liberty Corner, NJ

 

I flew from Memphis to Newark on Northwest and spent the night at the Marriott Hotel at the Newark Airport before driving a rental Avis car to Madison, NJ to meet with Corporate Communications staff. We were reviewing proposal from a video production company to remake Schering-Plough’s “Focal Point” videotape that was used in employee recruitment and various other company purposes.

 

While in New Jersey I also visited with HealthCare Products divisional staff at HCP’s main administrative and executive offices in nearby Liberty Corner, N.J. Among those I visited with at Liberty Corner was Tina Antico of my departmental Employee Communications staff and Bob Raub, Senior Vice President of Human Resources and my boss. Tina was back at work and recovering well after surgery for breast cancer. Bob was celebrating his 56th birthday.

 

At Corporate Headquarters, I met with General Counsel Joe Connors (who had been next door to my Memphis office before his transfer and promotion to Madison) to discuss Tennessee politics; Linn Weiss, Corporate Vice President of Communications, to discuss press ramifactions of a study pointing to a pullout of certain manufacturing functions from Memphis; and others.

 

I went easy on my usual hotel exercise-while-traveling program due to a recent test that indicated very high blood pressure and while awaiting the results of a follow-up test (which subsequently revealed that my health is OK).

 

Back to New Jersey to Prepare for Pull-out

 

Nov. 27-28, 1995 – To Liberty Corner, NJ

 

The drums that beat big career trouble for me and hundreds of my work associates at Schering-Plough HealthCare Products in Memphis were beating louder and I flew Newark on Northwest to prepare as well as I could for my diminished role in the coming cutbacks.

 

The trip got off to a bad start in New Jersey when the airport Avis office screwed up my rental car reservation and tried to make amends by upgrading me from an economy car to a Pontiac Bonneville. I stayed at a fairly nice hotel at Somerset Hills, NJ, near the national administration and headquarters of Schering-Plough HealthCare Products office building at Liberty Corner. That evening I had a decent dinner of Filet of Sole with Linn Weiss, Corporate Communications Vice President who was watching my divisional communications plan for a coming reduction in force and operations with a professional and wary eye.

 

The next day, I met with my boss, Bob Raub Senior Vice President of Human Resources, to discuss the probably move of OTC medications out of Memphis, where it dated to the founding by Abe Plough of Plough, Inc. in 1908. When I joined the company in 1984, we had more than 2,600 employees in Memphis, with the majority of those involved directly and indirectly in the manufacturing of such Plough products as Aspergum, Correctol, St. Joseph Aspirin and a brace of small brands sold nationally for many years.

 

The new divisional and corporate management wanted our division to get rid of the smaller brands, which our management had historically supported because the combined marketing salespower was significant. The strategic disagreements had led to the early retirement of an extraordinarily gifted executive, Lee Jenkins, who was Abe Plough’s hand-picked successor and the man responsible for bringing me into the company that had many years of notable success. Whether I liked it or not – and it really didn’t make much difference whether I did – I and some of the people I was closest too were seen as defenders/members of the “old guard” and “old ways” of doing business by some of the most recent additions to the management team.

 

During the course of my meeting with Bob Raub, I discovered the existence of a big Correctol Communications Crisis Planning Meeting that was underway. I bitched about being cut out of the meeting despite by status as divisional Communications Vice President and Bob arranged for me to be invited to the meeting. Once there, I found that our outside PR agency, Hill & Knowlton, had three representatives already there to discuss “oversight” matters.

 

I was surprised to learn that Rich Whittaker, our divisional Senior Vice President for the Marketing of OTC and other brands, had left the meeting early and left subordinate Tom Feitel in charge of the meeting.

 

It was very surprising, annoying and maddening to me that such a profound change in moving Correctol manufacturing out of Memphis was being made without my input. In retrospect, this was clearly a sign of the coming times that I was on my way out of the company but just hadn’t been explicitly told. (In fact my job was eliminated six months later but I was afforded a “decent” settlement that allowed me to retire early.)

 

The next morning, our new HCP president, Don Conklin, talked to the division’s senior managers and blurted out the news that “we’re moving OTC manufacturing out of Memphis – that’s for sure.” I was shocked that he would make this announcement in New Jersey without letting the people whose careers and family livelihoods depend on the historic stability of the company as a premium employer back in Memphis know about it.

 

It was obvious to me and others that Conklin – whose career is based on his top management success in the prescription drug arm of Schering-Plough - plays by a different rulebook than the one I was accustomed to.

 

Shaken by the coming upheaval in a company I had grown to love and prospered with, I took Tina Antico of my staff and her friends Kelly Clark and Joan De Chellis of Liberty Corner Marketing staff, to lunch at the nearby Somerset Hills Country Club. I felt it necessary to reign in their plans for some big spending to support a coming Family Fun Team event to build employee morale at Liberty Corner. I could not support their proposed budget of $180 per couple to spend on food, souvenirs and kiddie rides for the event.

 

That afternoon, I repaired to Newark to catch a Northwest afternoon flight back to Memphis. It was two hours late, making for a bad end to a bad trip.

 

Old Waverly Yields Bad Golf, MSU Fair Meeting

 

Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 1995 - To Starkville & Old Waverly Golf Club, West Point, MS

 

I drove to Old Waverly and met my good buddy and fellow member Curtis Downs for a round of golf on a great day, with skies sunny and temperatures about 70 degrees. Despite the favorable weather, my golf was terrible (again) and I shot a 99 for 18 holes. But at least I walked the course so benefited from the exercise.

 

Later, I drove on to Starkville for a meeting of Mississippi State University’s Dean’s Advisory Board of the College of Arts & Sciences, upon which I have served since 1992. I passed on a tour of the college’s art exhibit was looking forward to our Board’s meeting with new Dean Dr. George Rent, who is married to a wonderful lady I know, Dr. Clyde Rent, president of my wife’s alma mater, Mississippi University for Women at nearby Columbus, MS.

 

I soon found that our Board meeting had been overbooked, but we were treated to a ho-hum dinner of baked ham at university’s Wine Chalet on campus. After eating, I left the group early so I could enjoy a drink with my old pal Dr. Clyde Williams, a Professor of English who unfortunately was suffering from a bad head cold. He did not bring to the Starkville bar the lastest winner of the Lewis and Betty Nolan Book Award, which I had funded with Schering-Plough Foundation help earlier to cover the expenses of books for English majors.

 

The Advisory Board meeting the next day on campus was a good one, with 8 of 12 members present. I suggested, as part of a curriculum review project the College is working on, a system to broaden the knowledge and culture of transfer students to State from various junior colleges that would require their attendance at various college lectures and arts performances. At least my fellow Board members thought it was a good idea although we recognized the potential difficulty of getting student “buy-in” for such a requirement.

 

I skipped lunch with Advisory Board members in favor of returning to Old Waverly to play another round of golf with Curtis before driving back to Memphis.

 

Cool Shoulders at Schering-Plough PAC Meeting

 

Dec. 4-6, 1995 – To Kenilworth and Liberty Corner, NJ

 

I flew from Memphis to Newark, NJ on Northwest and drove a rental Avis Chevrolet Corsica to Kenilworth, where I stayed at a familiar Holiday Inn near the Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals facility there.

 

I attended a meeting at our facility of the Schering-Plough Better Government Fund, the company’s political action committee upon which I serve. Among those present were Dick Kinney, a Vice President and head of corporate government relations; John Nine, a senior vice president of the Pharmaceutical Operations arm of the Company; Dan Nichols, a senior vice president and the corporation’s top tax expert; and Russ Elliot, Vice President of Advertising for HealthCare Products.

 

It was plain to me that both Nichols and Nine were “cool” to me, particularly when I questioned the PAC’s contributions to three Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives. Their uncharacteristic, unsupportive attitude toward me was a big surprise and gave me further evidence that my tide had turned within the top reaches of corporate management. This was a surprise and a disappointment because I had done favors for both men but still wasn’t fully aware of all the negative implications for me and my colleagues by an ongoing study into the nature and need for continued manufacturing in Memphis. (I didn’t know it at the time but later learned that the knives had been sharpened and I was among the “turkeys” about to get cut.)

 

After the PAC meeting, I drove from Kenilworth to Liberty Corner, with I met with my boss, Bob Raub, and others. I enjoyed an excellent dinner that evening at the Newark Airport Marriott.

 

Back to Liberty Corner the next day, I found that the Correctol communications crisis involving the ingredient Phenolypheline was coming to a head. I also found that my 15 years in the metro daily newspaper business at The Commercial Appeal and 8 years as a stringer for the Wall Street Journal made me about as useful and welcome as a fifth wheel.

 

Nonetheless, I had a good meeting with Tina Antico of my staff – a PhD candidate who had been working as an intern in our Liberty Corner Employee Communications department. With the support of my boss, Bob Raub, I want to help her return to her homeland of Austria and make her transition out of the company as painless as possible.

 

I also met with Kelly Clark and Joan DeChellius, volunteers from the company Marketing Department who are planning an upcoming dinner-dance for divisional employees Jan. 13. I am involved since I have responsibility – mainly exercised through my excellent subordinate Melissa Faber – for Employee Activities. We agreed on a larger co-payment by employees ($30) and a cash bar for those who attend.

 

A separate meeting with Coppertone Marketing Manager Juli Cavnar ironed out some details of our Internal Communications Plan regarding a toxicology controversy regarding sunscreens. However, I quickly learned that Division President Don Conklin had decided to move the communications in the matter out of the division to Corporate Communications. This was the latest in a series of frustrations I was having over the direction of the Company in my area of responsibility and my future in the Company.

 

I had another good dinner at the Airport Marriott that evening, enjoyed a workout at the hotel fitness center and flew home to Memphis the next day.

 

To Gulf Shores, New Orleans to Blow Off Steam

 

Dec. 21-31, 1995 – To Gulf Shores, AL. & New Orleans

 

I drove on Thursday afternoon from our home in Memphis to Gulf Shores in my Ford Taurus station wagon with Betty and Casey, who was home for Christmas break from the University of Virginia. We enjoyed nice weather and a speedy trip on the 450-plus mile drive and arrived at our condo on West Beach about 11 p.m.

 

Surrounded by so much uncertainty and frustration at Schering-Plough HealthCare Products and Corporation Headquarters, I was glad to be able to get away from work for over a week with my terrific and loving family.

 

We spent most of our first day in the condo doing fix-it work. We put insulation on the front door, decorated our Christmas tree, repaired the bathroom door and did some touch-up painting hear and there on the walls and woodwork.

 

The next day, a Saturday, Casey and I played golf at the State Park course in chilly weather. I shot a 95 and he shot an 88, with our score relationship in the usual pattern of the son outplaying his father now that he is a young man. While we played golf, Betty went to the mall at nearby Foley, AL to shop. That afternoon I did some genealogy writing on a laptop computer back at the condo.

 

On Christmas Eve, we walked about two miles on the beach of the Gulf of Mexico in front of our condo. We attended a nice service that evening at the Gulf Shores Presbyterian Church – which has become an annual outing for our family since buying the condo in 1986 – and had an excellent dinner Betty prepared of baked Cornish Game Hens with customary trimmings.

 

After opening Christmas presents (books and clothes for me, $1,000 in cash for Betty to make purchases of her choosing and clothes and golf balls for Casey), I worked on the laptop computer to polish some of my family history and genealogy writing.

 

On the day after Christmas, Casey and I played golf at the high-vaunted Kiva Dunes course between Gulf Shores and Fort Morgan. It borders the Gulf of Mexico and was designed by Jerry Pate, who also played a big role in the design of our home course Old Waverly. In a small world, it turned out that the Superintendent (keeper of the greens and fairways and manager in charge of overall course condition) formerly was the No. 2 superintendent at Old Waverly.

 

Despite the beauty of the course, its tightness combined with the looseness of my game to result in a score of 100 for me. Casey was the better player as usual, shooting a respectable 88 on a tough course. I was in trouble with my driver on nearly every hole, hitting it beyond the “safe” landing area and into the right rough or the left rough or out-of-bounds. The fee was a bargain $39, including cart, which I thought was a very good price for the course of its quality and fame.

 

We played with Dr. Jaquant Kale, a professor of finance at Georgia State University in Atlanta and a nice guy originally from India.

 

The next morning, the three of us (Betty, Casey and me) drove to New Orleans, where we stayed at our usual hotel on Canal Street on the edge of the French Quarter, the Sheraton. Our usual bargain rate during Christmas week, including covered parking, was $114. We had a great lunch at Commander’s Palace in the Garden District and then poked around the two-story shopping mall on the Mississippi River called Riverwalk.

 

I took a nap at the hotel that afternoon while Betty and Casey shopped. That evening, Casey and I paid $7 each to use the hotel’s exercise and spa facility and had a good workout. The next day, Casey and I played golf at the Bayou Oaks East Course in City Park, roughly in the Midtown area of New Orleans a short drive from the French Quarter. It’s a flat course with some scenic oak trees on the border and quite interesting. Despite the chill, I shot a remarkable 50 on the front 9 and 38 on the back 9 for a total score of 88. Casey shot a 92 in a rare instance of a score higher than mine.

 

The next day, the three of us enjoyed walking on the beach. And then on the last Saturday of our stay, Casey and I returned to the State Park Course, where I shot an 87 and Casey a 94. We enjoyed an excellent meal at the Outrigger Restaurant at Perdido Pass that evening and got up early on the morning of the 31st for our drive back home to Memphis. We loaded into the station wagon two concrete bench supports we had retrieved from the surf line in front of our condo building, evidently where Hurricane Opal had deposited them earlier in the fall. We later installed them along with a purchased, concrete bench at our home pool to remind us of the hurricane.

 

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