Posts Tagged ‘Columbia Missouri’

Now available — the biography of Charles W. Gehrke, From Melon Fields to Moon Rocks.From Melon Fields to Moon Rocks cover 032917

You can buy a signed copy here by clicking the PayPal button below.

The book is also available through  amazon.com and Barnes & Nobel.

A signing and book launch is planned for 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 in Orr Street Studios, 106 Orr Street, Columbia. RSVP to Dianna O’Brien at dobrien387@gmail.com

Have it shipped to you directly for $20, plus tax and shipping.

Buy Now Button

So what’s From Melon Fields to Moon Rocks about?

Charles W. Gehrke was unflinching. Determined. Persistent.

He grew up among the poorest of the poor, yet carried only happy memories of those early years. Out of necessity he learned the value of hard work, as he and his brother helped support their family even as children — but he never complained and never stopped working even during his final days on this earth.

In the 1960s, his work searching for amino acids, the building blocks of life, drew the attention of NASA which would soon launch missions to the moon. Charles was tapped to investigate the lunar samples for signs of life. Spoiler alert: He didn’t find any — but a transcript the author uncovered of a radio program from that time shows that he thought he would.

In 1968, he did something else unusual at the time and brought his research to the marketplace, launching ABC Labs. The company thrived and before its buy out in 2015 it employed about 300 people. Today, ABC Labs now part of EAG Laboratories, a global scientific services company headquartered in San Diego.

The book, From Melon Fields to Moon Rocks highlights the adventurous life of Charles W. Gehrke, a biochemist, entrepreneur and family man.

Published by Yolanda Ciolli’s firm, Compass Flower Press, and designed by Ginny Booker, the book was released in April 2017.

Have it shipped to you directly for $20, plus tax and shipping.

Buy Now Button

Read Full Post »

Looking for the book featured in the May 1, 2015 column by Bill Clark in the Columbia Daily Tribune?

Be among the first to order a copy, and you’ll save 20 percent. Your price is $16.00—that’s a savings of $4 off the cover price of $20.00. Select from three delivery options: Pick up at an event (Release Party, date posted soon), pick up at the Compass Flower Press office, or ship. You will be notified by email immediately when books are in hand.

Pick it up at an event (date to be announced) or at Compass Flower Press office at 315 Bernadette Drive, Suite 3, Columbia, MO 65203. Cost: $16.

Buy Now Button

Or have it shipped to you directly for $20, plus tax and shipping.

Buy Now Button

So what’s From Melon Fields to Moon Rocks about?

Charles W. Gehrke was unflinching. Determined. Persistent.

He grew up among the poorest of the poor, yet carried only happy memories of those early years. Out of necessity he learned the value of hard work, as he and his brother helped support their family even as children — but he never complained and never stopped working until his final days on this earth.

He learned the importance of family, also at a tender age. They looked out for each other and stayed close all their lives.

Later, Charles’ own family always came first, even as he rose to the top of his profession, recognized around the world for his pioneering scientific techniques and forward, visionary thinking — modeling and promoting interdisciplinary collaboration and shared instrumentation long before those now commonplace tenets were on the radar of most scientists.

Charles was chosen by NASA to examine lunar samples, searching for signs of life, and in the midst of it all, launched an entrepreneurial effort resulting in ABC Labs, a company that has grown and thrived for 40 years and employs more than 300 people.

This book, From Melon Fields to Moon Rocks, is about his life, the adventurous life of a biochemist and entrepreneur.

Published by Yolanda Ciolli’s firm, Compass Flower Press, and designed by Ginny Booker, the book will be released in September 2015, but you can reserve your copy now and be the first to get From Melon Fields to Moon Rocks.

Read Full Post »

One of my favorite kinds of business articles to write is the how-to piece. Here’s one I did recently for Landscape Management.

The Ins and Outs of Houzz — Firms in the green industry are finding ways to use Houzz, an up and coming online platform that links homeowners and professionals. Founded in 2009, in 2013, it boasted 12 million unique viewers, 89 percent of whom are homeowners with an average home value of $450,000. This Landscape Management article outlines how to Houzz.

Read Full Post »

What I love about journalism is the learning never ends. Here’s an article from one of my favorite resources, the Poynter Institute, an organization dedicated to teaching journalism.

This article is on investigative journalism and cites another of my favorite organizations, IRE, which is located at the University of Missouri in my hometown, Columbia, Missouri.

The article notes that while there have been cutbacks in journalistic organizations, investigative journalism has continued to thrive.

In fact, it’s my opinion that all journalism should be considered investigative. No article should rely just on whatever the sources says. And today, with the internet, social media and other tools of the trade, there’s no need for reporters like me to rely simply on the word of a source. For example, when I interviewed Russ Potterfield and asked him if he was concerned about the possibility of his products being produced in inhumane conditions, he said since there was a labor shortage, he believed that anyone unhappy with working conditions could simply leave their job. Years ago, I would have had to take his word for it or had to attempt to find an expert in Chinese labor trends. Today, I could review several international publications documenting the lack of skilled workers in China.

That is not strictly investigative journalism, but it does show that today journalists can do their jobs better than ever. And that’s good news for journalism and people who want to stay informed.

Read Full Post »

Columbia, Missouri is replete with energetic entrepreneurs, but the most lively person I’ve interviewed so far is Russ Potterfield. Before leaving for China to accompany my husband David J. O’Brien to a convention where he was giving a presentation.

When I learned Russ, a local businessman, had opened an office in China just this summer, I quickly made plans, via email, to meet with him. After all, how many Columbia companies have offices in China? Turns out more than you might think.

At any rate, despite the demands of opening on overseas office, Russ took several hours to meet with me, describe all the amazing opportunities his new venture was providing for him and his family. For me, it was an amazing opportunity to meet such an energetic, farseeing individual.

Once again, I feel I am so lucky to be a journalist and have the opportunity to write about local, well kind of local, businesses and the people operating them. Congrats on the new office, Russ.

Dec. 24, 2010, Russ Potterfield’s China presence proving profitable Battenfeld improves logistics with satellite office, Columbia Business Times.

Read Full Post »

One of the things I love about journalism is how it helps me and readers see new connections by bringing information together, in this case, the history and economics of movie theatres.

I’ve lived in Columbia twice, once from 1991-1995, then from 1998 until now, but I never realized that the beautiful theatre buildings on Ninth Street revealed literally the concrete results of the roaring 1920s.

During the 1920s, thousands of movie theaters were built across the country. Actually, these buildings were called movie palaces because that’s what they were — ornate, beautiful, fanciful buildings where people went to see the developing medium, moving picture shows.

But what goes up must come down, which explains why by the time I moved to Columbia, the former Hall Theatre was vacant, the Missouri Theatre was struggling and the former Varsity Theatre had not yet become the successful live music venue, The Blue Note.

After the roaring 1920s, the Great Depression came along and decades later, television and the move to the suburbs were other changes that explain why so many downtown movie palaces were left vacant or converted to other uses.

By 1962, the number of movie theaters had fallen to 9,150, down from 14,716 in 1954. As one source noted, the glut of buildings in the 1920s led to the glut of demolition in the 1950s and 1960s.

But I think the wave of destruction is over. Today, the Hall Theatre houses the Panera Bread Company, The Blue Note continues to be a successful live music venue and the chief of operations at the Missouri Theatre has a plan designed to solve its financial problems.

This connection to the roaring 1920s was not visible to me until reporting connected the dots along Ninth Street. That’s why journalism, in which information is put into context, is so important.

Read the two-page package published on June 25, 2010 in the Columbia Business Times either at this link or below.

CBT Columbia Cinema Evolution p1 062510

CBT Columbia Cinema Evolution p2 062510

Read Full Post »

I remember when I had my first job with a newspaper in Gaffney, South Carolina and I’d be giving tours of the newsroom to grade school children. I would tell them the journalism of that tiny newsroom was the exact same kind of journalism taking place in what some consider the center of journalism — the New York Times.

How so? One of the purposes of journalism, whether it is at the New York Times or Columbia Home & Lifestyle,  is to uncover new and unusual happenings.

That’s the case in this article on the Smarr Home of Possibilities. Basically a model home, Randy Smarr is also using it as a venue for fund-raising for the Ronald McDonald House and for his subcontractors to hold classes on the wares they have installed in this house in the Cascades.

So what? Well, it is the first time anyone in Columbia, Missouri, has done something like this. And that’s new and unusual.

This is what I love about journalism — it can take place anywhere, in Gaffney, South Carolina, Columbia, Missouri or even in New York.

Learn more about the new and unusual features of the Smarr Home of Possibilities by reading this article, published in the June/July 2010 issue of Columbia Home & Lifestyle.

Home is Where the Heart Is – June/July 2010 Columbia Home & Lifestyle

By Dianna Borsi O’Brien

When the economic slump hit, Rusty Smarr of Smarr Custom Homes felt it. Yet, instead of complaining he looked for ways to bring the buzz back into new housing — and for a way to give back to the community.

His answer to both challenges is the Home of Possibilities, a 3,750-square-foot model home at 2304 Redmond Court in the Cascades. The house, outfitted with many of the newest, most buzzed about HGTV features, will also be used as a venue for Ronald McDonald House fundraisers.

Unveiled in May, the house features a long list of energy-saving features, from a tankless hot water heater installed by Air and Water Solutions to landscaping with native plants installed by Pleasant View Landscaping.

In addition to housing Ronald McDonald House fundraisers, Smarr is opening the home to vendors of the home’s featured products for classes on various Saturdays.

Click on the link below to see the entire article.

CHL Smarr Home of Possibilities

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »