The lunch crowd was heavy so we elected to wait a few minutes to let it clear out. The wait allowed them to fill me in on the events of this morning and there had been several.
”I sent two pilots to Air Tractor this morning. Air Tractor has two ground support 802s that a foreign government had ordered. They only made the initial payments and haven’t made any more. Then they started the process of trying to negotiate a lower price and threatened to cancel the order. The aircraft are ready to be picked up.
”Air Tractor canceled the sale for them late yesterday and kept the initial payment based on the contract. They called me this morning telling me we could take possession immediately so I sent the pilots. The 802 has some bells and whistles that the ones we had ordered do not have,” Lorrie said.
”They will fly the 802s to Fort Dean on Tuesday after completing the training and fixing everything on the bug list,” Lorrie said.
”We found temporary office space in the old Narrows Mall; the one that has been closed up so long. It needs a lot to make it what we need but Bobs Construction can start in a few days. The downside is that it will take several months before it is all office worthy,” Lorrie said.
”There is no high-speed internet there; it was closed up before it got popular on the island. Robert wants fiber optic out there,” Marcy said.
”Shouldn’t be a problem, I will call the C’ville power company office and talk to the manager to get approval to attachment to their poles. One of the independents can install the cable after that,” I said.
We were going to Mexico City next Wednesday then stop back at Fort Dean on the return trip.
”Andy should have some deliveries today. I bought twenty pickups from the local dealer there for MAAR. I did the same thing with six John Deere Gators and six ATVs from the Kawasaki dealer. That should help him out a lot with everything that was missing,” Marcy said.
”Tomorrow the B&B accounting group is backing up all the servers and bringing it here. For time being it will be on a standalone system until we get all we need transferred to our systems.”
“That won’t take long because I am starting the accounting for that business as a new venture in our system with codes in SAP starting as of yesterday. ” Marcy said.
”Their Human Resources is doing the same thing; they are bringing all the HR files here – again standalone – and unfortunately it has to be manually entered into our system. They did not collect anywhere near as much info as we do. Plus they used an in-house developed system that is not compatible with anything.”
”Every one of our employees has company email – less than fifty percent of theirs do. That process will begin with the active employees. We have to verify all the direct deposit information and put it in our systems for payroll,” Jenny said.
Jamie called to say she was through with Charles and Milton. I sent one of my security men to pick them up and bring them here to join us for lunch.
There was a long conversation coming about the chain of command, supervisors, responsible persons and contact methods for the former Black Bear organization. We needed to work them into our operation as fast as possible while maintaining control of the men and active contracts.
All Black Bear’s employees had been notified on Thursday for the change in ownership and that their assignments were still active and their pay and pay schedule unchanged. On the down side they were also notified that all contracts were being upgraded and additional training and requirements may be placed in effect, along with second and third language requirements.
Charles, Milton and we talked in depth about the two thousand on-call employees. I was intending to use several hundred of them at Paris and that many or more in Mexico. The six thousand base employees of the former Black Bear were working on fixed contracts, the same as our security employees.
I learned from the two there were five supervisors who were responsible for the call up, special training, and deployment of those on -call employees.
The need to get the on-call employees checked out and in a format and position so we could use, trust them and depend on them answering the call was paramount.
Then there was Andy’s need for office space to set up his chain of command structure; all that forced us to do something we did not want to do.
We were going to convert the Horsey Hotel to immediate office space. Each room was set up with two beds and two small dressers. The mattresses and box springs were at least three years old – time for them to go to the dump anyhow. The dressers and bed frames could go into one of those rental storage units.
Each room could have two nice sized office cubicles and file cabinets with a small refrigerator, microwave, a sink and a private bathroom. I could see a pecking order to get an office over there.
Andy would have the first office in the door and his own clerk; if necessary, a wall would be knocked out putting two rooms together. By doing that Andy would be able to have a private office with a door and a meeting table. It would be the only real executive office in the building.
Baltimore office supply could supply and set up cubicles chairs and file cabinets in as many rooms as we needed.
All of us started making the necessary calls, with Marcy calling the office supply company. She used them all the time.
Lorrie called the dumpster company for dumpsters and the storage company for several large units. I called Robert about the necessary computer equipment and setting it up ASAP.
Robert called a company he dealt with and ordered all the computers, monitors and printers needed to make things work. All the rooms already had hard wired internet. Robert was going to add wireless to help with laptops.
Half of the men that had been in training were now already deployed, some to the Pact countries and the others to Fort Polo. The ones that were left were in limbo as of now, eventually ending up at the Pact countries. Their training was finished next week. If the trainers would sign off on them early, they would finish the week out helping on the office conversion by carrying the bed frames to storage.
Now with Mexico, France and Oklahoma City all coming together at one time, everything was going to be a rush.
Andy texted and wanted a VCATS call. We went into Lorrie’s office to do that leaving B&B to finish their lunch.
”First I want to thank you for the vehicles. We needed them desperately. The FBI was back a few minutes ago and arrested a couple more men on unrelated charges to the theft ring. I will text Jenny the information so they can be fired.”
”The next thing is that the access road coming from the main highway is horrible. There are potholes big enough to lose a wheelbarrow in and we don’t have anything here to fix them with,” Andy said.
”Andy, call around for road contractors. Find one that can grind, level and widen the road. Then have them blacktop it twenty feet wide and center-line it. Torque them up to get it done as soon as possible; offer a bonus for immediate action. There is going to be a lot of vehicle traffic very soon. Do temporary repairs to the potholes if necessary.”
”I want an archway over the main entrance to the compounds identifying it as Fort Dean. Split the road past the archway and put a guard house and tire busters on both lanes.”
”You know how it should look. I want us to be proud of the place, not ashamed of it when everything is settled. You have no budget limitations to get it done. If you have doubts about the price of something, just call,” I said.
”When you have time, check out the fuel farm for the condition of the jet A tanks. I have found a supplier after you check the tanks. There are two Air Tractors arriving there Wednesday, possible more in a few weeks,” Lorrie said.
”We are signing the contracts with the Mexican government on Wednesday; we will stop and pick you up on the way,” I said.
”Andy, I know you are busy but be thinking about who you want as your staff in your command structure – they will report to you and who you want as your office staff here. We are setting up offices in the Horsey Hotel,” I said.
”Do you need to come home for the weekend? I can send one of the jets for you and have you back on Monday morning. You were sent there with little notice,” Lorrie said.
”That would be nice, the daughter’s sixteenth birthday is Sunday. There was a big party planned,” Andy replied.
”What did you get her for a birthday present?” Marcy asked.
”The wife got her some things she wanted,” Andy replied.
”Why don’t you have your wife meet you when you get here? Let her pick out one of the new armored Suburbans and give your daughter the Volvo your wife is driving. The Volvo has a good safety record, unless you want your daughter in armor,” Jenny said.
”With the publicity of your new position and things that are going to be happening over the next few months, a few more precautions may not hurt,” I said.
”I’ll talk it over with her; I have to call her in a few minutes. She sent a text – something about the checking account,” Andy said.
”She probably is confused about your pay raise; we made it retroactive to the first of the month,” Marcy said.
”OK, that would do it. I have to run and find a road contractor,” Andy said as he closed the call.
I had an idea and dialed Andy’s wife.
”Sheila, how are you doing today? This is BJ,” I said.
”I’m doing good, on the way home to meet the kids, They got off early from school today so I took part of the afternoon off to be with them. Everything is OK isn’t it? Is unusual for you to call,” she asked.
”If anything was truly wrong I would be waiting in your driveway,” I said.
”What have you got going on for the rest of the afternoon and early evening?” I asked.
”Just spending time with Sandy and William,” Sheila said.
”I understand you’re having a birthday party for Sandy on Sunday,” I said.
”Yes. Andy is going to miss another one and the sixteenth is kind of a special one,” Shelia said.
”I am sending one of our jets to Louisiana to pick Andy up and bring him home for the weekend. Why don’t you and the kids fly down on the plane and surprise him?” I asked.
”That sounds like a great idea, neither of the kids have flown. I wondered what I was going to do to keep them busy and interested. Do we need to bring anything?” she said.
”No, just yourselves will do. Get to Morton as soon as you can,” I said.
Mental note, text Andy in an hour and tell him to meet the plane himself, ‘special’ packages on board.
Lorrie was calling the pilot lounge, giving the pilot instructions to get the flight ready to go and a flight attendant with a fresh galley box. Lorrie was sending N297A – my G5 it was always fueled and ready to go.
Max Grover was going to be the pilot and Toby Nash the copilot.
A galley box was stainless steel; very well insulated, eighteen inches wide, two feet deep, three feet high. It had a cold section in the bottom that would keep ice and cold food cold 12 hours, including beer – just the way I liked it. So cold it would have ice chips when I opened it.
The top section would keep hot food hot for 12 hours simply by plugging the box into the jet’s AC inverter powered by the APU. They were expensive but on a long flight they were more than worth it. I like coffee hot and various foods.
Unless there were special requests, there was a list of standard items in the galley; pretzels, chips, peanuts, soda, cupcakes and the like, even fresh Krispy .
The galley box carried cold cuts, hot dogs, cooked hamburgers and – when I flew – there were always salads and cheese-steak sub, minus the tomatoes, onions and lettuce. Those items were separate in Ziploc bags in the cold section of the box. The flight attendant or I put them on the sub when I was ready to eat to keep the steak roll from getting soggy.
The Morton restaurant made up the food that went into the box.
The flight attendant for this flight was Lea Tippins. Lea was a card, the kids would have a ball after her sing song required preflight safety, seat belt, oxygen mask and flotation device announcement. It would have you laughing the whole time.
Lea was one of the most requested flight attendants for the business flights.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.