Electronics Assembly Knowledge, Vision & Wisdom
The Mystery Valve
The Mystery Valve
Hanging next to an old brass valve was a sign that said "Plant Manager's Valve". What was this all about?
Mysteries of Science
Dr. Gilleo
Mysteries of Science by Dr. Ken Gilleo
Dr. Gilleo is a chemist, inventor and general problem solver. Ken has been tracking industrial forensics and collecting case histories for decades. These cases are taken from the vast world of industry and commercial enterprise.

Check out Dr. Gilleo's eBook, 100 Mysteries Solved by Science. We hope you enjoy these case histories. You need not be an engineer or scientist to understand the problems and appreciate the solutions.
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This mystery takes place in a large chemical manufacturing plant. John, the plant manager, ruled this old empire and knew every square foot of the sprawling industrial site. He worked his way up from operator to supervisor, and finally to plant manager, where his word is law. Although he was fair and honest, most found him hard to deal with.

This chemical plant had thousands of values, switches and dials. While John understood how every product was made, the operators and their supervisors knew what they were doing and felt insulted by his constant meddling. While they disliked his management style, no one would confront him. Emotions were building to a point where something was going to will blow.

One day Tony, the old maintenance chief, came barging into John's office. "John, we've got a real problem in number 1 tower and no one can figure the thing out". "It's on the top tier, level 8, where all the pipes go into the reactor". John and the maintenance chief headed out of his office to the opposite end of the large facility.

They climbed the steel stairs that lead to the top floor of the tallest building on the site. John expected to see a crowd on the deck since he was assuming that something was really out of whack, but no one was there. "OK, what's the problem?" Tony pointed to a big value, the only one like it in the plant.

Here's the rest of the story.

John walked over to the unusually bright and shiny valve. It had a sign hanging on it. In bold red letters the sign read, "Plant Manager's Valve". Tony explained, "This is your valve, so when you get the urge to mess with stuff around the plant you just come up here and adjust your personal valve and don't mess with the rest of them". John spun around and headed back with, "I want to see you in my office right away". Tony figured his prank had pushed things too far and it might cost him his job, but knew someone had to stand up to John.

Back in the office John could no longer contain his poker face, and started to grin, finally breaking into a laugh. "Tony I was heading for trouble as a manager with my overbearing style and you've hit me over the head with it". "If this was important enough for you to chance risking termination, I need to listen." "Sooner or later i was going to regret my bullying." "All I can say is thanks."

John went on to become a corporate vice president. We may never know what impact the Plant Manager's Valve Incident might have had, but it was probably a turning point in John's career.

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