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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Movement to Banish Bribing of Bureaucrats

Swati Ramanathan, a founder of the site I Paid a Bribe, in India.
(Source: NYTimes, see link.)

In my International Business course we held an online chat session last night.  We discussed an HBS caselet involving a petty bribe.  The American manager of an Indonesian branch plant was asked by his administrative assistant whether he would authorize her paying from the petty cash account the equivalent of $25.00, in order to get a police clerk to look up the date of purchase of an old company car that the division was trying to sell.  Without that date, the sale would be impossible, as it was missing from the company's records, though the police had it in theirs.  Of course, there was no fee charged legally to look up that official record, but the police clerk had asked for this payment, nevertheless.

Would you have authorized that payment?

Perhaps because our earlier discussion had dealt with the legal risks of an American businessperson's participating in foreign corrupt practices (albeit in much higher-level forms of corruption, amounting to values in the millions of dollars), all but one of my MBA students declined to pay this petty cash "dash."  I am quite sure I would have said, "Do what you have to do."

After the class, the one woman who had said she'd have taken my (corrupt?) position wrote an afterthought in the Moodle forum I provide for the purpose.  She wrote,
Typically petty cash is exactly that is used for petty expenditures.  So despite the actions the cash is being required for seeming a tad questionable, the funds are available and at the ready for whatever needs might come along in the office.  So I do tend to think this might be of of those such cases.
 I replied,
Many, if not most, would agree.  This is generally what is meant by a grease payment, a petty bribe to get a bureaucrat to do his job. It ain't right, but it is reality. 
The subject has had considerable attention of late.  See this link.
I was previously unaware of these "I Paid A Bribe" websites.  What a change it will be if the Internet brings about an end to the world of bureaucratic corruption!  Imagine a world where public employees simply do their jobs for the public who pay their salaries!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Back in the Saddle

Rocinante, at a turnout on the road from Valdez to Tok, Alaska, July, 2012
We've had gorgeous weather in New Hampshire for the past two days.  That fact and the intense work schedule (as our fall semester has begun here at Plymouth State University) have helped me to get out of the blue funk I have been in for the prior two months.

It is not fun dealing with the terminal illness of a great friend.  Death brings grief, and grief plays havoc with one's emotional health.  I am not over it yet, but I am feeling more myself, now.

Friday, under blue skies, I mounted Rocinante and rode him to Boscawen, NH, to stand a flag line at the New Hampshire Veteran's Cemetery with my fellow members of the NHPGR to honor the recently departed Marine Cpl. John Marcum, who served during the Vietnam era.  May he rest in peace.

Boscawen is about an hour's ride south on I-93 from home.  It was great again to feel my old 1982 Honda's solid gait on the Interstate, and to feel the 70 mph air rushing past under a cool, bright blue sky.  In many ways, it took me back to memories of our long ride of last summer.

This was not Alaska, nor the Yukon Territory, where buffalo roam, but it was a slice of heaven, and good for my soul.
Bison grazing along the Alaska Highway, Yukon, Canada, July, 2012

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Golfing for Craig and Tim

The 2011 team was depicted at the 14th Tee, Ron, Duncan, Bruce and Craig.
Yesterday, a team of us from PSU kept alive a ten-year tradition for Craig Zamzow.  We drove to the south end of New Hampshire on a beautiful September morning to take part in the Tim Sabol Memorial Golf Tournament in Amherst.  Tim was a PSU MBA (and former student of Craig's) who died tragically from a heart problem while only in his thirties.  That happened almost eleven years ago.  Tim's widow Sharon and his family have sponsored this charity event every year since.  Craig and I have been regulars in the event.  The Sabol family has used the contributions to support an annual scholarship that pays tuition in one course each year for a deserving PSU MBA student, as well as to help many local causes in the Nashua area.  

With Ron Bohlin, Brad Allen, and Bruce Wiggett at Souhegan Woods Golf Course
My colleagues Brad Allen, Bruce Wiggett, and Ron Bohlin joined me yesterday, to keep our PSU participation alive, playing as a team called "Craig's Crew."
We started on Hole 16.

Brad was the only one of us familiar with the course.

Ron has a great swing, and hits the ball far.

Perfect September Day.

Sharon Sabol and the women at the Double-or-Nothing hole called us the "sexiest foursome."  (They also told that to the cart that followed us.)

My teammates at the 14th hole, which we sponsored on behalf of Craig's memory, and the PSU MBA Program.

Bruce Wiggett, a recent regular on the PSU team, with the hole sponsorship sign.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Craig D. Zamzow, 70 (From The Laconia Sun)

NEW HAMPTON — Craig Dean Zamzow, 70 of Mountain Vista Drive, died August 31, 2013, at Speare Memorial Hospital, in Plymouth, NH.

Born in Grand Island NE on June 8, 1943, he was the son of Harlan Francis and Theda W. (Linderkamp) Zamzow. He grew up in the Mid-West and graduated from Westside High School, in Grand Island. He also earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, at Iowa State University, in the mid-1960s.
Craig hired into Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) in Maynard, Massachusetts, where he served for twenty years as a sales engineer, corporate manager of sales training, and product line manager of Logic Products, a $25 million PC board business. His achievements led to his being named in 1983 the Corporate Manager, Marketing Programs, directing the efforts of over 5,000 employees. Along the way, Craig earned an MBA in marketing and human resource management from Rivier College in Nashua, NH.
After the collapse of DEC, Craig served in marketing roles with several other firms in New England, before coming to Plymouth, New Hampshire in 1997 as co-owner of The Pilgrim Motel and Cabins on the Daniel Webster Highway. Very soon thereafter he was recruited by Plymouth State University to teach some marketing courses, first as an adjunct professor, and then as a full-time lecturer. In 1998, he accepted the job of Director of the Small Business Institute® at PSU, which serves the local business community with teams of MBA students who act as consultants, helping the businesses in whatever needs they may have, and preparing formal consulting reports.

Craig excelled as an SBI Director. The Small Business Institute® Directors' Association (SBIDA) holds an annual national contest, wherein the consulting reports from 250 university programs are judged at undergraduate and graduate levels in three categories, comprehensive (multifunctional business analyses), specialized (addressing a single business function, such as marketing, finance, or production), and feasibility studies (start-up plans). During his fifteen years as PSU's SBI Director, Plymouth State MBA teams placed either first or second in every single year, nationally. In one year, they swept the three first place awards, and PSU's SBI was recognized as the top SBI program in the United States. At his last national conference, in 2013, Craig was named the first Fellow of the Small Business Institute®.

In 2003, Craig also became Director of Graduate Programs in the PSU College of Business Administration (CoBA). As director, he administered the budgets, course schedules, and enrollments, and served as the academic adviser to as many as 600 MBA students. He successfully reversed slumping enrollment numbers to double the size of the 40 year-old MBA Program, and to turn it into a respected, self-sustaining mainstay of CoBA.

Craig Zamzow has been active in the community, as well, serving on the boards of the Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, Plymouth Main Street, Inc., and the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative.
For the past ten years or more, Craig has worked to bring to life the brand new Enterprise Center at Plymouth, a joint effort by Plymouth State University and the Grafton County Economic Development Council. A conference room in this new business incubator building will be dedicated in honor of Craig Zamzow's work.

Craig's energy was boundless, his integrity unquestionable, and his enthusiasm infectious. Craig's colleagues and students at PSU all will miss him. A fine gentleman has left us.

Craig is survived by his wife, Marica Litchfield Zamzow of New Hampton, son, Barry Zamzow and his wife Jessica and their children, Grace, Ella and Abby, son, Darren Zamzow and his wife Carroll and their children, Ben and Bodie, step-daughter, Alyson Tracy and her children Casey, Cody Gibbs, step-daughter Michelle Tracey and her children, Vanessa Tracey and Mason Smith, brother Stephen D. Zamzow and his wife Linda, nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held in the Plymouth United Congregational Church, UCC, Main St, Plymouth, on Saturday, Sept. 7th, at 11am. A balloon release and gathering will follow at Plymouth State University.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Craig D. Zamzow MBA Scholarship Fund, Plymouth State University Advancement Office, 17 High Street, MSC 50, Plymouth, NH 03264.

To sign Craig's Book of Memories, please go to