We can all get set in our “narrow-minded” ways professionally. As he describes this month, columnist Howard McKew has employed a somewhat unusual strategy for avoiding this problem throughout his career: keep changing jobs and/or areas of the industry every seven years or so. It certainly builds the foundation for a well-rounded knowledge base, and yet that degree of transition as an intentional career plan may not be for everyone.

So, other remedies for avoiding or getting out of a rut without pursuing the, uh, Full Howie? As the folks who have returned from another blustery AHR/ASHRAE gathering can attest, even a brief venture into the larger pool of colleagues and ideas can generate dividends and renew enthusiasm.

My own itinerary is busier than it has been in some time, in case you were wondering if I’m just talking the talk. The goal, apart from reasonable logistics and hotel rooms that don’t share a wall with an ice machine or a baby with colic? Explore some good technical programs for topics and presenters (people who put all that time into a presentation for a room can really maximize their payback by adapting the content for an article).

Anyway, in pursuit of those willing to share their expertise and interesting experiences, highlights from my scheduled 2015 stops include:

  • Globalcon  Philadelphia, March 17-18.
  • A visit to the ABMA meeting in June on the shores of South Carolina. That’s an association member get-together, but everyone should look for our next issue of Today’s Boiler in May.
  • Over on the never-dull health care side, the ASHE conference set for mid-July in Boston. (I’m a Red Sox fan with a work trip to Boston and … it’s scheduled over the All-Star break. What were the odds?)
  • Having been before, I always enjoy the global perspective at the World Energy Engineering Conference. This year’s edition lands in Orlando, which may be a subtle way of reinforcing the idea that it’s a small world, after all? As a bonus beyond the slate of educational sessions, WEEC also has a habit of lining up high-profile keynote speakers: After a great talk from Bill Clinton last year, it looks like Condoleezza, Rice is on the schedule for this year.

Oh, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a debut event from our sister publication, Mission Critical Magazine, launched in conjunction with the Critical Facilities Roundtable. The Data Center & Computing Conference & Expo arrives in New York (the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, to be specific), this June 15-16. You might remember Caroline Fritz from her years as managing editor here at ES. She’s steering the editorial at MC now and this should be a great event in an always-hot (no pun intended) sector. Info at www.mcdatacenterconf.com.

Most engineering folks are too busy actually doing their job to get out to that many events. But one might be possible, and I recommend it. The team at the ASHE event goes a step above and beyond, understanding that you may need to obtain approvals to just take off to Boston or wherever for a couple of days. That’s why, if you go to www.ashe.org/annual/justification, they have a page and a couple of downloads set up to help you both justify the time and expense to your organization, and also to capture and retain the most useful info for your own situation to bring back with you. Very smart.


 Should your travel budget cover distances no greater than to the break room and back, we’ll still have you covered with a bunch of webinars this year. Look for details soon as we start firming up dates with topics and presenters, both in familiar and less traveled subject areas. But if you do make it to any of those listed events, keep an eye out for me and say hi. I’ll be the guy who looks like the older brother of the man in the photo at the top of the page.