Jim Morris’ life story was the inspiration behind the 2002 Walt Disney film, “The Rookie.” To motivate his struggling high school baseball team, the then 35-year-old schoolteacher made a bet that he would try out for the big leagues if his team won a district championship.
Miraculously, his team won the district championship and Morris went to a tryout, where he threw 12 consecutive pitches at 98 mph. Three months later, he achieved his dream of pitching in the majors, where he struck out All-Star Royce Clayton.
What does this have to do with critical infrastructure? We found out at the ENTELEC spring conference, where Morris was one of our keynote speakers.
Jim took us back to his grandparents, who taught him a life approach he is committed to passing on. That approach is to mentor a pathway to success for the young adults that have been placed in his life. He does this by believing in each individual’s God-given gifts for success, and using the philosophy of, if you are willing to do it, you own it. During Jim’s presentation he shared stories of disbelievers he encountered during his life, which started with his father, peers and coaches.
It took time for Jim to learn the difference between the dream, and how to achieve the dream. Jim credits that lesson to his high school students, who all earned college educations. If they had not held him accountable, he would not have realized his dream. This is where we can connect it to critical infrastructure leaders, who don’t listen to the disbelievers and achieve their goals while many are convinced the cards are stacked against them.
Kudos are due to the ENTELEC staff for putting together a very diverse program to support those attending, while still focusing on the communications and control technologies used by petroleum, natural gas, pipeline and electric utility companies. This event definitely met ENTELEC’s primary goal of providing education for its members.
As part of this event, I was fortunate to be selected to provide a presentation on the critical infrastructure master planning process. My focus was on how the process helps develop long-view critical infrastructure standards, with the view that we work in an ever-evolving industry. It was well-received, and I plan on recording the presentation to distribute online in the next few weeks.
One part of that presentation I do want to share right away, though, is that the choices we make as industry leaders have an impact on the quality of life in America and around the world. As Jim pointed out to us, the ability to lead is a product of our ability to learn from life’s challenges. That is what can make dream makers out of us. But as Jim also said, it won’t happen if we don’t ask “What if?“ and take a chance to realize our dreams!