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Blog It Forward – Craig Snyder

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.  🙂

Ladder_9_new.jpgI 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.Beaver_falls.jpg 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.

Meadow_uni.jpgYou 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. 😉

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.

sachin chavan

Shiva Maryala

GuruCharan Gompa

sivakiran uppala

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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  • Hi Craig,

    It is nice to know the person behind the great "Firefighter" ID here on SCN

    Such great pictures too - albeit I bet snowy now.

    It is great too that you can spend 10-12 hours volunteering as a firefighter - thank you for your service.

    Thank you for posting.


    • Very snowy now!

      I'm not sure how "great" my FF ID was but I do like it.  🙂

      I wouldn't know what to do if I couldn't serve.


  • First a long time hiding behind the ladder truck, and now a real long interesting blog with a coming out.

    Just realized that I will have a drive through Chester county in my planned Summer holidays.

    I will wave with my SDN T-shirt

    • If you come to the Philly area, I'm always happy to be a tour guide, or at least make suggestions.  And there's usually always cold beverages in the fridge here.


  • Sir,

    I would rather like to address you this way now. You are my father's age. I'm 27.

    I loved your blog. This is Most awaited blog for me since the time this BIF stuff started. I feel pride seeing my name in your blog.

    I have always wanted to know about you. I didn't read your blog just once but many times, it is so nice awesome write up. I'm kinda great fan of yours 😎

    Knowing about Pennsylvania is great, its indeed a beautiful place, the horse buggy, farms and those colorful trees, mind blowing!!

    I'm happy to see your picture, now I know how you do look. 🙂

    I wish I can sometime make it to US and would like to see you for sure. I have learned alot from you. Your rescue operations, they are great.  You are a HERO!!

    Its an honor to know you



    • Gosh... 😳 😳   Not exactly sure how to respond.

      But please.. Craig is my name,"Sir" was my father.  We are all colleague's here.

      But thanks for the kind words.

      Maybe someday I'll make it to India.  🙂


      • I cannot deny your point.

        But we respect this way, its Indian culture. We don't take names of our elders, teachers, gurus 🙂 .

        For you, Craig sir would do good. Right!! Honestly, I just cannot address you by your name anymore.

        You are most most welcome to India. I wish we could meet someday 🙂



  • That’s me in a nutshell.

    Well, to answer in a nutshell:

    Dammit, Craig, you're even cooler than I thought you were!

    I don't even know on what to comment first. The firefighting? The dog training? Koi collection? Pond building? Being a granddad? You have so much great stuff going on in your life, awesome. 🙂

    At least we have the hiking in common. ^^ Those destinations look like something I'd like to explore, too. Grand Canyon is definitly on my list.

    Thank you for sharing so much of your life. And I miss your old ID, too. Firefighter, now that's a nickname! But I have to say, I "see" that one in my mind, what I look at your current ID and avatar, so all is well. 😀


    (a pretty impressed) Steffi.

    • Thanks Steffi!

      I got a whole list of backpacking trips in my bucket list Steffi.  From 3 days to 6 months.  Happy to share them with you anytime!


      • I'll come back to you for this, if when I'm backpacking through 'Merica! 🙂 The next destinations for me are already fixed with Island, Ireland and England. ^^

  • I just wanted to quickly check what's going on and log out again due to busy schedule, but here comes your BIF blog and I had to read it through the end.

    It was very interesting and impressive to learn about your background, as I think you are making a difference and really leave a mark here on SCN.

    While reading I was also reminded of the great time I had working in North-East Philly back in 1997, I remember the project team sitting on the restaurant patios on South Street after work, watching the "street life", eating good food, drinking some "Sam Adams" 🙂



    P.S. I will show the fire truck picture to my son (4), he will want one on the spot.

    • Wow.. North-East Philly....I think it must of gotten much worse in that area since '97.  Were they providing armed escorts then?  🙂

      Now South Street... that be a good time with Mr Adams! 🙂


      • What a shame that SCN was not there in 97, I bet we all could have met on South Street.

        It is amazing how many people which I know today have worked in 97 in the Tristate area.

      • I guess it was OK at the time (I cannot compare much), the plant was at Grant Ave and Ashton Rd, my place was at Welsh Rd and later in Huntingdon Valley.



    • Wow.. my first comment to you Thomas, on my own blog, was hidden and sent for moderation review!  It said it appeared I was new user...  🙁  Go figure!!


  • Hi Craig

    Enjoyed reading your BIF a lot

    The pictures from your Hometown are great - would have love to to do horse riding there

    Thanks for sharing your journey 🙂



  • Weeeeeee! \o/

    Finally you revealed yourself, Craig! 😀

    High-Five for PA; have you ever been to Johnstown? That's really some cool stuff you're into. I was about to put down a quote from Heist, but then again I don't wanna be banned today.

    Cheers, Lukas

    • Actually yes.. I've took one of my NASAR certifications up near Johnstown, PA.   It is a pretty rural area.  🙂


  • Hi Craig,

    Very Nice blog. Glad to know you and your interests. Enjoyed reading facts about your country and the different types of works you involved in!

    Kudos to you and appreciate your great service. ➕



  • Beautiful blog Craig, I used to notice the sensitive comments of firefighter in discussions. Good to know about his life. Really interesting.

    - Midhun VP

  • Hi Craig,

    Thank you so much for sharing about you and your experience. Very nice photos of Horses & Places! I like the way you have posted. Also I thank you so much for sharing rescue team’s web page. It's quite interesting one. Keep sharing and motivating others. All the best!



    Hari Suseelan

  • Hi Craig, I just logged in to SCN and to my pleasant surprise it was your blog! Great. 🙂 Really good to know some more facts about you! It’s a wonderful treat for me! Let me take this opportunity to say few words about you.

    Since last few years, I have been consistently following you on SCN and it’s indeed a great experience! The depth of topic knowledge you have, is awesome and it helps many people not only from technical configuration but from functional and logical aspects too! The firmness in your posts /replies, builds the confidence in to our mind and that makes the solutions easy and perfect ones! Clearing the doubts conceptually, that's what I like the most!

    Contributing tirelessly for so many years without any break is not an easy task. You Craig SSujit Gujar  and many others are really wonderful folks and have been doing this since quite long. I really respect you all! Like others, I also have learnt many things from your posts and hope to continue the same in future. Keep posting!

    Tons of thanks and lots of regards!


    • Thanks Anand for the kind words.  You also have been contributing for quite a while as well.  I always read your posting and replies.  It's been a two-way street and I've learned from you as well.


  • So glad you decided to bif Craig! This way I got to learn so much more about you!

    I really enjoyed the post, learning about Chester (I'm born and raised Pa too but from the 'burgh!), about your volunteer work and the cool SAR training you do!! We can see that helping your community is a theme in your life and we are grateful it extended to SCN! 🙂


  • As I said we get a good sampling of all 4 seasons in my area, 3 months of each...  But really... This feels like a Scandinavian winter!  The snow just keeps coming.  Barely halfway through this storm!


  • Ah-ha, we have the full identity at last! 🙂 Although I'm with Steffi - missing the familiar 'Firefighter' quite a bit. What a great blog - thank you for joining the chain and for all the things you do!

    Except for the furniture, my backyard looked pretty much the same last week and I'm in NC, so it was the state of emergency. 🙂