How Big Is Your Pond?


When was the last time you thought about the size of your pond?

Accomplished author and speaker Seth Godin, posted this very question recently in his blog, and it ‘got me a thinkin’. According to Seth, ‘there’s no doubt that the ‘big fish’ in the pond gets respect, more attention and more than its fair share of business as a result’. He writes that ‘the hard part of being a big fish in a little pond isn’t about being the right sized fish, it’s really about finding the right sized pond.’ Too big and you’ll find yourself stagnating and not growing – to small and you become lunch for someone else.

Here at KHT our goal has never been to be the “biggest fish” in the pond, rather our overriding passion has been, and always will be, to be the very best! Years ago, we challenged ourselves to strategically build our capacity and services. We invested in new and bigger buildings, upgraded equipment, faster processing cycles, timely delivery and really made a commitment to the science behind our distortion sensitive thermal processing (click HERE to meet my awesome lab geeks). For us, it’s made more sense to get better at finding OUR right pond, and not trying to be ‘the biggest fish’. We cast aside barriers and focused on a pond where we can do great work and make a difference for our customers, our employees and the communities we serve.

We call it “Solving Your PIA (Pain in the @#$) Jobs!™”

As Seth writes, ‘too often, we’re attracted to a marketplace (a pond) that’s huge and enticing, then trying to be a big fish everywhere.’ The hard reality is that when spending all of our time chasing the ‘big fish dream’, we often lose sight of what is most important, taking care of our pond.

So, if you’re caught in the net (get it?) of trying to find your right-sized pond, when in doubt, don’t worry so much about scale and foolish reach – just find the pond that’s right for you and your business success. I promise, with focus and commitment, your customers will be delighted.

I’m pretty sure we have – and the water is great!! Grab your suit and jump in with us – and keep sending us your PIA (Pain in the @#$) Jobs!™ – we love ‘em. And, with all this talk of ‘fish and ponds’, for my fishing buddies out there, here is the latest Ohio Fall Fishing news from Outdoor News.




What Signals Are You Sending When Outperforming Expectations?


TOP ROW L TO R: The golden record being mounted onto Voyager in a clean room. Titan IIIE launch vehicle carrying Voyager launched on September 5, 1977, from Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral. Voyager in space. BOTTOM ROW L: The Golden Record. BOTTOM ROW MIDDLE TOP: One of the images on the record of how humans eat and drink (the guy on the right is pouring water into his mouth from a coffee pot. Really? I use a hose.) BOTTOM ROW MIDDLE BOTTOM: An image of Jupiter sent back from Voyager 1. BOTTOM ROW R: The ultimate Box Set. The golden Record is being produced as three vinyl records of the sounds and a book of the images as well as the Voyager story. You can only get this from a KickStarter project HERE. Read more

What’s The Meaning Behind Your Mark?


(Top two rows) A source of company and family pride. The KHT gear & flame mark.
(Bottom two rows) A source of pride in this great country. The Great Seal of the United States in development and in use today.


Here at Kowalski Heat Treating, we’re really proud of our company name and logo mark. Designed by Dad and Mom, and updated over the years, it is a simple representation of a gear and a flame, initially denoting heat treating and the symbiotic relationship with the manufacturing world. It also uses our black and red “branding”, and after 40 years I am still thrilled to see our logo! (Hey that’s us!)

When we use it as our letterhead, put it on a mug, hang it on our buildings or stamp it into our work, it embodies the virtues we hold dear – teamwork, family, quality, honesty, reliability, hard work, friendship, trust – and a little bit of fun! I’m guessing, like the mark you use at your place, our “logo” is shorthand for everything we do for our customers – sort of our “KHT Stamp of Quality” and recognition of the great partnership as We specialize in those PIA (Pain in the @%$) Jobs!™ every day (This is now trademarked!!!!)

On this day in 1782, a very special event took place – the first official use of the Great Seal of the United States. Like our KHT logo, it’s filled with history, purpose and meaning. So for fun, I decided to look it up on Wikipedia (wow, what a story to be proud of). So, in this political season, it’s extra interesting to harken back and learn what our forefathers had in mind as they created our collective USA mark. Enjoy.


  • The Great Seal of the United States is used to authenticate certain documents issued by the U.S. federal government. The phrase is used both for the physical seal itself, kept by the U.S. Secretary of State, and more generally for the design impressed upon it.
  • The obverse (front) of the great seal is used as the national coat of arms of the United States. It is officially used on documents such as United States passports, military insignia, embassy placards, and various flags. As a coat of arms, the design has official colors; the physical Great Seal itself, as affixed to paper, is monochrome.
  • The design on the front of the seal is the coat of arms of the United States. The shield, though sometimes drawn incorrectly, has two main differences from the American flag. First, it has no stars on the blue chief and second, unlike the American flag, the outermost stripes are white, not red; so as not to violate the “heraldic rule of tincture” (now that’s something to look up!).
  • The supporter of the shield is a bald eagle with its wings outstretched (or “displayed,” in heraldic terms). From the eagle’s perspective, it holds a bundle of 13 arrows in its left talon, (referring to the 13 original states), and an olive branch in its right talon, together symbolizing that the United States has “a strong desire for peace, but will always be ready for war.” Although not specified by law, the olive branch is usually depicted with 13 leaves and 13 olives, again representing the 13 original states. The eagle has its head turned towards the olive branch, on its right side, said to symbolize a preference for peace. In its beak, the eagle clutches a scroll with the motto E pluribus unum (“Out of Many, One”). Over its head there appears a “glory” with 13 mullets (stars) on a blue field. In the current (and several previous) dies of the great seal, the 13 stars above the eagle are arranged in rows of 1-4-3-4-1, forming a six-pointed star.
  • The 1782 resolution adopting the seal blazons the image on the reverse as “A pyramid unfinished. In the zenith an eye in a triangle, surrounded by a glory, proper.” The pyramid is conventionally shown as consisting of 13 layers to refer to the 13 original states. The adopting resolution provides that it is inscribed on its base with the date MDCCLXXVI (1776, the year of the United States Declaration of Independence) in Roman numerals. Where the top of the pyramid should be, the Eye of Providence watches over it. Two mottos appear: Annuit cœptis signifies that Providence has “approved of (our) undertakings.” Novus ordo seclorum, freely taken from Virgil, is Latin for “a new order of the ages.” The reverse has never been cut (as a seal) but appears, for example, on the back of the one-dollar bill.
  • The primary official explanation of the symbolism of the great seal was given by Charles Thomson secretary of the Continental Congress (1774–1789) upon presenting the final design for adoption by Congress. He wrote:

The Escutcheon is composed of the chief & pale, the two most honorable ordinaries. The Pieces, paly, represent the several states all joined in one solid compact entire, supporting a Chief, which unites the whole & represents Congress. The Motto alludes to this union. The pales in the arms are kept closely united by the chief and the Chief depends upon that union & the strength resulting from it for its support, to denote the Confederacy of the United States of America & the preservation of their union through Congress. The colours of the pales are those used in the flag of the United States of America; White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valor, and Blue, the colour of the Chief signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice. The Olive branch and arrows denote the power of peace & war which is exclusively vested in Congress. The Constellation denotes a new State taking its place and rank among other sovereign powers. The Escutcheon is born on the breast of an American Eagle without any other supporters to denote that the United States of America ought to rely on their own Virtue. On the Reverse, the pyramid signifies Strength and Duration: The Eye over it & the Motto allude to the many signal interpositions of providence in favour of the American cause. The date underneath is that of the Declaration of Independence and the words under it signify the beginning of the new American Era, which commences from that date.

  • In the Department of State, the term “Great Seal” refers to a physical mechanism which is used by the department to affix the seal to official government documents. This mechanism includes not only the die (metal engraved with a raised inverse image of the seal), but also the counter die), the press, and cabinet in which it is housed. There have been several presses used since the seal was introduced, but none of the mechanisms used from 1782 through 1904 have survived. The seal, and apparently its press, was saved when Washington, D.C. was burned in 1814 though no one knows by whom.
  • The press in use today was made in 1903 by R. Hoe & Co’s chief cabinetmaker Frederick S. Betchley in conjunction with the 1904 die, with the cabinet being made of mahogany.
  • The seal can only be affixed by an officer of the Department of State, under the authority of the Secretary of State. To seal a document, first a blank paper wafer is glued onto its front in a space provided for it. The document is then placed between the die and counter die, with the wafer lined up between them. Holding the document with one hand, the weighted arm of the press is pulled with the other, driving the die down onto the wafer, impressing the seal in relief. When envelopes containing letters need to be sealed, the wafer is imprinted first and then glued to the sealed envelope. It is used approximately 2,000 to 3,000 times a year.
  • Documents which require the seal include treaty ratifications, international agreements, appointments of ambassadors and civil officers, and communications from the President to heads of foreign governments. The seal was once required on presidential proclamations, and on some now-obsolete documents such as exequaturs and Mediterranean passports.
  • On August 4, 1945, a delegation from the Young Pioneer organization of the Soviet Union presented a carved wooden plaque of the Great Seal to U.S. Ambassador W. Averell Harriman, as a “gesture of friendship” to the USSR’s allies of World War II. Concealed inside was a covert remote listening device called The Thing. It hung in the ambassador’s Moscow residential study for seven years, until it was exposed in 1952 during the tenure of Ambassador George F. Kennan.
  • Some conspiracy theories state that the Great Seal shows a sinister influence by Freemasonry in the founding of the United States. Such theories usually claim that the Eye of Providence (found, in the Seal, above the pyramid) is a common Masonic emblem, and that the Great Seal was created by Freemasons. These claims, however, misstate the facts. According to David Barrett, a Masonic researcher, the Eye seems to have been used only sporadically by the Masons in those decades, and was not adopted as a common Masonic symbol until 1797, several years after the Great Seal of the United States had already been designed.

If this resonates with you, give me a call and let me know about “your” mark and what it means to your employees and company.




The Sounds of Fall


(Top L to R) Contrasts: A leather football used in a 1932 college football game and the Wilson X Connected Football that, with an iPhone app, will give stats about your throw, such as distance, velocity, spiral efficiency, spin rate, and whether the pass was caught or dropped. Released to stores yesterday.
(Bottom L to R) Leather football helmet from 1917. The Vince Lombardi trophy. And, well, you know.


The other day, while working in the yard, I heard a familiar sound – the high school marching band music was loud and clear. It immediately made me think of Friday night football games and also back to my HS days – old friends, teammates, and best of all, playing football. I was lucky enough to play football in HS – at a pretty competitive school named St. Ed’s (current D-1 State champions – brag, brag – yeah!). For me, football had so many fun and memorable moments – plus, the absolutely thrill of watching my four daughters perform on the Bay High Rockettes dance drill team or the marching band, and yes they could hear me cheering from the stands!

So, like I normally do, I thought I’d do a little digging, and see where that funky football shape, this crazy game and everything “Friday Night” came from, along with some fun trivia – enjoy.

Where did the football come from? American football may have evolved from soccer and rugby, but it turns out that the football was never truly designed, it just sort of happened. Nicknamed “the “pigskin”, it’s not made of pig skin at all, but is, in fact, made from cowhide. Of course, popular speculation has it that the leather exterior of the football was once made from the tanned skin of a pig, but it’s more likely that the football was made from a pig’s bladder. We may never know.

What about the football shape? Equally mysterious is the shape of the ball. If the sport evolved from soccer and rugby, how and when did the football gain its distinct shape – technically known as a prolate spheroid? Well, it turns out that the football was never truly designed, it just sort of happened. According to Henry Duffield, a man who witnessed a game between Princeton and Rutgers in 1869, largely considered to be the first intercollegiate game:

“The ball was not an oval but was supposed to be completely round. It never was, though — it was too hard to blow up right. The game was stopped several times that day while the teams called for a little key from the sidelines. They used it to unlock the small nozzle which was tucked into the ball, and then took turns blowing it up. The last man generally got tired and they put it back in play somewhat lopsided.”

Where did the game start? Initially, football was a very different game – or perhaps I should say games. There were kicking games and running games, but as those two games began to merge together, as rules began to standardize, the ball began to slightly stretch out in order to accommodate more types of use, when the forward pass was introduced to football in 1906.
As the game continued to change, the ball evolved to accommodate new rules and new plays. Most notably, in the 1930s, it became longer and slimmer as the forward pass became a more dominant–and more encouraged–part of the game. –

Where did the ball get its white stripes? In 1956, the white balls traditionally used in night games were replaced with a standard daytime football circled by two white stripes. Though advancements in stadium lighting have made night balls unnecessary, NCAA games still use the white-striped ball.

Where did the ball name “the Duke” come from? In 1941, the official football used by the NFL was nicknamed “The Duke,” after the Wellington Mara, whose father named him after the Duke of Wellington. That name played a key role in establishing the relationship between the NFL and Wilson Sporting Goods, the company that has for more than 70 years produced the official football of the NFL. “The Duke” was in play until 1969 when professional football reorganized. In 2006, National Football League owners decided to return the name of the official game ball to “The Duke” in honor of Wellington Mara’s passing the previous years.

What are the specs on a regular football? An NFL ball shall consist of a urethane bladder inflated to 12.5 to 13.5 pounds and enclosed in a pebble grained, tan leather outer shell designed to provide a good grip – even in the rain. The ball must be 11-11.25 inches long, have a long circumference between 28- 28.5 inches, a short circumference between 21-21.25 inches; and it must weigh 14 to 15 ounces. The variation in the measurements is due to the fact that all NFL footballs are made by hand. Since 1955 every NFL football has been made at Wilson’s 130-person factory in Ada, Ohio, which produces up to 4,000 footballs a day.

These NFL footballs are born on the backs of Midwestern cows from Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska, which are brought to a tannery in Ada and treated with a top secret football-weather-optimizing tanning recipe. Each football is composed of four separate pieces with a single cowhide producing ten balls. The construction of the bladder is also a secret process, with each synthetic bladder produced by one man. From pigskin to cowhide, organic bladder to synthetic rubber, the ball has changed and the game itself has evolved into a completely different animal.

What happened in “deflategate”? The official rules of the National Football League require footballs to be inflated to a gauge pressure between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch (psi) or 86 to 93 kPa, when measured by the referees. Per the pressure-temperature law, there is a positive correlation between the temperature and pressure of a gas with a fixed volume and mass. Thus, if a football were inflated to the minimum pressure of 12.5 psi at room temperature, the pressure would drop below the minimum as the gases inside cooled to the colder ambient temperature on the playing field. While footballs deflate naturally in colder temperatures, a deliberately under-inflated football may be easier to grip, throw, and catch, or inhibit fumbling, especially in cold rainy conditions. The 2015 AFC Championship Game football tampering scandal, commonly referred to as Deflategate, was a National Football League (NFL) controversy involving the allegation that the New England Patriots tampered with footballs used in the American Football Conference (AFC) Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts on January 18, 2015.

What is the longest recorded football punt and field goal? The longest punt is the 98-yard punt by New York’s Steve O’Neal in 1969. The kick began from his team’s 1-yard line and was downed at the Broncos’ 1-yard line. It is the longest possible punt to be recorded that is NOT a touchback. The longest field goal in NFL history is 64 yards by Matt Prater of the Denver Broncos in 2013. The longest field goal in NCAA history is 67 yards, accomplished four times, most recently by Tom Odle for Fort Hays State in 1988. The NCAA record for longest field goal without a tee and with the more-narrow modern goal posts is 65 yards by Martin Gramatica of Kansas State in 1998. Nick Rose, a senior kick for the University of Texas obliterated all of those with an 80-yard field goal in practice.

Are signed footballs worth much? While original football player cards can fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars, most signed footballs carry lower value. Some collector favorites are Johnny Unitus and John Elway.

If I’m a cow, what are my odds? It takes about 600 cows to make one full season’s worth of NFL footballs. At Wilson Sporting Goods Company, they make more than 2 million footballs of all sorts every year. A cow has only a 1 in 17,420,000 chance of becoming an NFL football that is used in the Super Bowl.

Just fun trivia:

  • Only two players have caught, rushed, and thrown a touchdown against the same team in the same game: Walter Payton in 1979 and David Patton in 2001.
  • Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett is the only player to rush for a 99-yard touchdown, in 1983.
  • Just two years after finishing their careers, approximately 78% of NFL player go bankrupt.  In 1892, former Yale star William “Pudge” Heffelfinger became the first recognized pro player when he accepted $500 to play for the Allegheny Athletic Association.
  • Though football games usually last around 3 hours, the ball is typically in play for only 11 minutes. Around 56% of the game on TV is devoted to replays.
  • In an NFL game, as many as 75 minutes, or about 60% of total TV air time (excluding commercials), is spent on shots of players standing on the line of scrimmage, huddling, or just walking around between snaps.
  • The average age of an NFL cheerleader is 25 and NFL cheerleaders typically make $50–$75 a game. However, by the time they spend money on makeup, hair accessories, dance classes, etc., they end up losing money. During broadcast NFL games, cheerleaders are on TV for only about 3 seconds.
  • Coaches and referees receive around 7% of the face time in a game.
  • Instant replay became commonplace in the mid-1960s, which helped fill the idle moments of the game. By the 1990s, some football broadcasts showed about 100 replays per game.
  • There are nearly 3 million sports industry jobs in the U.S, which is approximately 1% of the population.
  • Contrary to common opinion, the “G” on the Green Bay Packers helmet doesn’t stand for Green Bay. Rather, it stands for “Greatness.”
  • The huddle was invented by Paul Hubbard. A legally deaf quarterback from Gallaudet University, he “huddled” other players together so he could hear them better and to protect them from the other teams’ prying eyes.



I’m So Very Proud

Superhero, young businessman tearing his shirt off isolated on g

As you know, Labor Day (and what has now extended to become a whole weekend) honors the American labor movement, the American “working” spirit and our shared love of country.

When it comes to great workers, none can be more accurate or true than here at Kowalski Heat Treating.

I am so very proud of my team here at KHT. Every day I get the opportunity to witness their passion, spirit, teamwork and love of problem solving. I’m blessed to be associated with such great people and love to see everyone “rally” when a PIA (Pain In The @#$) Job! comes in, all focused on getting it right. Whether it’s happily helping a customer on the phone, delivering perfect goods on time or triple-checking a job on the processing floor, we all enjoy a certain team bond that’s really grown from the very first day Dad opened the doors back in 1975.

So, for us, Labor Day weekend is always a bit extra special – it’s part of our KHT team DNA, present and past.

May God bless all of our staff, customers, vendors and partners, and all of their families.

Enjoy this weekend – get your family and friends together – cook out on the grill and just have some good old fashion “American” fun together.

And have an extra safe holiday, as we turn the corner on summer and head into fall.