Reflections on a Statistical Journey – Basil Springer Column

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it.” – Proverbs 22:6

statisThis last week, I reflected on my journey through life. If I had another chance at life, would I do anything differently? Am I happy with what I have done and am doing?

To achieve a healthy lifestyle and achieve happiness and fulfillment, there are many aspects of health that must be managed efficiently – business, cerebral, emotional, financial, physical, and spiritual health.

Today, I am going to reflect primarily on the business aspect of my life even though all aspects are interactive.

Of course, I make mistakes, but I leave them behind and strive not to repeat them but to learn from them. I am happy with what I have achieved and with my quality of life, but there is more that I would like to do. I have now come to grips with my own mortality and live by faith that I shall continue to be happy. I have no idea when it will all end and practise succession planning by continually sharing with others and recording my views in this series of columns.

My first 19 years were spent growing up and formally completing a Montessori, primary and secondary education in preparation for the next phase of tertiary education. It was clear that I had a flair for mathematics, some thought almost to the exclusion of other subjects on the curriculum. I was totally enthused with mathematical models, the power of which I unapologetically believe in until this day, as an integral approach to problem-solving at all levels.basilBASIL SPRINGER

The next eight years were spent in Jamaica, Wales and England where my mathematical flair morphed into a love affair with statistical science. My training and internship embraced Bayesian statistics, operations research, and biometrics (applied to agriculture).

Good fortune landed me in Trinidad where my mandate was to establish a Biometrics Unit (teaching, design/analysis of research experiments) in the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of the West Indies. This lasted for nine years, including assignments with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, the Caricom Secretariat, and the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute.

As an entrepreneur (1977), I became a pioneer in the field of Caribbean business consulting and established Systems Caribbean Limited, specializing in project management. This resulted in a broad range of experience in moulding a team of over 50, exposure to clients in different disciplines all over the Caribbean, and the development of many business development services. This activity lasted for 23 years when the firm was sold. It still exists today as Systems Consulting Ltd.

In 1982, I wrote a paper entitled “A lost statistical identity; real or imagined?”. Had I lost my way? In the paper, I argued that my path to project management was optimal and the lost statistical identity was merely a figment of my imagination.

For the last 20 years, as a sole proprietor, I have shepherded young entrepreneurs so they may reduce the risk of business failure in startup enterprises and hence contribute to economic growth. The highlight of this period has been as a director of my son’s companies - Caribbean Media Exchange (CMEx) and Marketplace Excellence (MPE). I have been engaged in business optimization, with great personal satisfaction, based on the application of mathematical and statistical models.

Let us encourage our children to pursue their passions, to work hard and smart so that when they are old, they can encourage the next generation to soar to new heights.

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