When I asked Daniel R. Baker, CEO, Tate Access Floors in Jessup, his business success keys, he responded, "Knowing that the 1990s would be 'global' years, we pursued a worldwide approach long before it was fashionable. And now that we manufacture, distribute and contract for flooring all over the world, we're well-positioned for this competitive decade. If you're not global, forget it.
"Another key: We create enthusiasm among our people. It's exciting to be on this team, working on unique buildings like Chase Manhattan's New York headquarters, Singapore's Port Authority and Lloyd's of London's central structures. By the way, Prince Charles first thought our plans for Lloyd's were a bit out of line for London's conservative architecture -- 'too modern,' as he put it -- but now everybody's happy. We have 850 people, most all of whom are excited by what they do."
When Baker answered his own phone and I asked, "Don't you need a secretary to protect you?", he responded, "I want to know who's calling; my secretary answers only if I'm not here."
BITS & PIECES: If you wish to help Kurdish refugees, send your check to American Jewish Committee's Kurdish Relief Fund, P.O. Box 27529, Newark, N.J., 07101-8729. Contributions are tax-deductible. . . . There are two things nobody should watch being made: sausages and laws." (Bismarck). . . . . . . . "If you plan to stay in your house three years or more, free up extra cash by refinancing." (Price Waterhouse). . . . "People who do the least work usually need the most vacations." (Soundings). . . .
WORKPLACE WAMPUM: "Put as much as you can into retirement plans early. If you have a 401(k) plan, this year's contribution can be as much as $8,475. It's not reported as taxable income, saving you $2,882 at a marginal tax rate (including state taxes) of 34 percent. And make contributions to other pension plan as early as possible, deferring your interest and dividends throughout the year." (Retirement Letter). . . . Why don't more salespeople from car dealerships, stores, etc., phone prospects more often? ("I'll pick you up at noon and we'll have a ride in our new 1992 model. Trade-ins are generous these days" or "We got your favorite spring suit patterns in today; if you stop in at lunchtime I'd like to show them to you.") . . . . "The Phone Book, a thick Consumer Reports paperback ($15.95), tells how to repair home wiring, pick a long-distance carrier, find the best phone equipment, etc." (Business Week, dated today.)
BALTIMORE BEAT: Carolyn Walpert, my secretary (30 years) wasn't overjoyed when I attached these conditions to her Secretaries Day lunch: "early, close, quick and cheap." But we managed: 11:45 a.m., 200 yards, 44 minutes, $13.75 for both. (I wasn't proud of my behavior.). . . . Of the 360 companies whose executives are listed under "1990 Total Annual Compensation" in Business Week, May 6, I found only two local firms: BG&E (CEO George McGowan $474,000) and McCormick & Co. (CEO C.P. McCormick Jr. $995,000). It's sad how many businesses we've lost to outside ownership -- Maryland Cup, First National Bank, Union Trust, Monumental Life, Noxell, and many others. . . . Of all occupations, barbers like their jobs most (median tenure, 25 years), followed by farmers, dentists, pilots, civil engineers, pharmacists. Like jobs least: managers, nurses, lawyers, truck drivers. (Department of Labor data via George Pinsch, barber, USF&G building).