Sustainability. We hear this term used often today with respect to environmental practices and how individuals and companies should conduct their business. In general terms, sustainability is the endurance of systems and processes. I guess my take is a little more personal, probably influenced somewhat by fact that some of us are in or approaching the twilight (hopefully!) of our careers.
I’m a Detroit Tigers fan, so I relate many things in life to baseball, and I think baseball offers a great analogy in this case. When a Tigers player gets injured or retires from the game, it provides an opportunity for a new player. Hopefully, this player has the talent and is properly trained to fill the vacated role. Successful, well-managed teams seem to make these adjustments seamlessly. Less successful, or less well-managed teams don’t. (See: Detroit Lions.) Successful teams build by acquiring a few select people through free agency but the core of their success is the farm system, where new blood is added and cultivated and readied for the “Bigs.”
I attended the annual MWEA Industrial Pretreatment Program training in Lansing this fall, where the vast majority of attendees were either in, or quickly approaching, the last years of their careers. I had to ask myself, “How is the farm system looking for wastewater treatment operators in Michigan?” In truth, from an overall industry standpoint, not all that great. There seem to be job postings everywhere and there are not many young people gravitating to our business.
Here at IAI, I think we are in much better shape than most, as I have had the pleasure in meeting many new and or young professionals recently added to our family. Our managers do a great job of promoting IAI, finding new people and bringing them into the fold when opportunities exist. I would encourage you all to continue this effort and expand it, if possible. I think the sustainability of our field, and even our company, hinges on finding and acquiring good talent. As we grow and provide new opportunities for everyone, we need to be mindful of where our replacements are coming from, and ask ourselves, are they ready for an opportunity?Share this: