Wednesday, May 12, 2010

After Deepwater Horizon, we still need drilling

Like just about everyone else who comments on energy, I was mildly embarrassed when one of the worst oil spills in history happened less than a month after this post on offshore drilling. As the Economist points out, though, the spill changes the politics of drilling, but not the underlying dynamics. Exporting drilling to countries with less environmental oversight doesn't help the environment or the long term energy picture.

If there is a silver lining, it is that the spill may help restate the case for clean energy, which has been battered by the combined effects of the recession and falling oil prices. And it will be a long time before anyone dares suggest that safety measures like remotely operated blowout valves are "too expensive." (Although, in fairness, it's not clear that a remote switch would have helped in this case.) If more intense regulation drives up the price of oil, that's one step toward making the price reflect its cost.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Fair winds and following seas

I was saddened to learn that Jean LeMoin, founder and president of MCA public relations, passed away early this week. She's been a fixture for as long as I've been in the semiconductor industry, dispensing good humor and wise counsel in equal proportions. I'll miss hearing her laughter from across the room, but also her quiet suggestions.

Traces of her most visible mentoring, of PR folks, can be found in the many marketing departments that are populated with MCA alumni. Just as important though, was her gentle guidance of multitudes of journalists and executives, myself included. She never asked journalists for more than a fair hearing and an open mind, and she always made sure her clients had something useful to say. She worked tirelessly to cultivate an environment where mutual respect is more important than spin. She'll be missed.

My sympathies are with my many friends on the MCA team, who are carrying on as Jean would have expected through what has surely been an impossible week. They've asked that memorial donations be made to the Jean LeMoin Women in PR Scholarship Fund, in care of the agency. Their announcement is after the jump:

Jean LeMoin
1956 - 2010

Dear Colleagues and Friends,
It is with great regret that we announce the loss of MCA's founder and president Jean LeMoin, who passed away suddenly on May 3, 2010. A true trailblazer in the communications field, Jean founded MCA in 1983 as a one-woman shop and grew it into a highly respected boutique agency specializing in the global semiconductor, flat-panel display and microelectronics industries.
Jean launched MCA with an initial focus on semiconductor equipment and materials - one of the first agencies to do so - drawing on her marketing communications experience in the industry to build her client base. Over nearly three decades, Jean and MCA have influenced the industry outlook on many important subjects, launching game-changing technologies and creating new opportunities for outreach and dialogue. In 1994, VLSI Research Inc named her to its Chip Industry Hall of Fame for "pioneering the concept that a PR agency is a mechanism for managing a company's image across a broad front... creating an image that is cohesive with the media, customers, and the financial community." This vision remains a hallmark of MCA's approach.
A believer in giving back to the community, Jean sat on the boards of several industry associations, as well as such non-profits as Ronald McDonald House, the Support Network for Battered Women and Rubicon - organizations to which she also donated agency time in order to help reach those in need.
Those of us who knew and worked with Jean will remember many things about her - her keen mind and technology savvy, her love of the arts and good books, her affinity for Oprah and chocolate, her humorous stories about her exploits with best friend and life partner Kevin McCoy, how she always drank Diet Coke from a wine glass and never put croutons on her salad... Jean was a unique and fascinating personality, and the mark she has left on the communications profession, and our lives, is indelible.
To honor her memory, the Jean LeMoin Women in PR Scholarship has been created to enable a deserving student seeking a career in public relations or communications to pursue her dream. As a respected mentor to young PR professionals throughout her career, Jean's wish was for this effort to continue on. If you are interested in making a donation, please send your contribution, payable to The Jean LeMoin Women in PR Scholarship Fund, to MCA, 2119 Landings Drive, Mountain View, CA 94043.
From the MCA Team