Now I don't get across the pond for work travel as often as I'd like, but when I do I am amazed at how the rubber industry, while global in nature, truly is a small-knit community in many respects. But there are still some differences between the U.S. and Europe, as I found out on my recent trip to the Tire Technology Expo in Hanover, Germany.
So here are some of my observations from the journey, my first to Europe in about a half-dozen years.
First of all, where you are going from and to factors largely in how smooth—and long—your trip may be.
I was flying out of Cleveland and to Hanover, neither of which are major airport hubs. That meant it would take three legs to get there, with stops at JFK Airport in New York and Heathrow in London on each end of the trip.
I knew, though, the trip would be a good one overall when at the Heathrow Airport waiting for the flight to Hanover, I heard a person from behind ask, "Are you Bruce?" For a second, it kind of threw me for a loop, but the voice was a most recognizable one. It was Patrick Raleigh, editor of sister publication European Rubber Journal.
I knew the voice from being on many Monday morning conference calls with the managers of the Global Polymer Group of publications within Crain Communications Inc., our parent company. But until this show, while we had worked together on a number of projects over the years, we had never actually met.
The group of us from Crain all were staying at the same hotel, a Best Western located right across the highway from the sprawling complex that included the halls that would house the Tire Technology Expo. Now I knew that European hotel rooms can run a bit on the small size, but in trying to save the company some money by opting for the "Economy Room," I really didn't realize how much of a difference there could be.