Hi there, thank you for stopping by. Here is a memorable family outing, involving my family and several work-related visitors from Beijing, China. Unbeknownst to us, my wife Michelle was pregnant with Erica at the time!
It was 1991 and I worked for TREMA North America, Inc., based in Reisterstown, MD. Trema was in the business of the design and supply of industrial chemical processing equipment. After the hiring of my Father, we began selling Spray Dryers, which was a lucrative niche market.
Our Work in China
The China Petrochemical Corporation, of The People’s Republic of China, was a new customer and obtained permission to send a group of engineers to visit us for a project review meeting. Pretty amazing for our little company of seven or eight people!
After a couple of days of meetings, and before they had to travel home, they were hoping to do some sightseeing. Michelle & I were happy to oblige.
Side Trip To Washington, DC
To cure their desire to see some of the US, Michelle, Catherine, and Jared took our visitors on a road trip to see Washington DC. I rented a van, hired a tour guide, picked up my family, and off to Washington, DC with our new friends. Note there were four professional engineers, who did not speak a word of English, their interpreter, and our tour guide.
What ensued was a relaxing day of fun, education, and smiles. We stopped and walked a few attractions, and drove by many more. Everybody was asking questions, learning, joking, and laughing.
Another highlight of this adventure was when our visitors while riding around in the van, took note paper and made different Origami. Catherine and Jared were awestruck.
A few months after the visit, we received a letter stating how much they enjoyed their visit with us and their trip to Washington, DC. Many years later I still recall how we, from completely different cultures (and generations), without even thinking about it, displayed acceptance of each other and had a very enjoyable day.
A Welcome Dinner
A few photos over dinner with my mom and dad at the Harryman House in Reisterstown, MD.
An Acceptable Surprise
Although we didn’t know it t the time, Michelle was about one month pregnant with Erica during the time of this visit! Talk about a lesson in acceptance! We were on our way to child #3!
The FBI Pays a Visit
Imagine my surprise when an FBI agent came by the office one day a few months later. He was inquiring about our guests and what business they had here in the US. I told him they were here for a project review meeting on a Spray Dryer we were designing.
So who exactly was our new customer?
Updated Dec. 2022
China Petrochemical Corporation (Chinese: 中国石油化工集团公司) or Sinopec Group is the world’s largest oil refining, gas, and petrochemical conglomerate, administered by SASAC for the State Council of the People’s Republic of China. Sinopec Group ranked 2nd in the Fortune Global 500 List in 2019, with revenue of over US$414 billion. It is the second-largest company in the world in terms of revenue.
The Spray Dryer design we sold them is used to manufacture a chemical agent (in the form of a fine powder) used in breaking down crude oil into different grades of petroleum products such as gasoline and kerosene.
We sold similar manufacturing dryers to WR Grace in Baltimore, MD, and Lake Charles, LA.
I miss this fascinating work. FYI, I managed all of the purchasing and shipping on this and several other international projects.