Drum It Up! Steel Drum Industry News, Trends, and Issues

Archive for 2015

NEW Safety at Sea requirements effective July 1, 2016

December 31st, 2015 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Associations, HazMat, Industry News, Safety, Skolnik Newsletter

A new publication has been developed that addresses a number of questions raised with respect to a new Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) requirement mandating a “verified gross mass” for all shipping containers prior to loading aboard a container ship. The requirement applies to all containers whether carrying dangerous goods or not and will become effective July 1, 2016. The publication was prepared by The World Shipping Council, The TT Club, ICHCA International and The Global Shippers Forum. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted this amendment several years ago in furtherance of its safety mandate, noting that intentional and accidental misdeclaration of container weights has been the source of various marine casualties.

U.S. exporters will need to provide a verified weight of their loaded container(s) to their carrier; carriers will use the information in creating the stowage plan for individual ship sailings, working with marine terminal personnel. Many U.S. exporters are already in compliance, but not all. The brochure describes the two alternative means to obtain a verified weight. U.S. importers need to ensure that their foreign sources are in compliance with the new requirement. The “penalty” for noncompliance is straightforward: the container will not be loaded aboard the ship, and the consequences for supply chains are obvious.

We expect that the U.S. Coast Guard will soon publish guidance for U.S. exporters on obtaining a verified gross mass. DGAC is making arrangements for a Coast Guard speaker to provide an overview of the new requirement and answer questions at our next Quarterly Meeting February 2-4, 2016. A copy of the publication is available HERE.

Worldwide Quality Day at Skolnik

December 24th, 2015 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter

This past November 18th, and for the 8th consecutive year, Skolnik joined the international celebration of World Quality Day sponsored by the Chartered Quality Institute (CQI). We believe that the delivery of high-quality products and services is essential. The consequences of failure grow ever more significant in today’s world of increasing customer and regulatory oversight and use of social media to broadcast success or failure. We live in a world where there are still too many quality failures that cause harm to society, damage lives, and waste money. Quality failures at any scale become increasingly unacceptable. World Quality Day is our opportunity to reach out and share the important contribution that quality makes towards Skolnik’s growth and prosperity. The purpose of World Quality Day is to promote awareness of quality around the world and to encourage individuals’ and organizations’ growth and prosperity. At Skolnik, World Quality Day included company-wide ISO 2015 training, other safety training sessions, and a catered lunch for all employees. Check out our picture montage of the events. In a global economy where success depends on quality, innovation, and sustainability, World Quality Day is our chance to reinforce these as the foundations of our organization and focus on the importance of quality.

Our Holiday Wine Suggestions

December 17th, 2015 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

With the holidays upon us, we are happy to see so many un-oaked wines showing up on shopping lists for the season. The influence of using stainless steel wine barrels for aging has had a major impact on consumer palates. As tastes and preferences have changed, we have seen a steady increase in the sales of un-oaked whites, including sauvignon blancs and chardonnays. Chardonnays, which were traditionally known for their buttery and oak influences are now showing their crisp and clean side. Here are some wines for your consideration, all made using stainless steel:

  • Four Vines Santa Barbara County Naked Chardonnay (about $13/bottle) — made in 100 percent stainless steel, slightly sweet, very orange-juicy with notes of papaya and melon
  • The Wishing Tree Western Australia Unoaked Chardonnay (about $13/bottle) — full, tart and delicious apple flavors
  • Alpha Domus Hawke’s Bay Unoaked Chardonnay (about $14/bottle) — a lively blend of pineapples and pears, rich but still dry
  • Louis Michel & Fils Chablis (about $28/bottle) — light citrus and minerally, chalky flavors with a mellow apple finish.
  • Mer Soleil “Silver” Santa Lucia Highlands Unoaked Chardonnay (about $35/bottle) — lush tropical-fruit flavors, creamy with bright acidity, and touches of tonic-water bitters

Happy Holidays and cheers!

Holiday Message

December 14th, 2015 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter


At this Holiday Season, I am reflecting back on the blessings of my life and offer a reading that has touched my soul. This year, my nephew, Dan Morris, a professional photographer in Seattle sent me this quote, and I want to share it with my customers, many of whom are also my “beautiful” friends.

Wishing you Healthy and Happy Holidays! —Howard

“I am a professional people looker-atter”

After spending the last 16 years taking pictures of people—people at weddings, people at conferences, people at work, people singing, people with their families, lovers, and babies—I have affirmed my philosophy about people. Everyone is beautiful. Most people have something (often many things) about them that is lovely. A smile or a certain energy. Beautiful eyes, adorable dimples, really great hair. Maybe it’s an evident sense of themselves or an effortless kindness. Those with a few more years under their belt might have an aura of accomplishment. I see people who decide to wear gigantic jewelry, a bright orange suit or a leopard print scarf wrapped around their neck 27 times and it just made me want to know them better. Sometimes beauty is about great cheekbones or amber eyes and red hair…but most of us don’t have those. To my eye, people are beautiful as they are—even when they haven’t won the genetics lottery.

As I write this I find myself asking—as maybe you are—if I am talking about inner beauty vs. outer beauty. Well, my philosophy comes from a profession of looking at people…so wherever it originates I have to call it outer beauty because it can be seen. I am a photographer, not a philosopher. But suffice it to say that I think that you are beautiful and so should you. Take my word for it, I’m a professional.

Savannah hosts Reusable Packagers

November 24th, 2015 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Associations, DOT/UN, Skolnik Newsletter

Surrounded by Live Oak trees and alongside the Savannah River, the Reusable Industrial Packaging Association (RIPA) members met from Oct 28-31 (2015) for their Annual Conference. Piggybacked with IPANA’s (Industrial Packaging Alliance of North America) Annual, the manufacturers and reconditioners of reusable packaging had 3 days of intense presentations and product group updates. Highlighting the presentations were Gardner Carrick of The Manufacturing Institute, who presented an in depth look of the issues effecting today’s manufacturing workforce. Karen Heinold of Potomac Communications brought B2B Social Media opportunities to the level of packaging and manufacturing opportunities. Mr. Glenn Wicks of The Wicks Group broke out the legal procedures, expectations and company performance for an OSHA inspection. The most informative presentation was given Dr. Magdy El-Sibaie, Associate Administrator of the DOT’s Office of Hazardous Materials Safety (PHMSA). Dr. El-Sibaie, who addressed the members with an update of the initiative currently underway by PHMSA, a review of their validation programs, and an update regarding inspection criteria. Dr. El-Sibaie then offered a second "round table chat" in which he participated in a casual dialogue with Paul Rankin, RIPA President, and all members of the Association. In the final days, product group meetings for steel drums and IBC’s concluded the session. About 200 people participated in this conference which also included a Riverboat dinner on the Savannah River. 2016 will be in Austin, Texas.

Skolnik’s Reza Tanha featured in Sports Illustrated Walk-on by Kansas State

November 17th, 2015 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Cool Stuff, Skolnik Newsletter

Lots of programs pride themselves on being walk-on friendly. But the walk-on program at Kansas State is part of the team’s identity, and has been since Coach Bill Snyder took over in 1989 and engineered one of the biggest turnarounds in college football history. From his two lengthy stints as coach at K-State, from 1989 to 2005 and from 2009 to the present), it’s tough for Snyder to pick a favorite walk-on story. His favorite is about a linebacker in whom no one believed. No one, that is, except Bill Snyder.

Reza Tanha, currently Skolnik’s VP of Engineering and Operations, was a 6-foot, 190-pounder from Gridley, Kan., population 300. When Snyder got to K-State he told his assistants that he didn’t want to know which players had the team’s 45 scholarships, or who was on aid versus who wasn’t. It was a brief conversation that left a lasting impression, “I just want to tell you how much I appreciate you,” Tanha told Snyder. “I haven’t played much, but you’ve got me into three games so far—and I know I’m not a very good player. But you treat us just like everyone else.”

Tanha played just the 1989 season before graduating. Each weekend, he unfurls his Wildcats flag, pulls on his K-State T-shirt and finds his team on TV. Almost three decades removed from playing, he feels a special connection to every walk-on who comes through the program. At most schools, the walk-on label signifies a perceived lack of talent. In Manhattan, it’s an elevated status of sorts, a special fraternity. Eight years ago, Tanha—now living in a Chicago suburb—returned to Kansas to go turkey hunting. While there he accompanied a fellow K-State graduate to a local banquet where Snyder was the keynote speaker. Tanha approached Snyder before the event to say hello, and stuck out his hand. “Hey, coach, you probably don’t remember me, but I’m …”
“Reza Tanha,” Snyder interjected. “Linebacker. It’s so good to see you!”

Read the entire Sports Illustrated interview about Coach Snyder and Reza