• Ben Gilbert

Giving back (aka Go-Giving)

There’s a funny quote from Jay Leno: “In America, we want everyone to know about the good work we’re doing anonymously”. It’s funny because it’s quite often true, but I also think it ultimately doesn’t matter. (It ain’t braggin’ if you’ve done it.)

In our industry, and in life, ‘giving back’ comes in many forms. It could take shape in being a mentor, sharing technical expertise, or giving/participating in any charity organization. Many companies in the A/E/C community organize charity drives and events.

Starting small….or big. Giving back can be as simple as spending a couple hours writing an article sharing your knowledge and experience. Giving someone less experienced a hard-won piece of advice. Or giving blood, or giving $100 bucks to a charitable organization. Some people dive right in and go big, and that can be quite a powerful experience.

Start small if you haven’t done it before

· Several companies in the AEC community host charity event events/drives – participate!

· Give blood

· Walk a couple miles in a charity event

· Give $50 or $100 bucks to your favorite charity

· Beach cleanups

· Supporting local or national charities and charity events (Experience Camps)

Other Examples (we ain’t braggin’):

· Create and share a technical document (i.e., the California Commissioning Cheatsheet)

· T-24 Commissioning classes (lunch & learns, etc.)

· Speaking engagements (conferences, guest speakers, panels, etc.)

· LinkedIn blogs

· YouTube channel / videos

· LinkedIn feed technical posts

· Giving Blood

There are many benefits of giving back. It strengthens the community, the individual, our industry, or helps others that are having a bad stretch of luck. And hey, there’s a certainly a good feeling that comes from being selfless once in a while in what can be a very competitive industry.

Have you ever been frustrated on a project because it seemed the same old mistakes were being made? Could that have been mitigated by someone in our professional community sharing their expertise on how they avoided that situation? (and the rest of us paying attention!) I’d sure like to believe so. I would like our industry to be able to focus more on evolving and elevating the design, construction, and occupancy/operation process, instead of repetitively fixing issues that are recurring and preventable.

Having worked in this industry for 20 years, I am still impressed by the quality of the people I meet every day. Their drive, their talent, and the commitment to their craft. This is what fuels my belief that we can, and will, continue to improve our community and our industry.

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