Years ago I found myself in a career that required moving from place to place in order to start up new power plants. I found that I enjoyed new projects, new places and new people.

The problem has always been, as it is now, the leaving of comfortable and known places -- and good friends and colleagues.

However, over the years, I've found it possible to stay in touch, even at a distance and I have enjoyed following the progress of past places, projects and, most importantly, people.

Three years ago, my wife and I found ourselves in an unknown country, with unknown languages and no friends or colleagues - yet. And, unlike in our California home, we were facing real winter.

Gradually we learned. Kyiv became "home". When we traveled away, even back to California, we looked forward to returning. Winter became a time for different clothes but only limited complaining and discomfort.

With one of the languages, we became able to communicate at the simplest levels. It's with real regret that I must admit that I can not give this speech in Russian or Ukrainian but our excuse is full-time work and fifty-something years.

As for people, both Marianne and I have friends and colleagues with whom we have connected and whom we will miss. Above all, we have learned from the people.

But growth comes from new projects, new people, new ideas and, for us, new places. We will remember that true growth is built on the past and we are grateful for our time and experiences of the last three years.

Over the last decade Ukraine also grew. Indeed, the country was not given a choice to stay the same. I suspect that the next decade will also witness change. We hope the direction of change is positive. We hope a safe, new Shelter gets built. We hope our friends and colleagues grow in ideas and prosper. We wish that for all Ukrainians and firmly believe that, given peace, it will be so.

A month ago, I'd have said peace is almost a certainty for Ukraine and generally for Europe and the US. Now I'm not so sure. The terror of Washington and New York revealed an enemy that can act anywhere. We all hope that the countries of the world find a way to work together to remove this threat.

A decade or two ago, we aimed missiles of mass destruction at each other. People understanding one another removed that threat. So too can this new threat be fundamentally changed.

Marianne and I are starting a new chapter and we don't know how it will be written. For now, we thank everyone who made this most recent chapter possible, interesting and fulfilling and we look forward to coming back to tell and listen to stories.


John Trotter

September 23, 2001