ASME volunteers and staff gathered in St. Louis Feb. 28-March 3 for the Society’s eighth annual Leadership Training Conference (LTC), a weekend-long opportunity for committee members and volunteers to learn, grow, build leadership skills and forge connections with ASME colleagues and friends. This year’s theme, “Spring Training — To Elevate ASME’s Game for World Class Service” underscored the Society’s aim to provide members with opportunities to serve as leaders in the Society.
Appropriate to this year’s theme, LTC 2013 took place at the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark, a baseball’s throw from the home of the St. Louis Cardinals, Busch Stadium. Some ASME Members who arrived Thursday enjoyed a tour of the stadium — complete with visits to the field, dugouts, and the loge-level supper club.
Kicking off the conference’s Opening Session on Friday morning, LTC Co-Chair Jen Jewers Bowlin urged volunteers to make the most of the conference and build their skills for member retention, motivation, and network building. “This is a real chance to build your ASME toolbox,” she said. “This is why you volunteer!”
(From left) ASME Senior Vice President Karen Ohland, ASME President Marc Goldsmith and ASME Executive Director Tom Loughlin take part in a question-and-answer period after the Leadership Training Conference's Opening Session.
ASME President Marc Goldsmith and Executive Director Tom Loughlin followed Jewers Bowlin, offering more encouragement for ASME’s home team. “The world really needs us engineers,” said Goldsmith. “Can you imagine?” he said, referring to the rise of Beijing and other massive modern urban areas, “a city with an infrastructure that supports 40 million people? That’s us. Engineers make that possible!” Goldsmith mentioned a host of ASME initiatives: the new Student and Early Career Development (SECD) sector; Pathway 2025; and others. He urged attendees to capitalize on the fact that “we are one ASME — we’re all in this together.”
Tom Loughlin’s remarks detailed other important ASME initiatives. “We’re so proud of the quantum leap forward we made with Phase 1 of the new ASME.org,” Loughlin said. “And Phase 2 will provide an even greater array of features and ways to engage — making ASME.org the online epicenter for engineering conversations.” He thanked Bowlin and conference Co-Chair Jack Whitehead as well as Karen Ohland, senior vice president of Knowledge & Community, for their hard work to make LTC a success.
“Give yourselves a big hand! Because you showed up!” Ohland said. Through members’ laughter she explained she was serious: their commitment to ASME is the foundation of the Society’s activity. She challenged participants to use the weekend to get to know as many new colleagues and collect as many business cards as they could, to attend the plenary session on ASME.org Phase 2, and to absorb as much as possible of the weekend’s rich offerings.
The weekend program filled two tracks and featured sessions including: Unit Leadership; Communications and Advanced Communications; the Ethics of Volunteerism; Diversity and Global Etiquette; Team Building; Event and Conference Planning; Inspiring and Motivating Others; Reaching Agreement, Mentoring Students and Early Career Engineers, Succession Planning, and Resource and Financial Management — and still more wide-ranging offerings to educate and engage volunteer leaders.
The members’ response was very positive: “Between the classes and the chance to meet a lot of great people, this LTC has been great,” said Spero Peters, 26, a nuclear engineer with Bechtel Corp. who attended LTC as part of the Early Career Program. “Provided that I can convince Bechtel to let me out of the house more often for conferences, I’ll definitely do more.”
“This has been awesome,” said Sarah Haight, a mechanical engineer from Boise, Idaho. “It’s such a great chance to meet ASME folks that I would never otherwise get to know.”
Indeed, the support of ASME staff led by LTC Managers Marian Heller and Ty Booker of the Engineering Research and Technology Development (ERTD) Community and Services sub-department and Jimmy Le of Events Management ensured LTC 2013 ran smoothly.
Next year, LTC will be on hiatus while volunteers and staff create online materials and other resources and consider future directions for the conference. Additionally, ERTD is coordinating a series of mini-LTCs around the world, co-located with district operating board meetings, to provide international members with access to the world class training, networking and professional opportunities that are the hallmark of LTC. Watch this space for bulletins on upcoming opportunities.
—Joshua Olesker, Public Information