Shane Williams 2016-02-27 00:00:00
Spring is right around the corner, which means another holiday season has come and gone. However, the season of gift giving is not over until next December. I may be biased, but I find that membership in our Society is a yearlong gift in many ways. ASABE membership comes with many perks, one of which you’re taking advantage of right now—access to Society news and activities through a magazine written by and for agricultural and biological engineers! Other membership gifts include the many organized meetings, technical tours, and networking events, as well as an abundance of professional development training. Professional development is important at all ages, and getting into the habit early in your career helps increase your professional value and adds to your toolbox. People in all walks of life need to continually develop their skills, if for no other reason than just to stay afloat in an ever-changing world. Imagine a professional athlete who trains only to stay “just as good” at the sport as he or she was in school, or a doctor who doesn’t stay current with modern medicine and new treatments with each passing year. It won’t be long before they both are surpassed by their peers in skill, pay, and employability. Consider professional development an investment in yourself—a low-risk, high-reward investment. Companies often provide their employees opportunities to brush up on skills that will help them in their day-to-day responsibilities. Annual conferences and meetings organized by professional societies like ASABE are another chance to acquire technical prowess and soft skills for your arsenal, often at a reduced cost. ASABE sponsors and organizes multiple professional development options for members and non-members alike each year, including the new Young Professionals Development Workshop (YPDW), which offers “the pieces for building success in the future.” This first-time event, developed by the Young Professionals Community (YPC) with help from ASABE headquarters staff, will be held in Lexington, Kentucky, at the Center for Applied Energy Research on April 8-9, 2016. Mark your calendar! Membership status as a Young Professional is not required to attend this event—the YPDW is open to everyone! Soft skills development will be the focus. Throughout this workshop, participants will be given tools to increase their professional value, something that both their employers and ASABE can benefit from in the future. Check it out at www.asabe.org/meetingsevents/2016/04/young-professional-developmentworkshop.aspx. But act fast—early bird registration closes on March 15! The inaugural YPDW will include training to help identify and develop your leadership style and attitude, plan for a sound financial future, and analyze and respond to organizational challenges and opportunities through strategic management. Networking opportunities will be plentiful during the Friday CPD sessions and on Saturday at the beautiful Keeneland Racetrack while taking in thoroughbred horse racing. As ASABE members, sustainability is one of the most important challenges that we confront in each of our technical communities. Maintaining an active and educated member base is a gift that the Society gives to itself. This helps ASABE sustain itself as our profession evolves and the world hands us new challenges. In return, we give our time and expertise (and, of course, a little money!) for the advancement of the Society. The new year is still young. There is plenty of time to take advantage of all of the gifts that your ASABE membership brings, both locally and nationally. Our Society involvement is a gift that we give to our profession. And life is a gift that our profession helps the world enjoy. ASABE member and YPC Executive Committee Vice Chair Shane Williams, Design Engineer, Kuhn North America, Inc., Brodhead, Wis., USA, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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