Information Technology Project Manager

Michael G. Herschel, MSM IT/PM    

Information Technology Project Manager


An accomplished, well-educated military veteran: resourceful, meticulous, and versatile professional with proven capability to manage all project components – a team player: committed and accountable. Currently hold Public Trust Security Clearance


o   Advise Veterans Administration leadership on policy and procedure

o   Subject Matter Expert integrating project activities within & across programs

o   Knowledge of system analysis techniques to monitor and control risk

o   Knowledge of Federal Process Integration ITIL standards and policies


ASM Research (an Accenture Federal Services Co.) for the Veterans Administration

May contact ASM Research at (703) 645-0420

6/2013 to 4/2018

IT Project Manager

DUTIES: Serve as a project manager for process integration support of the Enterprise Service Desk (ESD): assigned to Austin Information Technology Center (AITC), IT Operations and Services(ITOPS), Austin, TX. Provide service as a technical consultant for a major AITC and Veterans Administration (VA) performing Information Technology (IT) project process integration, risk management, and functional program coordination. Compose daily, weekly, and monthly reports. Serve as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) for ESD Process Integration application ticketing tool CA Service Desk Manager (SDM) v. 12.6/7, Knowledge Documentation (KDs), SharePoint.  Compose technical and ad hoc reports: including researching, planning, and implementing new areas of interconnectivity, interoperability, or system integration to remain compliant with federally mandated requirements and to mitigate operational risk. Recommend and implement solutions, corrections, devise alternate plans of action to minimize tractable risk. Develop or participate in the development of recommendations for acquisition of software/hardware packages to support improvement of new applications or existing services for the VA Enterprise Service Desk (ESD). Hold Public Trust Security Clearance.

 ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Program integration projects include but are not limited to migration to upgraded systems, installation and implementation of Information Technology applications. Risk management duties include mitigation planning for system utility outages, or other hardware or software issues with wide area network impact. Lead project meetings in operational coordination of the work of others. Analyze complex work functions and work processes and develop correction action plans. Diagnose and resolve difficult problems, especially those that cannot be resolved by junior staff, sometimes in critical or emergency situations. Recommend and execute solutions, corrections, and devise alternate plans of action to mitigate tractable risk. Document problems and/or solutions for management using a wide range of analytical techniques of work in progress seeking operational weaknesses. Participate in the evaluation, analysis, and formulation of policy and procedure Develop and update program naming standards (taxonomy), capacity management procedures, and resource management standards. Serve as project leader of a team of information technology specialists involving a variety of IT activities Represent division user groups at higher level department meetings from which policy or future direction is formulated and assimilated. Develop criteria for program evaluation and customer application evaluation. Work closely with vendor engineer’s and software analysts where circumstance requires. Conduct training for Information Technology Specialists or other VA elements. Maintain knowledge of current and current trends in technological developments to steer the Austin Information Technology Center (AITC) in the direction of beneficial innovation. Knowledge of modern project management techniques to serve in a technical leadership role in the performance of duties. Possess knowledge of Office of Information & Technology (OI&T), Austin Information Technology Center (AITC), and Veterans Administration goals and directions.

RELATED SKILLS: CA Service Desk Manager v. 12.6 & 7, and VA SharePoint site. MS Office applications: WORD, Excel, PowerPoint, and Skype.


Randstad Technologies for Citigroup                                             

5/2012 to 6/2013

IT Business Analyst

DUTIES: Contractor team member of the Office of Technical Risk Management (OTRM), Enterprise Entitlement Review Simplification (EERS) project to become compliant with Sarbanes-Oxley mandates. Assisted project team tracking and updating budget and project plans Gathered business requirements and translated existing applications to project compliant documents. Identified operational risks to project priorities and proactively resolved or mitigated issues. Created weekly reports Provided analysis of applications and liaised C- level executives to cross functional project team members: Business Application Managers, Citi Security Officers, and Technical Information Security Officers worldwide

ACCOMPLICHMENTS: Successfully engaged world-wide project goals. Developed correction action plans to mitigate operational risk. Analyzed complex work functions and work processes and developed correction action plans. Composed comprehensive documentation for statistical analysis

RELATED SKILLS: MS Office applications: WORD, Excel, PowerPoint, and Visio. Technical reports, procedural instructions, proposals, and informational reports for non-technically oriented personnel.


The Threadbender, Operations Project Manager

7/2011 to 1/2012

W2 consultant

Note: Client has closed the doors to her business and is no longer available for contact

DUTIES: Managed web site reconstruction project, coordinated interaction with contracted vendors, negotiated fees, and process acquisition contracts. Planned and coordinated office hardware and software upgrades. Developed project’s scope, budget and complete level of effort assessments.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Maximized use of available resources and saved customer money by eliminating processes that had no sustainable value. Evaluated the impact of changes to business contract plans Developed plans for executing business programs and managing risk. Restructured accounting systems to allow for more productive use of time and successfully trained staff on the technical aspects of high value shop equipment. Provided Quality Assurance planning and performed process-focused Quality control. Web site reconstruction project resulted in increased customer communication with client’s store. Mentored staff in upgraded applications Restructured inventory control system and saved shop redundant expenses and controlled essential resources. Directed and managed upgrades for customized accounting invoices. Provided leadership to integrate office software inventory control purposes. Accountable for executing cost effective IT projects, integrating quality accounting techniques, as well as streamlining tax account reporting methods. Managed vendors and maximized resources to best serve shop strategic objectives.

RELATED SKILLS: MS Office applications: WORD, Excel, PowerPoint, and Visio. Technical problem solving, vendor relationship management Earned Value Management methodology, leadership skills


Colorado Technical University Online

Full Time Student

6/2010 to 3/2011

Contact: (855) 230-0555

ACADEMIC ACCOMPLISHMENT : Demonstrated outstanding academic skill and expertise in managing remote, virtual college classroom attendance and accomplished two years of upper division courses in ten months: Graduated Magna cum Laude (GPA 3.76) in March of 2011. Earned Baccalaureate of Science in Business Administration in Project Management Relevant course work included: Information Technology, Business Strategy, Project Management, Project Performance and Quality Assurance, Operations Management Principles, and Risk Management. Financial Accounting Concepts and Marketing: cost management for complex budget requirements was demonstrated by mastering Earned Value Methodologies to be able to report To-Complete-Performance indices, Budget Variances by project segments, and Cost Performance Baselines. Completed work for and attained accreditation from the Project Management Institute as a Certified Associate in Project Management. Graduated Magna cum Laude



McKesson Automation, Field Service Engineer

10/2008 to 06/2010

Full time, non-exempt

May contact at (724) 741-8339

DUTIES: Planned, coordinated, installed, configured, and maintained capital equipment hardware and software projects. Managed up to seven team members Interpreted business guidelines and analyzed project risks and the effect to project scope, costs, and budget Reported analysis results daily, weekly, and monthly and advised on how to mitigate trouble circumstance. Directed project teams and coordinated virtual team participation in accomplishing Information Technology initiatives on multiple, simultaneous projects. Instituted techniques to guarantee all installed products were fully integrated to contract detail. Managed vendors work packages and assured work met contracted expectations for quality. Provided customer training and technical support in customer facing roles and remote assistance.  Managed relationships with customers, vendors, and team members available and served as the onsite project manager to assess, characterize, and perform project change management.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Achieved 100% success rate for $25M dollar capital equipment installations, coordination, and execution. Results: high value and very visible projects completed on time and under budget. Planned, directed and trained (as needed) project teams of up to seven disparate members. Problem Solving – identified, isolated, and proactively resolved issues using expert judgment and all proprietary tools available. Successfully designed and executed quality control plans and performed FDA compliant quality control processes. Provided management advisory services and developed statistical inferences from a variety of performance indicators.

RELATED SKILLS: Project management coordination and execution. Applications used were SAP, UNIX, MS/DOS, MS WIN 2000, MS WIN XP, MS SQL Server, Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint), and proprietary software. Used Customer Relationship Management (CRM) techniques to assure senior managers that projects were moving forward on-time and under budget. Remote Capital Equipment Access Expertise to interface with remote equipment to diagnose problems before on-site visits. Quality Assurance planning and Quality Control performance served to verify the plan for quality and the metrics for FDA, clinical, and company compliance.



Colorado Technical University, Colorado Springs, CO 2015-2017

Master of Science in Management, Information Technology and Project Management


Colorado Technical University, Colorado Springs, CO, 2008 – 2011

Bachelor of Science Business Administration in Project Management

Graduated Magna cum Laude, GPA 3.77



United States Navy

Honorably Discharged, Disabled Veteran





Analysis of A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings


Analysis of A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

Mike Herschel

August 13, 2009



Analysis of A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

            One shall have to forgive me for the use of first person with this brief analysis, as I loved this story and cannot help but be fairly gushing in regard. Three readings were needed to determine what exactly is so intriguing about this story that, on the face of it, appeared to be so silly and nonsensical. After all, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ tale about an old man with dirty and broken wings seen falling to earth and then, after a fashion, flying away (Gardener, Lawn, Schakel, & Ridl, 2009) cannot have any basis in the real world, can it?        

            Although never given a name, or assigned intelligible dialogue, the main character is an angel fallen to earth at the very time when a rural family is suffering from three days with a very sick child and constant, torrential rain. The very idea of a winged humanoid evokes the image of angels, and most of the villagers quickly assume that he is an angel. The old man with wings is given refuge in a chicken coop and the family that has taken him begins to collect money for allowing anyone to see their captive celestial being. The local priest decided that the old man bore no stature to measure up to the proud decorum of angels (Gardener, Lawn, Schakel, & Ridl, 2009), so no comparison or adulation was needed. Held captive by Pelayo and Elisenda, he is displayed like a circus animal or sideshow freak: poked, plucked, and prodded, branded with a hot iron, pelted with stones and garbage, and held prisoner for years in a filthy chicken coop exposed to the elements. While the villagers looked at him as a conceited angel who could scarcely behold mortals, the old man would only tolerate the company of the formerly sick little girl who had recovered when the angel first appeared. Other not-quite-so-impressive miracles were seen: a blind man’s sight isn’t restored, but he suddenly grows three new teeth, the leper’s sores aren’t cured, but sunflowers begin growing from them. The other characters, in a comic effort to explain him or to assign some meaning to his sudden appearance, finally just put up with his annoying presence. After years in the chicken coop, the old man’s health seems to be irreversibly poor and is seen to degrade to the point of death, but with the arrival of a new spring, many years later, his wings re-grow and his health improves so much so that when he flies away at the story’s end, the mystery remains (Gardener, Lawn, Schakel, & Ridl, 2009).

            My research of this story led me to critics that could not bear to assign a supernatural visage to the visitor with broken wings and a much disheveled appearance. I can barely tolerate citing one. A review published by new York University in its Literature, Arts, and Medicine Database said (New York University, 1993-2009), called the story an example of magic-realism; to be believed as a new genre that mixes fantasy and reality to the point of blurred comprehension. St. Michael, the Archangel, could weep at such a travesty of ochre-colored journalism. The story’s stages of awe, mistrust, annoyance of supernatural being in their house, villagers making demands upon the angel all lent great satisfaction to my personal understanding that Marquez was not attempting comic metaphor in the least; she held a story of a fallen angel and intended to seriously recount it.

            The theme, to me, was that being a miraculous being was simply not good enough; that people will not recognize a miracle when they see one. If any confusion abounded, it was the character of the spider woman; a child of the circus, whose inclusion in the story confounded me until I realized that the character marked yet another turning point in the tale; whereas a slight distraction was enough to lure the crowd from a bone fide miracle to a contrived performance (Gardener, Lawn, Schakel, & Ridl, 2009): a sad anecdote. The story bears no relevance to personal experiences but caused some re-reading to ensure complete understanding. If I ever encounter an old man, stuck in the mud, with anything that look like feathers on his body, I promise to show a little more respect than Marquez’ villagers did in this story.


Gardener, J. E., Lawn, B., Schakel, P., & Ridl, J. (2009). Literature: A Portable Anthology. New York/Boston: Bedford/St. Martin.

New York University. (1993-2009). Literature Annotations. Retrieved August 4, 2009, from Literature, Arts, and Medicine Database:   action=view&annid=12287

Russell, R. (2008). Complete King Jame sBible. Retrieved August 4, 2009, from Bible History Online:

Business Decision as Moral Quandary

Business Decision as Moral Quandary

Mike Herschel

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Business Decision as Moral Quandary

            In order to provide the reader with a template for decision making, the author will discuss Lawrence Kohlberg’s Six Stages of Moral Development and address a hypothetical business decision making process: a catering company faced with a decision to cancel Health Care Benefits for all or lay off half of the firm’s employees. The questions to be answered are: what should be done and why should one do it.

            Mr. Kohlberg is a moral philosopher with a great deal of study in the moral development of children; his ethical theories are very well documented and sustained by independent review from world-class peer review. The conclusions made are from studies of children and adults as they progressed through consecutive and very definitive stages of moral development: how do we go to understanding Right, Wrong, and ideas of what Justice looks like. The six stages below are three headings: premoral or preconventional stage, conventional morality, and interpersonal conformity.

            The premoral or preconventional stage is marked by actions motivated by the expectation of pain or pleasure and is a behavior borne of an understanding of the immediate consequences of an action being good or bad or of punishment and obedience (Aggelia, unknown). A good employer, as an example, is one that does not bounce paychecks; as the threat of retaliation from legal sources is a heavy threat indeed. The second phase is an understanding of the instrumental exchange one learns when confronted with choices that are understood to relay a reciprocate action (Aggelia, unknown). If ones child ‘eats (their) vegetables’ then they get a reward, yes? If no, then perhaps, it’s off to bed with no dessert. As adults this learning experience can manifest itself as a right action consisting of an instrumental exchange to satisfy the ego and our hypothetical employer may or may not consider staff as value in ratio to their utility.

            The moral conditions that heighten (or degrade) our sense of ability to accept the conventional morality (or the rules and regulations) of one’s peer group is called into play when one can see people associated with doing something, wearing something, or saying something and it is just easier to ‘go along to get along:’ retribution is collective, individual vengeance not allowed, and forgiveness is preferable to revenge (Tigger, unknown). Interpersonal Conformity is also know by punishment metered out is a deterrent and the failure to punish is unfair (Aggelia, unknown).  Our business owner would not have to look very far for the visage of an armed Treasury agent unrelentingly pursuing unpaid taxes to make even the strong of heart quake in fear. For our small business owner, the threat of fines (or taxes) from the federal government would make clear the decision to address the cost of employees health benefits could not be put off. A healthy respect for law and order, at the next stage of development, is a learned responsibility to defend social and institutional authority (Tigger, unknown). We observe and take to heart the responsibility we have to others: ‘paying a debt to society’ or ‘a day’s pay for a day’s work.’ Figures in authority are rarely questioned (Aggelia, unknown). The owner of our business in question would feel the very real pain of letting down his/her employees but still understand the responsibility to their enterprise and one’s personal family and be willing to make tough choices in a hierarchy of reasoned priorities. (Ed. Note: in between stages five and six, is a noteworthy level very well documented and exemplified by the 1960’s hippie sub-culture, whereas deliberate disdain for law and order was seen as arbitrary and relative  (Aggelia, unknown). Children and college students had not yet discovered universal ethical principles and had, instead, adopted hedonistic ideas  (Aggelia, unknown) of ‘if it feels good do it’ and ‘do your own thing’ carried disrespect for authority to new heights; those same hippies have grown up and are running our country now. Please, forgive the digression: it is only a brief side-bar to the theme.)

            At stage five of development, people learn that the moral standards of the previous stage of their life are not held hostage to a firm set of rules but are subject to social contracts and a prior set of rights (Tigger, unknown). Or put another way; moral actions are not incumbent upon a checklist of rules but come from the application of abstract, universal moral principles. By now, young people have become adults and realize that pre-existing and inalienable rights existed before common law and must be protected by society. Retributive penalty is neither cogent nor just, because it does not support the rights and wellbeing of the individual. Right action needs to be clear in terms of general human rights and in terms of principles that have been seriously examined and agreed upon by the whole culture (Aggelia, unknown): e.g. the U.S. Constitution. The moral lesson our business owner would lean upon is this; just because the letter of contract law, employment code, or the IRS says I must absorb the cost of insuring the company as per the new Health Care rules does not mean I cannot mitigate as I need to save my business. Universal ethical principles, at the next level, transcend stage four truisms and act upon universal principles that are based upon the quality of worth of all humans (Tigger, unknown). Meaning, in practice: people are never means to an end, but are ends in themselves because having rights means more than an individual’s liberty. Otherwise this may be spoken to as the Golden Rule prototype (Aggelia, unknown). The small business owner may very well seek to transcend the laws he/she may feel disposed to adhere to, in favor of mitigating the circumstance. For the pedestrian, inherent understanding is; if the government can take them away, one does not really have a right.

            If it were me in the shoes of the hypothetical, small business owner and felt compelled to either let go half of my employees and keep benefits for the remainder or keep everyone but without any health care for any, I would find a way to mitigate. First I would tell everyone the issue and throw light upon the problem. Then query the staff, one by one, to find out if any are double-covered by a spouse or significant other, anyone still living at home or young and healthy enough to be able to take out a far less expensive, high deductible plan, or voluntarily take a benefit cut in exchange for a salary increase. I would seek to change the parameters of the fight to a playing field where I could win without sacrificing the integrity my family counts on from me and still retain the confidence of my employees.


Aggelia. (unknown). Implications for Theology. Retrieved July 26, 2010, from KOHLBERG’S            STAGES OF MORAL DEVELOPMENT:

Tigger. (unknown). Moral Development . Retrieved July 25, 2010, from Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development and Education:

The History of Project Management


The History of Project Management

Mike Herschel

MPM401-1003B-07: Project Management Theory

For Derrick Nelson

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The History of Project Management

A Maximum of Productivity with a Minimum of Participation

          Humans have needed tools since we were all swinging in the trees and scavenging for bananas; it is only the shape of the tools that they use that differentiate us from the Great Apes  (Herschel, 2010). Yet Project Management, as we know it now, began to codify only a few decades ago with an objective of maximum productivity with a minimum of participation. Henry Gannt is considered to be the father of project management – as his planning and organizing methods with the use of bar charts and spreadsheets as a project management tool – and history  recognizes him as the leading predecessor for modern project management practices deployed today.  The Giza Pyramid, the Parthenon, the Coliseum, the Gothic Cathedrals of Europe, the Taj Mahal, and the Transcontinental Railway:  to consider these massive projects without any proper management scheme would be an unjust commentary to journal today for their ancestors. These were not incongruities in history but projects delivered in a methodical way with features similar to today’s projects. Typically, they had a project charter, a business justification, followed a life-cycle of phases, and assimilated all of the Project Management Process Groups (initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing), and addressed all nine PMBOK knowledge areas (Integration, Scope, Time, Cost, Quality, Human Resources, Communications, Risk, and Procurement)  (Allen , unknown). The conception of project management was alive in the womb of our civilization, but its name was coined and structure defined and designed by the modern world (Bista, unknown).

Renaissance Engineer

The Term Project Management

          Those unrelenting builders, the ancient Romans, gave us the genealogy of the words starting with the Latin projectum: meaning, originally, to throw something. And the word project originally meant ‘something that comes before anything else is done. When modern engineers of the 19th century first started bandying these terms about, it was understood to mean a plan of something but did not speak to the act of actually carrying it out. The modernization of the word project changed in the 1950’s when it became understood to incorporate the idea of an objective (Bista, unknown).  The first engineers were military engineers, irrigators, and architects. The same man was usually expected to be an expert at all three kinds of work. This was still the case thousands of years later, during the Renaissance, when Leonardo and Michelangelo were not only all-around professional engineers but stupendous artists too. The ancient monuments cannot fail to incite awe and wonder. The esteem is embodied in the name ‘engineer’ itself.  Originating in the eleventh century from the Latin word ingeniator:  meaning one with ingeniumor – or as we would say now, the ingenious one. The name, used for builders of inspired fortifications or makers of imaginative devices, was closely related to the concept of ingenuity, which was captured in the old meaning of  ‘engine’ until the word was taken over by steam engines and other mechanical devices.  In fact, Leonardo da Vinci bore the official title of Ingegnere Generale: ingenious general. His notebooks reveal that it was the Renaissance engineers who first began to ask systematically what works and why (Bista, unknown).


The Renaissance to the Scientific Revolution to the First Industrial Revolution

          The Renaissance led to the great European Voyages of Exploration of the 15th century. Spanning the oceans and the world with advances delivered by usage of grids/maps, the astrolabe, compass, lateen sail, and improvements in ship building; the projects were very high risk but had a great return on investment and, additionally, acted as reagents for adventures to the far corners of the earth. For example, only one of the five ships returned from Magellan’s fleet, packed with cloves, and this covered the costs of the whole of expedition. Within the last few hundred years there has been tremendous further development in project varieties. This was propelled by the First Scientific Revolution (spawned by the Renaissance) that made universally available significant scientific discoveries and inventions and directly impacted Western society. Developments in Mathematics and Physics had an impact on Project Management also as it moved from a purely non-empirical approach to one based on scientific and mathematical calculation that could reliably predict prospective empirical outcomes. The forces in a structure could now be calculated thereby vastly improving estimates for resource materials. This began the first phase of Modern Engineering that required professional project management to drive it.

The Scientific Revolution led to the First Industrial Revolution and the awesome changes it brought about. The industrial revolution began when the quality of iron was significantly improved and at a lower cost. Inexpensive iron stimulated the evolution of s the steam engine. By 1750 the revolution began to pick up pace as the steam engine started to be  applied to different problems which further propelled advances in mechanical engineering. The obtainability of cast iron made it a logical choice for structures like bridges as it was significantly lighter than a stone bridge that required an enormous arch span. The Iron Bridge project, over the River Severn in Coalbrookdale, demonstrated the challenges faced by projects and also the complications of new materials and technologies. For example, the project estimates were so significantly off for the Iron Bridge Project that it bankrupted Darby, the project builder (Bista, unknown).

The Second Industrial Revolution

The enormous changes in the Western World along with the Second Industrial Revolution needed a far more structured and disciplined approach to business and management. As the scale of objectives changed, projects based on scientific research and principles pushed out forever the now far, outdated models. With this came the nativity of management principles for the business world that bore manifest destiny to become the pillar of project management. With the onset of the 19th century the drop in production costs for materials like concrete and iron was a facilitator for growth in infrastructure projects for conveyance: like canals, bridges, and rails. There came with it a progressive rise in mega projects that were infinitely more complex and required superior planning. For example, the Transcontinental Railroad project, built in half the projected time, needed a supply chain that stretched 18,000 miles. Similarly, the Transatlantic Cable project pressed technologies to the limit in trying to establish an electrical link at depths of 4 miles. These milestones required more sophisticated systems of transportation, storage, manufacturing, assembly, and distribution. Now we required new institutions, establishments, and organizations as well as a multitude of new emerging technological breakthroughs namely: the chemical industry which grew from the manufacture of fertilizers that included the exploitation of fossil fuels.  The revolution also created the internal combustion engine which leads to the birth of the automotive industries. In parallel, the electrical industry develops from the electrical dynamo and motor which lead to an burst of consumer driven electrical devices and telephones. This was the Second Industrial Revolution that led to the mega infrastructure projects of the 20th century that, in turn heralded the creation road networks, hydro dams, electrical and telephone networks (Bista, unknown).


The World Wars, the Cold War to the Digital Age
“The work of the engineers in most departments is not sufficiently routinized to allow process control. The most satisfactory policy appears to be that of employing competent men and then holding them [responsible] for results in terms of the erection schedule, leaving ways and means largely to their individual discretion.”

–        MIT professor Erwin Schell articulated this philosophy, telling students in the 1930’s

The First World War mobilized continents with huge armies and resources into a global conflagration which came to be a protracted state of stalemate. It showed the industrialization of war and leveraged mass production, mass transportation, and mass mobilization. The logistical operation supplying the British Expeditionary Force, by 1918, was the largest the world had ever seen. Between the two world wars, new disciplines were augmented by studies of business management; notably, human relationships and industrial human relations schools of management arose to deal with the practical problems caused by the grinding repetition of tasks.  The Third Industrial Revolution, from 1940 to today, has been dominated by computers both electro-mechanical and electronic, information, and the Internet. It also has seen the institutionalization of management practices into business. This was hastened by the Second World War that brought mega projects: for example, the history of the world was changed by the Colossus computers at Bletchley Park (1943), the Normandy Invasion or D-day (1944), and the Manhattan project (1945). The Cold War mirrored the exhibition of the third industrial revolution and the advances made in the use of information/intelligence in the Second World War. It also saw the manufacturing of a large number of planes, rockets, and complex technology projects by the US Air Force and Navy based on experiments and prototypes in the Second World War. These projects saw the first use and development of both CPM (Critical Path Method) and PERT (Program Evaluation and Review Technique) techniques and charts, and Microsoft Project 2010 (Bista, unknown): giving project managers greater control than has ever been seen. Today has found us automating the process of Project Management: America – what a country!


Allen , P. (unknown). Lessons from the Past that Assist the Projects of Today. Retrieved August 28, 2010, from The History of Project Management:

Bista, B. (unknown). History and Evolution. Retrieved August 28, 2010, from Project Management:

Herschel, M. (2010). Project Management Tools. CTUO, MPM401-1003B-07: Project Management Theory. MPM401-1003B-07.

Social Investing: Trend or True Investment Philosophy, Investors speak out

Social Investing: Trend or True Investment Philosophy, Investors speak out.

Michael Herschel

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Social Investing: Trend or True Investment Philosophy, Investors speak out.

            Before beginning the research for this essay, I was among the disingenuous crowd that would believe that the movement toward socially responsible investment was, indeed, only a trend. Now I know I could not have possibly been more wrong; wanting to put one’s hard-earned money into funds that parallel moral and ethical concerns (, 2008) is not a fad; the phenomena is an extension of a modern civilized and global culture event.

            The owner of a San Antonio wet cleaner’s called Clothesline Cleaners, Derba Mills, promotes itself as a ‘green cleaner’. I asked her why she chose to build a dry cleaning business around a technology that was more expensive to operate than the rest of the industry she competes with. Her answer surprised me. Ms. Mills said that she wanted to correct an imbalance. You see, dry cleaners traditionally use very toxic and dangerous chemistry to effectively clean textiles and she wants to correct past mistakes. She knows other small business owners that have told her that they would set up a store anywhere but next to a dry cleaner: because it was so smelly. So, when Derba started her business, there was no way that she was going to offend people by watching them gasp for air when they entered her plant (D. Mills, personal interview, August 10, 2008).

            I did not have to go far for my second interview. My wife is Diana Ackerman, the Threadbender; a successful vintage wedding gown seamstress. Her work with vintage textiles was an easy choice for her as her she happens to be a third generation tailor. When I asked Diana why ‘being green’ is such an important aspect of her work, she replied that when she does an alteration or modification to a family heirloom, she feels compelled to use the same textiles from the era the gown was first made to transform a wedding gown, veil, or garter to fit a modern bride’s vision but using only the techniques and materials of the era when first made. So, in that way, she does not further harm the planet by using new components with plastic combs, or made-in-China lace (D. L. Ackerman-Herschel, personal interview, August 8, 2008).

            The first concessions to ethical behavior, as relates to this thesis, came from two interviews of small business owners speaking to a moral understanding of their place in society first and their juxtaposition in the world second. Could this possibly be a trend; one that would go away eventually, like the hula-hoop? I don’t think so.

            And I am not the only one either. In 1980, a stockbroker named Amy Domini noticed that some of her clients were not pleased to invest in companies in industries with which they disagreed: like defense contractors and tobacco companies. She heard those investors question if it were possible to follow their investment objectives without contravening their conscience. In the 1980’s, this was a difficult thing to do. But it made sense to Amy to see a new way of ethically investing was emerging. Moral personalities with a social conscience were beginning to demand the investment trades work the way they wished and not the way they had always done business. In 1984 she authored the book Ethical Investing in an effort to understand how this type of socially cognitive strategy could complement each other. It was finally in 1989 that she partnered with Peter Kinder and Steve Lydenburg to compose the Domini 400 Social Index; an index of 400 primarily large-cap U.S. corporations that are selected on a basis of a wide range of social and environmental standards. A year later they introduced the Domini Social Equity Fund to trace the index fund. Domini believes now that social investors use three fundamental tools to achieve their financial objective: application of social and environmental standards, shareholder advocacy, and community investing (Domini Social Investments, 1997-2007). This is not a trend, it’s a movement.

            And the movement has tentacles that reach to public broadcasting giant Fox News and the Bill O’Reilly news program The O’Reilly Factor. According to Human Events essayist W. Thomas Smith Jr., published in an article titled Doing Business with the Devil, he explains perfectly Bill’s position on the matter. According to O’Reilly, “GE has about $50 million on the table in business dealings with Iran. Doing the math, that means $250 million could have been derived since Iran began killing Americans in Iraq about five years ago. (Smith Jr., 2008).” Mr. Smith reports on a statement by GE’s director of financial communications saying that GE is down to two contracts with global oil and gas companies only and that those contracts would be expired at the end of June 2008.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission queried GE in the summer of 2006 and the company duly disclosed that it not only doing business with private firms in Iran but directly with the Iranian government (Smith Jr., 2008). Fast forward to June 12, 2008: in an article published in the Wall Street Journal and reported on by Messrs. Benoit Faucon and Roshanak Taghavi titled Oil Majors Say US Restrictions Delay Iran Project, that the impact of delayed GE equipment – due to American  restrictions on selling technology or equipment – are forcing natural gas companies Anglo-Dutch oil giant Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Spanish-Argentine Repsol YPF to not sign an agreement worth $10 billion dollars with Iran because of the delay in implementing a later phase of the project. Quoting directly Shell Chief Executive Jeroen van der Veer at a May 20 shareholders meeting, “Due to American sanctions, we can’t apply American technology or equipment (and) will need longer for the preparation of the project.”  The ramifications of the delayed investment are said to be significant (Faucon & Taghavi, 2008). GE is not the only company to face socially responsive, moral, and ethical concerns. Responding to trepidation in investments from a New York fireman pension fund, the U.S. firm of Halliburton disclosed $50 million dollars of Iran revenue for 2003. We, as the general public, would have never known if not for the conscience of a group of fireman in New York. So, did all the fuss Bill O’Reilly made for GE have an impact on the corporate mettle of an industry giant? We shall likely never know for certain, but I, for one, would certainly like to think so.

            Should there be any doubt in one’s mind that the reasoning behind and the actuation of well-conceived socially responsible investing is here to stay as a new tool for the global community to snip at the hindquarters of the CEO’s in the ivory towers of commerce, allow me to offer one more piece of information gleaned from the Social Investment Forum of the Advocacy and Public Policy forum of Washington, D.C. This groups’ sole stated purpose is to make communication between its associates easier, provide a stage to coordinate public policy decisions, make research funds available, and allow for “members and colleagues to share information and collaborate on shareholder proposals, social investing and corporate social responsibility issues (Social Investment Forum, 2007).” Among the group’s accomplishments is a 2003 litigation victory that requires registered mutual funds and registered investment advisors to disclose their proxy voting guidelines and the votes actually cast on behalf of their clients. This group conducts seminars, public education campaigns, and seeks to create occasions for socially responsible investing (Social Investment Forum, 2007).

            These are stories and testimonies that have touched me immeasurably. Remarkable and aggressive activists are in the world now and are determined to make a difference in the future we leave our children. These are the type of forward-looking campaigners I can place hope for change into.  This leaves me with only one question; where’s a bold stand of oak when I need one? I need to hug one.

References (2008). social investing. Retrieved August 10, 2008, from



Domini Social Investments. (1997-2007). The Domini Story. Retrieved

            August 10, 2008, from Domini Social Investments:


Ebert, R. L., & Griffin, R. W. (2007). Business Essentials, Sixth Edition.

            Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Faucon, B., & Taghavi, R. (2008, June 12). Oil Majors Say US

            Restrictions Delay Iran Projects. Retrieved from

            Yale Global Online:


Smith Jr., W. T. (2008, June 2). Doing Business with the Devil. Retrieved

            August 10, 2008, from Human Events:


Social Investment Forum. (2007). Advocacy and Public Policy.

            Retrieved August 10, 2008, from Social Investment Forum:


Perfectly Contented and Pleading Child

Perfectly Contented and Pleading Child

Michael Herschel

Task List: LTR215-0903A-05: World Literature

For Gerald J. Honadle

Sunday, September 12, 2010


            Discuss a Literary analysis of Two Kinds by Amy Tan (Tan, 2009). Identify the theme and how the setting, characters, plot development, and symbolism lead to that story’s expansion.

Perfectly Contented and Pleading Child

A literary analysis of Two Kinds by Amy Tan

The short story by Ms. Tan speaks masterfully to the world of the first generation Chinese-American. The theme is developed as personal growth of an unsuspecting nature. As the plot develops, one is lulled to distraction by the consistent juvenile assertions of ‘me, me, me’, ‘so bad, so sad’, ‘gotta be me’ that the reader is conditioned to expect the child to never find personal enlightenment of any kind as the time line in the chronicle advances. Then suddenly, at the very end of the story, the child that was always pleading to be left alone finds that she has become perfectly contented after all (Tan, 2009).

Written in first person, the character development draws the reader almost unconsciously into the Chinatown of San Francisco, California in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. And the piano lessons the recalcitrant, self-loathing young girl is forced to suffer become part of the theme of unexpected self-growth. As a literary device, the use of first person allows a certain personal relationship with the reader to develop. It is at once an art form that can express specific meaning through language by which the observer (reader) can gain understanding and appreciation of the scene created before them (Braiman, 2007). Allowing one into the mind, as it were, of the speaker specifically identifies parts of the setting the author wishes to underscore to create the elements of conflict and surprise at the interaction of other characters. The development of these newly introduced people has special meaning if great care is taken, as Ms. Tan did, in bringing the characters to life in the plot surrounding the piano lessons the young girl certainly had no wish, as a youngster, to tolerate. The conflict that piano lessons created between the young Ms. Tan and her mother were made exasperatingly clear as the rendition of the composition “Pleading Child” was followed by a poor showing at a recital insisted upon by her demanding mother. Through the device of using first person, the broken heart her mother suffered was known only to the reader as one is made aware that the young girl had no caring for the feelings of others.

The young Ms. Tan had little regard for the other characters in the story either. As the plot develops, the characters are introduced into what becomes for the reader, a well-known area of Chinatown – San Francisco style. The deaf piano teacher was a source in the story for the childish misbehavior of cheating the teacher of understanding that his ward was not playing her lessons well. This literary license of first person alleviated the burden for Ms. Tan of inventing characters and story line (Foote, unknown).

Every scene in this story is enhanced by the characters introduced. Because each scene must have a purpose in order to advance the plot (Jansen, 2009). The scene in which the ill-fated recital was written was all the more poignant because the picture it provided introduced characters in the family’s immediate circle of friends and the neighborhood in which they lived that served the story line’s sub-theme of embarrassing Ms. Tan’s mother. The young Amy played so poorly that peers in the audience were heard to say, “That was awful! (Tan, 2009). But the scene created the most important revelation of all, as the devastated young musician understood how her mother internalized the concert.

But my mother’s expression was what devastated me: a quiet, blank look that said she had lost everything. I felt the same way, and it seemed as if everybody were now coming up, like gawkers at the scene of an accident, to see what parts were actually missing.

The coda of the theme is the unexpected realization that the author exists as two sides of the same coin. As an older person, Amy finds herself as a young woman that had not accomplished much with her life but had found solace and détente with her mother with the reintroduced literary device of the piano that had been the source of so much pain for both of them. The manuscript of the infamous “Pleading Child” sheet music had a part of it re-introduced that was long forgotten and more easily played than she could imagine. The counterpart to the composition was called “Perfectly Contented.” And after playing both a few times she realized that they were “two halves of the same song” (Tan, 2009).


Braiman, J. (2007). Literary Devices. Retrieved July 10, 2009, from Literary Devices:             

Foote, T. (unknown). Literary Journalism. Retrieved July 10, 2009, from Literary                         Journalism:

Jansen, J. (2009, April 30). Every Scene Must Have a Purpose. Retrieved July10, 2009,  from http://writing-           

Tan, A. (2009). Two Kinds. Boston – New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s.

Privacy Concerns in the Medical Industry Today

Privacy Concerns in the Medical Industry Today

Michael G. Herschel


For Professor Gary Reinke

September 12, 2010


Elaborate upon privacy issues that concern all American in the new digital age, relevant to one’s personal medical history.

            In keeping with the spirit of the new digital age, America has become crazy for all things electronic. However, the author has found many things about the moral and ethical behavior of the business-as-usual crowd that bear redress. Old-fashioned values and mores have not been supplanted by information instilled at the speed of light, except for those whom have not yet lost a job because of a medical history, been denied medical insurance, or had evidence of a physiological issue thrown across the billboard of the internet.  Of course, the firms that do not have the fear of litigation hovering like a Sword of Damocles over the boardroom, will not get the message until it is too late for them.

            The Healthcare industry has much to worry about when considering compromised patient records. According to a recent article in Biotech Week (Biotech Week, 2008), the industry’s concentration upon medical privacy and compliance has created significant and transparent data leakage.

“Healthcare facilities are complex environments where information is stored and shared in a number of ways that are critical to patient well-being,” said Brian Lapidus, chief operating officer of Kroll Fraud Solutions. “Until healthcare organizations expand their data security measures to address the threat of data compromise as well as privacy and compliance, patients will continue to be at risk.”

Patients alone share all the risk that compromised data can bring to bear upon the disenfranchised victims of medical record fraud.  It is clear; the institutions that bear the responsibility of keeping patient records safe are at great risk of litigation. In the professional journal Legal Eagle Eye Newsletter for the Nursing profession (Vol .15, 2007) A charge nurse’s employment was terminated because of a “….breach of confidentiality, co-workers’ emails, (and) charts.”  The journal noted that it was in violation of the institution’s policies protecting the confidentiality of colleagues email accounts and computer terminals.

            Public health records have become a prominent site upon the radar of the highest office in the land. President George W. Bush signed executive order #13410 mandating the development of interoperability standards. Those standards and issues regarding personal health records are discussed at length by Mike McBride when he stated,  “…. privacy, security and interoperability are the primary issues facing health information exchange, which is the basis for regional health information networks” (The Other Side of EMR, 2007-11).  The author firmly believes personal information should remain sacrosanct in the hands of the ones entrusted with the safekeeping.  Personal medical history would show diabetes treatment for fifteen years, hypertensive care, and other maladies. That information could cost the acquisition of a new job, if an employer had easy access to it. That knowledge is against the law to use as reason for denying employment but, when known, has been used secretly to deny it. This has happened to me, as it was made known by third-party disclosure, and it can happen to you.


  1. Breach of Confidentiality, Journal: Legal Eagle Eye Newsletter for the Nursing Profession, Vol. 15, Issue 11, p 8(1).  (December 1, 2007)
  2. The Other Side of EMR, McBride, Mike, Journal: Health Management Technology, Vol. 28, Issue 11, p. 6(0) (November, 2007)
  3. Kroll Fraud Solutions; Gaps in Hospital Security Policies Put Patient Data at Risk, According to New Report, Biotech Week via  (April 24, 2008)

Social Security: Point and Counterpoint


Social Security: Point and Counterpoint

Mike Herschel

Monday, September 14, 2009


Social Security: Point and Counterpoint

            Before the 1930’s, with the notable exception of President Abraham Lincoln’s Veterans pension plan, support for the old and infirm was a matter for the states, and one’s family, rather than a government entitlement (Historian’s Office, 2001). The Great Depression heralded reinforcement for old-age insurance legislation and President Franklin D. Roosevelt crafted a letter to Congress asking for ‘social security’ legislation. The resultant Senate and House bills came up against opposition from those who saw it as a governmental invasion of the private sector and from those in favor of such a law but sought exemption from payroll taxes for employers. The Social Security Act was signed into law in August of that year and established an entitlement for old-age benefits for, not only workers, victims of industrial accidents, established unemployment insurance, aid for dependent mothers and children, the blind, and the physically handicapped (Our Documents, 2005). The task of this brief essay, from an economic point of view, is to underscore the points of contention with the entitlement that is near insolvency and award the deserved accolade of noble intention to the legacy of humanity and kindness at its best.


Give me your tired, your poor, 

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

–       Emma Lazarus

            On Ellis Island in New Jersey, stands the national monument of the Statue of Liberty that bears upon the pedestal of its base, the timeless poem crafted by Emma Lazarus named The New Colossus (Liberty State Park, unknown). The Promise and the Prize of liberty in the New World of the United States was pointedly different from the exhaustive trouble of forging a living within its boundaries. No welfare, no education benefits, no unions, no unemployment or medical aid: not a good time in our history to be old and infirm and no models to aid the remedy. One hundred and sixty-one years after our nation was first founded, in 1935 the Social Security Act was born, to provide insurance for the blind, disabled, un-wed mothers, and the aged. We shall see that, economically speaking, it is in our great interest to help provide such insurance.

             Being the most successful anti-poverty program to date, Social Security has raised 11 million seniors from poverty. Without the social insurance, the poverty rate for women would be more than 50% – it is at 12% now. Nearly two-thirds of women over 65 receive 90 % of their income from Social Security (Waters, 2005). Without question, the impact for America would be overwhelming economic chaos for families of the elderly. Having said that, and knowing that the benefits of a retirement age insurance are not a vested right and not transferrable, the point of this essay is to gauge the economic impact of the entitlement allowed (Divorcedex, 2009). See chart below.


             The dollar amounts stated are, and never have been, meant to be a substitute for a retirement plan. A woman, under certain conditions, can receive spousal benefits based upon the work history of her spouse, but because it is not an annuity but a social insurance contract between generations, an altruistic effect that is fair, compassionate, and rational is very important; it is exactly that which is difficult to put a qualitative value on (Divorcedex, 2009). Without reform, the cost to multi-generational familial bonds would be a dwindling supply of future caregivers and replaced with government aid with the accompanying diminished family centered care. Re-framing the structure of family is a notorious, contentious debate, but to not resolve the conflicts is to fail the very people who have made our existence possible. Small reformation steps have been suggested and bear merit for consideration. Medicare and Medicaid vouchers could be provided to families to give expanded choices for in-home assistance, adult daycare, foster care, or small group homes. Tax exemptions to persons – family or friends – for informal care giving to the elderly and infirm could be granted to encourage more home-like care. And for old folks actually living with children or friends, special tax breaks; like the Republican Party’s 1999 tax plan, extra personal exemptions to households providing long-term care (Carlson, 2002) would be a very good start. Sadly, partisan politics has prevented any meaningful reform for two generations now.



               There exists a widespread misconception that Social Security tax money, taken from every American’s paycheck, can somehow be isolated in a lock box and then used to pay off government obligation (Biggs, The Promise of Privatization, 2001). Hundreds of billions of dollars a year have been robbed in this manner since the early 1950’s and is the single largest reason why the Social Security insurance program will be insolvent by 2017. The alleged lock box – ridiculously valued at 2.3 trillion dollars – contains nothing but government securities. In a decade or so from now, when the millions of baby boomers reach retirement age, Social Security will begin to take in less revenue than what it must pay out. What is wrong with holding U.S. Treasury backed bonds, you may ask, when treasury securities are part of many retirement accounts? The bonds in the government trust fund have no real financial value because the Social Security Administration is also part of the government that is holding the IOU’s from yet another part of the government: the U.S. Treasury (Sloan, 2008).As an example, suppose you had money in a savings account meant to budget toward your AMEX bill. But, instead of keeping it there, you put it into your checking account and spent it on something else. To remember the transfer of dollars, you write an IOU to your savings account, (Levy, unknown) but, when the next month arrives, the IOU in your savings account has no real value and American Express agents would not think so either. In political government-speak, lower debt means future reduced interest. The alleged lock box fund receives interest-bearing government bonds when its surplus is robbed to retire other government securities. Since there is no net change in the amount owed, there is no change in interest obligation. Past Social security surpluses have been spent, not utilized for debt retirement and, knowing that the baby boomer generation is waiting to retire, future surpluses will disappear (Levy, unknown) should make us all uneasy.

               The obvious solutions to the impending crisis are steeply increased taxes and/or decreased benefits. No politician is willing to even engage the conversation. Instead opponents of privatization put forward the idea of a trust fund with imaginary assets and then deride and demonize anyone that dares expose the myth. The Government Accounting Office (GAO) considered congressional studies that would have allowed workers to invest a small part of their payroll taxes into personal accounts. The plans premise was to use 1.8 percent of the total 12.4 percent used for Social Security disability program and invest the remainder in accounts that can be managed by the consumer. But because the Social Security was based on the same formula as the retirement benefit, that money would not count toward the disability benefit and the GAO deemed the plan to bear results of less than what the full faith and confidence of the United States is already promising to retirees (Biggs, The Promise of Privatization, 2001). Bipartisan plans would repair that error easily and revealed that disabled workers would receive substantially greater benefits than the current system allows. But, shamefully, no such plan has come forth from the ones elected to watch out for us. Two examples, however, will reinforce the arguments. In 1981 the city of Galveston, Texas opted out of Social Security; allowing the city workers to receive retirement and disability benefits through personal accounts. Among older, low income workers, Galveston’s disability benefits averaged 50 to 100 percent higher than Social Security. The next example goes to the Chilean government which has completely privatized Social Security. In a 1996 study, it was seeing benefits averaging 75 percent greater than the prior publicly funded administration. Their system offers benefits for partial disability that helps disadvantaged people remain in the workforce! The U.S. system allows for no such contingency (Biggs, The Promise of Privatization, 2001). Destitute people aside, a very disturbing report from the Tribune News Service, posted June 30, 2008 in the AARP Bulletin Today, alarmingly states that the Social Security Administration is paying millions of dollars in benefits to dead Americans and says that other old people are at risk of losing life saving funds because they are being incorrectly recorded as being deceased. Federal investigators, last year in California, found 140 Social Security recipients on record as dead when they were very much still alive. Representative Jim Costa (D-Calif.) offered a ‘clerical error’ as an excuse for the devastating reporting. The report notes that other congressional offices have periodically faced the identical issue. Other individuals told investigators that they needed proof for the local SSA offices that they were, in fact, alive before their benefits could restart! In April of 2009, 6,733 Social Security beneficiaries whose master files had them classified as dead (someone, certainly alive) had been cashing the Social Security checks until 2009. From this small sample, investigators conservatively extrapolated that ~$40 million had been wrongly paid out (Doyle, 2009).


               The assessment now can be seen as a system that was crafted for all the right reasons, but, without variation, is influencing people to maximize its utility by irrationally rewarding families who turn over their elderly members to public care and penalize, through taxation, those families providing informal care. The great benefit that the Social Security system has given to us in the past has given way to political pilfering of the cash in the ‘lock box’ of federal trust; so much so that the entire entitlement is in danger of insolvency.  Moral considerations notwithstanding, the unsustainable economic impact upon our nation will not long endure without non-partisan political agreement that we have a good model for social security but the one we have now is in dire need of reformation.



Biggs, A. G. (2001, March 9). The Promise of Privatization. Retrieved September 9, 2009, from National Review  Online, P. A. (2002, November 22).

Rebinding the Generations. Retrieved September  14, 2009, from The Howard Center:

Divorcedex. (2009). Social Security Benefits: Application in Divorce. Retrieved September 13, 2009, from Divorcedex:

Doyle, M. (2009, June 3-). Social security audit finds dead people getting checks. Retrieved September 11, 2009, from AARP Bulletin Today:

Historian’s Office. (2001, February). Social Security Online: History. Retrieved September 8, 2009, from      

Levy, R. A. (unknown). The Lock Box and Other Delusions.Retrieved September 9, 2009, from

Liberty State Park. (unknown). The New Colossus. Retrieved September 12, 2009, from Statue of Liberty National Monument from

Our Documents. (2005). Social Security Act(1935). Retrieved September 8, 2009, from Our Documents: http://

Sloan, A. (2008, march 19). Social Security’s running out of time. Retrieved September  9, 2009, from Fortune Magazine:

Waters, M. C. (2005, February 4). Social Security: Politics and Economy. Retrieved September 12, 2009, from  NOW