Helping Hand to Next Generation Reaps Returns

by Faith Varwig, Principal, Faith Group

I started my career as an intern draftsman for a solo practitioner engineer in 1980 while still in school. On my first day he handed me a copy of the 1978 National Standard Plumbing Code.

"No engineer likes to design plumbing systems. You're going to learn how, and I'm going to teach you," he said.

There were many trash cans full of crumpled-up buff paper along the way as I slowly figured out what my mentor was trying to teach me. I was fortunate to have many such mentors along the way, people who were patient and willing to spend their time teaching me the trade.

That experience has driven me to focus on the next generation of young professionals. Roughly five years ago, Faith Group started the Young Professionals (YP) Forum of the Airport Consultants Council (ACC).

Since its inception, the membership has grown to more than 300 YPs nationwide. The group is now self-managed with a forum lead, forum vice-lead, and two educational consultants. It engages members in programs on airport development, industry trends, mentoring/career growth opportunities.

It hosts webinars focused on building technical skills and professional networks and holds an annual innovation competition. These are the next generation of engineers, architects, managers, directors, and business owners.  

I encourage everyone in our industry to consider how to pass along their skillsets and develop the next generation of leadership. 

As for that first engineer I worked for, he's now the director of engineering for Faith Group. 

Funny how things in life turn out when you do good things for people.