The key to growing your knowledge and career

qtq80-OjQuRsTo increase your knowledge, you need to learn new things, try new things and generally push outside of your comfort zone.   One of the key components of growing your knowledge is knowing what is new and happening in Maintenance, Reliability, and Asset Management.

I recently had the privilege to attend and present two papers at the Society  of Maintenance & Reliability Professional’s 2016 Annual Conference in Jacksonville.  This premier event was 5 days long.   The conference had 3 Days of workshops and courses, with 2 days of presentations.  Many certification exams were held, such as the CMRT, CMRP, CAMA.

The exhibitors were amazing, with many willing to share information which could be used immediately to deliver some immediate results in your organization.

The attendees were also amazing.   Having numerous discussions with fellow attendees, provided great insights to how obstacles were overcome.  It also cast a different perspective on challenges and the trends in maintenance & reliability.

So why should you attend a conference and improve your professional development?


Part of any professional development is the opportunity to meet people.   By expanding your network of friends and colleagues, you will establish a “mastermind”.  A “mastermind” is a group of people in which you can reach out to and ask for assistance and help.  Chances are the people you met at the conference, have had to overcome some of the obstacles you have, or are doing so right now.   By discussing the obstacles with your group, opportunities will be identified and the obstacle overcome quicker and easier.

Networking also provides opportunities to grow as a professional.  If you have always been in the same industry, you may learn something new from a different industry which you implement in your plant.

It may also provide the opportunity for a new position within your existing company or a new company.   Many companies are quite large, with vastly different functions.  You may meet someone from a different division which has an opportunity for you.


Walk by any exhibitor booth during a conference and you will see the latest and greatest technology or methodology.   This is critical to growing yourself as a professional.  As a professional, you don’t need to have all the answers but know who to ask.  By interacting with various exhibitors, you will establish who is the experts in the various areas and know where to go when you need help.

In addition, by being aware of the latest technology, you can keep that in mind when developing your long term strategy (at least I hope you have a long term strategy).  With the awareness of technology and techniques, you can integrate those into your strategy at the right time, and already have some awareness of what would be required to utilize and implement the solutions.

Take Action

The most important thing to take away from any professional development activity is the ability to do something with the knowledge gained.  If you attended presentations or workshops, chances are it was for a topic you are interested in.  Make sure you act of the knowledge gained during the conference, or the time and expense would be wasted.

At the end of each of my presentations, I asked the attendees to take one thing they learned and apply it.  It didn’t matter how big or same that one thing was, but that they act on it and do something with it the first week back at work.

I am taking my own advice, and I learned a few things about presenting that I will be using to improve my future presentations.  I have also learned a few things are around Asset Management, that I will be incorporating into my programs.

Thank You

I would like to thank all of those professionals who attend the conferences.  Not just the SMRP Annual Conference, but any of the conferences out there.   By increasing your knowledge and acting on the knowledge gained, you further our profession.

I would also like to thank the exhibitors which support the conferences.  Without these amazing exhibitors, the conferences would likely not take place, nor would they deliver the value they do.  These exhibitors truly go out of their way to make the conference more engaging and enlightening.

To the presenters, I would like to thank you for taking the time and the nerve to get up in front of the attendees and share your knowledge with them.  Without these presentations, the learning that happens at these conferences would not take place.

Lastly, and certainly no least, I would like to thank the conference organizers, their volunteers, and support staff.  Without the organizers, the conferences would not happen.  The volunteers (track leads, co-leads, proctors, etc.) play an untold role in what they do.  They kept the tracks operating smoothly and delivering additional value to the tracks and the attendees.

What’s Next?

In closing I must ask, have you attended a conference lately?  What were your thoughts?  Did you implement anything you learned from the conference?

If you haven’t attended one lately, may I suggest the 2017 SMRP Annual Conference in Kansas City, MO?  I will be in attendance, gaining knowledge, meeting old friends, and making new friends.  Maybe I will have the privilege of meeting you.

Remember, to find success, you must first solve the problem, then achieve the implementation of the solution, and finally sustain winning results.

I’m James Kovacevic

Eruditio, LLC

Where Education Meets Application

Follow @EruditioLLC