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Students, mentors and making the connection

04162015-ENTELEC-folo After ENTELEC’s spring conference, where I connected with Jim Morris of “The Rookie” fame, and writing my post on being a student of business , I started thinking about how the two relate.

For those of you unfamiliar with Jim Morris, his story of perseverance resulted in a movie version of his journey into Major League baseball. He shared his story with us as a keynote speaker at ENTELEC .

Early in my career, I had some great mentors to whom I still hold myself accountable. For Jim, it was his students that he held himself accountable to. Because of that, Jim and I both realized our dreams, his of baseball and me of helping my customers in utilities, public safety agencies and government. Jim and I both agree that the commitment to serving our clients with passion requires us to dig deep into our life experiences, good and bad, to become true “students of the business.”

I first heard that phrase during a power lunch at Mississippi Power Company. It came from a rising electric utility executive who has used his knowledge and experience to lead his teams to embrace change. This simple phrase has served me and my clients, many of whom I consider personal friends, well as we embrace change together on very complex projects costing hundreds of millions of dollars.

Those who prefer the status quo struggle with change, because of the false sense of security it provides by avoiding risk. One of greatest challenges electric utilities face is the pace of change. The industry is not only having to transform the power grid into a two-network system, but it also has to manage costs while improving the reliability of the electricity it delivers. Managing these changes is an extremely important element of the job for those of us in the critical infrastructure industry.

04162015-iStock_000042313480_FullAs students of the business, we learn how to embrace change and lean forward in exploring the benefits of change that add value for our clients. Along the way, we learn, try and ultimately develop new processes and procedures that technological advancements bring. We not only are able to keep up with the pace of change, but by being students of the business, we become leaders who help our companies stay on the leading edge of change. This is key to ensuring we’re not one of the companies that drift into history because we resisted change.

If you commit to being a student of the business, it will serve you well, as it has for Jim and me. You will also find the benefits will extend beyond your company to your customers, their customers, and potentially affect the quality of life for millions of others.

To be a critical infrastructure leader requires continuous improvement. I would encourage you to take advantage of the many available tools to help you learn to embrace change and to learn the benefits being a leader in our industry. Remember, every time someone turns on a light, cooks a meal, heats or cools a home, or makes a phone call, you have helped make that possible.

About the author

Dan is our account executive in the Critical Infrastructure market and has more than 35 years of providing customer-driven technology and energy solutions to critical infrastructure operators in the United States and Canada. He focuses on critical intelligent infrastructure, from smart grids to communications connections, and how they are used as consumers become energy portfolio managers.