Business Centers

Imagine How You Would Feel If This Happened To You.

Could You Survive?

Could You Thrive? How Might You Accomplish Your Survival? As Well As I Did?

Your restaurant, gift shop, bakery, trucking company, medical practice, grocery, hardware store, construction company, law practice, warehouse facility, real estate business, farm, or other business that you labored to build and was providing you a good living and selling products and services to trusting customers, has suddenly been stolen from you.

Imagine that you invent, design, develop, proceduralize delivery of your product, market, train employees, and provide your product. Your company becomes successful because of your skills and abilities. Over a several year period you continue to successfully market your product and build an industry-wide, top-notch reputation. You are successfully growing your business.

You continue developing and building your successful company. After four years of successes, increasing revenues, and broadening your customer base to include many of the preeminent potential customers in your target industry, a bunch of Chicago thugs muscle in to take over your business. Those thugs then prevent you from doing business.

Your store, office, and equipment suddenly become useless ongoing expenses. Customers you worked to build long term, productive relationships with, and who trusted you, are now powerless to hire your company. Your customers are no longer permitted by the Chicago thugs to do business with you. Chicago thugs have taken over the service package that you created and were effectively and profitably providing. Those Chicago thugs stole your business and proclaim their business is a monopoly. Suddenly, you have no business doing business on their territory.

Entrepreneurial Creativity

TechAmerica changed the way exhibitors and attendees work before, during, & after trade shows and exhibitions. Using our business centers enables exhibitors’ & attendees’ effective marketing. Business deals can be consummated.

The following chronology documents the creation, marketing, operation, and success of a business that was simply stolen once it became successful. Anytime you attend a consumer trade show, professional conference, industrial meeting, visit a hotel or convention center anywhere, you will have a Business Center available to make doing business productive. The following documents the invention, marketing, and theft of the first nation-wide Business Center business by the now well-known thugs of Chicago. The model presented here in the context of trade shows and implemented for my Business Centers is consistent with the nationwide trade show model which developed during the early years of the trade show industry.

The TechAmerica Business Center model continues to prevail in public and private exposition centers and hotels. This model is one that provides on-site services specifically contracted for by the organization producing the specific trade show. These services are needed, readily accepted, used, and paid for by attendees and exhibitors. For example, if a trade producer determines that it wants or needs a specific service on site for its trade show, it contracts with a provider of such services for that trade show for dates that usually include some days before, during, and after the trade show.

On site services were not provided by the exposition centers before TechAmerica designed and implemented efficient delivery of on-site office services. The exception to this policy applies to food and beverage services. These are typically provided by the exposition centers since they may reap cost savings and operational benefits through long-term contracts in fixed layouts and using full-time employed staff. This model evolved for obvious logistic reasons during the development of the trade show industry. For example, it would be impractical to bring in major food and beverage services for a trade show only to be replaced by another provider for the next trade show days later. Therefore, exposition centers have long-term contracts with one food and beverage provider which serves all trade shows and other events.

The Business Center operations documented below were contracted for directly with trade show owners, producers, and providers, thereby fitting in the standard model for on-site services. When McCormick Place thugs stole my operation and locked me out of what they refer to as “their building”, they violated accepted trade show policies regarding on site services.

Do you recall that prior to TechAmerica’s creation and implementation of Business Centers none of these services were available on site during trade shows and expositions? Do you recall when Business Centers were composed of a set of services existing only in the minds of people who were attempting to do business efficiently, complete sales, and make attending trade shows worthwhile?

The venture documented below was invented and successfully marketed and operated. It was the first full-featured Business Center. This experiment started in 1986.

This entrepreneurial venture was built from its invention and became the most trusted and respected provider of full-featured, competent, service-oriented Business Centers. This is the story of how an entrepreneurial, profitable, growing business was shoved out and destroyed by the Chicago thugs who rule McCormick Place.

August, 1986 through December 7,1991

The following chronology presents the saga of one man’s effort to invent, design, implement, improve, market, develop, and operate a business that provided necessary services of high caliber. The business, TechAmerica Business Centers, operated with a tone and management style that promoted employees’ pride in their company. The business provided top quality services and products to appreciative and satisfied customers who benefited directly.

Besides accomplishing these operational objectives, after about three years the business was starting to be financially rewarding. It had rewarded me in the highest way from the start when I gambled everything on the first Business Center operation. Its start was in June, 1987, in New York’s Javits Convention Center. I brought three people with me to New York for the Fancy Food Show, along with equipment I purchased and rented. This first Business Center was immensely successful operationally and financially. The thrill of the success was and remains immeasurable. That Business Center was my mind’s creation. I devised and produced it. It was like nothing before at any trade show. I had brought it to life and it functioned effectively and profitably.

December 7, 1991, the Chicago thugs who control McCormick Place barred me from what they call “their building”, grabbed my business, and operated it for their personal gain. My income dropped to zero but my pride of invention held firm.

The theft of my business enhanced my understanding of ignorance and rudeness and animal behavior.

Most people simply trek through life never creating, building, implementing, improving, and struggling to keep alive a invention. These place holder types cannot achieve the success and satisfaction that I gained through my honest effort.

Had most people simply lost a job or career position, they would merely move along to another position and likely make more money.

My invention was stolen with impunity by unworthy, overly empowered thugs who then perverted its operation and use it to this day for personal gain. The have failed to enhance or evolve that business center.

Chicago thugs take simply to possess. They steal with impunity. Chicago thugs do not take in order to build.

Imagine that you are a place holder employee who simply occupied a desk in an office. You understand that you might be replaced in a minute by the next place holder who walks through your employer’s door. Upon replacement you will need to identify a new desk in another company that you may occupy until you are again replaced. You will never have the problems identified below, but you will never reap the rewards of a genuine entrepreneur as the one whose story follows.

Imagine the professional services man who becomes highly educated, works to build his practice, earns his license, and practices his craft. What might he do if a bureaucrat representing the government licensing authority suddenly entered his professional offices to announce that his license had been revoked and he can no longer practice his profession? He must reconcile his life and decide how he might continue to make a living.

Imagine, you Chicago-style thugs, that your empowerment authority replaced you. This is the United States of America and usually justice prevails over time.

Prologue

Today most people have heard of and used Business Centers. They are found at airports, convention centers and hotels. In 1985 they did not exist in the organized, full-service mode of today. This is the story of my successful effort to create, develop, market, and operate the first Business Centers at international trade shows inside convention centers.

August 5, 1980: The birth of my consulting organization dedicated to providing computer oriented services with competence and integrity through effective use of computer technology.

1985: After having observed the trade show business from the perspective of automating the accounting functions of a client in the trade show industry, I perceived a new niche that had not been explored. This idea led to my invention of the Business Center concept applied to the way people work at trade shows.

1986: I continued to test market and analyze the feasibility of my organization needed providing services. My concept was to provide office services live, on demand at trade shows. These services included photocopy, fax, making business cards, language translation, lamination, multi-thousand copy brochures, word processing, foreign currency exchange, UPS, FedEx, provision of office products, etc. The concept was to provide needed services on site for trade show attendees and exhibitors, thereby freeing their time to do more of what they came to the trade show to do — to buy and sell their products. This is a high profit business since exhibitors have expended large sums in order to position themselves for this often once-a-year opportunity to sell directly to attendees.

In September, 1986, I ran one ad in the trade show industry weekly newsletter. Interestingly, the publisher refused my first ad offering to provide on-site trade show services. The publisher’s policy was to only accept ads for personnel. Cleverly, I changed my ad into an ad for staffing of the as yet, non-existent Business Centers.

1987: As a result of that one ad, a major trade show provider responded with interest in installing my Business Center at its international food trade show. We arranged to provide services for a trade show in New York in June, 1987. I took three staff and loaded electronic equipment on a train bound for New York City.

The Business Center’s services were a huge success even days before the trade show officially opened. Need for Business Centers often extended days after the official close of many trade shows. Demand was so great, that my staff and I worked non-stop during the entire New York International Fancy Foods trade show and for several hours each evening after the exhibitors and attendees left. My concept was a winner!

Below — Our International Business Centers provided a base for the US Department of Commerce

Below — One of three concurrently operating Business Centers at a Consumer Electronics Show

Below — Before exhibitors & attendees realized & prepared for business services at trade shows, TechAmerica provided appropriately-scaled Business Centers to serve developing needs.

Below — One of two Business Centers at an International Fancy Food Show

Below — Many medium-sized trade shows requested smaller scale Business Centers. Once services were provided by our Business Centers, these functions became essential at most trade shows.

I will always remember that feeling when I saw the first of many large overhead signs in international convention centers which read “BUSINESS CENTER”. There it was — my accomplishment — up in lights. That sign was proof of my having changed the way business is transacted during trade shows across the nation! Now on to automate the hotel industry.

My efforts to implement Business Centers in hotels is exemplified by this experience with the Four Seasons hotel chain. I sent a formal proposal to Isadore Sharp, owner and CEO of the hotel organization. This 16-page document described what a Business Center is and how it could provide a compliment of services that Four Seasons’ guests would come to realize enhanced their out-of-town business meetings. Sharp assigned his top executive in Chicago to review this potential with me. This man failed to perceive any potential value. He stated that his “guests are executives and do not use those services”. Three years later the Four Seasons realized that many of its guests were traveling on business. Therefore, many could use on-site business services. The Four Seasons set up a large closet with a computer and copier. This has since been upgraded to meet the now-obvious guest needs. Their mature Business Centers follow my proposal’s plan.

Presenting a good idea to these overly-comfortable executives demonstrated how complacent and lacking in innovative thought processes most people are.

The remainder of the year and into 1987 I had resistance from many professional trade show managers. There was slow acceptance of this new concept. Often people experienced in a specialty become experienced in not thinking also. Some old-time veterans and newly-empowered experts in the trade show industry mistakenly believed that Business Centers provided unneeded services. One trade show manager said to me, “I’ve run this show for 24 years and I’ve never needed a Business Center”.

1988: I continued to add services, train staff, and sell more trade show managers on Business Centers. My company, Technology America Corporation, provided three Business Centers to major international trade shows this year. Managers of several of the largest trade shows stated that they would contract for my Business Centers the following year, but not this year. That hardly compensated for this year’s non-existent cash flow, but it was good news.

December 5, 1988 into mid-1989:  This was the low point and the start of the drive to the high point. This day was the low point in that my financial situation was beyond dire and desperate. It was the start toward the high point. My work up to this point was becoming profitable. My prospects for operating Business Centers at several of the largest trade shows across the nation was reasonably assured. I had commitments. Bankruptcy was not an option I would abide.

I would not allow myself to fail in this period even though TechAmerica and I were devoid of money. We were both primed for future revenue and success. December, 1988 could have been the end. But I needed to survive — to simply cover fixed costs into about April, 1989.

I accomplished this by using the facts of my situation coupled with my reputation for integrity and competence. There remains to this day an enduring and solidly-bonded commitment between the individuals who offered support at this critical juncture.

1989: I continued to add services and train staff. Technology America Corporation provided 12 Business Centers for large domestic and international trade shows in convention centers across the country.

Note:  During my travel to San Francisco to personally control an international trade show for a large customer, the young woman whom I left in the office stole Technology America Corporation’s computer records, procedure manuals, and customer list. She then proceeded to attempt to steal as many of my client’s trade shows as she could. Due to the top caliber of my company’s Business Centers and its ancillary work, she was able to steal only one medium-size customer.

1990: I continued to add services and train staff while operating several Business Centers across the nation.

1990: I continued to add services and train staff. My company provided 17 Business Centers this year for large and international trade shows in several industries in convention centers across the country.

1991: I continued to add services and train staff. My company provided 31 Business Centers this year. I had captured the major portion of one of the largest trade show markets in the nation — from scratch!! I built a reputation which allowed me to charge more than my competition and still gain more customers. I provided top caliber, competent services at a reasonable cost.

Below — The Radiological Society of North America Show — one of three strategically-located Business Centers

Below — The Radiological Society of North America Show foreign currency exchange service center integrated into the primary Business Center

Below — The International Business Centers often provided foreign currency exchange services for large & medium-sized trade shows.

December 7, 1991: The quasi-municipal entity which operates the Chicago convention center, McCormick Place, my home operating and most profitable location, took over my business. They stole the business in what is today the well understood Chicago thug fashion. In their words, I was “locked out of the building.” The thugs running this facility did what they do naturally. That is, they operated as the thugs they were. They went against the industry norm which dictates that trade show managements sub-contract services such as registration, staffing, cleaning and Business Centers.

As I learned about a year later, they had put a hit contract out on me. A top-level management person who had solid union contacts learned of this and made some phone calls to Philadelphia and Las Vegas. The hit was called off. Presumably they had to then steal my business from me, but that was better than the approach they had planned for me: My death. After the theft of my business, I was relieved to not have to associate with the likes of the Chicago thugs. They are dirty.

Over the years while I was building Business Centers around the nation, when operating inside McCormick Place the Chicago thugs damaged and stole Business Center equipment, scorned my operations, interfered with my employees, disrupted and delayed my on-site operations, actively worked to inhibit our ability to serve customers, and did everything they could to destroy my Business Centers. This was fact from the first trade show in McCormick Place in 1987.

They watched me build a market awareness. They watched me earn money. Now, after my success, they announced to the trade show industry that they would be the “exclusive provider” in “their” McCormick Place buildings. As of December 7, 1991, my business belonged to them.

Attempted Recovery: During early 1992, I endeavored to recover my Business Center trade show customer base that had been stolen. I went through the telephone Yellow Pages calling nearly every lawyer in Chicago. When speaking to many lawyers, I identified the business, the theft, and the case for tortuous interference. Not one lawyer expressed any interest whatsoever in pursuing the case against McCormick Place.

I spoke with the FBI’s Chicago office. After identifying the situation, the FBI agent agreed that I had a good case of tortuous interference in business practice. However he added that he did not know how I might proceed against the forces that committed the crime against me. He added that it was his opinion from experience in Chicago with these matters that I was very fortunate to be alive. He recommended that I consider how lucky I was that “that is all that they did… take the business leaving you unharmed.”

Chicago’s McCormick Place Is Unique

During each and every trade show set-up, daily operation, and take-down at Chicago’s McCormick Place, unlike at any other convention center in the nation, Chicago’s union thugs intentionally and as methodically as they are capable of, worked to undermine my Business Center operations. The Teamster thugs refused to perform freight and drayage tasks that they were being paid to perform as soon as they realized it was for the Business Center.

The IBEW, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, thugs often outright refused to install electrical wiring and and then refused to turn the electricity on. I had to locate some of the specific Teamsters and electricians whom I had befriended to request that they simply complete the trade show management’s legitimate work orders that were their union’s responsibility. As a result of their specious dislike of Business Centers many exhibitors and attendees to Chicago trade shows were deprived of essential Business Center services simply because the Teamster and IBEW union thugs refused to do their assigned jobs.

About a year after these IBEW and Teamster thugs, along with their bosses, stole my business, the following event occurred. While attending a party at a long-time friend’s home, I spotted one of the chief thugs of the Chicago IBEW union across a large room. Among the roughly 30 people in the room this thug stood out. It was not merely his low class demeanor or his large, fat body, but rather his Chicago thuggish air. I observed his actions. I contemplated the fact that he had been directly responsible for my having to develop special procedures, hire extra workers, and the loss of tens-of-thousands of dollars. I successfully worked around all impediments he set up. I still managed to provide great customer service even with his denial of electricity to my Business Centers.

This petty IBEW thug failed in all cases, but continually attempted to inflict severe damage to my company’s reputation among exhibitor and attendee customers, as well as, among the show managements that hired my company.

This thug, who shortly after this party, purchased this luxury home, was the same thug who during trade show set-up used to refuse to assign electricians to connect power to my Business Centers. He had refused on numerous occasions to perform tasks that his union had contracted to provide for the trade organizer — namely connect electricity to the Business Centers. This made serving exhibitors and attendees impossible.

Often he sat alone in the electrical supply room or the steward’s hut, reclining with his feet up on the counter while reading girlie magazines and sneering at my polite requests that he meet his union’s responsibilities.

I lost the money, but, through my integrity and ingenuity, I managed to stave off damage to my company’s reputation. When this thug refused to connect the electricity, in order to still serve my customers, I accepted exhibitor work tasks, taxied downtown to my corporate office, performed the work myself, taxied back to McCormick Place, and returned the completed work to exhibitor and attendee customers.

How strange this world is. I, who invented, built, managed, marketed, and took all the risk associated with building the Business Center concept into a recognizable and necessary part of most industrial and consumer trade shows across the country was in need of a new source of revenue. I knew the IBEW, Teamster thugs and their bosses were now raking in the cash and profits from the customer base that I had struggled to build. Specifically, this Chicago-style IBEW thug was now retired and was in the process of purchasing an expensive home in a ritzy suburban neighborhood.

I observed him at that party. Then and to this day, I have been content with my realization that I would fair better over time than this Chicago-style IBEW thug. He was and will always remain a thug with a thug’s mind and character. I was and will always remain an honest quintessential American businessman with a strong character and a mind that is being used to create new, successful ventures.

Over several months I found that the best way to have an electrician actually perform the electrical connections for my Business Centers was to befriend a normal, non-hating, not-resentful electrician. There were a few of these working for the vindictive union thug mentioned above who was then in charge of all the electricians. This regular guy had been raised in a suburb of Chicago and therefore was not indoctrinated and had not become a typical Chicago thug. When he was able to, he would connect the electrical power to my Business Centers. He would watch for a time when the union thug boss was sitting in the electrician’s supply office reading his girlie magazines. That often preoccupied him long enough for my friendly electrician to perform the connections. Yes, to connect my Business Centers’ electricity took about 10 minutes. Yes, that is what the union boss thug was withholding from my operations. He refused to do the work that had been authorized and assigned to his group simply out of his juvenile hatred and resentment toward me.

Unrelenting Petty Bullies

Teamster thugs routinely refused to perform and often delayed work orders for the Business Centers. These works orders authorized freight in and out of McCormick Place, drayage to and from the Business Centers, and exhibitor shipments from exhibitors booths to the Business Center for our UPS and Federal Express handling. I was the first person to work directly with UPS and FedEx corporate and local centers to smooth their pick up loading. I would arrange for one pick up by UPS and FedEx. The teamsters routinely refused these trucks’ entry to the freight lanes leading to the docks simply because they were working with my Business Centers. The UPS and FedEx drivers often told me that they waited in the truck line for an extended period and then were turned away. When I questioned the teamsters, I usually got a blank stare. Sometimes one of the Teamsters would tell me, “This is our building and we decide who comes and goes.”

The following is a typical example of the unrelenting, petty bullying these juvenile, but empowered thugs perpetrate upon normal people who attempt to do business at McCormick Place. All are victims of the petty bullies, including exhibitors, attendees, and service providers. Following the close of the National Sporting Goods Association trade show of 1991, my business center accepted approximately 110 containers and boxes for UPS and FDX shipment. Exhibitors and attendees had paid my company extra fees over the UPS and FDX fees to handle and ship their products and samples. That made security and shipment the responsibility of my Business Center.

Late that evening, after I had moved all approximately 110 containers and boxes from the Business Center into the general-purpose secured area, and sent all of my employees for the day, some Teamster thug boss approached me with a warning. He said that unless I moved all 110 boxes (which weighed from about 20 pounds up to 70 pounds each), from where they had been placed to the other side of the secured area (about 40 feet away), the secured area would be torn down. That is, the walls of the secured area and security post would be removed, thereby eliminating the secured area entirely. There would be no secured area in which to store the boxes that were my responsibility for UPS and FDX pick up the next morning.

I simply looked at the thugs standing there, turned around, and started moving 110 boxes by myself from one end of the secured are to the other end. That was a total of about 40 feet. Obviously the Teamsters just wanted to see if I could work that hard in my navy blue suit, white shirt, and tie. The thugs stood by and watched as I worked. There is no compromising or deal making possible in these situations.

In that confrontation, I proudly defeated the thugs totally and single-handedly. I moved every container and box, no matter how heavy, precisely to the spot they mandated. Thugs would walk by and laugh at my efforts. Some thugs sat at a table watching me the entire time I was moving containers and boxes that my customers had entrusted to me.

To this day I feel the pinch of the inguinal hernia I inflicted upon myself while moving those boxes. It was, is, and always will be worth every pinch everyday for the rest of my life.

As a painful, long-term consolation for me, I defeated them, rather than they having defeated me. Yes, I followed there evil instructions to completion. I now have a hernia. But they did not steal anything from me…. There is a life lesson in this.

The IBEW union thugs routinely refused to run the power lines that they had official show management authorization and work orders to complete. This meant that when I was setting up my Business Centers days before the show’s opening in order to support exhibitors’ needs, I had to take exhibitor orders for photocopying, word processing, and shipping in my car. I had to drive or taxi to my office, have the work completed, return to McCormick Place, and deliver the work to the exhibitors. This I did and this was why I gained a nationwide reputation among the major trade show managers and associations and was growing my business.

There was one particular IBEW union thug who was often the steward in charge of all electrical work for a given trade show. For some reason unknown to me, he refused on numerous occasions to assign an electrician to complete the wiring for my Business Centers. One day about two days before the opening of a trade show I had been on site taking exhibitor orders and handling them as I described above. I went to this thug’s electrician work center and found him reading magazines alone. I asked him why he had refused to assign an electrician to complete the official and authorized work orders for the Business Centers. He refused to discuss it and simply waved me away. He often told me to just, “Go back and wait in my booth. Someone will be there in a while”.

Of course experience taught me that no electrician would show up to complete the work order for electric power connection. In fact, a few electricians who worked for this Chicago IBEW thug told me at risk to their job, that they were instructed to NOT connect my Business Center to the electric line.

In this photo from April 7, 2010, McCormick Place union representatives, including John T. Coli of the Teamsters, far right, testify in front of the Joint Committee on the Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority. (Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune)

The photo above represents the sort of Chicago thugs that confronted me directly or through surrogates during the years I was relentlessly working to build Business Centers in order that trade show exhibitors and attendees could be efficient and productive. Why would this sort of thug want to prevent trade shows from being productive? The answer is that they care nothing for productivity. They only care about maintaining and building their own power. The changes I was bringing to trade shows at McCormick Place were seen by thugs similar to these guys as something new — and new is perceived by this sort as a threat.

However when they saw how profitable my Business Centers were, when they saw a developing cash cow right in “their building” as they called McCormick Place, they simply took it over.

There is no discussion with this sort of thug. When they see something they want, they take it. I managed to stave them off for over four years.

It was a mystery why these union thugs refused to perform the tasks that they were assigned. It meant nothing financially to them. They knew that they had to do the work eventually. The work orders authorizing tasks at my Business Centers were initiated and paid for by the organization that produced each specific trade show. For example the Consumer Electronic Show management, the Consumer Electronic Association, hired me to provide Business Centers for their trade shows. The association authorized and paid for all Business Center tasks, including electric, freight, drayage, and decorating. Union workers were assigned Business Center tasks just as they were assigned any other show management or exhibitor tasks. Why would they refuse to centers?

Chicago’s overly-empowered thugs derived a perverse satisfaction in simply not doing work for the Business Centers. Why did they so frequently defer Business Center tasks to the last possible hour during set up and take down? Was it just to inhibit Business Center sales? Why not set up electrical and complete drayage tasks following trade show management’s orders and schedule? Completing these tasks would provide a more efficient trade show experience for exhibitors and attendees. It also would have improved Chicago’s image as a trade show venue.

The reason is that thugs can only act as thugs. In this case it was because the thugs did not approve of Edgar Philips. I had hired Edgar Phillips, an 18-year-old black man, to work during our first McCormick Place trade show in 1987. [Read on to learn of Edgar Phillips.]

THE POINT: Under the Free Competition system I created, built, marketed, and gained over 90% market share in Chicago and was building a positive nationwide reputation and customer base.

But when Chicago’s quasi-government city hall thugs decided they wanted to takeover my business, they used force to takeover and create a monopoly for themselves. I was forced out of business. Chicago’s politically-connected bagmen thugs had stolen my major profit center.

Epilogue

Included in this story are all the usual and unusual problems that most entrepreneurs encounter in building a business. These include struggling to “work with” the teamsters who threatened to “trunk me”. The term “to trunk” is a quaint Chicago thug term meaning to put a person in an automobile trunk and then shove the automobile into Lake Michigan. I believe that the Teamsters disliked me because I did not work their way. I hired people of all races and genders.

In 1987 I hired an 18-year-old black man, Edgar Phillips, for our first trade show Business Center operating inside McCormick Place, the National Restaurant Association’s annual exposition. I was training Edgar, expecting to work with him over the long term. The Teamsters did not like that. Edgar always wore a white shirt, tie, and dress slacks. Late one night, when Edgar and I were finishing up our day’s work in the dark corridors of McCormick Place, we were discovered by a bunch of Teamsters. When they saw Edgar, I was ordered to “Get that thing out of here [McCormick Place]”. About eighteen of the Chicago thugs surrounded Edgar and me in that dark corridor and threatened us while using about every word in their limited vocabularies to insult Edgar. Edgar decided to join the US Army instead of working at McCormick Place. The US Army was immediately improved when Edgar enlisted some months later.

I hired, paid well, and rewarded my hard-working employees who at critical times chose to work harder rather than demonstrate how critical they were by not showing up for work. I did not operate a union shop. I operated an American made business. The salary I paid was often nearly double that of other trade show jobs. Some of my staff developed the attitude that they deserved that pay and became lazy and would not cooperate with fellow workers. And so on…. These are each problems to be expected. I surmounted each problem and build a successful business.

More importantly, the problems I encountered were typical of the problems we each have in life — our personal and business lives. It is called competition, adversity, and not all things work out our way. Simple tasks are often not simple: human nature, individuals lacking standards of acceptable behavior and respect for others make life a constant challenge.

I survived and built a business from creation of the concept, marketing, implementation, handling operations, and confronted each problem with perseverance. Technology America Corporation Business Centers succeeded: Trade shows became more productive for thousands of hard-working attendees and exhibitors because of Business Centers.

During the difficult lean years before getting this new concept accepted by the professional international show managers, I supported my business, Technology America Corporation, by providing computer consulting along with the ongoing development of Business Centers.

I am a white male. I have never had the benefit of any government handout or preferential treatment. I have never benefited from any social or cultural bonus or benefit. I have never played upon any disability or specially-qualified trait. I have never whined or complained to those in power when situations failed to materialize or go my way.

Since December 7, 1991, I have created and implemented new business concepts. They will either succeed or fail. If one fails, I will create and focus upon another path toward success. However, if I had been a minority or a women, I could have cried foul. It is likely the Chicago thugs would not have attempted their takeover. Even Chicago thugs have limited audacity and are constrained by affirmative action policies.

The Lesson

My attempts to hire a lawyer to help me resist and take my business back from the Chicago thugs were not successful. I had documentation proving the City of Chicago and McCormick Place management were guilty of “tortuous interference with business practices.” I phoned every lawyer in the Chicago Yellow Pages. Not one Chicago lawyer respected the law enough to go up against the Chicago thugs.

The lesson is that in Chicago facts, the law, and having respect for the property of others never distracts, and often does not deter thugs. Nor do Chicago thugs honor the the inventiveness and hard-won creations of entrepreneurs. What Chicago thugs want, they take.

Resolved: My Conundrum

In 1986 I signed a 5-year leased for office space in the Xerox Centre located in downtown Chicago. I designed and built this facility to expand my consulting business. After approximately four months I realized that there could be more success in operating Business Centers around the nation that operating a high-tech consulting business using the inept fools we today realize are the typrical IT employee. Success is derived by training and supporting employees. Anyone who started or operates a business understands this. The usual IT employees are inappropriate for many business operations.

In order to meet my legal commitment to my lease, I inverted the function of my Xerox Centre office. That is, I subleased each office space unit to businessmen who wanted first class office space with all amenities with no maintenance worries. I provided full maintenance and all office services to the tenants of my large space. That turned my Xerox office space into a profit center.

I was becoming free (and starting to be profitable) to service the Xerox Centre space (sometimes stopping by to refill copiers and coffee machines for the tenants at all hours of the night following trade show activities) while marketing and building my Business Center operation for trade shows into a profitable nationwide operation.

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