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Building Automation Industry Depends On Attracting New Talent

By Ken Sinclair

The record breaking AHR Expo in Chicago, with over 62,000 attendees and  10 acres of exhibits from over 130 countries, flies in the face of the notion that the digital world and the Internet of Things is replacing good old face-to-face interaction and networking.

So what was my takeaway from this massive show? People are our only asset. Technology may come and go, but at the core of the industry are the same people that have been there for years. The problem is that these core people are growing older and much of the discussion at this record breaking event was that we all need to plant new people, nourish them, and help them grow.

All of our education sessions also returned the conclusion that people are the only assets. Your company and industry technologies may come and go but the people are our only true asset that remains, recreates, and keeps the industry strong.

This greatly increases the importance of the induction of new blood, younger folks with IoT smarts, into our industry. If we are to build on our existing asset, "the people," then we need to invest in education and transfer of the knowledge of our assets. We need to look at new talent as an investment that can greatly increase our existing assets.

These younger folks new to our industry will likely not have the necessary training and will need to quickly jump the skills gap; a lot of discussion occurred about this in Chicago. The general conclusion is that the requirement of incoming folks is that they need to be curious, have an unbridled desire to learn, and are prepared to fail early, and relearn quickly. The word younger implies that they have grown up in an IoT world which gives them a different view on how they will learn. They need access to our existing assets, the valuable knowledge locked in the older minds of our industry but we yet have not devised the best method for this knowledge transfer.

Our three education sessions (“Growing the Building Automation Industry Younger with Internet of Things (IoT), Open Cloud, and Collaboration”) were well attended, with our first session having standing room only. It was titled: "How the Internet of Things (IoT) is Changing Building Automation." 

Our next session on bridging the skill gap created great discussions and these discussions reoccurred in our fourth session: our third annual Connection Community Collaboratory.

From above - The general conclusion is that the requirement of the incoming folks is that they need to be curious, have an unbridled desire to learn, and are prepared to fail early, and relearn quickly. 

Some of my takeaway questions are:

• How do we motivate them to be curious?
• How do we create unbridled passion?
• How do we let them know it is OK to fail? So that they can teach us what went wrong and satisfy that curiosity.
• Teach them that their success is tied to the number of questions they ask and how quickly they fail and how quickly they recovery.

Best compliment of my life was, “U R amazing at fixing what you did wrong….that is your gift.”

Part 2: Takeaways From The 2015 AHR Expo

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posted on 2/4/2015