By Dan Hounsell, Editor
Maintenance and engineering management has a friend, advocate, and champion in Mike Rowe.
For a profession that unfortunately continues to operate out of sight and out of mind, the level of visibility Rowe has created is unheard of — and essential for survival. Rowe's TV show, "Dirty Jobs," has shone a light on the hard, unappealing, yet crucial jobs few people think about. Without these jobs, things fall apart.
Rowe has used his platform to appear before groups — including manufacturer and trade associations — with a stake in the state of hard work. I had a brief conversation with him at one such event and came away impressed with his commitment to helping people understand the value of hard work and, in particular, the skilled trades.
Now, Rowe has taken the discussion national in what we can only hope is a watershed moment for maintenance and engineering. In May, he testified before a U.S. Senate committee about the need to close the nation's skills gap by encouraging more young people to enter the skilled trades.
"I believe we need a national PR campaign for skilled labor," he said. "A big one." He also noted the nation needs younger workers to replace the many tradespeople over 55 who are retiring because "closing the skills gap doesn't just benefit future tradesmen and the companies desperate to hire them. It benefits people like me, and anyone else who shares my addiction to paved roads, reliable bridges, heating, air conditioning, and indoor plumbing."
With friends like Rowe, the future of maintenance and engineering seems a little brighter.
Dan Hounsell offers observations about trends in maintenance and engineering management and the evolving role of managers in facilities.
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