I’M NOT AFRAID TO TRAIN MYSELF OUT OF A JOB
For years, I’ve made continuing education a priority in my industry, and I don’t just mean the courses and conferences I attend throughout the year. I like to make sure my clients are as well-educated on IAQ topics as I am.
I have never been secretive about my knowledge. I don’t believe that the only way for my company to succeed is for me to be the only person who knows anything about indoor air quality. Part of the reason I send out my monthly newsletter and weekly email blasts is so property managers, building owners, and the people on their teams are equipped with the basics of IAQ.
In mid-July, I held a training session for my clients’ engineers to attend so they could learn more about what kind of IAQ problems commercial buildings face. I saw a lot of new faces at the session, and I hope they walked away with useful information that will make their jobs easier. I also have a shortened version of my training that I present to engineering and maintenance teams at the request of the property manager if a team needs to brush up on their skills. But even when I’m not in a teaching environment, I still want to share my knowledge.
Once, when I was out at a school, I grabbed one of the engineers and had him walk around the property with me. I showed him what I was doing, what problems I’d found, and explained how they could take care of it. After that, the engineer was able to take care of a lot of the school’s problems himself. My first thought was, “Oh jeez, I’ve trained myself out of a job!” But later I realized, while they didn’t need me for small concerns, the school district was still calling me when they had big problems to take care of.
In addition to equipping my clients with useful knowledge, it also feels pretty good to teach the younger guys in the field some of what I learned. Some time ago, when I was in a commercial building on a job, I had one of the guys on their team walk with me. I told him about some of the unusual things I’ve seen in buildings, including how often mold
grows around office plants when people set the pots on napkins to soak up excess water.
Six months later, he calls me and says, “Travis, I have a problem, and I need you to be here for it.” I go down to the building, and while we’re walking around, he happens to spot an office plant sitting on top of a filing cabinet. Without missing a beat, he walks over, lifts up the plant, and finds a napkin with a ring of mold growing around it.
It felt pretty good to see this guy taking my lessons to heart. I’ve been in this field for a long time and I’ve learned a lot over the years. I like passing on my knowledge so it can be used by other people working hard in the IAQ field for years to come.