In 2016, SC&RA announced its plans to create a Leadership Forum program to engage rising stars in their 20s and 30s, providing them with the necessary tools to leverage their SC&RA memberships for company and career success.
Hosted in conjunction, but on a separate track, with the 2017 Specialized Transportation Symposium (February 14-17) and the recent 2017 Crane & Rigging Workshop (September 18-20), the program is off to a great start, productively representing the Association’s mission to engage and equip subsequent generations of industry leaders.
All Forum events are designed to engage and accelerate career opportunities for a select group of the best and brightest in the crane, rigging, specialized transportation and supporting industries. SC&RA staff selects a diverse group of candidates, from many different industry segments, regions and backgrounds, to meet and discuss industry challenges and opportunities among like-minded peers and hear first-hand from members who have leveraged SC&RA for their businesses and personal advancement.
In addition to these exclusive networking opportunities, Forum participants will also be specifically matched with an established industry mentor to help answer broader daily operational questions and establish a stronger business network beyond the Forum’s sessions.
The most recent Forum at the Crane & Rigging Workshop was at full capacity with 15 participants and a diverse range of industry mentors and SC&RA representatives. One of those participants was Tyler Elliff, from Precision Crane Services, who appreciated the chance to network with industry peers and discuss issues or ideas that he doesn’t get to discuss with everyone.
“I was able to talk with other people who have experience in generational businesses, and that was really very helpful,” he noted. “In my case, I also acquired a network of folks who understand the nature of my company and the nature of a family business – folks I can rely on for a long time.”
It didn’t take long for Elliff to recognize a sense of comradery within the Forum, which mirrors the larger culture ever present within SC&RA. “In Northern California, we have a crane owner’s association, so I’m familiar with the type of activity and relationships, but it was delightful to see that this style of networking is growing, because it’s highly effective.”
Renee Wysocki, representing Crane Network, LLC, was also in attendance – inspired to make new connections in the industry. “I thought it would be a good way to meet new people from a wide variety of backgrounds and understand how I can use those new connections to benefit my company,” she explained. “Through our discussions, I was able to gain a new perspective on issues that people in the industry face every day and how they’ve come up with solutions. I was able to go back to my company with new concepts for services and products that will solve problems more efficiently.”
Wysocki took note of a particular piece of advice she acquired from her mentor. “Learn something from everyone you meet,” she affirmed. “Everyone knows something that you don’t, and there is always something that can be learned from everyone you speak with.”
When asked if she’d recommend the Forum to another young up-and-comer, Wysocki answered enthusiastically. “Do it! What do you have to lose? You can only stand to gain from the information that you learn and the people you meet. As a bonus, you’ll never have to worry about walking into an event and not knowing anybody again. You’ll make lasting business connections, and possibly friends, too.”
Jonelle Anderson, of NessCampbell Crane + Rigging, attended the Forum as a mentor, and considers it long overdue. “I’ve been going to SC&RA meetings for ten years, and for the first five years, I had no clue what was going on,” she said. “Had this been offered in my early years, I would have taken them up on it immediately. With that in mind, as a mentor, I tried to impress upon the participants to ask me any question they needed to ask – email me or any one of us, anything. This is such a huge networking opportunity – professionally and personally – I’m excited for them.”
Anderson also found herself impressed with the participants. “I was not only impressed with some of the younger applicants – in making the effort to apply – but with some of the older ones – their job titles. Wow. Some really impressive folks in the room – which says a lot about the value of the Workshop and the overall Association.”
An important topic that came up at the Forum, which caught Anderson’s attention, concerned the investment return connected to both the Forum and SC&RA meetings. “A lot of companies are family owned, and you have to have a lot of buy-in from the ownership and you really have to prove that this effort has an ROI,” she indicated. “Those questions were raised; the consensus was that you can’t put a price on the networking you obtain from even just one SC&RA meeting – let alone the education component, the products and the exhibit floor.”
Keith Guiochet, a participant from Mammoet, echoed Anderson’s sentiment. “Basically, any time I can get a chance to take part in something that makes me a better leader and gives me better access to SC&RA, I’m interested.”
Guiochet also pointed to a significant personal takeaway. “From a business perspective, I’m now connected with three other Forum participants – we’re following up on potential ways to do business with each other.”
One mentor who certainly related to Guiochet’s comments was Jim Sever, of PSC Crane & Rigging. “The Forum is basically the opening of a door and a hand being extended to someone that may not know the industry or even the Association that well. It’s an excellent opportunity to share with people the mission and vision – all the services and opportunity available to members.”
Sever added, “This particular Forum was extremely inspiring for us; we had an employee that went through it and was thrilled in the end.”
That mentor/mentee dynamic also had an impact on Matt Orr, of Global Specialized Services, LLC. “Having people to reach out to with questions is a huge help. It’s nice to know that we are not all just competing with each other. Even if we’re doing the same thing, we can help each other and learn from one another.”
Justin Harris, a participant from Burkhalter, agreed. “A key takeaway was that there are so many people with experience who are willing to help – but you have to seek it out. It’s up to us to use the Association to its fullest – not only for personal gain, but for the betterment of the industry and our organizations.”