November 2021

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Control Solutions, Inc. - Minnesota

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BAS Zombie Apocalypse

ZOMBIES! They are invading our lives and taking away our workforce

 Scott Cochrane, President & CEO,

 Cochrane Supply & Engineering

 Contributing Editor


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I feel like I am on the run these days... and all around me... ZOMBIES! They are invading our lives and taking away our workforce. Running to find the uninfected, people who want to work and earn a living, I keep running, if you stop running, they might bite you too and ‘so long’ productivity and success, just a slow business death from there....


I admit that might be a tad theatrical, but there is no question we are in a BAS staffing emergency. Not just for the current workload, but for the future of smart buildings and obtaining the mindshare from the next generation of talent entering the workforce, being rocketed into real jobs deciding the course of their future careers.


We are a niche industry, which means we are a small target for job seekers and as such our talent pool is what we make of it. No one wakes up one day and says to themselves, "I want to make buildings smarter."   As an industry we are on the midst of huge change, as integration with IT takes over, the notion of industry skills gaps should be reversed to employer skills gaps looking for new ways to go forward by recruiting and hiring the right people available.  


So where do the new BAS draft picks come from these days?  


#1. Mechanical and Electrical Engineering - Yes, still the same as it has been, EXCEPT!!  Most young engineering students get hammered with Computer science classes, which allows them to understand controls software, APIs, and new OT network designs quicker than ever.  


#2. Computer Science - Programming, Graphics, Analytics.... Do I need to say more? A fair share of the current rockstars in the industry are IT peeps...  and as mostly every kid today grew up with a digital device in their hands so there might be a steady stream of these folks in the future as well.  


#3. Personal Networking - THE BEST INDUSTRY SALESPERSON IS YOU! We are interesting, we work on buildings everyone knows, we make them smart and most important, we save more energy than any other industry all while being able to play with some of the coolest tech anywhere... I can go on, but you already know the script.  Some of the greatest industry people came from Garbage, Banks, Car Dealerships, Insurance, and many other industries where someone from the BAS industry made a personal impact or took a chance hiring outside the norm.  


We can teach them. For those of us that have spent 20 plus years building a BAS business, now is the time to change our role. I was mentored by people who knew the business since the 60's and they taught me the values I still carry today as keys to success in BAS. I brought them new technology and they taught me how to use it. Here I am on the other side as the young people around me bring in all this TECH and I just keep repeating what I learned, and it all still works. 


In an apocalypse all the rules change, those who follow the old rules end up zombies and those who learn the new ways will be there for the next generation to hopefully learn from. 


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Please save the date, Nov. 1, for our Smart Building Integrator Summit (SBIS). As new building technologies are emerging in response to COVID-19, Master System Integrators are faced with complex challenges to deliver the next generation of smart buildings. SBIS is a great opportunity to network with industry peers and learn about new health and wellness standards and COVID technologies to expand on traditional integrator services.

Watch a live interview with our IBcon SBIS 2021 chairs as they discuss the evolving role of today's system integrators and the upcoming summit:


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If you are a registered attendee for Realcomm or IBcon you are invited to attend the Smart Building Integrator Summit (SBIS) at no charge. Once you’ve registered for the conference, please reserve your seat using the link below. Space is limited so you must RSVP

For additional industry insights, follow Cochrane Supply & Engineering by clicking the links below:

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