By Scott Gower, CFPS
Talking to others about oneself is natural. Explaining one’s career in fluid power to the Average Joe is often complex, and the conversation usually involves big hand gestures to describe the size and scope of your latest project, such as “Can’t believe we load-stabilized that fire truck before the 100-ft ladder was extended” while stretching your arms as wide as possible.
I enjoy my career in fluid power, as I imagine you do. You wouldn’t have opened our industry’s magazine and started reading this article if you didn’t. So, based on our shared enjoyment of fluid power, allow me to propose some thoughts.
Our industry’s employees are aging. We need new blood to pick up the fundamental knowledge we’ll soon lose. We can’t count on colleges, evidenced by the lack of courses available. It’s up to us to make changes or create influence.
So how can you help? Think about that for a second. How can an individual “make changes or create influence” to an industry? I have an answer, but you’ll have to give something to make it work. A plan implemented by the IFPS Orlando, Fla., chapter has worked for nearly a decade, and it’s got nothing to do with a mouse you visit on vacation.
IFPS had at least 50 active local chapters, located all around the U.S. and a few internationally. I use the word “had” because chapters are past-tense in 2015. Meetings took place to allow discussion about the latest technology between professionals. Today, chapters don’t exist because you can chat online and download any literature you like. However, chapters can be refocused to facilitate this much-needed change and influence.
Chapters need your time. That’s all you give. Funding comes from IFPS, and I can help you with two sheets of paper to secure it. Call some fluid power friends, set a meeting date, make promises of time that you can keep, and call me again. I’ll help you get in touch with kids where you live who are looking for opportunities to excel in STEM-related programs. You’ll use the funding as a donation to help these programs survive, and you’ll give your time to fluid power-related activity in those programs. You’ll do it with colleagues and you’ll inspire kids who would otherwise have no idea how that fire truck doesn’t topple over when the ladder swings to the side. This really is simple; it just requires a little time. By demonstrating the magic of fluid power, you’ll help kids grow and consider this industry as a career path.
My local chapter can help you with every step, from getting your chapter rebooted to recommending programs local to your city or state. I promise only one thing: what you and our industry get out of this effort will be worth more than what you put in. E-mail me when you’re ready to get started.
All you need is 10 individuals to start an IFPS chapter. Here are 10 reasons to gather those 10 individuals and take control of your fluid power career with proactive, positive, and rewarding actions.
1. Great opportunities to learn, serve, and share
2. Local face-to-face networking
3. Youth outreach through
4. A non-competitive setting to discuss new technologies, industry trends, technology advances, and common experiences
5. Face-to-face social events
6. Personal and professional growth opportunities
7. Presentations, workshops, and industry tours
8. Valuable community service opportunities
9. Web seminars, chapter newsletters, and certification review sessions
10. Continued education and Professional Development Points for recertification
Chapter Mentor: IFPS will assign you a mentor to help you get started.
Chapter Dues Rebates: Chapters receive 15% of IFPS membership dues for the total number of members in their chapter area (provided the chapter holds a minimum of two chapter meetings per year).
Chapter Travel Reimbursement: Travel reimbursement is offered to a chapter representative who attends either or both of the two IFPS meetings on behalf of their chapter.
Contact Information: Chapter officers will receive contact information for local IFPS members.
Monetary Support: Money is available for fluid power competitions.
Dedicated Chapter Web Page: Host your chapter information and activities on the IFPS website (www.ifps.org) on a dedicated chapter page.
Get Published: Chapter activities and pictures are published in the Fluid Power Journal.
Contact Jeana Hoffman by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 800-308-6005 Ext. 114 if you would like to start a chapter.
If you happen to reside in Virginia or Oklahoma, these chapters only need a few more individuals to make their efforts a reality. Please contact Jeana Hoffman if you would like to join either of these new chapters.
Take the first step! Start a new chapter! Re-invest in yourself and the fluid power industry!
Scott Gower, CFPS, is a member and past president of IFPS Chapter 49 in Orlando, Fla. He is northern district manager for Gulf Controls Co. Inc. Mr. Gower can be reached at email@example.com.