Monday, June 27, 2011

ITT TECH St. Petersburg Summer 2011 Graduation

By: Dr. E. Eugene Webb, BEE, MBA, PhD

Good evening.

Dean, distinguished faculty, honored guests and Graduates; it is real honor to be asked to present a few comments at your graduation from ITT.

The last time I was here to speak to ITT Graduates, things were in a mess. The economy had tanked, no one was hiring and the outlook was bleak. It’s tough to make an uplifting presentation when things are looking so bad…..

But tonight I come here with some GOOD NEWS.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE):
A 2011 job outlook survey showed employers planned to hire 19.3 percent more graduates this spring than they did a year ago.

Monster .com says:
As the economy improves in 2011, IT hiring will pick up as companies implement projects they put off during the recession and rehire those laid-off project managers……

Business Forecasting Center at the University of the Pacific:
Among the more promising hiring trends: improving prospects for science and tech workers. According to Dr. Jeffrey Michael, director of the Business Forecasting Center at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California he says. “We’ll see better growth in technical fields related to computers and engineering.”
US News and World Report:
Early economic indicators show positive signs for the class of 2011 as its seniors prepare to enter the workforce, according to several studies by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

Adecco Work Force Solutions:
Professional and business services gains contributed significantly to the overall private sector (job) additions in May. The sector added 44,000 jobs in the past month. Job growth for soon-to-be college graduates is stronger this year than last… in nearly every industry sector, says Edwin Koc, director of strategic and foundation research at NACE. Last week, the Bethlehem, Pa.-based organization released a statement …that about 53 percent of employers surveyed intend to hire more college graduates from the class of 2011 than from the previous year, a jump from less than 50 percent who reported they would hire in a fall survey.

And here at ITT they now have more job postings than candidates in several job categories.

Things are getting better. Growth is returning. For a time it will be slow and bumpy but it will be steady. For you, the Graduating class of 2011, this is really great news, because you are ready, you are well trained…. and you are well prepared.

As you move into the work place you will be catching the bottom of the new growth wave. You have the opportunity to be there with a great education and practical knowledge as things start to happen.

You can position yourself in your new job, use the tools you have acquired here at ITT to propel yourself to a great career and a rewarding future.

I firmly believe there will never be a better time to be entering the work force and starting a career than right now.

How do you catch the wave?..... How do you succeed?...... What do you do? ….. How to you make the most of this almost unbelievable opportunity?

We know you make good decisions because you chose ITT for your educational experience. We know you have a great education. Look at the history of ITT Graduates. We know that your education is well respected by business and industry. We know that you have a strong work ethic because you are here graduating.

So what’s left to do?

Go get the job…… Work hard…… Contribute to your company’s success….. Keep your eyes open for new opportunity….. Take on new assignments….. Go the extra mile….. Continue your education…..

Come back to ITT or go somewhere else, but always keep growing your knowledge base. It is the one thing no one can take away from you. Expect to be successful.

Dr. WAYNE DYER is an internationally renowned author and speaker in the field of self-development. He's the author of over 30 books, has appeared on thousands of television and radio shows. If you watch any Public Television you have probably seen him. He makes this statement:

“Contemplate yourself surrounded by the consequences you intend to create.”

It means this: Imagine you can accomplish all you want…. The perfect life…. The perfect family…. The perfect job…. The perfect house….. The perfect car…. Robust health….. Unfathomable love.

These are the consequences, the results, you intend to create. You can have all of that and more if  you

"Contemplate yourself surrounded by the consequences you intend to create."

While you’re at it…… Be sure to give back.Always remember that all of your success, whatever it may be, is just a small part of all of our successes…. In a society as complex as ours, each of us shares mutually in the success of all others. Through community service, church, volunteerism or whatever instrument is comfortable for you, always give something back.
Finally …….. I am excited for you…for each of you. Honestly, I am also a bit envious….. You stand at what now appears to be the beginning of the next really significant period of technological, societal and economic change…. You have the opportunity to play as big a part in this new era as you desire and are willing to work for. My generation’s time is passing… but yours is just beginning. We have left you with some great accomplishments to enjoy, some serious problems to be solved….. and an abundance of opportunity. There are solutions for our problems waiting to be found…. Search for them.

The opportunities are almost limitless. … Take advantage of them when they arise.
And never for get to enjoy life. It is easy to get caught up in work and career, so take some time for yourself and your loved ones… and enjoy the rewards of you labor along the way. To many wait till the end…. only to find out it’s too late.

We are all very proud of you tonight……. You have reached a true milestone in your life…..
Your next great adventure awaits…… On behalf the entire ITT family….. let me thank you for letting us be a part of your future.

My congratulations to the Summer 2011 Graduation class.

Thank you.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Pinellas County Schools

I have been watching the wrangling between the School Board, Superintendant Janssen and the public with interest for some time now. It has been a long time since I had a child in the Pinellas County Public school system, but my memories of many of those twelve years are still pretty vivid. I arrived here in Pinellas County in 1968; my daughter was 2 years old. Shortly after our arrival the Federal Court ordered bussing was put in place. Almost immediately a spate of private schools sprung up to accommodate parents, many of them our friends, who wanted to avoid bussing and the integration it brought on. I remember my wife and I discussing sending our daughter to a private school, the means were certainly there, but we opted for the public school system, mostly because we both felt that the socialization in a real word environment was more valuable than "protecting" our child form life's harsh realities.

It turned out the decision was both right and wrong. Fully realizing this was over 40 years ago, you may be thinking ok where is the relevance? Here it is. I distinctly remember a number of occasions when issues arose with the school system where we interacted with teachers or the administration. I cannot remember one that went well or turned out positive. Even now, I clearly remember arrogant administrators, tenured teachers with the "I don't care what you say or think, I am untouchable" attitude. My daughter, while far from a saint, was not treated fairly or properly along with many of her class mates. An as much as the school system touted parental involvement I came away feeling it was more talk than real desire.

Things don't appear to have changed much over the years and I obviously I don't think much of the Pinellas County school system. I interview people who are a product of the Pinellas school system who can barely read or write. Over bloated with administrators, assistants and tenured teachers whose attitudes are more hostile than supportive, the school system has degenerated into a political cat fight. Like Rick Scott or not, eliminating tenure is going to go a long way in improving the quality of teaching.

Why we cannot find and elect people to a School Board with common sense who are willing to make serious decisions totally eludes me. Once elected, they become politically correct, fearing even the hint of a controversy. My daughter went on the St. Pete Junior college where she struggled a bit, then to USF and directly to the Florida Institute of Technology to complete her Master's degree.

You might think it all ended there but it did not. Pick up the story Wednesday when I tell you more about the surprising impact of a poor public school experience.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Time To Go

I have a very large Oak in the back of my property. Every year for the last decade or so I have been entertained by a family of nesting Blue Jays. This year, I count four nests in the tree, not all Blue Jays I am sure. This weekend I spent part of Saturday at home cleaning a bit and the afternoon in the pool. My resident Blue Jays were all the twitter, moving this years hatchlings out of the nest and on their way. The adults were most insistent and soon the young, three of them, were enticed to a nearby power wire, then a slightly more distant tree and then apparently gone.

My own resident feathered companion, Jeepers, a 25 year old Blue and Gold Macaw watched the whole proceeding with tacit approval but without much comment. Also odd because she has something to say about almost everything. It seemed a bit early in the summer to be moving the family out on their own. As of late Saturday afternoon none had returned.

Our faithful oak has been a reliable home for nesting birds and squirrels for many years, but perhaps moving on a bit early this year is the prudent thing for wise mother bird to do. It set me to thinking that maybe the Blue Jays know something about the upcoming hurricane season that I had missed. I grabbed the laptop checked the hurricane forecast and pulled up my hurricane check list and started making some changes. Probably time, the last up date was in 2009. You might want to check yours.

The Blue Jays may just know something.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Parrot Heads, Palm Harbor and a Slice of Paradise

I have been a ParrotHead since the very first Jimmy Buffet song I heard. From live performances in Key West to the Trop, when it was called the Thunder Dome, I have been a die hard Buffet fan. I could not pass this weekends' Palm Harbor ParrotHead party. I dusted off the Harley grabbed a Buffet T-Shirt some flip flops and headed up US 19. A scant 30 minutes or so later Thresea and I were in "Down Town Palm Harbor" which has a very genuine Key West type feel. We passed on the Cheese Burgers in Paradise and instead dropped by Molly Goodheads for some great fish and stuffed mushrooms. Then on to the party. The crowd was big, older and the Buffet tribute band, The Caribbean Chillers, was great!

Jimmy Buffet has been the troubadour to at least three generations. Problem is the crowd is getting older and the newest "constant on" generation doesn't relate well to the laid back, disconnected lifestyle Buffets' songs and books espouse. The Caribbean Chillers lead singer had just turned 60 and from his comments he was still trying to adjust to the challenges of his newest decade. It was fascinating to watch the crowd switch from looking at their cell phones to singing along with their favorite Buffet tune.

It's still too early to determine who will be the alternative life style leader of the new I-Phone, I-Pad, Droid, Kindel always connected generation, but I doubt it will Buffet. A picture of a Parrot on a Droid, no matter how the high resolution, just can't equal that same Parrot sitting on your shoulder at a bar with your mind totally disconnected or laying for hours under a palm tree with a pitcher of margaritas staring pointlessly at the ocean. Sooner or later every generation, so far, has tired of the pressures they self inflict on them selves and look for a way out. This one is no different; they are just waiting for the right song from the right person. Let's hope they find it soon. Palm Harbor throws a great party.