Author Archives: Richard McKissock

“The Power of Habit” Applied to Healthy Facilities

The Power of HabitOne story in The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg, opened my eyes to how much of my work over the past 15 years has been trying to break a habit loop.That is the story of former Alcoa CEO, Paul O’Neill, who improved the entire company focusing only on the keystone habit of safe work practices. I’ve been doing something similar in my job without understanding the science behind it.

The Power of Habit is bestseller is about how our lives, work, and social patterns are driven by habits. Duhigg describes how we can change bad habits and use good ones to our advantage. There is a lot of value in this book, both professionally and personally.

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I think (I’m a Runner), Therefore I am (a Runner)

“Running” an obstacle course race.

“Are you a runner?” I’ve always had difficulty answering this question. My initial thought to that question is, “It depends who’s asking.” I might consider myself a runner this week, but in a few months that could change. I don’t want that to be the answer. Why can’t I give a straight yes or no answer? If someone who golfs once a month was asked, “Are you a golfer?” they would likely reply, “Yes.” What does it take to be a real runner? A mileage threshold? A pace per mile? A stack of race bibs? Or is it a state of mind or being? I think (I’m a runner), therefore I am (a runner).

In an effort to answer this question, let me present my running profile. I’ve been running as part of my overall fitness for over 20 years. In that time my running quantity and quality have ebbed and flowed and peaked and valleyed. I’ve loved running. I’ve been hurt. I’ve missed it. My longest run is a half marathon, 13.1 miles. The most miles I’ve ran in a week is 22 miles. Running 20 miles is a good weekend for some runners and that’s my max in a week. But 20 miles is four 5-milers in a week. Isn’t that enough to be a runner?  Continue reading

The Hazards of Deicing Chemicals – Is it really OK to breathe?

The plane is being deiced prior to take off, you smell a somewhat sweet odor, and then the pilot makes an announcement that the odor from the deicing chemical is nothing to worry about. Really? What is that deicing chemical being sprayed on the plane? Is it really OK to breathe in those vapors for a few minutes? Here’s a breakdown of the health, environmental, and hazards of deicing chemicals. Continue reading

Environment of Snowbird: A Deep Commitment to Environmental Stewardship

Most ski resorts promote some level of environmental conservation. They typically promote the basics – water and energy conservation and climate change. But they might not be going that deep or wide with their environmental commitment. Not Snowbird. Snowbird’s commitment goes way beyond the basic talking points. For starters, they have an impressive Director of Sustainability & Water Resources, Hilary Arens. I met with Hilary Arens at the iconic Cliff Lodge at the base of Snowbird Resort in the Wasatch Mountains outside of Salt Lake City, UT to talk about Snowbird’s environmental commitment and projects. Continue reading

Environment of Big Sky Resort: Water, Snow Making and Land Use

Big Sky Resort in Montana is aptly named. The views from the top of Lone Mountain are breathtaking. Stepping off the tram onto the top of Lone Mountain, soaking in the view, and then skiing down the mountain is an experience I’d recommend to every skier or boarder. The combination of a beautiful location in the mountains, a semi-arid climate, and a growing town within the greater Yellowstone ecosystem presents several environmental challenges. Two that immediately came to mind for me are water use and land use and development. Sure enough, I came across interesting things happening in both areas. Let’s take a look at the environment of Big Sky. Continue reading

Contamination, Where Are You?

Uranium, asbestos, PCBs, mercury, and more inside this Superfund site containment in Weldon Spring, MO.

One of the themes I convey through my work is that environmental compliance isn’t only for tree huggers and protecting the environment. It’s about protecting yourself from hazardous exposures. First from direct exposure while working with and around hazardous materials. Second from exposures to contaminated air, water, and land. When the conversation turns to people’s own health and safety or the contamination of their favorite fishing hole, their interest picks up. Then they want to know, “How do I find out where all the contamination is located?” So, contamination, where are you? Continue reading

GABF Media Experience: The Good, The Bad and The D’Oh!

The 2018 Great American Beer Festival was the first time I attended the GABF as part of the beer media. I wrote a series of articles for the fest on the “environment of beer.” Throughout it all I had good experiences, found a couple of things that didn’t work, and made an audio mistake that ruined my video. Here’s my breakdown of the GABF media experience: the good, the bad and the D’Oh!. Continue reading