A Note from the ASEM President

17 Feb 2015 7:00 AM | Anonymous

Author: Gene Dixon, ASEM President

In the quiet mornings — I really do get to the office before anyone else — I start with a review of the paper. I’m looking for course content. Today, I found this:

The Wall Street Journal, Monday February 2, 2015, pg R8 “Where people don’t spend enough is in personal and professional development. Books and courses to expand your thinking as a leader in your business or community. Technical courses or an advanced degree to improve your skills and competencies at work. A conference or a program that enlightens you to a new idea.” – Ted Jenkins, co-CEO and founder, oWYGen Financial.

This was under the heading “Where are people spending too much — and not enough?” that started off discussing the categories of biggest waste in the family budget (grocery shopping and dining out). Jenkins wonders why with all the cooking shows on cable that we are so prone to dining out.

I read the article looking for course content for the next time I teach Engineering Economy. I’m always looking for ways to personalize lessons on the time value of money. I credit Ted Eschenbach with that.

I’ve been calling for growth, value and retention on the society level. You’ve responded. Our numbers are up. Former ASEM President Rod Grubb has taken growth, value and retention so seriously, he’s issued a personal challenge to several of us to ask people to join ASEM. I’ve asked 200 so far.

But that article made me stop for a moment. I thought about course content dealing with life-long learning, investing in your career for technical competence, and saving for retirement (not really understood by undergrads, but I try). And then I thought, “Here is a succinct statement about growth, value and retention on a personal level that should be reflected in ASEM’s products and services that we offer to the field of engineering management. My daughter would say “DUH!” You have to know her to appreciate the candor.

We can talk about tools, techniques and methods within all of ASEM products and services. We can sing praises of their goodness and the need for their practice. We can tell ourselves how important our work is as the voice of engineering management across the globe. We would be right.

And we would be wrong. Wrong? It’s wrong because it is not personal. It’s the old WIIFM game. And what is in it for you? For our customers? For engineering managers? Really it is practitioner support. Our products and services are practitioner support. The research of our academics — students and faculty — is about practitioner support. EMJ is, in the end, practitioner support. More than that, we have to share, learn, and develop on a personal level. Really, each ASEM member is making a personal investment in personal value. For themselves to begin with. And that growth in personal value is a contribution to the growth of the engineering management discipline.

ASEM - building personal value, personal growth and personal retention. For ourselves. For engineering managers. For ASEM. What do you think? Can you make it personal?

Thank you for your personal contribution to engineering management.
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Lawrence Livermore

National Lab

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