Participants in the 2013 YEA Leadership Weekend in Vancouver enjoyed networking and learning opportunities.
By Lee Feigenbaum, Long Island Chapter, Region I
I was fortunate to get a new stamp in my passport and
attend spring 2013 Young Engineers in ASHRAE (YEA) Leadership Weekend in
Vancouver, BC, Canada, from April 5-7. This dynamic three-day event included
segments that increased personal awareness while calling attention to our
similarities and differences in the workplace, leadership development, personal
branding, a site visit and discussions about continued leadership opportunities
My 1 a.m. arrival in Vancouver was admittedly rough, but it
afforded me an excellent opportunity to explore the local economy in the
morning before the conference began. The conference formally began with
introductions in the afternoon, followed by a guided tour of the Vancouver
Convention Center, which the British Columbia Chapter helped to organize. This
unique facility sets the standard for green building and has received multiple
awards for sustainability. It was a rare privilege to go behind the scenes with
both the designing engineer and the building’s chief engineer.
During our tour we
viewed the seawater heating and cooling systems, the sophisticated water
recovery and on-site treatment systems, and the largest “living roof” in North
America. Interestingly, Vancouver had more green space after the convention
center was completed than they did before! As the first convention center in
the world to earn the U.S. Green Building Council’s highest rating, the
Vancouver Convention Center has set a high standard of excellence for others to
follow. It was exciting to see the mechanical systems in operation.
On day two we met our facilitator, Ralph Kison. After
completing our individual organization performance profile, Kison set out to
help us know ourselves better. He revealed some powerful and undeniable
insights that pertained to all in attendance. After helping us to “connect the
dots” Ralph encouraged us “start with why,” rather than falling into the trap
of focusing on “the what” and “the how.” The conversation throughout the day
was enthusiastic and engaging…dinner came too soon!
On the third and final
day we met with Kison again to discuss our personal branding. He encouraged us
to explore the things that distinguish us from others. While it makes sense
that this should be a personal exercise, conducting it in a group setting
really allowed ideas to flow freely. With such powerful facilitation we covered
a lot of ground very quickly and all groups offered their findings to the group
before we concluded for the day. My personal brand was “Boom: Problem Solved!”
Sun Tzu offers that a leader who knows himself cannot be
defeated. This timeless advice transfers directly to corporate America.
Regardless of our role in the HVAC community, understanding our “why” as well
as our personal brand is important. When it comes to our success over the long
term, people and the relationships we build become more important than our
technical prowess and building. Thankfully, the YEA focused in these important
soft skills in order to help contribute to a more well-rounded and completely
competent person. I highly recommend the YEA Leadership Weekends to all
aspiring HVAC professionals. They offer real opportunities to get involved, to
contribute meaningfully to the conversation and to become leaders in our
ASHRAE advances the arts and sciences of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration to serve humanity and promote a sustainable world. With more than 53,000 members from over 132 nations, ASHRAE is a diverse organization representing building system design and industrial processes professionals around the world.