November 2007 Newsletter


Happy November! For our US readers Happy Thanksgiving, for Canadians, Happy start of winter, for those in the southern hemisphere – enjoy summer, I’ll be skiing in under a month. Just a quick Newsletter this month, to try to catch up on our lives here. Blogging hasn’t been high on the list of priorities over the past few weeks as we’ve been flat out.

October 2007 Newsletter

Just a quick newsletter this month. It’s been a bit slow around here on the blogging front, but that should pick up over the next week or two. We’ve got some more Engineering content coming up too, I’ve been busy focusing on local issues such as bears and food security over the past month.
We’re pretty busy again this month, after a fun Thanksgiving weekend, we’re now well into the fall weather, with a dusting of snow on many of the peaks surrounding us.

September Newsletter

Welcome to the September edition of the UrbanWorkbench Newsletter.

We’ve been very busy here in Castlegar during the months of July, August and September, plenty of visitors, lots of work, and lots of sunshine. Some exciting camping and touting around the region, with trips to Moyie Lake, BC and Spokane, Washington over a couple of weekends.

July 2007 Newsletter – So Much to Blog About…

So little time….

Well, I’m struggling to get a blog post out a day at the moment, is it the beautiful weather we’ve been experiencing, or the out of control construction season and workload that seems to grow bigger by the day? Or is it that we’ve been enjoying the natural beauty of the Kootenays and lots of outdoor activities?

I’ll let you decide from the following images throughout the newsletter, more news after the jump…

Wild Colours

February 2007 Newsletter

IMG_0720.JPGWell, it’s February already, and here is our UrbanWorkbench Newsletter to kick start the month off. Mike, Robyn and the girls have been pretty busy over the past month, so join us as we look at some of the newsworthy items in our life and around the world. You can also read this newsletter online. You are receiving this (as an email) either because you signed up on UrbanWorkbench.com, or are a friend of Mike and Robyn Thomas. If you no longer wish to receive this monthly email update, there is a form at the bottom of this article to unsubscribe.

Moving to Castlegar

Firstly, we’re settling into life in the small town of Castlegar, BC, Canada, Robyn is keeping pretty busy with the girls and meeting new people. We’ve been skiing a couple of times at Red Mountain and enjoying winter activities like tobogganing at the local hill. We’ve met lots of great people and even got invited to a party on Sunday. Neither Robyn or I knew what sporting event was on, (we don’t have a TV), and Robyn was confused as to why the Grey Cup was in February, which it wasn’t, it was the Super bowl. Anyway, you can tell that life has been too busy to try to keep up with sport or world news.

Mike travelled from Newcastle to Castlegar about two weeks ago, with a 17 hour daytime layover in Honolulu. Mike got to travel around the island of Oahu for the day, enjoying a bit more warmth and sunshine before heading into the depths of winter. Almost as punishment for taking such a leisurely trip, the weather conspired against Mike and many fellow travellers for the flight from Vancouver to Castlegar.

After two flights being cancelled and three beers later, Mike decided to team up with a couple of other travellers and catch the next flight to Kelowna, then get a ride with one of the guys brother in law. Of course the roads were terrible, with the three hundred kilometre journey taking the brother in law about five and a half hours, and we still had to drive back. We made it to my new house at around midnight, only 12 hours after I was intending to fly in, not bad considering the conditions… the Greyhound wouldn’t have made it until seven am the next morning.

December 2006 Newsletter

Well, it’s Christmas, and its time again for the UrbanWorkbench newsletter.

Mike and Robyn have been insanely busy this December with Robyn and the kids flying out to Canada on the 5th and Mike tidying up things in Newcastle. Mike is officially now a refugee, living with friends and out of suitcases, which makes life pretty interesting. Regular writing will cease over the Christmas break due to travel and family commitments, we’ll see you again in the New Year!

So what’s been going on?

Consulting Work

Despite all our busyness, things have been going well, Mike has been busy working as project manager on a couple of high profile jobs and working as an internal consultant on several industrial subdivision designs.

Christmas is an interesting time of year as a consultant, many clients feel that they want things into Council for review before Christmas, under the impression that they are meeting some deadline, generally it means that less review is undertaken as senior staff often take holidays early. One benefit for clients is that the planning review process is underway from the date of lodgment, so things are “happening” while everyone is on holidays, apparently. In Australia, the 40 working days for the authorities to respond still applies too, which puts extra pressure on them.

Mike is officially resigning from the consulting firm in Newcastle in preparation for his move to Castlegar, BC, Canada.  

Read more after the jump…

My Tipping Point

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Part of my holiday reading list has been “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell which gives anecdotal and scientific proofs to many ideas that have been floating through the marketing world since its publication. First published in 2000 the book packs in a number of great ideas that can be used to harness the people who can sell your product best – your customers.

A tipping point is defined as the moment in time, or the event that precipitates greater changes than would otherwise be expected from that event happening in isolation to outside influences. In other words, the book is about, as the subtitle suggests, “How little things can make a big difference”.

For me, I see a number of tipping points in my life, from the events that led to my leaving the army, the day I met my wife, and my introduction to the world of blogging and writing.