Charles Cochran, a Project Manager on the Traffic [...]
By: Matt Stoops, Infrastructure Project Manager
American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) is a national organization, with state chapters that acts as the “voice” of America’s engineering industry. The ACEC of Alabama developed a leadership class in 2001 for engineering firms to be able to train their midlevel staff about the business side of engineering firms. Sain’s CEO, Jim Meads, is very active in ACEC at the state level, and he introduced me to this opportunity. Jim nominated me to be the eighth member of Sain Associates to participate in the leadership class.
The class, which was five 2-day sessions spread over the course of 6 months, taught us a variety of topics that firm leaders practice. How to market to clients, setting goals, basic accounting for engineering firms, communication behaviors, and how to increase performance of your team were some of the highlights. The class had 12 students from 12 different firms, a class facilitator, and roughly 10 guest speakers over the 5 sessions. The classes were held at various conference centers around the state so that we would be removed from our day to day workload and be able to focus on diving into the topics at hand.
Each session allowed us to hear from guest speaker(s) such as executive leadership at other firms, several of our state legislators, and consultants who specialize in bringing to light one’s strengths and goals. The program was really helpful and inspired me to look forward in planning out my life and career path so I can control where I end up, rather than just seeing where life takes me. It was great to get to know and interact with a group of peers who are also eager to improve their knowledge and skills in a much larger business-sense.
There were many “nuggets” of wisdom that were shared with our group throughout the class. One that’s really stuck with me is “take 1% of your work day to plan out your work day so you control your time & can maximize efficiency.” That’s 5 minutes of an 8 hour work day to stop and organize what you need to get done that day. It seems so simple, but it has already made a difference for me!