At Market Connections, we have an amazing team of professionals, all with vast experience in their respective fields. However, what you may not know is that our team members also have some amazing personal stories and accomplishments that are also worthy of sharing!
Dave Glantz, our Director of Research Services, conducts qualitative and quantitative research on a variety of topics including high tech product and service concepts, information assurance, cybersecurity, political issues and government policy, healthcare, education, and career and employment issues for Market Connections’ clients including government agencies, top contractors and Fortune 500 businesses.
In addition to his expertise in research, Dave has an abiding interest in Tibetan culture and art, fueled by his travels and experience. This led Dave to collaborate with David Huber on The Golden Valley: The Untold Story of the Other Cultural Center of Tibet and to co-authoring their latest book, Symbolism In Tibetan Art: Meanings and Practical Applications.
Symbolism in Tibetan Art unlocks the wisdom secrets of Tibetan symbolism and opens the door to a deeper understanding of ourselves. Unlike other books on this subject, they go beyond hard-to-interpret line drawings, instead revealing full color images of the actual artwork painted over the centuries. Drawing on numerous sources dating all the way back to Buddha’s own teachings, the allegories these symbols contain can also open up unique pathways each of us can follow toward awareness, wisdom and enlightenment.
Below are a couple of questions we asked Dave to provide insight into his work and passion.
MC: What drove your interest into Tibetan art and culture? How did you get into it? What has driven your expertise?
DG: My first exposure to Tibetan art and culture came when trekking in nearby Nepal, and, years later, spending time in Tibet itself. All along the way, from Lhasa’s Jokhang temple to Everest base camp, I found myself incredibly moved by so many generous, humble and welcoming people, despite their incredible hardships. That sparked my interest in the Tibetan people.
Like 500-year-old Italian Renaissance paintings, whose images are infused with their own symbolism, 500 years ago on the roof of the world, in a place called the Golden Valley, Tibetan monks were following their own painterly traditions to decorate and educate through their own symbols and stories. Many of the paintings in these two books come from that era.
That paintings like these, along with exquisitely preserved furniture and other relics, could survive major invasions and, in our own time, the near-total destruction of Tibet’s monasteries, I consider it nothing short of miraculous that any of the art of the Golden Valley’s monasteries remains intact.
With that in mind, David Huber and I were inspired to bring these objects to light. To place this output in context, we added background on the history, living conditions, beliefs and rituals of those that reside there now, and what influenced earlier generations. The result is these two books.
MC: If you could provide one takeaway from both of your books, what would you want your readers to gain from reading them?
DG: I realize that this art, and the culture it reflects, might come across to many readers as opaque, mystical and as inaccessible as the land that produced it. It is easy to ask why anyone should even care about this remote place and its deep attention to esoteric ancient symbolism and hard to pronounce mantras; or the positioning, size and gestures of the various figures on paintings and furniture. In answer to that, I feel this legacy matters for three reasons.
First, it tells us something about the ideals Tibetans hold dear, allowing us a glimpse of what their society is all about, and why they continue to cling to their Buddhist faith in the face of overwhelming odds.
Secondly, it illuminates the path to enlightenment that countless generations of Tibetans have desired to follow – learning and reciting lessons of universal meaning and relevance that apply not just to one sect, ethnicity or nation, but as a guide for all humanity should anyone wish to take that path. To lose this learning would deny the world the unique and rich store of spiritual knowledge found on this vast but little-known plateau.
The third reason to care about this heritage is simple: once it’s gone, it’s gone. We therefore felt a profound urgency to tell their story.
Dave Glantz, Director Research Services, Market Connections, Inc.
On Oct. 9, the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) blog posted an infographic and blog entry that they say “fight[s] against the myth of Pentagon spending as a job creator.” The post asserts that, based on historic data, sequestration cuts to Pentagon spending will not cause widespread job losses. The historic data they cite show a 3% reduction in the contracting workforce among the top 5 defense contractors from 2006-2011, a period in which those same contractors saw a 10% increase in contract dollars.
I take issue with the logic of the infographic’s argument.
That last five-year period (2006-2011) saw defense spending that covered a great many contracts, a lot of them associated with two major wars, including the longest war in US history (Afghanistan). Going forward, the next five-year period is likely to see fewer (planned) wars (we hope) and thus fewer, less expensive contracts.
Also, it stands to reason that over that very active five-year period of defense spending, the defense contractors themselves were able to identify efficiencies along the way that allowed them to complete their contracts with fewer personnel – I would imagine this to be the case for the longer term and more mature contracts especially. In other words, like other industries, the contractors were able to raise more productivity per worker over time, and thus were able to shed some workers as playershad.com and when they saw fit.
But sequestration is supposed to hit contractors more suddenly, with immediate and indiscriminate program/budget cuts, with no advance notice of what exactly is to be cut or by how much. In many instances my guess is the contractor will not have the luxury of time to shed workers when and as they choose, and still remain profitable. They may instead need to make that decision up-front, given the unpredictability of the environment and the conceivably reduced scope of any new programs that are approved or survive.
I don’t want to automatically take the side of the defense contractors, because even without sequestration they would have been aware (as we all are) that the winding down of two wars and a fiscally strapped federal government would lead to less business. Nor do I feel the Pentagon in particular is or should be seen as a Job Creator, because its budget (and consequent freedom to issue contracts) is authorized by Congress.
It is true that if the Pentagon suddenly reduces contracts by ten percent, then that action cannot help but be the impetus for job losses to the firms that supply the Pentagon with products and services. Indeed, the prospect of a big and sudden cut to budgets in ANY industry is likely to lead to equally immediate job losses. That’s very different from industry’s shedding jobs due to productivity gains over the course of many contracts from 2006-2011, an era of unprecedented defense spending.
At the same time, I don’t think it’s fair to label the Pentagon as a Job Destroyer. Like the contractors, the Pentagon is also looking for efficiencies over time, and it is only reasonable to expect (as the contractors do) that more can be built by fewer hands. From that standpoint, it really isn’t in the interests of the Pentagon to encourage more hiring in the first place if fewer hands can do the work.
If anything, the label of Job Destroyer belongs to Congress for fashioning that 10% reduction as a massive, sudden and ill-conceived action that prevents the Pentagon itself from allocating funds as it sees fit to maximize the cost efficiencies of the programs it runs, and to cut programs it doesn’t need.