Membership Memo—Taking Advantage
Posted on Wednesday, December 8, 2021
Starting a career right out of school can be intimidating. When I entered the finishing industry about 10 years ago, I had a better leg up than some thanks to my internship at DuBois Chemicals. However, looking around the PCI Technical Conferences I didn’t see many young people. What I did see was years of experience and knowledge I couldn’t match, and established relationships among industry veterans. Working in a lab, I figured most of my relationship needs were inside the building I worked in, and I wouldn’t gain too much from a professional organization.
About four years ago when I transitioned into a product manager role at DuBois Chemicals, I decided to put my previous assumptions aside and get involved in PCI. I quickly realized how incorrect those assumptions were and began attending webinars and gaining knowledge on the entire industry, not just paintable pretreatment. At the annual PCI Technical Conference, I approached people I either heard speak during webinars or that I knew adjacently. What I found is that this industry is extremely open and inviting to newer members and willing to share knowledge. I gained so much more from these relationships and presentations than from my narrow experience of developing and troubleshooting pretreatment chemistries and production washers.
These relationships provided opportunities to volunteer with PCI, so I joined the membership committee. I have been invited to speak at trade shows and events to help educate the next generation. Now when I go to FABTECH or the PCI Technical Conference, I am beginning to feel more like a veteran because of the connections and knowledge I have accrued. I have also actively worked on the creation of the PCI Young Professionals Group, an initiative that was started a few years ago. I am envious of the younger generation because if such a group existed when I first entered the industry, I would have dived in headfirst. The meet ups we hold at the annual PCI Technical Conference and the shared bond of being in an industry that is beginning to see a youth movement really makes me feel connected to the industry and has provided all sorts of networking opportunities.
Initially, PCI was nothing more to me than this magazine you are reading. While PCT is a valuable publication, I wish someone told me back then all I could take advantage of with PCI. Now that I know, I am telling you. Get involved. You will be better off for it.
Max George is senior product line manager for DuBois Chemicals Inc.