Fielding a Winning Team with Home Grown Talent

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Writer: Nic Imfled
I love baseball. There is nothing quite like cheering your team toward postseason success. But success isn’t easy. Teams have to be built. In order to achieve the ultimate goal of a world title you need a healthy blend of veteran players and home grown talent. The same is true with successful companies. Over Avanceon’s 30 years in business, we’ve sought to build and maintain a team with the proper blend of seasoned veterans and developing all stars.

As I’ve thought about this recently, I’ve looked at our team and realized something. We’ve got a lot of great seasoned, veteran engineers and we’ve got a great crop of young talent. But what caught my attention is that a lot of our veterans are home grown. We’ve had great success hiring young engineers as interns still in college or into entry level positions fresh out of college. Most of these young engineers stay with Avanceon for years and grow to be some very valuable and experienced members of our team.
I was one of those young engineers who was hired and grown. I was brought on board back in 2000 as an intern through Drexel University’s co-op program. I continued at Avanceon through subsequent internships and worked part time through the school year. In 2004, I came on as a full time entry level engineer. Over the following nine years, I’ve grown by leaps and bounds in my knowledge of the automation industry, how to meet our customer’s needs, how to execute projects, how to work on a team, etc. I’ve risen through the ranks and am now a level IV (of IV) engineer in our Pharma/MES group. I’m not the only engineer like me at Avanceon. Perhaps up to 50% of our engineers are home grown.
Why have we had success in raising up young engineerings? I think there are two reasons:
First, and most importantly, with a young engineer we have an opportunity to train them into our culture and values. For example, our culture is built on creative out of the box thinking that looks for ways to optimize our work tasks for efficiency. Our culture is also built on standardization and teamwork. Taking the time to sculpt and mold young engineers from the beginning of their careers is priceless.
Second, evolving expectations: While we mold our young engineers our expectations grow over time. When they are at the beginning of their career we don’t expect them to have all of the answers, we just want them to learn and grow. As time goes by we increase the expectations of knowledge but continue to hold their hand making sure that they succeed. During this process the engineer feels nurtured while at the same time the company is gaining value by shaping the young engineer into a future seasoned veteran. Mutual goals equal mutual success.
We’ve seen this success with young engineers over many years and we are looking to continue it for many years to come. Does that mean we no longer look for veteran talent? Absolutely not. In fact, we’ve recently brought on a few veterans that we are really excited about. And we are even looking for a few more. But it does mean that we are taking advantage of multiple avenues available to us to prepare, grow, and field the best possible team we can for our customers, just like a championship baseball team.
Next time we come out to work on one of your systems, ask your engineer about his experience. You might find that he is one of our home grown all stars.

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