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Addressing the Education Emergency @ AHRExpo 2020

By Ken Sinclair

AHRExpo is an educational kaleidoscope of new ideas and products with 87 free education sessions with a total of 220 educational sessions. This is our 21st year presenting at AHR Expo and we are proud of our 12 free education sessions at the expo. Most of what we learn comes from our preparation to teach these sessions and feedback from them.

"By teaching, we learn."  To keep teaching we need to be constantly learning. Stop your hectic life pace today and learn something new that will be worthy to teach your followers. Strive to diversify, step out of your comfort zone, do not just learn, learn something completely different. Open your mind. We are amidst an education emergency, and there is much to learn.

I have just returned from CoRE TECH 2019. Here is a quick review with a photo essay of what you missed. Prior to attending CoRE TECH, I wrote this review, Building Wireless Inside Out. One of my main reasons for going to the event in San Jose was to better understand wireless. These presentations helped provide clarity. 

Here are some of the speakers helping with our 2020 vision @ AHRExpo education sessions and a brief overview their writings. Come to hear what they have to say.

Scott Cochrane is president and CEO of Cochrane Supply & Engineering, a leading industrial IoT and building controls supplier with locations throughout Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky, as well as president of Canada Controls. He is now an advisory council member for multiple industry manufacturers including Honeywell, Johnson Controls, and Tridium. He is also an IBcon Digital Impact Award Winner for going above and beyond to positively impact the smart building industry, as well as a winner of the ControlTrends Impact Person of the Year Award for his impact on continuing to move the industry forward. And he created https://www.controlscon.com

Brad White, president at SES Consulting, is a professional engineer with 10 years experience in energy efficiency and smart building systems. He has demonstrated his passion for the sustainable use of energy throughout his studies and professional career and this continues to be a driving force in his work. Brad works closely with clients to integrate leading-edge technologies and energy conservation strategies into existing buildings; these can include fault detection and analytics, renewable energy, and advanced controls. Brad is a contributing editor to Automated Buildings and the Next Generation Innovation podcast. Brad is also a member of the board of directors for the British Columbia advanced conservation and efficiency association.

Our opening session will address the industry’s need to recalibrate because everything is under change. The opening session will lead to how we need to address our climate and education emergency with the new generations.

Attraction and Retention of Hyper Digital, IP-Enabled Millennials and Generation Z, with Brad White, Scott Cochrane, and me. The BAS industry today is fast becoming another IT/cloud/data-driven industry. As our industry evolves towards deeper digitization, the BAS industry is fast becoming a new playground for hyper-digital humans ready to take the buildings to the next level.  The hard part is how do we redefine our businesses as we try to recruit, train and retain this next group of all-stars.

Propagating our people power is our ongoing challenge. To grow our industry younger, we need to get our message out that we are an exciting industry where young folks can make a difference. We need to offer them job crafting and promote “job flexibility as a game-changer” to attract them. The same factors that attract folks can go a long way to keeping them engaged and passionate and helps the employer hold on to them longer. We need to tell the world why they want to be part of our passion. 

What is job crafting? It captures the active changes employees make to their own job designs in ways that can bring about numerous positive outcomes, including engagement, job satisfaction, resilience, and thriving. The best talent is attracted to jobs that aren't just jobs but serve something higher than themselves. In a presented example case, this has been used in addressing the challenges of climate change and reducing the impact of buildings. A career focused on enhancing occupant experiences and productivity could also be just as rewarding. It's also important that your employees share in successes. The speakers will introduce the core ideas of job crafting for management by defining it, describing why it is important and exploring what it means for employees, managers, and organizations.  Generation Z grew up with the world at their fingertips. They didn't have to pull out an encyclopedia to gain knowledge — all they had to do was Google it.  Eighty percent of respondents surveyed by Dell aspire to work with cutting-edge technology, and 91 percent said the technology would influence a job choice.

Join this session that will teach you how to grow your company younger.


Therese Sullivan, content marketing leader, Tridium Inc., has deep domain knowledge in a wide range of areas: data management, data analytics, data security, data center energy efficiency, wireless networking solutions, software-as-a-service,  building automation, intelligent buildings, high performance buildings, facilities management, smart grid, lighting control, CAD and BIM (Building Information Management) solutions. Therese has organized the f session focused on engaging more women in our industry at a higher level: Pulling More Women into the Ranks of Smart Buildings Leadership. Joining  Therese Sullivan on the panel are Gina Elliott and Monica McMahan.

 With women making up close to 50 percent of the population using buildings, why is it that women working with smart buildings comprise just a small percentage of the industry? What can be done to attract and retain more women as part of the shift toward data-driven, intelligent buildings? As buildings become more high-tech, how can both the men and women of our industry take steps to champion more gender equality and advance more women into leadership and mentorship positions? 

Privacy, cybersecurity, health —there is so much at stake in our smart building industry that it just makes sense that you want a diverse selection of people making decisions about how our technology is evolving.  Put another way; that people work, learn, shop, eat, heal, etc., in built spaces are of all types.  Shouldn’t our industry reflect that? Yet women working in building automation and HVAC controls comprise just a small percentage of the industry. Why is this? What can be done to attract and retain more women as part of the big paradigm shift toward data-driven, intelligent buildings?

Systemic bias against women in technology is well documented. Just Google “Silicon Valley bro culture” and ponder the impact. There will be a time in this session for making comparisons and exploring the status quo in our industry. But, more than that, let’s come together and plan a way forward.  As buildings become more high-tech, how can both the men and women of our industry take steps to champion more gender equality and advance more women into leadership and mentorship positions? 

Special guest speaker just added to our Building for a Climate Emergency session: Casey Talon, a research director with Navigant Research, leading the building innovations program with specific focus on the smart buildings market. Read this article of Casey's for insight into her thoughts intelligent building technologies are critical to a low-carbon future. 

Several of our contributing editors are part of our presentation. 

Very excited about this follow-up session to last year's sold-out session in Atlanta:  Next Generation HVAC Controls: Open Discussion For Open Future. We will reignite the energy from last year’s overflowing session speaking to next generation HVAC controls with a new open discussion for open future, led by young panelists Brad Calvin and Zach Nicolas, who are committed to working with open systems. There is a growing demand in the BAS industry for openness and compatibility with new open standards. What has changed since last year? More open and near open database options plus more powerful open hardware and many more platforms to build on. We will update the discussion from last year's session. This video from last year will give you great insight into the session.

We chat more in this ControlTalk NOW YouTube video about changes feeding our education emergency. “Ken Sinclair tells us that origin for his December Automated Buildings theme, ‘Building Wireless Inside Out,’ actually began at the 2019 Realcomm Show in Nashville earlier this year. Whether it's Wifi 6, 5G, DAS, CB Radio, 802, EnOcean, Zigbee, or Bluetooth, better get your building smart ready!”   

Ken Sinclair is the founder, owner, and publisher of an online resource called AutomatedBuildings.com. He writes a monthly column for FacilitiesNet.com about what is new in the Internet of Things (IOT) for building automation.



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posted on 12/20/2019