12 New Year’s resolutions for engineers

Here’s a road map for career and company refinement and growth heading into 2011.

12/01/2010


Engineers, however detail-oriented, problem-solving, over-achievers that they are, need more of a challenge. So, here are 12 New Year’s resolutions, conveniently divisible into monthly goals, for engineers and engineering managers for 2011. The purpose of the resolutions is to get individuals and firms in alignment with changing technologies and market conditions and to prepare for the tremendous opportunities awaiting those who’ve invested in the future. Some of these resolutions are personal goals or company goals, and many make great leadership development opportunities to delegate to younger staff.

1.  Get introspective. Think about your career and firm and determine your needs for self- and corporate improvement. What have you been wanting to learn but haven’t taken the time to act on?

2.  Invest in training for yourself. Whether it’s technical training on new software, such as BIM, electrical design, or energy modeling; or soft-skills training such as time management, public speaking, or English as a second language, set up a training program that will benefit your career.

3.  Establish or evaluate the corporate mentoring program. If your company is large enough to support mentoring, i.e., if it has one or more employees, then make sure the engineers and technicians have mentors inside and/or outside the company. If you have a mentoring program, take its pulse and see if it needs sprucing up.

4.  Establish or evaluate a brown-bag internal training program. Whether you have internal or external speakers once a month or more, brown-bag or lunch-and-learn seminars are great ways to enhance staff members’ technical skills and help them earn professional development hours (PDHs) or continuing education units (CEUs).

5.  Join and be active in essential engineering societies, such as ASHRAE, IEEE, ASHE, ASPE, and others. Having staff update the company on codes/standards, conference sessions, awards programs, etc., is grist for the brown-bags mentioned in number 4 above.

6.  Research new technologies and share with the staff. Ask one or more engineers assigned to technologies such as controls, standby power systems, lighting, HVAC, refrigeration, etc. to prepare an annual or semiannual report (and brown-bag presentation) on emerging or underused technologies.

7.  Research research. That’s not a typo. Spend some time looking for new or recent research reports you might have missed on topics such as economics of energy efficiency, green buildings, the Smart Grid, construction markets, accident reports, litigation rulings, and communications trends. Use informal seminars to share knowledge.

8.  Get into the field. Shadow commissioning providers, operators, suppliers, and construction contractors. Learn how systems perform and age in the field. Share the knowledge.

9.  Get visible. Many of the above resolutions will lead to publishable technical articles in trade publications. Also, become a Webinar and/or conference speaker—there are tons of opportunities in engineering and green building events and with the many trade publications. Develop a reward program for staff members whose articles are published or who participate in a conference or webinar event.

10.  Focus on economics. Learn the ins and outs of your clients’ businesses so you can frame engineering decisions in their hot-button financial terms. Hire economic experts to coach you. Share the knowledge in brown-bag sessions.

11.  Check on past projects. Overtly or subliminally check to see how past projects are doing in the “real world.” Try to learn strengths and weaknesses of past work to improve future work.

12.  Reassess guide specifications and internal processes. Take everything learned in 2011 and apply it for 2012 and beyond.

Twelve is a lot of New Year’s resolutions, so let’s combine them into one, making the list above a plan for implementing it: I will prepare my career and my company for not only the new year but also the new challenges and opportunities sure to come with it.


- Ivanovich is the president of The Ivanovich Group LLC, which provides research, analysis, and consulting services to the buildings industry. Read his blog at http://theivanovichreport.wordpress.com



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
The true cost of lubrication: Three keys to consider when evaluating oils; Plant Engineering Lubrication Guide; 11 ways to protect bearing assets; Is lubrication part of your KPIs?
Contract maintenance: 5 ways to keep things humming while keeping an eye on costs; Pneumatic systems; Energy monitoring; The sixth 'S' is safety
Transport your data: Supply chain information critical to operational excellence; High-voltage faults; Portable cooling; Safety automation isn't automatic
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Maintaining low data center PUE; Using eco mode in UPS systems; Commissioning electrical and power systems; Exploring dc power distribution alternatives
Synchronizing industrial Ethernet networks; Selecting protocol conversion gateways; Integrating HMIs with PLCs and PACs
Why manufacturers need to see energy in a different light: Current approaches to energy management yield quick savings, but leave plant managers searching for ways of improving on those early gains.

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.