October 2014
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Education for Your Vocation

The Task of Self-education

 Ken Sinclair,
AutomatedBuildings.com
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Facilities Management


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It seems natural that September should be my educational focus as most of our young folks are getting back to school and our industry back to focused business after summer holidays.

We all need to keep at the task of self-education to keep up with our rapidly evolving industry. When I reviewed our education tab and its links on our web site I was amazed how many links still link to very valuable resources.

Rather than rework the complete education section we have corrected a few broken links and have chosen to add new information (mostly links to hundreds of videos). If a picture is worth a thousand words, one can only guess the value of a video. Videos do a great job of summarizing our work and the ones that we have linked will allow us to quickly continue on our journey with the education we need to keep us current in our vocation.

If you are aware of any other resources for our education page, please share with me in an email.

We are very pleased to announce our four free education sessions to be held at AHR Expo 2015 Chicago. This is our sixteenth year of providing these educational sessions. We acknowledge the ongoing support of International Exhibitions in providing the constant venue and thank them for their support of industry education. The theme of the sessions is How the Internet of Things (IoT) is Changing Building Automation. There will be four sessions:

1. Growing the Building Automation Industry Younger (Internet of Things (IoT), open cloud, and collaboration).

2. Addressing the Skills Gap (understanding that our people are our only asset).

3. How Smart Automated Buildings and IoT create Smart Cities.

4. Third annual Connection Community Collaboratory meeting.

I am very pleased with this year's line-up of sessions and to be joined by Paul Oswald in our first-ever “Addressing the Skills Gap” session, very important for our industries’ survival.

We have added to our education page videos that help explain smart automated IoT buildings; these videos help depict building automation, smart building direction and the Internet of everything. The videos, some which are dated, challenge us all to make what is possible, possible. Although most of them were created by large companies they need us all in the industry to make these dreams come true. I hope these well done promotional videos will allow us quickly to communicate and attract the attention of the youth we are seeking for our IoT journey and help them become excited about joining us.

Video is the new medium for training, and we have provided links to hundreds of videos that are free to help you better understand. The videos were made to instruct on the use and setup of products and services but understanding how all these products interact is the real education.

It is OK to fast forward a video to see if it contains the info you need to learn.

ControlTrends amazing video training resource was created to provide controls professionals a place to learn and share information about the rapidly changing world of commercial and industrial controls. This web site includes product demonstrations, training videos, technical blogs, and news.

Training, Tools, & Demo Picks has some of the great resources our advertisers and others have on their web sites that will help you understand deeper the pieces necessary to bring our industry online.

Also where and how do we get connected to university, college, plus links to higher education resources? Well here is a start.

Part 2: Enticing and Educating New Talent For Facility Management

The following articles speak well to the complex task a hand enticing and educating new talent for facility management and the controls industry:

Talent Development In The IoT World.Clients are demanding building automation systems be leveraged as enterprise decision support systems for their energy optimization and operational effectiveness objectives — Richard K. Warner, PE, President/CEO, OME

Control Solutions, Inc This quote from the article provides insight:

“In the early days of OME’s developing business, we spent a significant amount of time understanding the nuances and complexities of managing Gen X/Y folks. For the most part, the standard environment and methods utilized traditionally seemed to work with the majority of individuals. As things progressed over the then next several years, there seemed to be a higher than usual incidence of what I call the “talent gap” and even more troubling, a true lack of innovative synergy between the team members. Additionally, as I honed our optimum position description and qualifications, employed a more tailored onboarding regimen, and cast a much wider net, I was shocked at how few of the experienced applicants were actually qualified candidates. We quickly came to the conclusion that we would need to almost exclusively grow our own talent, a devastating thought for us as a small business since we traditionally tend to rely on “pre-trained” or experienced talent that is generally frustrated with the bureaucracy of a larger organization. Additionally, it also meant that most of our new team members would likely be recent graduates who are much younger than the Gen X/Y folks we had grown accustomed to managing.”

There is also this article, which focuses on facility management:

To-Do List for Facility Management.A priority to-do is to focus on attracting, recruiting, and retaining best talent.  - Jim Sinopoli, PE, RCDD, LEED AP, Smart Buildings LLC

Come these quoted thoughts:

“Invest in People — Overall, there appears to be a global shortage of qualified facility engineers and technicians. The reasons vary. It’s tough to attract young people into the profession; this is partially attributed to the perception of the profession being underpaid, low profile, and organizationally marginalized. Also, in many parts of the world, ongoing management and operation of buildings is simply underappreciated, undervalued, and an afterthought. So, with the talent pool shrinking and the skill sets and knowledge base of what it takes to operate and maintain a facility changing, a priority to-do is to focus on attracting, recruiting, and retaining the best talent.

“You may want to reassess your recruiting, especially for younger men and women. This is a demographic that has slightly different motivations, such as the public image and values of the company, and is often committed to social and environmental responsibility. Cooperative relationships with local colleges and universities can be worthwhile. Here you can possibly influence the curriculum to make sure that’s what is being taught aligns with the skills and knowledge your company requires. In addition, development of an intern program allows young people with technical knowledge some experience in the real world; while at the same time allowing the organization to assess their capabilities and employability.”

It is very clear that for us to move forward as an industry gracefully with full transition into the internet of things that we are going to have to do a lot of self-education. Not accepting this task would be very dangerous because folks will come into our industry without understanding of our existing resources and known procedures. Although in a few areas this may be refreshing, in others it could be a disaster.


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