As I ponder what to share with you, two recent events, separated in time and seemingly unrelated, are what pop into my mind. At our recent awards banquet, Bill Norman, our 2016 inductee into the Academy of Distinguished Graduates, spoke to our students and their families. At the same event, I was congratulated on being selected to serve as President-Elect of ASABE. You might ask, what is the relationship between those two events? Bill’s comments to the students made me think about my new responsibility in a different way.
Bill told the students that, throughout their careers, they will spend time as both a liability and an asset for their employers. When they begin a new job or take on new responsibilities, they will be liabilities due to the investment of time and money for hiring and training. It is only when their ability to add value to the organization exceeds those costs will they become an asset. When times get tough, liabilities are eliminated and assets are critical. Bill urged each AGSM and BAEN graduate to be an asset for as much of their career as possible. The ability to self-assess their status as an asset or a liability, and to rapidly transition into an asset, will be critical to career success.
So how does that relate to voluntary service as an officer of a professional society? When offered those congratulations, my normal response is one of thanks, but also of asking the individual for help in improving ASABE’s service to members. After hearing Dr. Norman’s advice to the students, I realize that my response is one of recognizing that I will be a liability in the beginning, and asking for help from the ASABE members to make that transition from liability to asset as short as possible.
In closing, I ask, how do you assess your contributions to organizations important to you; employer, civic clubs, religious organizations, etc.? I hope that one of those organizations is Biological and Agricultural Engineering at Texas A&M. Bill spoke about the family atmosphere of the department and I ask you to help us keep that spirit alive. There are many ways you can be an asset to the department. Speaking to student clubs and classes, posing design problems and hiring interns are direct ways of helping our students in career preparation. I invite you to get involved, and to be an asset to the educational family we call BAEN.