A willingness to sit down at the table. An ability to set aside ego and territorial issues to do what's best for the community. Implementing creative staffing solutions in times of crisis. I know what you're probably NOT thinking: government agencies. But in fact, it is those very characteristics that were displayed by Detroit's U.S. Customs and U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service offices last year following Sept. 11.
Last month I promised to introduce you to some of the behind-the-scenes heroes who have helped first to restore and then maintain safety and balance at our Northern Border. Two individuals stand out immediately: Carol Jenifer, district director of INS, and Kevin Weeks, director of field operations for the Customs office, who are pictured on the cover of this issue.
These leaders, and the men and women of their respective departments, were our soldiers at the front lines. They worked 12-hour days, seven days a week, with no vacation time allowed. People were moved into new positions in order to keep the traffic moving at our border-crossing points. They had to handle not only the threat of dangerous materials, but also had to maintain calm while people were waiting 10 to 20 hours in their cars and trucks to get through to make their deliveries or head to their jobs.
And all the while Weeks and Jenifer showed up at Chamber border coalition meetings and listened and learned and acted and implemented.
They showed true leadership in the face of...