An age-old problem


Kristin Smith


Most people over the age of 30 don’t like to discuss their age. I certainly fall into that category, and as people around me get older, it seems as though that sentiment gets stronger with every year that goes by. I have had many a colleague, friend or family member who have hit the major age milestones of 40, 50 and 60, and trust me, they don’t like to talk about it.

So why have I decided to broach the touchy subject of age? Because as business owners in the demolition and recycling industry, it is up to you to pass on your knowledge to the next wave of young people who will one day be managers, presidents and CEOs. Many multigenerational firms out there are already doing this, but attracting new people to the business is just as important.

The National Demolition Association (NDA), Doylestown, Pa., recently held its annual convention at which it hosted for the first time a leadership development training course. Led by Dr. Shirley Ramos of management consulting firm FMI in Raleigh, N.C., the program was designed to expand the skills and knowledge of the next generation of leaders so that they are equipped to manage in the future. Another session focused on employee recruitment.

NDA Executive Director Mike Taylor contends studies have suggested young people in the U.S. don’t view construction as a desirable field, while to rest of the world, the U.S. construction industry is renowned for its work. This lack of interest combined with retirement among baby boomers being at an all-time high has created what Taylor says is “the biggest problem that the construction industry in the United States has.”

I think the NDA is on the right track with how it is trying to solve this problem. It seems with its education initiative, the association recognizes the importance of developing future leaders and educating current ones.

I wish soon-to-be retirees the best of luck when they begin the next chapter of their lives. I hope you’ve been taking the time to impart your wisdom to your colleagues. But that is not all. I’ve talked to many demolition contractors and recyclers who are so passionate about the work they do. If you can figure out a way to pass that on, therein lies the key to keeping future generations interested in this line of work. You’ve certainly had an effect on me, and for that I will do my part to help inspire people through our industry coverage in Construction & Demolition Recycling magazine.

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March 2014
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