Looking back on my work life I have come to realize I have some exceptional experiences. The more notable ones I will try to relive here for your amusement.

Going Above & Beyond
by Doug Bayliss

Let’s go back to 1988 and look how shipped goods made it to New York City.

1. Everything crossed the Hudson River to NYC by barge. Pushed and pulled by tugboats.

2. Goods unloaded and stored in large warehouses.

3. To keep tug boats competitive owners wanted to decrease wages and eliminate some positions such as the cook. Union said no.

STRIKE! New York City was gripping with a tugboat strike.

1. Many industries were not affected by the loss of having tugboats. By now pipelines, bridges, and tunnels were in place, and truck and trains picked up the slack from the striking tugboat operators.

2. Made possible by the invention of shipping containers. You might have heard of the term “intermodal,” which means they transfer directly from the ship to trucks or trains. The containers are their own warehouses and can be stored outside. Huge indoor warehouses (and tugboats) are no longer needed.

At least one industry was affected. (I knew because I was an assistant project manager for a design project). We were modifying some structural steel in a Titanium Dioxide manufacturing plant to fit some new equipment.

Manufacture of the “whitest chemical,” is a billion-dollar industry.

TiO2 in Paint

TiO2 is essentially the white base in every color. From paint to car parts, to your clothing you “touch” it every day.

4. Acid waste is one by-product of the manufacture of TiO2.


Enter the 1988 tugboat operator’s strike.

5. Tugboat strike stopped barges from hauling acid out to the ocean.

6. Afraid the levy would break and flood a local development with acid.

7. Send Doug and a co-worker out to survey depths of the pond around the edges.

Perth Amboy, NJ

A waste-acid pond near the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey.


  • Rubber boots and gloves.
  • Aluminum row boat
  • Burning runny nose, itchy eyes
  • Really, really bad smell
  • Measuring stick ate by acid
  • Oars ate by acid!
  • We measured what we could and got out the hell out of there!

That is one time I certainly went above and beyond!

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