|By Rachel Beck
The Associated Press
White Plains, NY
Micheal Lorelli recalls how
he used to take time away from business trips to actually visit the cities
where he was staying.
Eighty countries later the corporate executive
is more interested in getting home to his wife and two daughters than seeing
another tourist spot.
"Its hard to be working and traveling and
to leave the family behind," said Lorelli, a division president of tampon
maker Tambrands Inc. in White Plains, N.Y. "Now, I Try to be productive
and efficent when I'm away. I want to get home."
Lorelli, with 20-plus years in the corporate world,
andhis family have much experience at dealing with the stress and sadness
caused by a parent's business trips. So he's written a children's book,
"Traveling Again, Dad?", a somewhat autobiographical account of a traveling
parent and the family left behind. Told through the eyes of the pet hamster,
Awsome, the story tracks Dad's departure, from the final family diner before
the trip to his much-anticipated return.
"We're all a little sad, 'cause Dad needs
to go away for a whole week," Awsome says in the story.
"Dad explained that being away from the
family now and then was part of his job. Lots of moms and dads have to
travel for work."
Illustrations done by Drew Struzan, the
creator of E.T. for the Stephen Spielberg film, show Dad daydreaming about
home while sitting through his meetings. His kids, meanwhile, anxiously
wait for his return.
And Struzan also included many details from
real life, including "I Miss You" faxes and mapsplotting his stops that
Lorelli's daughters, Karen, 15, and Elizabeth, 13, made while he was traveling.
"Sometimes we'd play tic-tac-toe over the fax," Lorelli
added. "And one time it took seven cities to finnish the game."
Published by Awesome Books and on
sale for $17.95, Lorelli sees the book as a useful tool to teach kids that
traveling is hard on the entire family, including the member who's away
from home. All the proceeds will go to a charity, which hasn't been selected
"You're away for as many as three weeks
at a time," Lorelli said. "Then you come back and you're a zombie becuase
you're so exhausted. Thats when traveling effects everybody."
Growing up in Bayside N.Y, Lorelli learned
from his father that two priorities in life are hardwork and family time.
Lorelli emotinally recalls how his father,
an insurance broker, rose before dawn to get the day started and sometimes
worked through the evening, determined to build his business.
Yet the elder Lorelli also set aside time
for his family, ocasionally sneaking out of work at midday to pick up his
son from school.
"My dad did something that I don't do,"
said Lorelli, whose father died 10 years ago. "He found a perfect balance
between life and the kids, and I really struggle to give them equal time."
Time has been scarce for Lorelli since 1973,
when he started working at big corporations after graduating from New York
University's business school.
He landed his firt job at the hair care
products company Clairol, where he advanced to product manager within two
years. His biggest achievement at Clairol came when he led a group that
persuaded the Food and Drug Administraton not to ban certain key ingredients
in Clairol's hair dye products, which made up a majority of the company's
His success on that project was the launch
pad of his career, and he eventually moved on to Playtex International
and Apple Computer Inc. before heading to Pepsico Inc., where he spent
nine years in the executive suite of the No. 2 soft-drink maker.
"Pepsi is an interesting place," he reflected.
"It's huge, It has a lot of resources and you can't be there for nine years
without picking up some really sharp strategic skills and all the other
business skills from a real blue-chip Fortune 500 company."
His first job at Pepsi was in the soda division,
where he helped foment the soft drink revolution that swept the nation
during the 1980s. Agressive marketing promotions, including celebrity advertisements
with starts like Micheal Jackson, helped boost cola sales.
Lorelli later moved to Pepsi's Pizza Hut
International unit, where he was responsible for its worldwide business.
Again, smart, snazzy marketing and promotions helped broaden the pizza
chain's global presence.
But his years at Pepsi also sent Lorelli
circling the world. In 1993, he logged
300,000 air miles, some times spending more time flying
than on the ground.
"Somtimes I'd leave on a sunday night and
was in the London by morning," he said. "Then I'd just keep moving east
and east and east until I ended up in Austrailia."
So much of his time was spenton the Pizza
Hut plane that Struzan used the aircraft as the cover illustration of the
By the end of 1994, Lorelli had weathered
enough all-night flights and missed weekends at home and was ready for
new challenges. He joined Tambrands with the goal of increasing the brand
recognition of its sole Tampax label.
Tambrands had sales of $750 million
last year, making it the largest manufacturer of tampons in the world.
But some of its market share has slipped in recent years, with compeition
intensifying within the feminine hygiene market.
The move also allowed his life to slow down
a bit. While he's still taking business trips, Lorelli has found more time
to spend with his family.
He arrives at the office about 5 a.m., where
he runs four miles before getting down to business, but tries "to get out
of here at a decent hour so that I can have dinner with my kids. I want
to be availbile to help with homework - even if they don't want my help."
His days are full, commuting to Manhattan
for a meeting or two, heading to Sarah Lawrence College where he's a trustee
and juggling other responsibilites.
Still, just like the dad in his book, coming
home is the best part of his day.
"It's hard to be away from you guys," says
the dad in the story. "But it's always great to get home to all of you."