Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association


President’s Column: Baby boomer exodus: Will you be ready?

Dec 31, 2015

GuyGast_colorEveryone has heard about it—the upcoming exodus of the baby boomers, and the woeful shortage of talent to fill in behind them. It’s a drumbeat that is deafening, so much so that it’s a wonder any of us will survive it!

With all that “noise,” it’s important to remember what we have going for us—attractive, high-paying jobs in an industry that can’t be replaced or sent overseas. Frankly, if you’re a young person considering a career, it should be exciting to see all the opportunity created by retiring baby boomers! Whether you are a recent or upcoming college graduate, or a skilled young foreman, the ranks of management are waiting to be filled.

Getting these talented people into our organizations is just the start, though. We cannot rely on old methods of learning or teaching, spending years “getting them ready.” They expect us to deliver education to them faster, and on their terms. If we don’t, we can expect that someone else will. Fortunately, we can count on SMACNA to supplement our in-house efforts. Here is just a snapshot of the many programs that are available to members to help you educate your emerging talent:

In parts of the country, apprentice programs and foreman training programs are focused on the need for improved communication and leadership skills. We all know that motivating and leading people are keys to successful execution of the work.

SMACNA’s “A Foreman's Field Guide to Developing Your Workforce chapter supervisory training program is available to help develop new and younger foremen.

ESPN has their famous College Game Day show, featuring the Big Game of the Day. I think Game Day is upon our industry. Some of our stars have retired. New stars are emerging. It’s time to make sure we’re suited up and ready to play!


Guy Gast
SMACNA President