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dan mueller

This amazing world is smaller than we think

By Dan Mueller / Guest Columnist

We, the privileged to live in Franklin County, can have the benefit of the closeness of a small community while having access to the best the world has to offer.

We have our choice of associating with each other in many church, civil, and recreational groups. We have the closeness with our neighbors that affords the community spirit we all enjoy. We know our neighbors and how their mamma’s sciatica is. We know this because we know their mamma, and we are genuinely concerned about her health.

This closeness is missing in large cities or those with transitory populations.

While living in this wonderful community, we also have access to world-class employment and services. High-speed internet service allows us to work with colleagues worldwide from our own home.

This, the best of both worlds, is available only to relatively few people, and we need to thank God for this.

I recently moved to Russellville from Prattville; a new job in the automotive industry in Muscle Shoals brought me back to north Alabama.

Prattville is growing very fast, and my neighbors frequently changed; it was hard to get the sense of community I grew up with in Pass Christian, Miss. Russellville has that quality.

Dad got a job working on the Saturn V when I was 3, so I don’t remember much of California, where I was born. I went to two schools from kindergarten through high school. Most of my friends were my classmates all the way through school.

I still remember my friends’ patents’ phone numbers; a couple of them are still connected. This is the community feel that I am slowly becoming a part of in Russellville.

In my work I am attached to what is known as the global supply chain. My first deep dive into globalization was on a sensor built into the passenger front seat of a car. It was assembled into the seat at a local supplier. The sensor came from a country in Europe; the controller came from Chicago; and the chip in the controller came from another European country. The system was designed and controlled from Asia.

This was in 2004; the outside world is smaller than I thought.

Currently I am working on a part for an Asian car manufactured in Alabama. There is a problem with the chip controlling the part’s function, but a replacement chip was found from an American company – producing it in Asia.

The world is small. I can sit in my home office, on a video conference with participants in three different continents, all from Russellville.

Just a few minutes before the international call, I was in my neighbor’s yard, talking to her about a chicken that had strayed onto her property.

Yes, it is an amazing world we live in. God has given us talents with which we can, when we use them to the best of our ability, produce items that are useful to mankind and at the same time provide jobs to support families.

Make no mistake: Business is inherently good. It provides services and products for the world while providing the ability for families to thrive.

We are fortunate to live in a place that allows us to take advantage of the world economy and a sense of togetherness that only can come from a small-town atmosphere.

I thank God for this opportunity.