REPORT: AICN & Chicago/Rockford Consultants Network Workshop on 10-26-13
|November 14, 2013||Posted by CSauthor2 under CN, CS, EmpNet||
Note to LA/OCCN Members: Here is the report on the pilot test workshop we held in Chicago at DeVry University on 10-26 (with a nominal registration fee). This event is under consideration to be held locally in Southern California in 2014, if the local members agree to sponsor it and find it useful. Please email any comments or thoughts to bill.grist @ ieee.org or your local CN Chair.
—————————–Report on CN Workshop; Pilot event————————————————–
AICN & Chicago/Rockford Consultants Network Workshop
A consultant network workshop was held all day on Saturday, October 26th in coordination by the AICN (Alliance of IEEE Consultants Network) and the IEEE Chicago/Rockford Consultants affinity group. If you are interested in consulting, starting a business or just maximizing your career success, this group has a wealth of expertise, knowledge and available support regarding developing and selling your engineering problem solving talents.
At the workshop Dr. Gary Blank, President of IEEE USA, highlighted the benefits of belonging to the AICN in a very entertaining presentation by giving some great reasons why IEEE membership is so important for networking and employment. For example, did you know that IEEE members live longer and drive better? That explains why IEEE members get such great prices on life and auto insurance as a result of belonging to our preferred risk pool. In a similar way both the IEEE & AICN reputations provides additional credibility to potential employers regarding their job worthiness.
Volunteering and using the AICN consultants database were two specific recommendations. Gary contends that the IEEE consultants database is viewed by employers as a premium resource for finding engineering talent. Several attendees backed-up this assertion from their experiences. Just as insurance underwriters have a favorable view of IEEE membership, many employers are confident that this AICN consultants pool provides great engineering talent. Gary provided a demonstration of the use of the AICN database with the help of Bill Grist. The AICN database costs members only $99 to join.
The workshop also covered an ambitious agenda of networking, consultant best practices, professional licensing, job hunting and start-up company information. Bob Krause came up with three fun exercises to start the workshop that broke the ice and demonstrated some essential lessons. First, he highlighted the importance of being able to describe in 60 seconds exactly what we do in such a way that distinguishes our value to potential clients. I especially liked the scavenger hunt for finding personal attributes within the workshop group. This activity nicely highlighted how our problem-solving methods change as we adapt and learn to better collaborate.
Another area of great interest was professional licensing. Ben Miller was the expert here as he discussed both the reasons for licensing, the environment and process for becoming licensed. If you’re interested in this topic, Ben’s a great resource as chair of the Chicago/Rockford Consultant Network.
Larry Nelson came from the Massachusetts area to give an insightful and comprehensive overview on the “Life of a Consultant” that was filled with best practice ideas including commitment, promotion, budgeting, bidding, ethics and legal formations such as the sole proprietorship vs. LLC issue. Indiana’s Bill Kassebaum finished with his experience with start-up company tactics based as co-founder of Algaeon. A group Q&A panel finished the event.
This was a rewarding day for all who attended. I noticed a lot of gray hairs at the workshop with many older and retired engineers looking to transition their skills from the corporate world to consulting. However, this topic is equally invaluable to the young engineer looking for a professional future with more independence, challenge, responsibility and financial rewards. If that sounds appealing, plan to take advantage of the network’s expertise to tap into this gem of an IEEE resource.
If you missed the workshop, plan to attend the Chicago Rockford Consultants group meetings at the Palatine Public Library on the 2ndMonday of the month. Also consider joining the AICN group when you renew your IEEE membership.