by D. Dean Houdeshell, PE, CFPAI, CFPE, 2018-2019 President, IFPS
If your experience is at all like mine, you entered your first fluid power job with little experience and understanding of hydraulics or pneumatics. Scarcer yet was an understanding of fluid power system design. Fortunately for me, I landed a job early in my career with a company that provided IFPS training and encouraged employees to get certified. Looking back now, I see clearly the value of those early training classes and fluid power certification.
At my first job, I was eager to learn but most of my training was on the job. This training consisted of troubleshooting hydraulic issues on the manufacturing floor and hoping I could turn the right knob or move the right hoses to get the desired outcome. Frustration would often set in, but I did get a lot of hands-on experience with hydraulics.
At my next job, certification training gave me an opportunity to gain an understanding of hydraulics and hydraulic systems. I learned how to read hydraulic schematics, troubleshoot systems, and perform preventative maintenance. This gave me the confidence to work with employees on the plant floor as well as customers needing help in the field. The other thing it gave me was a path to develop my skills. I got my first certification as a mobile hydraulic mechanic. Next, I successfully completed mobile hydraulic technician and specialist certifications.
Now, years later as I take the reins as 2018 President of the IFPS, I believe we have a stronger message than ever to get out into the industry. I have long thought that fluid power training and certification offer a competitive advantage for individuals as well as companies. For individuals seeking a new job opportunity or promotion at their current company, fluid power certification shows a commitment to professional development, as well as demonstrating knowledge of the industry. Companies providing IFPS training and certification for employees can expect better quality, safer work environments and improved job satisfaction.
As we enter this new year, please join me in promoting the IFPS by sharing your story about the value of fluid power training and certification. Engage in conversations with colleagues and share on social media. If you haven’t already, add your certification(s) to your LinkedIn account, your business card and your e-mail salutation. Finally, I invite you to get involved by joining a committee or joining us for one of our meetings this year. Together we can make a difference.