Monday, April 4, 2016

Our Opportunites

I've been asked to speak to a conference of electrical contractors next month.

Can you talk about the value of education? 

Usually I inspire, motivate, and cause people to rise to their feet. They applaud, hug each other and carry me around the room on their shoulders.

Then I wake up.


A lot of folks tell me it's dried up and blown away.


A lot of folks tell me that unless its coupled with a minimum of twenty dollars an hour it's not worth the effort..

True story time.

I had a professor in an economics class who worked  for a Fortune 10 company. He told us that some years earlier the company purchased a new computer program.This was during the 1960's when computers took up entire rooms. No one wanted to fool with it.

He decided to learn the program. He took the manuals home at night and studied.

One day the CEO shows up and wants to know how this new fangled thig-a-ma-jig is working.

All the suits start rubbing their necks and playing with their tie knots.  One brave soul said that while no one in the room had the answer he knew someone who did.

Well go get him!!!

He went on to say that he eventually was put in charge of the fledgling IT department and received a sizable promotion. It became a stepping stone for the remainder of his career.

During our intial class he said something I will always remember:

If you want a good grade, take good notes. If you want to learn something buy the text book and read it!


I was on a team that created an apprenticeship program for electricians, pipe fitters and machinists in the early 1990's. If you're familiar with apprenticeships you know they are an equal amount of classroom and On-the-Job-Training. Many of the people asked to take part in the program begged off.

To much work.

The ones who endured, who took advantage of the opportunity became journeymen in their craft. All of them told me it was worth the investment and OBTW - Thanks for the opportunity. 

In 2006 an 18 year old young man asked his father to drive him from Kansas to southern Indiana. He'd heard of a fledgling railroad that was starting up and he wanted to be part of the operation.

No guarantee's just opportunity.

Today he is the most senior member of the railroads transportation department and a locomotive engineer. I was part of a team that hired him. His supervisor says  he is  always thankful for the opportunity.

It comes in all shapes and sizes and presents itself in many amazing ways.

I believe I have my speech ready

Thank you.