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Blog it Forward – Craig Snyder    

Here's a link to BIF part 2 - Blog it Forward - Craig Snyder

I was blogged forward by  nitin.jinagal in his blog Blog It Forward- Nitin Jinagal

This blog system is part of Blog It Forward Community Challenge.

I’m Craig Snyder and I am from West Chester, Pennsylvania, (PA).  A small university town in the western suburbs of Philadelphia in beautiful Chester County.  Chester county is still very much an agricultural county.  It does have Amish and Mennonite communities and horse drawn buggies.  Plows and farm equipment pulled by beautiful, huge, draft horses are not unusual in certain areas. 

Chester County has many horse farms and is home to many horse activities including thoroughbred horse racing stables, including the stables of the famed race horse Barbaro.  


The University of Pennsylvania has their world recognized large animal veterinarian center, the New Bolton Center, located here where Barbaro was treated for many months in an attempt to save his life.  Fox hunting and Steeplechase racing are also commonly found in the county. 

Chester County also claims to be the mushroom capital of the world, producing over 845 million pounds a year in the tiny Kennett Square area and accounts for over 60% of all US production.  California is second at about 9%.  The US is the largest consumer of mushrooms in the world, consuming 30% of the worlds mushrooms, (Germany is next at 17%).  Yes, those of us that are use to these local, fresh mushrooms, tend to become mushroom snobs. Kennett Square even hosts a yearly mushroom festival.  Mushroom Festival

If you ever move to Chester County, pay careful attention to the way the prevailing winds blow. There are many “earthy” smells in the County!


I love the area I’m in.  We are close to many great attractions.  To start with I’m only about 15 minutes from that great attraction known as SAP North American headquarters in Newton Square.

Aside from that,  its only 90 minutes to Ocean City at the Jersey shore where both our families have vacationed in the summer for over 70 years.  A two hour drive can get me to several ski slopes for winter time skiing and snow boarding.  We are about 45 minutes from downtown Philadelphia and get to take full advantage of the professional sports and cultural amenities of the 5th largest city in the US.

We experience true four seasons in Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia area.  It can go over 100 F, (37 C) in the summer and down to 0 F, (-18 C), in the winter.  Each season pretty much runs 3 months.  My favorite season is the fall with the cooler weather and beautiful fall foliage.

Delaware Water Gap, PA

I live with my wife, Connie. We have two sons, Ryan (34),  and Tyler (25).  I also have one granddaughter, 6 month old, Harper.  Our oldest lives with his family.  My youngest is still at home but finishes up his University degree and hits the job market this spring!  YEAH!!!! Finally!!

My wife and I have a shared interest in biking, (pedal), and usually take at least one bike touring trip every year.  Our most ambitious ride was RAGBARI, a 6 day , 450 mile, (725km), bike ride across Iowa two years ago. (RAGBRAI )  This year we hope to do an Albany, NY to Rochester, NY ride.

We also have a shared interest in our pets. We are almost finished building our second Koi pond.  Some of our Koi we have had for over 20 years and are more than 24" (61cm) in length.  I have just the decking to complete this year.  We have designed and done 90% of the construction ourselves.  Want to see our koi pond building throughout the two year process?  You can see it here:  Our new pond - Started Fall 2011 - Complete - ? - Pond Showcase - Garden Pond Forums

Our other pets are two dogs.  A 9 year old boxer and a 6 year old German Shorthaired Pointer/Pit mix.  My wife has trained the boxer, Sadie, in agility competition and as a therapy dog. Sadie can actually read flash cards and probably actually is smarter than your honor student.

One interest my wife does not share with me, (and truth be told kind of hates),  is my interest in the fire service.  I have served in the volunteer fire service for over 35 years since I was 18.  I no longer run into burning buildings but I still pull a 10-12 hr shift every week, usually as a driver with a busy department in Newark, DE.  On SCN many of you have seen my profile picture driving the back of the ladder truck.  That is an older picture, and we now have a newer ladder truck which is pictured below.  I do still drive and by far this is my favorite to drive, especially the back end!  It was a childhood dream as a little boy that I was able to be fortunate enough to make happen.  :smile:

I also love to backpack and try to get out on something different every year.  Last year I hiked to Beaver Falls on Havasu Creek at the bottom of the Grand Canyon with my son and some friends.  This year we have a hike planned for the Badlands in beautiful South Dakota. I combined my interest in the fire service with my love for dogs and my love for the outdoors about six years ago and got involved with a volunteer search and rescue team.  I trained our German Short-haired Pointer mixed breed dog, Meadow, as a wilderness search dog. She is trained to search for missing people lost in the woods and we are certified by the National Association For Search And Rescue.  We hope to certify as a disaster dog as well this upcoming year.

You can visit our new search and rescue team’s web page here.  ChesCo Search Dogs  Pay particular attention to the donations page!!!  If you’ve ever felt good about any advice I ever gave you here at SCN, feel free to visit this page.  If I’ve steered you wrong along the way.. sorry.. don’t trust everything a stranger tells you on the internet!!

Professionally, like many SAP folks my age I never intended to get into SAP.  I studied Animal Science at the University of Delaware in their pre-veterinarian program. For several reasons, vet school wasn’t in the cards for me and I wound up working in chemical laboratories for a couple of different companies.  Computers really weren’t even in the lab yet.  I eventually moved to a pharmaceutical firm where I did animal research and testing.  I worked mostly on animal operant conditioning.  Think of rats pressing levers and running mazes kind of stuff.  We used this testing for evaluating new drug compounds for Alzheimer’s, senile dementia, and neuron growth and recovery following strokes and other neurological injuries..

That eventually led into computers, as they started to find their way into laboratories in the 80’s.  That led to night school for computer programming,  which eventually led to an IT job running LIMS, chromatography systems, VAX computers and miscellaneous lab systems.  That eventually led to a systems analyst job at a chemical firm.  Then one day they told me I was on this SAP project thingy and off I went kicking and screaming.  Welcome to 3.1c. SAP QM and Batch Management!

Almost 20 years later,  and 15 years as an independent, after numerous projects with numerous chemical and pharma firms,  here I am blogging on SCN…. Go figure.  None of it was planned or thought out.  I was just very fortunate to have been in the right places at the right time. And to have a wife that supported me doing new things and going to new places with no promises or guarantees that things would work out.  You kind of have to be that way I guess to marry a firefighter to start with which I always was and always will be.  I'm still hoping that someday SCN will let me post again under Firefighter!!!

So I hope I haven’t bored you to tears.  That’s me in a nutshell.  I’m very thankful for having the opportunity to have made a career out of this.  I’ve found a job I usually look forward to getting up for each morning and that’s really important.  It’s also allowed me to pursue other things that I love in a way that allows me to give back in a small way to my community.  Hopefully at some point, I’ve lessened the misery or suffering of someone else. 

I kind of think of the SCN community in a similar way.  It's not life threatening stuff here, (contrary to what some believe!), but hopefully sharing my small slice of knowledge here helps make it easier for fellow consultants trying to navigate the challenges of a project.

Nitin posted these three questions in his blog it forward:

  1. If given an opportunity to travel with possibilities to go by your wish, how far would you travel across the universe ?

In the words of the infamous Buzz LightYear “To Infinity and Beyond!!!”.  I mean if your going to go… you may as well go.

  1. A celebrity name, whom you have always dream to date  and where??

Hmmm… no one really.  I’m quite happy with my wife and really wouldn’t dream about anyone else.  Especially at my age now cause it probably would involve a beautiful, young, athletic, outdoors type of female celebrity that could kick my butt on the trail, (a Hope Solo type).  It would of course involve a backpacking trip to some remote area.  Then  I’d just be classified as a dirty old man which is not a tag I’m interested in.  So for now.. no one.

  1. If you ever get to time travel for a week, which phase of your life you would want to re live without changing it ???

It would probably be the week my wife and I vacationed together for the first time , shortly after we met.  We went with some friends on a ski trip and we shared a large townhouse on the side of a ski slope.  It involved lots of skiing, alcohol, food, more alcohol,  more skiing, more food, more alcohol, roaring fireplaces, and a lot of things unmentionable on a public forum. :wink:

Questions from BIF list:

  1. If you were given by your work a full day every week to do whatever you feel like, what would it be? Easy... train SAR dogs all day.

  2. What do you enjoy most in your work and why? Visiting plant sites, getting to learn how things are "made" and the problems and issues involved.  Meeting plant personnel and learning about their daily lives, both professionally and personally

  3. What do you think are the key elements for a successful project?Empowered and respected company personnel as process leads.  Folks that know where the skeletons are buried and how to drive decisions and process change.  People that the upper management champions have fully empowered and then get out of the way and let them re-engineer what needs to be re-engineered.

OK. many of the folks I'd like to hear about have already been asked, (and not done it!), so I'm simply blogging it forward to those that requested it in the table

Blog It Forward- Request to Join Table

I'm passing on Nitin's question above and ask you to select three from the BIF list.





In order to stay updated with this chain, Please follow Blog It Forward (BIF) Chain:

Here's a link to BIF part 2 - Blog it Forward - Craig Snyder


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