It’s all about relationships

It’s relationships, both personal and professional, that are so important.

11/16/2010


I recently traveled to the National Environmental Balancing Bureau 2010 Annual Conference, and found out that a childhood friend of mine lived in the area. I called her a few days before I left, and we made plans to meet for dinner. I’d never been to that part of the country, so she showed me around, and filled me in on the unusual customs of the locals. That relationship (nearly 25 years old now—wow!) saved me a lot of grief, and allowed me to be more comfortable in a new place. The friendship gave me a leg up while I was traveling and made a work-related trip more fun and memorable.

It’s relationships like this, both personal and professional, that are so important.

While at the conference, I was amazed that the conference organizers had invited industry partners and—in some cases—other organizations that might be deemed industry rivals. I met with representatives from the Building Commissioning Assn., RSES, ASHRAE, and a handful of others. However, that rivalry really wasn’t the situation here. I asked the members of these organizations how they felt about working with other like-minded industry groups, and in each case, the answer was the same: The relationship was strengthening their business, not weakening it.

I also noticed that attendees at the conference worked at companies that offered similar services in the same geographic market. While in many businesses they’d be bitter rivals (think about banks or grocery stores in your home town), these engineers were friends, both on and off the job. In one case, an engineer said that he and his immediate competition were actually really good friends, that they consulted with each other regularly, and that they pushed each other to do a better job. They even acquiesced when the other firm won a bid for a job, knowing that the “competition” was actually better suited to do the work.

So what does this teach us? For me, it’s a reminder to ensure I’m keeping in touch with old friends. It’s also a reminder that fostering relationships with all sorts of folks can lead to bigger and better things. For others, they’ll think of Abraham Lincoln’s advice to “keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” For many, they’ll realize that we can’t get through this alone, and hearken back to the “together we stand, divided we fall” motto.

This simple reminder may be the incentive you need to reach out to your engineering counterparts. It’s a reminder that communication with our peers is key to our personal and professional performance. It’s also a gentle push to remind you to join that technical committee, attend that educational session, or go to that networking event. You never know when one of the people you meet may become a lifelong friend or mentor.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 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...
World-class maintenance: The three keys to success - Deploy people, process and technology; 2016 Lubrication Guide; Why hydraulic systems get hot
Your leaks start here: Take a disciplined approach with your hydraulic system; U.S. presence at Hannover Messe a rousing success
Hannover Messe 2016: Taking hold of the future - Partner Country status spotlights U.S. manufacturing; Honoring manufacturing excellence: The 2015 Product of the Year Winners
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Improving flowmeter calibration; Selecting flowmeters for natural gas; Case study: Streamlining assembly systems using PC-based control; CLPM: Improving process efficiency, throughput
Putting COPS into context; Designing medium-voltage electrical systems; Planning and designing resilient, efficient data centers; The nine steps of designing generator fuel systems
Warehouse winter comfort: The HTHV solution; Cooling with natural gas; Plastics industry booming

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

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.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me