Aspens in A Changing Climate & IBM Environmental Leadership

Image Credit:  National Geographic Tree Patterns Wallpaper

Image Credit: National Geographic Tree Wallpaper

“Imagine a world of idyll, where a chorus of wavering lime-green leaves creates an ethereal backdrop to columns of bright white trunks.” – Tyler Williams, American Forests

The aspen is a striking tree with it’s silver white bark and golden fall hues.  It’s also a really interesting tree.  Did you know that one of the largest living organisms on earth is actually a 108-acre stand of aspens in Utah called ‘Pando‘?  Groves of aspen trees commonly develop from a single root system, which means that large groups of aspen trees can essentially be a single living organism growing together as a clone.  The aspen tree is often called the ‘quaking aspen’ because aspen leaves will flutter (or ‘quake’) in the slightest breeze, so they can be a loud tree as well.  Legend has it that the Native Americans knew they were approaching aspen trees long before they saw them because they could hear the rustling leaves.  It’s one of the most adaptable tree species, capable of replenishing itself in as little as 50 years, and is the most widely distributed tree in North America with cousins around the world, into the Far East and Africa.  It belongs to a select group of trees dubbed “circumglobal super species,” which means it is capable of spanning continents in strikingly similar forms.

But what’s in store for this beautiful tree as our climate changes?

Aspens have been in decline for the past half century, in large part due to global warming.  Scientists agree that global warming is caused in large part by greenhouse gases that come from fossil fuels in cars, factories, electricity production, landfills, agriculture, etc. – in other words, the growing effect of human urbanization on the planet.

us__none__sustainability__sustainability_icon_2__170x120Did you know that, for more than 40 years, IBM has been ahead of the curve on environmental issues, and is a recognized environmental leader?

“Protecting the environment is in our DNA,” says Wayne Balta, IBM vice president of Corporate Environmental Affairs and Product Safety. “Even before the issuance of our corporate policy commitment to environmental responsibility in 1971, our commitment to being a good corporate citizen was part of the company’s Basic Beliefs and Principles in the mid-1960s.  As stated in those Principles: we understood well that “we serve our own interests best when we serve the public interest” and “we want to be in the forefront of those companies which are working to make our world a better place.”

Image credit:  World Environment Center

Image credit: World Environment Center

  • Newsweek Votes IBM Greenest Company in America (Newsweek, Oct 2012)
  • The European Union recognized 27 IBM data centers in the EU for their energy efficiency in January 2012 – the largest group of data centers from a single company to receive this award.
  • IBM is the only company to have twice received the Gold Medal for International Corporate Achievement in Sustainable Development in the 28-year history of the World Environment Center’s annual award (in 1990 and 2012).

IBM’s approach to sustainability is twofold:  working to make existing products and processes more efficient, while also developing new innovations that can help the world lessen environmental impact.  As one example of a sustainability project that IBM worked on, check out this video on IBM’s partnership with the city of Dubuque, Iowa to create a replicable model of a sustainable city for communities of 200,000 or less.

Learn more:

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Related:

–By Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager, The Greater IBM Connection

Bharat Light Partners IBM to Boost India Wind Farm Output

IBMSmartPlanet_140x100Draper Fisher Jurvetson-backed Bharat Light & Power Pvt. and International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) are combining efforts to boost the electricity output of wind farms in India, seeking to expand capacity fivefold.

Under a 10-year agreement, IBM’s technology will raise the profitability of Bharat Light projects by better managing wind-farm data, said Balki Iyer, chief development officer of the renewable developer founded by the former country head of General Electric Co. (GE), Tejpreet S. Chopra.

Clean-energy utilities such as Bharat Light and Morgan Stanley-backed Continuum Wind Energy Pte are sparking a shift in India’s wind industry by focusing on maximizing generation as they compete against fossil-fuel plants to deliver power. India, fighting blackouts that restrain its growth, is trying to cut dependence on imported fossil fuels and double clean energy capacity to about 59 gigawatts by 2017.

“These projects are usually located in very remote parts of India and the level of intelligence dispatched from the field is low,” Iyer said today in a phone interview. The collaboration with IBM will allow Bharat Light to generate power at levels “way beyond” what wind farms, often managed by turbine suppliers in India, currently can do, he said.

Read the complete article on bloomberg.com

Posted by Khalid Raza

 

IBM Alumni Kathleen Butler: A #WomenInTech Leader Who Continues to Giveback

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Kathleen Butler, IBM Alum, currently serving on Board of Directors for Alzheimer’s Association and the Christopher and Dana Reeves Foundation

Alum: Kathleen Butler
IBM Tenure: 35.5 Years 

At IBM, Kathleen was a member of the Integration and Value Team. Her last job was Vice President and Enterprise Process Owner for Global Sales and Distribution (S&D). She and her team focused on simplifying and integrating customer, business partner and tele-web facing processes to make it easier to do business with IBM and support revenue and profit initiatives. She held various executive positions throughout her career including sales, technical sales, marketing, process improvements and information technology systems.

Kathleen currently serves on the Connecticut Boards of Directors for the Alzheimer’s Association and the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. In addition to giving back, Kathy enjoys spending time with her family and friends, particularly her nieces and nephews. For recreation she likes to water and snow ski, and play golf. She is finally learning to cook.

                                                                                                                                              

Q&A WITH KATHLEEN BUTLER

How did you become an IBMer:
I always liked math and computers so it was always my goal to work for the IBM. IBM was “it.”

I joined a local branch team in Long Island in 1974 after graduating from The College of Mount Saint Vincent – before there was even such a thing as a computer science degree. I was part of an incoming group of five new employees; four of us were women. We were the first big influx of women at the time. I worked in technical sales – being interested in the technology part of business.

Having been part of an early influx of women at IBM, how did you feel when they announced Ginni Rometty as CEO?
I worked for Ginni for a short time. She was great to work with and I respect her a lot. I was  thrilled when she was named CEO. I look forward to seeing where she takes the business.

What were some of the most influential roles you held at IBM and what did you take from them?
I enjoyed working in technical sales, helping find solutions for a wide range of “intermediate” system clients, managing 10-15 accounts at a time. It takes a great deal of problem solving and I had the opportunity to really understand IBM systems, software and networking. It was extremely valuable to all my future roles at IBM.

A role that I really enjoyed was when I became a Systems Engineer Manager.  It was my first time managing other people and it was fun to interact and learn from them. Many of those I managed were men who were older than me. I had to work hard to gain their respect. I found that putting people first was the best way to do that – paying attention to them, helping them grow, and finding ways for them to advance. It was important to not see things hierarchically and thought of myself as part of the team. It also helped that I had the experience, technically, to hold my ground. I knew what I was doing.

As a leader, I learned a lot from my experience as an Administrative Assistant (now known as an Executive Assistant). I worked very closely with executives to learn from their different leadership styles. I got a view of what they worked on and how they handled many different kinds of issues. Specifically, as an assistant to the General Manager of the General Manager, United States, I learned how you needed to adapt your style to various situations and that you needed to embrace change and take risks. This particular leader was the type who addressed issues head on and focused on taking away barriers. He wasn’t intimidating or loud. He made people feel comfortable so that they could more freely share their ideas.  He helped his team find the solution themselves, trusting their perspective and opinions. I knew this was the kind of leader I wanted to be.

Did you have a mentor and have you mentored others?
One of the greatest things about IBM is the opportunities you have to grow and progress your career.  I had some great mentors myself.  I’m grateful for the path I was able to take and mentored 15-20 IBMers at a time to help them advance their own careers. It is a very important role that I still hold for some women in China and Singapore, who I continue to work with to help show them all the opportunities they have open to them.

What have you been up to since you left IBM?
There’s a joke in retirement: “I don’t know how I ever had time to work.” This feels very true for me. I’ve been very active, particularly with the Alzheimer’s Association and the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.

IBM always instilled a sense of community engagement and giving back. In fact, I helped lead significant year to year increase in the Employee Charitable Contributions Champagne donations for my teams in 2007 and 2008.

After retirement, I joined the Connecticut Alzheimer’s Association Board after working with an IBMer whose husband was diagnosed and passed away from early on-set Alzheimer’s at 58. She faced so many challenges in her personal life but never let it show.. I wanted to help others who faced similar challenges and provide assistance to others like her.

Butler sister team Reeve CT

Kathleen Butler and her sisters at a Christopher and Dana reeve “roll-a-thon.”

I have a very personal connection to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. In 2003, while I was still with IBM, I suffered a spinal cord injury that left me temporarily paralyzed. But I was one of the lucky ones who got most of my function back.. I know that not everyone has that chance and I want to support those who face similar challenges.

I helped start the local Board for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation in Connecticut in 2010. We’ve held successful events, such as “roll-a-thons” for able bodied people to experience what it is like in a wheelchair. We’ve raised more than $100,000 this way. I was also able to help a former IBM colleague who had a traumatic injury by connecting her to the Foundation and mentoring her through some recovery. I am still in contact with her today.

IBMers have terrific skills.  If they have not done so already, I would encourage every IBM alum to consider putting their skills to work at a local nonprofit that they are passionate about. Most of the retired IBMers I know are doing that.

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The College of Mount Saint Vincent honored Kathleen Butler, Class of 1974 with the Ad Laudem Dei awards October 24 2013 for her outstanding professional achievements and contributions to the community.

If you could share advice with a new IBMer, what would it be?
My advice would be:

1)  Always put the client first, then IBM, then your Function
2)  You are only as good as your people; so develop your people and help identify and Promote Diverse Executive Leaders
3)  Deliver on your commitments and measure your value to your client, IBM, function

                                                                                                                                                            

Related:

- By Jessica Benjamin, Brand Systems Workforce Enablement

Engaging People for Smarter Cities, Starting With Waterfront Toronto

smartercities1Waterfront Toronto Taps IBM Intelligent Operations for Major Smarter City Project
Waterfront Toronto, one of the largest waterfront revitalization projects in the world, is using the IBM Intelligent Operations Center delivered as a service on the IBM SmartCloud to help transform city operations to become more efficient.

Working with IBM Business Partner Element Blue, Waterfront Toronto is launching newblueedge.ca, a powerful community portal that residents can use to easily connect with neighbors, businesses, and service providers in the surrounding area to keep up with traffic congestion reports, public transit information, weather and news, as well as post their ideas and thoughts on how to improve the area.  It will use IBM’s cloud computing and social business software, services and technologies, and IBM Intelligent Operations Center (IOC) for Smarter Cities (see demo video below).  Ultimately, newblueedge.ca will serve as the platform for a suite of tools that will help residents make smarter decisions about everything from their daily commute to health and wellness, energy and water use, and more.

About People for Smarter Cities (P4SC)

Waterfront Toronto is the first Canadian community to be featured on IBM’s new global People for Smarter Cities site, a place where residents can conduct meaningful online conversations and contribute original ideas about how to make their cities work smarter.

P4SC will be showcased in other cities as well.  IBM Malaysia announced P4SC to its employees in September and will be sharing it with selected local influencers to encourage participation by them and their local communities.  Looking ahead P4SC also will be showcased at global cities events in Morocco and Spain.

Ready to change cities for the better? Join P4SC and start making a difference!  Share YOUR ideas and join the conversation on the site or on Twitter at #P4SC.

About IBM Smarter Cities Intelligent Operations Software

Cities around the globe are confronted with growing populations, aging infrastructure, reduced budgets, and the challenge of doing more with less.  The IBM Smarter Cities Intelligent Operations software, based on open cloud computing standards, helps transform city operations to become more efficient. Designed in collaboration with city leaders, the software also applies predictive analytics to help cities budget for capital improvements and improve the efficiency of water utilities.  With cloud solutions, cities get started immediately, without specialized hardware or procurement delays, making it possible to begin with small projects and scale across departments using one integrated software system available as a service.

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Related:

- Posted by Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager The Greater IBM Connection

Calling All Thinkers and Creators – Help Your City Get Smarter (#P4SC)

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Are you a doer, thinker, problem solver, creator or dreamer? Help your city get smarter.

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Giant Fish Sculptures Made from Plastic Bottles in Czech Republic

IBM is helping cities around the world use the vast amount of data, analytics, and information already available to fuel more effective solution ideas from citizens.  In turn, they are helping their city leaders transform their communities.
IBM’s new global People for Smarter Cities site is a place where residents can conduct meaningful online conversations and contribute original ideas about how to make their cities work smarter.

One idea that’s been contributed from Paris, France is for interactive trash bins that encourage Metro passengers to recycle their subway tickets instead of throwing them on the floor.  A little imagination and fun is helping keep the station clean.

Ready to change cities for the better? Join P4SC and start making a difference!  Share YOUR ideas and join the conversation on the site or on Twitter at #P4SC.

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Related:

- Posted by Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager The Greater IBM Connection

IBM, Where the Ideal of Corporate Citizenship Thrives

At IBM, concepts of corporate citizenship run deep. Legendary IBM CEO Thomas J. Watson, Sr., made sure of that. Watson understood the deep connection between a company and the communities it operated in. He understood too the positive impact that a company could have on a community. These were lessons he learned early in his business career, when as an executive at National Cash Register, he was a part of the NCR response team that helped the Cash’s hometown of Dayton, Ohio, weather a devastating flood.

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IBM Chairman Thomas J. Watson, Sr., receives the Migel Medal from Helen Keller on behalf of the American Foundation for the Blind. Keller was a noted American author and political activist, and reportedly was the first deaf-blind person to receive a bachelor’s degree. The Migel Medal remains today the highest honor in the field of blindness. 1952

Watson took that civic-mindedness with him when he joined IBM in 1914, and he quickly instilled it into the company’s culture. “As citizens of the world, he once said, “we owe an obligation beyond the limits of our own business.” For the next four decades, he drove home this principled position by word and deed. “I know from past experience,” he said, “that the more people do in connection with outside affairs, civic and national affairs, the better job they are able to do in this business or in whatever business they are engaged. If we live just for ourselves, we are never able to get anything worthwhile out of life.”

To that end, it was a point of special pride for Watson that IBMers took to corporate social responsibility like wild ducks to water.  “I would like to pay special tribute to my associates in the IBM as citizens. Wherever I have gone I have found that they stand for good citizenship, every individual endeavoring to contribute something toward helping the country in which he lives.” In fact, Watson saw IBM as a role model for the world. “We [IBM] have organizations in 79 countries, practically all the countries of the world, and when we are able to maintain peace and cooperation among our people, it seems to me that the same thing could be accomplished among nations.”

Watson didn’t just talk the talk – he walked it. “The keynote of Mr. Watson’s life is service,” recollected Frederick Fuller, one of IBM’s leading inventors in the days before computers. “No one who knows him even slightly can doubt that. I don’t think there is a man alive who is more eager to better the common lot of mankind, regardless of race, creed, or color.”

As inspirational as he himself was to those who knew him, Watson himself found inspiration in the words of another. “George Bernard Shaw once said, ‘We must all share in the evils of the world or move to another planet,’” Watson once recalled. “Since I first heard that I have grown to feel that I am a part of all the evils of the world. And I am going to remain a part of them until I have exhausted all my energy, ability and resources in trying to correct them.” The depth of his personal commitment ranged from playing leading roles in organizations like the Red Cross and the NAACP to sending money to old acquaintances that had fallen on hard times. And he never hesitated to throw IBM’s resources behind good causes, like developing prosthetics for wounded veterans to manufacturing pocket-sized Braille printers and selling them at cost to designing and building the world’s first successful heart lung machine for free.

“A long time ago we ceased to think of IBM as a business,” Watson once reflected. “We hope that all IBM people will keep in mind that they have a duty to perform outside of the boundaries of IBM. Some of us must do things outside of our regular vocations, in order to develop this civilization to the point where we believe it ought to be.” He would be happy to know that today’s IBM remains just as committed to corporate citizenship as he was.

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by Paul Lasewicz, IBM Corporate Archivist

by Paul Lasewicz, IBM Corporate Archivist
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For more on IBM History:  http://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history

For more on IBM at 100 Years:  http://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/ibm100/us/en/

For more on IBM’s History of Innovation:  http://www.research.ibm.com/featured/history/

This post is part of The Greater IBM Connection’s July theme of Corporate Citizenship.

IBM Analytics Helps Mother Teresa Women’s University

BigDataCubeIBM has announced that Mother Teresa Women’s University is using IBM analytics solution to promote academic success by training its management students on predictive analysis and reporting solutions.

The use of analytics – or Big Data – has changed the realm of technology. Big Data today is requiring new skills and knowledge and new kinds of decision-making in every role and every profession.

The three-month long course, designed by IBM for the university, enables educators to teach effectively, helps management students gain critical analytical skills, and supports more accurate and insightful institutional research and decision-making.

Mother Teresa Women’s University, a public university established in 1984, offers consultancy services, and promotes research studies for women. The university is using IBM’s analytical software, SPSS (Statistical Products and Service Solutions), to train its management students on predictive analysis and reporting solutions to promote academic success.

IBM SPSS is a comprehensive, easy-to-use set of data and predictive analytics tools for users, analysts and programmers. The software offers flexible, affordable options colleges and universities can us to easily integrate statistical analysis, data and text mining and survey research instruction into the classroom. Read the complete article on Indiainfoline.com.

- Posted by Khalid Raza

IBM Helps Women’s Cooperatives in Tangier Become More Profitable

Casablanca – Morocco: A team of IBM specialists, completing a month-long pro bono consulting assignment, recently presented business management strategies to Tangier-area non governmental organizations that promote economic development, cultural preservation and sustainable development.

IBM CSC promoting entrepreneurship for womenThe 9-person IBM team, from 8 countries, was the fourth group since 2010 to provide assistance to Morocco as part of IBM’s Corporate Service Corps, which provides problem-solving support to educational institutions, small businesses, non-governmental organizations, and governmental agencies in the developing world and emerging markets.

IBM CSC team working with women cooperative in Tangier

IBM CSC team working with women cooperative in Tangier

The IBM team worked with Tanger Med Foundation for Human Development (Fondation), which runs women’s cooperatives as part of its mission to promote development through education, vocational training and healthcare initiatives. IBM provided guidance for a Fondation women’s center to become more productive, self-sufficient and profitable by creating a clear business plan.

“The IBM team did a great job providing us with an adaptable business plan for more productive and self-sustainable cooperatives. We wish to replicate this successful experience they had with the women’s community center in El Haouma to many other cooperatives,” said Jamal Mikou, President of Tanger Med Foundation for Human Development. Read the rest of the story.

IBM’s Culture of Service: Finding Time to Participate

Kathy Pham on a project with Orlando fourth grader Tamara

The author with her protégé Tamara, a fourth-grader in Orlando.

In this essay at Citizen IBM, IBMer Kathy Pham shares what she’s learned about finding the time to forge connection and community while spending most of her weekdays traveling as an IBM “road warrior”.

See how Kathy – a Business Analytics and Optimization Senior Consultant with IBM Global Business Services – navigates the mobile lifestyle while still finding the time to be engaged in personally fulfilling projects. She’s happy to be part of a company that provides “so many unique opportunities for service,” said Kathy. Find out how she does it.

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Related:

IBM: A Culture of Service

Greater IBMers, whether or not you are a current IBMer, how do you participate? Tell us YOUR story in the Leave a Reply field.

- Posted by Regan Kelly

Greater IBMer Julie Shore: A Volunteer SWOOPer

“…..SWOOP just goes in and totally transforms whatever they’re working on….70 women will descend on a property, and it’s transformation, what happens.”

…It’s like we just swoop in and when we leave, everything is dramatically different.”

Those words come from two women who are part of a Raleigh, N.C. organization called SWOOP: Strong Women Organizing Outrageous Projects. Does this sound like a group of women you’d like to know? Greater IBMer Julie Shore thinks so: an IBMer for 30 years, Julie has served her community as a member of SWOOP for 17 now.

Julie Shore

Julie Shore

Julie sat down with The Greater IBM Connection to share with us her story, and what it’s meant to her to be a part of SWOOP.

The Greater IBM Connection: How long have you worked at IBM?

Julie Shore: More than 30 years.

GIBM: What is your role today, and what are some other positions you’ve held?  

I’m in channel marketing in STG, working with independent software vendors (ISVs) to help them develop for, use and recommend IBM systems to their clients. I’ve also served a variety of roles in channel marketing in SWG, managing various marketing and certification programs and driving channel enablement for direct and indirect sellers.

GIBM: What does your typical day involve – what are some of the responsibilities of your role?

I’m now driving launch activities related to all indirect channels.  So my days are filled with keeping track and pushing progress with all aspects of launch preparation from the perspective of reseller, ISV and SI marketing teams.

GIBM: Tell us about your volunteering with SWOOP. How do you contribute?

I’ve volunteered with SWOOP since its founding in 1996. We have two key focus areas.  SWOOPin’ Saturdays are once-a-month workdays where we help agencies and individuals with large-scale, short-term projects, such as building playgrounds for at-risk kids, renovating a house for someone in a wheelchair, or painting low-income housing units.

A SWOOP ramp project in progress (Photo courtesy Julie Shore)

SWOOPers in action: a ramp project in progress (Photo courtesy Julie Shore)

I’m often a team leader on carpentry projects, and help with whatever else needs to be done when carpentry is not involved.

The other key focus is our “Ramp It Up!” initiative, which provides wheelchair ramps for people with urgent needs. We work with agencies to identify the projects.  We design and build wooden ramps, and also install removable aluminum ramps for shorter-term requirements.  Our executive director is also an architect and general contractor, so SWOOP brings design and construction expertise that agencies might not otherwise be able to access affordably.

It’s easy to sign up for either or both aspects through our Web site, http://swoop4u.org.

GIBM: How did SWOOP get started, and how did you become involved?

A couple of friends had lots of trees down from Hurricane Fran in 1996.  After cleaning up their own yards, they helped some friends do the same.  It occurred to them that a team of people could accomplish more than just one or two working independently, so the growing group started showing up at the houses of other friends – in fact, my house was SWOOPed in that crazy week after Fran, so I’ve been involved nearly from the beginning.

swooplogoOver time it got more organized, got an official name (Strong Women Organizing Outrageous Projects) and logo, and was accorded 501(C)(3) nonprofit status in 2001.  We now have approximately 1,400 people on the membership roles.

GIBM: What is the most rewarding aspect of volunteering for you?

Going home with a great sense of accomplishment, and in awe of people’s ability to deal with challenges and crises of everyday life. I also enjoy the camaraderie among SWOOPers, and I always learn a ton and laugh a lot.

GIBM: Raleigh has a large IBM campus – are there other IBMers/Greater IBMers involved with SWOOP?

Yes, I know several IBMers who are current or past SWOOPers – Molly Walters, Sandy Campbell, Holly Tallon Hilbrands and Betty Lynch are some of the local IBMers who are active in SWOOP.  We’re on the local and national approved agency lists for the IBM Employees Charitable Contribution Campaign.

GIBM: Tell us how you use The Greater IBM Connection: what do you get out of it personally?

I access it through LinkedIn.  Mostly I look at the summary e-mails and follow links to interesting or relevant discussions.

GIBM: You mentioned that you’re retiring by the end of this year.  What do you plan to do with the extra time?

Not sure yet. I’m considering several possibilities.

GIBM: Do you plan to stay connected with your IBM friends and colleagues?

Definitely!

GIBM: What else do you do with your spare time?

Golf and woodworking are my outside-of-work passions.

GIBM: What does the future hold for you and what are you most looking forward to?

I want to finish my IBM career with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, and go forward from there.

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More from SWOOP – Project videos:

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Know a Greater IBMer with a story to share, or want to share your own? Email us at editor.gmail@us.ibm.com and tell us your story.