Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Member Spotlight: Buddy and Ann Bordes

What happens when you mix Cajun spice with sweet Georgia peach? Answer: a power couple – Buddy and Ann Bordes, our hosts for the New Orleans Rally

Buddy is a New Orleans native who worked for Shell Oil. He started as a turbine power plant technician working on Shell’s Gulf of Mexico oil rigs. That’s right – the oil rigs are powered by jet engines. It didn’t take Buddy long to see that Shell’s acquisition and deployment strategy for the oil rig turbines was flawed and inefficient, a message he took to the company early on. Consequently he saved the company a lot of money and he wound up in charge of the entire Gulf of Mexico turbine power operations for the last 10 years of his career. During his tenure with Shell he had temporary stints in Brazil and Nigeria as well. So, Buddy kept the turbines on the rigs going. Interestingly, the turbines not only supply electric power to the rig, but are also used to compress natural gas for easier transport to shore, and to pump water at high pressure down into the well bores. The turbines can burn natural gas that is readily available from the drilling operations, but can also burn diesel if needed.
Ann is a Georgia peach from Fort Valley. That name will be familiar to a lot of us because we recognize it as the home of Blue Bird Motorcoach, manufacturer of the all-steel heavy weighs that some of our members have owned. Ann’s father was the town doctor and personal physician to the Luce family that founded the company. Ann studied interior design at Georgia Southern College in Statesboro, GA, but later taught elementary school.
So, how did Cajun spice meet sweet Georgia peach? It was a blind date. Ann’s sister was living in New Orleans, and Ann fatefully decided to visit. The rest is history, and oddly enough Ann’s parents also met on a blind date in New Orleans. Buddy and Ann have three grown sons, two who live in New Orleans and one who lives in Hattiesburg, MS. Oldest son Kevin has given them four grandchildren and middle son Tim a grandson all of whom they are happy to have living nearby.
Buddy had dreamed of owning a motor home for years. He typically made fifteen trips a year to the home office of the turbine manufacturer, Solar Turbines in San Diego. Solar Turbines is a subsidiary of Caterpillar. On his last trip to San Diego Ann was with him when they spotted their Country Coach which they immediately fell in love with. Buddy says it was a challenging experience driving the coach cross country never having driven a motor home before. The experience was made especially challenging when they woke up to a big snow in Flagstaff, AZ and couldn’t get the slides in. After that, they decided on a southern route back to Louisiana. 
They have owned the coach about five years, and one of their favorite trips was to Cody, Wyoming, for the CCI rally. Ann says it was a great six weeks trip in which they visited Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. They did have one scary experience traveling from Dallas to Carlsbad Caverns. They topped a hill on a rain-slick highway and went into a hydroplaning skid in which the coach and tow wound up sideways in the road. Buddy managed to correct the skid and get straight again before stopping. A trucker immediately behind them stopped and said it was the worst skid he has ever seen and that Buddy did a great job of recovering a bad situation.
                    Grand Canyon         Grand Teton         Yellowstone
Buddy and Ann are looking forward to welcoming us to their wonderful city and have planned many interesting activities to introduce us to the Big Easy. They especially want to share the culture of New Orleans – the French Quarter, of course, but also City Park, street cars, and the new Road to Berlin section of the National World War II Museum. Buddy said that the city has done a great job on the museum. Ann summed it all up: New Orleans is a big city in a small area with wonderful people – like no place you’ve been.