I’ve had the distinct privilege of working alongside the process industry for over twenty years and have met a great many of the fine people who work in it. Indeed, as an editor it is one of the perks of the job – getting out and about, talking to suppliers, distributors and users, and hearing what they have to say about their challenging jobs, their thoughts on the latest technological developments and their expectations for the future.
Of course not every meeting results in an article for Valve World. Sometimes the topics under discussion are sensitive and occasionally communications departments might veto publication. But looking back on my entire career I can honestly say that everyone, literally everyone I have ever met has answered all my questions professionally and openly, giving honest, expert information.
In short, therefore, I have to say I hold the people who work in this industry with the deepest of respect.
Sometimes that respect borders on outright admiration, and here’s why.
Just recently I had a chance meeting with an old contact. Over a cup of coffee he gave me an update on various professional topics– maintenance practices, case histories, market insights, etc. All wonderful stuff for Valve World, of course, but I was additionally hoping for a “human interest” feature so I asked him about his weekend plans. And what a tale he had to tell.
He looked at me, seemed to be considering his words with great care, and then replied: “well Dave, this weekend I’ll be putting on my mascot suit, as usual.”
As he related his story it turned out that this highly educated man, holding a senior position with his company and a recognised authority in several fields has, for the past twenty years or so, been devoting much of his free time to entertain the crowds at his local sports club.
He went on to discuss some of his routine and the stunts he has performed and his recollections were so vivid and passionately told it was as if I had seen him for real. But his motive has nothing whatsoever to do with simply dressing up and clowning around. “Of course being a mascot is an opportunity to let off steam but my role is really about fostering a community spirit and getting youngsters involved with the team. So in addition to performing at matches I also get involved in club days, charity events, fund-raising dos and the like.”
By now I was utterly enthralled and immediately told him I’d like to write up his story, asking if he could send in an action photo. “Oh no we cannot do that,” came the firm reply. “People who are mascots never reveal their identity – that’s part of the magic for the crowd. And besides, it’s not about me; it’s the team and the fans that matter.”
So there you have his anonymous tale, and that is why I am now more convinced than ever that the folks in the valve sector are a very fine and upstanding group of people indeed. And why I for one wish to pay tribute to all the folks who week-in, week-out, willingly pull on hot, heavy, itchy suits to entertain, to amuse and to lift all our spirits.