July 2014

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Seeking Youth for the IOT Journey of our Industry

This is a request for online input to help map out a process
for gathering thoughts, suggestions, and action

of how we can attract young minds to our industry

Ken Sinclair, Publisher

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Ken SinclairThis is a request for input to help map out an online process for gathering thoughts, suggestions, and action on how we can attract young minds to our global large building automaton industry.

Help me focus on recruiting Young People to advance our industry and help us in the transition of smart automated buildings into the Internet of Things “IoT”.

I find it interesting that, in the blur of technology, it is the people of our industry that are our cashable assets, not our technology. We all need to invest in creating desire in young minds and making them part of our new asset.

We are all getting older, but not necessarily wiser and our deep understanding of the IoT cloud consuming our industry is not our known strength.  Our deep understanding of an industry that creates our present definition of smart, intelligent, integrated, connected, green, and converged large automated buildings is our strength. Our industry has seen us grow, coming in from the weeds as an industry known by a few, to achieving social acceptance and understanding, to our latest position as a major player in the IoT because of our deep knowledge of how to automate things and our understanding of what is already connected.

Although we have moved from obscurity to high visibility our industry is unknown to the youth that are the only feedstock to grow our industry.  For the survival of our industry we need to reach out and engage the bright minds who have grown up with the chaos created by technological innovation “the IoT” and share with them the wisdom and reason of our grey hairs and our lives and loves of planting, growing, and nurturing truly smart intelligent buildings.

We all need to engage in mentorship and we will be amazed at what we learn from these bright minds, oh you thought we would be the mentors….smile.

We need to create a new collaboratory around our world that includes their world.  You will be amazed at how this will increase our assets as an industry.

So where do we start? We need to get those amazing bright minds to notice our industry, so we can show them how much fun and exciting our industry has become, plus we need to tell them how much we need them and their mobile clouded views of how life is unfolding with the IoT.

How do we do that?  My start is this article which I will post on several LinkedIn groups and Twitter@ with a request for input from industry.  Please feel free to feedback in the medium which you found this request. How do I really reach them on their social media of the day?  I have no idea.  We can only hope that our pitch is convincing enough for them to share with each other however they best do that.

Why would they want to know us?  All of us in this industry enjoy a great life style, having fun creating what has never been done before, while saving the world with significant reductions in energy and environmental impact.  We all share in the personal pride of our creations and at the end of the day we all get paid to do this, a big bonus in today’s world. The mobile cloud and its ability to enhance our lives, that we are just discovering, is where these young minds live, it is their environment and a great place to meet and talk about the future.

We all need to write about how much fun and purpose our industry has and why these young folks need to be part of it.

Here is a summary of what I am doing now, and below that is the history of what we have done in the past. I would be very pleased to hear what you are doing with direct feedback on any of the groups or postings of this request.

What am I doing now?

  1. Writing this request for help.
  1. Getting feedback like this from some of the last folks into our industry;  This sounds like a great opportunity.  I've been reviewing all of the existing HVAC and controls community resources, and finding most of them lacking in 'youth' appeal,…….I agree.  The last in to our industry are busy with their lives, families and our industry…. surprise they look like us….. well what we used to look like.   My response; Want something done ask a busy man; I would hope they would be able to share a few ideas online with folks that wish to follow their footsteps.  If you go to the history at the bottom of this article you can see what we have done todate. We need to start again with the input of those that have just discovered our industry and have ideas of how to attract even younger minds.
  1. Trying to understand what will attract younger people. I am guessing it is younger people, like those who are the last into our industry who are struggling with the fire hose of information  and excitement of our industry which has fallen on them but are keen to make our industry theirs.  We need to understand what these newbies are thinking, but more than that, what do those folks they are mentoring look and think like? What do they need?
  1. Learning more about IoT not just the technical part but the people part and how folks are using it by joining and becoming a member of movements like http://www.theinternetofthings.eu/ and posting our views on the IoT and reading more everywhere to understand where our journey may take us.
  2. Help promote and Work with known IoT movements like Cisco; Internet of Things (IoT) Innovation Grand Challenge spearheads an industry-wide initiative to accelerate the adoption of breakthrough technologies and products that will contribute to the growth and evolution of the Internet of Things. This global open competition aims to recognize, promote and reward innovators, entrepreneurs and early-stage startup businesses that can help us transform businesses and industries by re-inventing business processes, operational efficiencies and customer service innovations. We are seeking submissions from early stage businesses and teams that have technology-based prototypes and proof of concepts (PoC) in development. Learn more about how Cisco is defining the IoT.
        1. Reaching out with traditional social media like LinkedIn and Twitter in the hopes that our message will find its way to other new forms of social communication used by young folks looking for deeper purpose in their lives and our industry.
  1. I have taken over the ownership of the YoungEnergy.org LinkedIn group and have parked the same url. We will reinvent, refocus and repurpose this group for the engagement of the industry task of attracting Youth for our IOT journey.  The group is presently an old boys network, even the young have grown old….smile but the roots of this group are strong and the reach long so I feel it will be very useful to create a network of engagement for us the industry. A where to and how to reach these desired young minds.
  1. Providing connection to a history and success of the induction of youth in our industry in the past as a documentation of the need of our efforts.

History of our Young Energy outreach

In 2009 and 2010 Anto Budiardjo creator of Connectivity Week, Scott Sinclair creator of the original concept of Young Energy Education and engagement at several levels, Brad White our first YE recipient, and myself reached out to some young folks to help involve them in dialog, writing down their thoughts and presenting themselves as YoungEnergy models for our industry.

We introduced them at a major industry event center stage.

Introducing YoungEnergy @ ConnectivityWeek 2010 showed their pictures and bios and links to their work.

Interviewed them.


Encourage them to write about their take on the future. Alper was originally unsure he would be able to attend CW but put his life on hold to come late and added to the YoungEnergy group but is not in the picture.  As you can see by his article and his reaction to the stuff he saw at CW he is positioned to change the industry. Go Alper go!


I also got a contributing editor out of it for a while, an amazing young open mind.
http://www.automatedbuildings.com/editors/nmunasinghe.htm   But he now has a new baby and new start up automation company and has begged off writing.

I am getting similar begging off from all the other original YE but do understand their careers and families are first.

These original YE folks did not leave our industry they simple fell in and were consumed.  So was the project a success or failure? They are for sure an example of the YE opportunites of our industry.

These young energy guys are now old and I will stop calling them kids soon. But you kids as your last mission and rite before you past to adults you must pass the torch and help us find new young minds. 

The first mission is to have them identify themselves and connect to these groups while connecting us to their groups of the potential folks that can educate us all as to how we can help recreate this outreach and make it real.

We orignally created a LinkedIn group with over 200 industry supporters which never really flew but did indicate support for the concept by the industry.

We created http://youngenergy.org url which is now parked.

contemporary We need a group of new young industry champions to help us recreate a new young energy or whatever they wish to call it. Twitter or the social media of the day might be a better connector because of young in’s comfort with phones.

I welcome your ideas as I am floundering as your can see, but this is too important to let me screw it up.

The discussion we start here will be summarized in our “Addressing The Skills Gap”
an outreach session at AHRExpo 2015 in Chicago.  This is the 16th year of education programs for AHRExpo and AutomatedBuildings.com.

Please help grow our industry anyway you can, by searching for, finding, and attracting young minds.

Some of my first feed back:

Ken: I have talked incessantly about the shortage of people that can operate a building. It’s a worldwide problem. With the average Facility Engineer around 54 to 57 years old we need an influx of young people. Many young kids think back to their high school days and think of Facility personnel as wearing dirty uniforms and hauling out the trash. We need to: (a) redefine the positions and image as “green” jobs, using the latest technology; (b) make an effort to increase educational curriculum for FM  in vocational colleges and universities, possibly through  government or non-profit aid, and (c) request large companies, unions and organizations to create intern programs for young kids just out of school.Without new talent to operate our buildings, we waste energy, money and people’s productivity.  Jim Sinopoli PE, LEED BD+C, RCCD Managing Principal, Smart Buildings LLC  Contributing Editor




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