Earth Day

Today as we commemorate Earth Day, I am reminded of some of the functions and activities I have participated in throughout my life. During that participation I was amazed by the generosity of others either through their giving of time, money, or their talents to help make those events have even greater impact.


In my college years at Marist, the school always had a number of activities going on through the course of the day. I learned a great deal about the environmental issues effecting the Hudson River and the surrounding Hudson Valley communities. I participated in a variety of activities to volunteer my time with different environmental organizations in the area.


The pollution in certain areas of the Hudson River as a result of a variety of commercial and industrial activities going on there was an area of great concern to me. I assume that interest could have been driven from my time growing up on the New Jersey Shore and seeing the effects of water pollution first-hand. The pollution and garbage on beaches and in parks along the coast also bothered me a great deal growing up and still does today. I have offered my time in beach clean-ups with local organizations and I know my neighbors have done the same.


It is that spirit that I came to have a great affinity for with regard to Earth Day: it is a grassroots movement that organizes itself every year on the local level. It is the collection of many people doing many small things which collectively have a large impact on our environment and how we come to perceive our environment as part of our community.


Earth Day 2015 has been marked by a few key news stories from President Obama’s visit in the Florida Everglades to speak about the fragility of the ecosystem and climate change, to the man in Brooklyn who planned to swim the Gowanus Canal, to Google having a contest “what type of animal are you?” based on a short quiz. In addition the Gallup poll numbers regarding climate change were released today, which continues to be a highly divisive issue in the American national discourse.


The President urged greater awareness of the impact of carbon emissions on the environment. The EPA and several doctors warned the man in New York not to swim the Gowanus Canal which is contaminated by 200 years of industrial waste. In fact, I did a whole series on the EPA Superfund that included the planned cleanup of that Canal which was published in January 2014 (see this link: and can attest that swimming in that water is not medically advisable. However, the man, Christopher Swain, is trying to prove a point that people should not have to live near such a horribly polluted body of water.


In addition, for those of you who are wondering, yes I did take the Google quiz for Earth Day and found out that I am a Pangolin, known to be a practical sort who can fend off predators, well I am from New Jersey so I think I can definitely fend for myself.


In all seriousness, Earth Day is a reminder that we have been given the responsibility to be stewards of the natural resources provided to us by God. The issues of deforestation, erosion, drought, and pollution are rampant throughout the world. We need to work together to determine effective strategies to solve these complex problems and safeguard our natural resources and our ecosystem for the generations to follow.



Defining Moments

Over the past few weeks I have watched several episodes of a series on MSG Network called “The Garden’s Defining Moments” which focuses on the back story to some of the most iconic events in the history of Madison Square Garden in New York City. The series has featured the visit of Pope John Paul II, now Saint John Paul The Great from the perspective of both the attendees and the event organizers as well as Garden employees.


The series has also included classic sports moments such as Larry Johnson’s unforgettable four point play for the New York Knicks, the incredible hockey playoff series between the New York Rangers and the New Jersey Devils, and the unbelievable college basketball game between Syracuse and the University of Connecticut which needed six overtime periods to be decided.


I viewed this series as a trip down “memory lane” in my own life, though I was too young to remember the visit by the Pope back in 1979, I found that episode in the series particularly poignant and inspiring. This episode took on increasing significance when you consider that last week we remembered Saint John Paul II because it has been 10 years since he passed away. This holy man was beloved throughout the world but particularly in America, which was demonstrated by the reception he received in the Garden in an event geared toward the youth, which essentially served as the precursor to what would become World Youth Day in the Roman Catholic Church.


Four Points


Another episode in this series on Madison Square Garden’s history focused on the improbable and stunning four-point play converted by New York Knicks forward, Larry Johnson, during a playoff game in the 1999 push by the team to the Eastern Conference Championship. This episode coupled with the before-mentioned Devils vs. Rangers playoff series were the two episodes that evoked the strongest memories for me.


It was Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals with the Knicks and the Indiana Pacers in a series tied 1-1 setting the stage for a pivotal third game at the Garden. The Knicks would be without Patrick Ewing who sustained an injury at the end of the previous game, so the team needed Johnson to have a big game to replace the scoring they were going to lose with Ewing on the bench.


I watched that game, as I did so many other big Knicks games, with my mother. My mother enjoyed watching the games with me, especially basketball, and like all other things she did, she made it feel like a special event. She made sure to prepare dinner early so that everything was wrapped up and the kitchen was cleaned up by the time the game began. The playoff games helped because they generally started a little later in the evening.


I remember that series well, and being a Knicks fan, I was always preparing for the worst possible scenario. I recall thinking that the Knicks were in trouble without Ewing, the Pacers were a tough team, but I remember my Mom being optimistic that they would win because, as she explained: “it was at the Garden”. My mother made a bunch of different “game day” type snacks, and of course she had a nice dessert made too.


The game was dramatic, close, and the Garden crowd was raucous throughout the action. The Knicks and Pacers were like two heavyweight boxers exchanging blows, going toe-to-toe in the center of the ring, each team matching the other: basket for basket, dunk for dunk, and rebound for rebound. The Knicks kept the score close with Indiana largely due to the ability of each player utilizing their strengths and through a standout offensive performance by Larry Johnson.


In the closing moments of the game, the Knicks trailed by three points and the prospects of victory seemed bleak. Larry Johnson attempted a three point shot which he made successfully and a foul was called on the shot attempt giving him a trip to the foul line for one shot. The three point field goal tied the game at 91 and Johnson stepped to the foul line and time seemed to stop too. Johnson knocked down the free throw to give the Knicks an improbable 92-91 lead which would end up being the final score.


The roar of the crowd after that four point play was palpable even while watching it at home on television. My mother and I were elated that the Knicks were able to come from behind and win a pivotal playoff game without their best player and in front of their devoted fans. Of course, my mother also had to basically say “I told you so” and joked that I should have known also that the Knicks would get the much needed win.


The Road Ahead


New York would go on to win the series with Indiana in six games to advance to the NBA Finals to play the San Antonio Spurs, the top seeded team in the Western Conference. The Knicks would lose the series to San Antonio in five games, including losing twice on their home court and by one point in the deciding game 78-77. The Spurs have gone on to win multiple NBA titles since that series, while the Knicks have largely struggled for the better part of the past fifteen seasons.


It was a “defining moment” for MSG, the Larry Johnson four point play, but it also was a defining moment in my own journey. A month after that Game 3 victory in June 1999, my mother would be diagnosed with cancer. The four long years of fighting the disease took us to Philadelphia, where she received treatments. That was during the Allen Iverson days of the 76ers in Philly when they made their own run to the NBA Finals. My Mom and I would watch those games together when we were staying in Philly, and we would debate whether the Knicks teams from the mid-90s could have beaten that Sixers team.


My mother would pass away four years after her diagnosis. Now, when I watch Carmelo Anthony drop 45 points on an opponent I will say to my wife, “Mom would have liked that game” to which my wife will reply, “She did, she saw it with you”. The seasons move on and life moves on, but the memories remain.


The MSG series “Defining Moments” was really enjoyable and well produced. It took me on a trip back through time, into some defining moments in my own life, not only regarding sports, but in bringing me back to some events in my life that I had forgotten about in the busy nature of recent years.


I am grateful for that introspection, for eliciting the memories of nights watching playoff basketball with my Mom, and of times we shared together when life was different than it is today. The NBA regular season ended last night, and while the Knicks failed to make the playoffs, I will be watching the playoff games, and as my wife will remind me, my Mom will be right there watching them with me.











Strong Bucks: The Strength of the US Dollar & The Impact on Small Businesses

The financial news outlets have run a variety of pieces on the growing strength of the U.S. dollar as compared to other foreign currency such as the Euro or the Japanese Yen, but this development is already exerting a negative impact on the small business community.


The stronger dollar means that the importation of American products is more expensive. This translates to “Made in the USA” products being less capable of competing with products made in China, Europe, and other emerging markets. The result has been a domino type of effect where the distributors of US made products located overseas are either placing smaller orders or seeking some type of price reduction to be able to move the inventory.


This scenario places the American small and medium sized business in an unenviable position of having to shave profit margin points in order to remain competitive in overseas markets. The reduction in profit margin often means that they have less money to reinvest into their business to either develop new products or new methods to produce goods as well as having less money to hire additional workers.


Weak Forecast


The news of the strengthening of the US dollar comes against the backdrop of a weak jobs report for the month of March. This forecast will look especially bleak when you consider that the majority of new jobs are created by small businesses, and they are dealing with a negative outlook on their respective profitability due to the stronger currency performance of the dollar.

I compare this situation to a negative feedback loop because it is all tied together and the consequences are serious for the small business community and the future of American manufacturing. I have read accounts of small business owners who remain committed to making their products in the USA, but they acknowledge that the currency outlook will force them to innovate and work with smaller head counts.


The labor outlook continues to be troubling not only for Wall Street but the Federal Reserve as well. The forecast for growth of better paying jobs as well as overall wage growth is an area of increased interest by the Fed in recent months. The majority of the American work force has not seen wages increase much, if at all, in recent years. The improvement in the economy was supposed to change that trend, but it has not.


The American economy went through several months of adding jobs in traditionally lower pay sectors such as retail and hospitality services. The real indication of an economy that is turning the corner is the addition of higher wage paying positions in a variety of other sectors, which would have a direct correlation to wage growth, but these metrics have been slow to develop.


Clogging the Engine


The American small business is the engine which gets the rest of the job market moving again, and I fear that the strengthening of the US dollar in the currency markets will have a negative effect on their profitability. This will directly impact their ability to hire more workers, which will have a widespread effect on the American labor participation rate.


The strong US dollar might be great for tourism because Americans can go and get significantly more value for their money in their European trips this spring and summer, but this will be offset by the ability of American small and medium sized businesses maintaining profitability. The economic realities of that change will have profound impact on the domestic economy through the rest of 2015.


(Some background information courtesy of and CBS

Best Practices in Project Management

A small business, like any other business, needs to efficiently manage the projects they are working on for their respective customer base. Please allow me to preface this article by stating that the type of project management I will be focusing upon in this article is not Information Technology (I.T.) based project management.



This article will focus on marketing and business development project management, and I will draw upon my over 14 years of professional experience in these two areas to share the best practices I have utilized in my career.



The key to effectively managing projects which develop business for your company is the ability to be nimble and flexible. The fast-paced business world changes rapidly, and your small business has to be able to adjust and adapt to this changing landscape in order to survive.



The first step – Project Entry



Every company whether it is large, medium, or a small business; each one has a system for managing their work. The entry of a project into this system is a critical first step in this process. In order to be efficient in turning out projects the entry process must be:

  1. Concise – the project synopsis must be short yet detailed and precise
  2. Action oriented – the project must clearly relate the action(s) needed
  3. Past work – the project should always reference related previous work in order to help efficiency and save precious work hours to maximize sales



In my experience, I always used the project synopsis to provide my colleagues with the most critical information. It was written as directly and clearly as possible to eliminate potential misunderstandings or ambiguity. My projects were very action oriented and clearly demonstrated the action needed and by which individuals where needed to bring the project to a successful closure.



I also made it a habit to reference past projects and past work done either for that same customer, or for a related business objective. I would refer to the prior project number and the outcome of the project to assist my colleagues in providing a baseline for their work.



Workflow Organization



I found in my experience, the best way to organize your workflow on the projects within the system was via Excel. I would set up Excel spreadsheets for pending projects, new projects, and closed projects (usually backed up 4-6 weeks) and would track the status of each project by updating the Excel sheets with new information.



Then, at points where I was juggling several projects all within tight deadlines, I would print hard copies of the projects and the Excel sheets. I would separate them in piles in the categories I listed above, and file new information by attaching it to each project. I found that this method helped me to see the whole picture more clearly by having hard copies in front of me. It has to work for you and your respective business, but this method usually helped me to not miss an important detail or deadline.



This topic encompasses so much information that I created a second part to this article. In the second part of this series on Project Management, I will share my experience with a priority system, and also provide ideas for tracking projects that require the involvement of several different members of your company.




Priority System – Why your business should have one

In several businesses which I have worked with in the past, a priority system was implemented to help with managing projects for business development. Some companies divided and categorized their customers as: “A”, “B”, or “C” with type “A” customers being the top priority for incoming projects. Other companies used a number system to rank their customers: 1,2,3,4. Obviously, group 1 would be the top priority customer category, and group 4 would be a low priority customer or low priority business opportunity.


In this system, when a project is entered, the priority for attention would go from the top accounts down to the “type B” or “type C” accounts. This enables a division of labor and resources which is clear to all those involved in your company to manage the projects in the system effectively.


In my experience, I had several points where I was managing projects for several top tier customer accounts, or “Type A” accounts and each project had a deadline in the same two or three day window. Those types of days are stressful and hectic, but in order to cut through the potential chaos, the priority system can still work.


In the case of having several top priority projects due all at once, then you must come together as a team and discuss the projects. The account manager, the project manager, the head of marketing and any other key personnel need to meet to weigh the business opportunity versus the cost of the project to your company. This is like a “sub level” to the priority system that will help to address multiple projects with tight deadlines. This type of team communication and communication with your customers can really help in those difficult days of growing pains for your small business.


The Weekly Report – simple yet effective


I have worked with a few different companies that did not have a weekly report as part of their project management function; until I arrived there and made the suggestion to implement one.

The weekly report for project management is a simple function yet a very effective component to your business operation. In setting one up, I would use a template and send the report out on Friday every week via email to all the key personnel appropriate within a given organization.

The report detailed all the projects which were scheduled to be due for completion during the following week. It listed: the project name, project number, the customer account name, the due date, current status, and action needed.

This report allowed all the key personnel, and myself to see the work we had ahead of us for the upcoming week, and allowed for any feedback or objections to be made known ahead of the project due date.

It is a simple function to implement into your business and I worked for two companies that found this report so helpful to their project management, that they implemented it across the board for their respective businesses.


Summing Up

In summary, the role of project management for your incoming business opportunities is very important to the health of your company. This article listed only some of the suggested ways you could improve project management within your business.


A small business with limited manpower will need to place an emphasis on project management best practices in order to efficiently respond to business opportunities. These tips will help to streamline your activity and help your business save time and money from wasting resources in an undefined project management environment.





Song Lyrics By Frank J. Maduri

In the past here at Frank’s Forum I have shared selections of my poetry which is, for the most part, lyrical in nature. Many people I know and trust have been suggesting for years that I take this poetic talent and write lyrics for songs. I have no musical ability myself but I did some research and it turns out the lyrical poetry is very similar in nature and process to writing lyrics for a song.


In early March I began to write lyrics and I have a growing collection of them which I have pitched to both musicians and music publishers for use in a collaborative project this spring. The process so far has yielded three song lyrics which have been copyrighted through the U.S. Copyright Office.


I am going to share those lyrics with you all today again with the disclaimer that this material is copyright protected through the U.S. government and will be in the process of being recorded in the near future.


There is no copying or redistribution of this material without my express written consent. The penalty for doing so is severe.


I hope you all enjoy the lyrics to these songs and that it will prove to be an inspiration to you with the Easter holiday coming up this Sunday.



“Send Me”

By Frank J. Maduri


Lord when You need a sentinel in Your army

When You cast Your Heavenly eyes down

Here I am Lord, I ask You to send me


When You need a disciple to be your hands and feet

And You feel Lord You need someone to hear Your plea

To go forth and spread The Word to sinners, to greet

Here I am Lord, I beg You to send me


To send me to feed Your hungry

For patience Lord to help me see –

Your plans for my life each day

I beg forgiveness Lord for when I went astray


Lord when You need a sentinel in Your army

When You cast Your Heavenly eyes down

Here I am Lord, I ask You to send me


When You need someone to visit prisoners in captivity

I ask You Lord to please send me

To send me with courage and the Holy Spirit

So I can give the downtrodden Your Good News

So the One True Way they will choose


Lord when You need one to help the sick and lonely

Here I am Lord, I ask You to send me

To send me with Your healing love

To send me with Your compassion from above


Lord when You need a sentinel in Your army

When You cast Your Heavenly eyes down

Here I am Lord, I ask You to send me


Lord, when You need someone to aid the poor

To bring them clothes and love they lacked before

To provide them with a sense of dignity

Lord, for all of this, I ask You to send me


Send me Your mercy Lord for my human frailty

Send me Your forgiveness and Your pity

For all the times I have failed in sin

I’m ready to live for You, ready to begin


Lord, when You need a sentinel in Your army

When You cast Your Heavenly eyes down

Here I am Lord, I ask You to send me


When You need one to find shelter

For those of Your children who have none

Send me Lord so I can make it occur

And we will give praise to the Glory of Your Son


When You need someone in the world to come

When my time here is done, Lord send me

I hope I am worthy to live with You in Eternity

I will pay any ransom, I will meet any sum


Lord, when You need a sentinel in Your army

When You cast Your Heavenly eyes down

Here I am Lord, I ask You to send me


Alleluia Lord I ask You to send me

I will be Your hands and feet

Alleluia Lord, I ask You to send me

I will be Your trusted disciple

Alleluia Lord I ask You to send me

To build the glory of Your Kingdom

Alleluia Lord I ask You to send me


Copyright – Frank J. Maduri – 2015 all rights reserved





By Frank J. Maduri


We have all been justified

Saints and sinners, the pious and heathen

When Jesus was crucified

We live forever, free of sin


We are justified by His Blood

Shed for us all, rich or poor

We are justified by His Blood

To go forth and sin no more


We all struggle in the dark and grim

We all lose our way, stumble and fall

Our Savior is the Light, turn to Him

His mercy boundless, He will forgive it all


We are justified by His Blood

Shed for us all, rich or poor

We are justified by His Blood

To go forth and sin no more


We are all called to listen to His voice

The noise of society, it’s hard to hear

He loved us so much He gave us the choice

Be still and at peace, His voice will be clear

He has rolled back the stone

He lives beyond mortal skin and bone

Our Savior redeems all of His children

We can return no matter what, no matter when


We are justified by His Blood

Shed for us all, rich or poor

We are justified by His Blood

To go forth and sin no more


When the world looks chaotic and bleak

When it doesn’t look like it’ll turn around

When we feel scared, defeated, or weak

Trust in Jesus, your strength will be found


He suffered for us all in the Passion

He will return to save us once again

Jesus died for us all up on Calvary

So a perfect example of love we can be


We are justified by His Blood

Shed for us all, rich or poor

We are justified by His Blood

To go forth and sin no more


Copyright – Frank J. Maduri – 2015 all rights reserved




“His Grace Will Reign”

By Frank J. Maduri


Our Savior came so that we may know love

He left His throne up in Heaven above

He knows how it feels to be hungry or hurt

He knows how it feels to be lonely in a desert

Our Savior came so that we would learn –

The power of faith and all it can do

He spoke in Parables so we could discern –

To find our steps to the Way that’s True


His grace will reign forever and always

His grace will illuminate all of our days

His grace will reign if we let Him in

His grace will reign, and change us from within


Oh Lord You taught us to love one another

Oh Lord You are the Prince of Peace

Oh Lord You said we’re all sister and brother

Oh Lord Your Mercy provides us a new lease


Your grace was formed in Mother Mary’s womb

Your grace was there at Your Baptism in the Jordan

Your grace allowed Lazarus to rise from the tomb

Your grace conquered all evil, death and sin


Our Savior lives bringing new life

Our Savior lives victorious over strife


His grace will reign forever and always

His grace will illuminate all of our days

His grace will reign if we let Him in

His grace will reign, and change us from within


Lord Jesus You are the Good Shepherd

To You, O Lord, we worship in song

Your love guides us when the lines get blurred

To guide us with love to choose right not wrong


Our Savior came so we could know grace

Our Savior died so we could know love

Our Savior came so we could see God’s face

Our Savior has gone ahead building the Kingdom Above


His grace will reign forever and always

His grace will illuminate all of our days

His grace will reign if we let Him in

His grace will reign, and change us from within


Copyright – Frank J. Maduri – 2015 all rights reserved



I will continue to provide updates on my progress with this exciting project of creating an album of songs which I hope will provide others with inspiration, hope and encouragement. I wish you all a blessed and Happy Easter!


Copyright – Frank J. Maduri – 2015 – All rights reserved. No duplication, distribution, or replication without expressed written consent of the author.