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WorkforceNEXT Insights: Talking with Steve

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Steve Werner, Ph.D.
Professor and Department Chair
Department of Management
C.T. Bauer College of Business, University of Houston

Steve Werner is a Professor of Management and Chair of the Department of Management at the Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston and has taught a course titled, “Managing Human Resources in the Oil and Gas Industry” at the graduate level for the last 3 years. He received his Ph.D. in Human Resource Management from the University of Florida. His research focuses on various human resource management issues, particularly compensation and international HRM. Recently, Werner published a book titled, Managing Human Resources in the Oil and Gas Industry, the only book that focuses on HR in oil and gas.

How can companies facilitate communication and a positive work culture?
I believe it begins with company leadership, but can then be carried forward by every one of us. How leadership treats employees helps to model behaviors to everyone in the organization.  Creating and supporting fair policies and procedures help. Hiring the right people, training them well, and paying them fairly also help. So does being proactive in addressing the needs of employees not just the business. Good leaders know that effective leadership involves not only a task-centered focus, but also an employee-centered focus.  Further, research has shown that positivity has numerous benefits not just for the employees, but also for the organization. Positivity can come from leadership and spread throughout the organization, but it can also come from anyone in the organization and influence all those around them. This is particularly important for those in HR because they interact with employees throughout the organization.

How do we keep an engaged and committed organization when the going gets tough?
This follows from the previous question, because a positive work culture is a great start.  Research on stress relief training shows that training employees on how to frame things positively relieves stress substantially more than other types of training, including relaxation oriented training methods and practices. I believe the same is true at the organization level, when the company is under “stress” because of tough times. In a positive work culture, the tough times can be framed as challenges that can be overcome, rather than as insurmountable obstacles. HR can be helpful by facilitating the design of jobs to make the work itself more engaging, by providing support to those who need it, and by coming up with creative ways to reduce the need for layoffs.    

What does the future of the workplace look like? How can we prepare for the next generation in the workplace?
I believe the workplace in the near future will be evolutionary rather than revolutionary. We will see technology making greater inroads into everybody’s work including that of HR professionals. Mobile applications, social media, and gamification will affect selection, training, benefits administration, and performance management more than ever before. Training will occur on cellphones and laptops and be more entertaining than ever. Prospective employees will apply and take selection tools on their cellphones. Performance management will include a greater component of developmental aspects and include crowdsourced feedback; metrics and analytics will be used to better forecast and predict outcomes and human behavior. The best way to prepare for the next generation in the workplace is to be open-minded. Our views would likely be the same as theirs if we were in their generation.  

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Who is your hero? And why?
Kurt Warner, former NFL Quarterback. No team wanted him coming out of college, but through hard-work, positivity, and persistence, he landed at the St.Louis Rams and won a Superbowl his first year in the league.  After an injury and subsequent poor play he was cut from the Rams and then later cut from the NY Giants.  He then fought his way to the starting job for the Arizona Cardinals and took them to a Super Bowl. This year he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Throughout all his ups and downs he was a great supporter of the under-privileged (even winning the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award one year), and continues to do so through his foundation. He is a great example of what can be accomplished through hard-work, positivity, and persistence.

What’s the most unusual place you have visited?
The indoor skiing facility in Dubai, UAE. It was a great experience, “the mountain” is inside a 25 story building. The snow was perfect. They provided all the equipment at a very reasonable cost. I would highly recommend it.  

 

WorkforceNEXT Insights: Talking with Uma

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Uma Ranganathan, PHR
Program Manager, Statoil
Advisory Board Member, WorkforceNEXT
Global Organization for Divinity, volunteer

Uma is program responsible for ‘Lead and Drive Performance’, which aims to improve business performance by strengthening leader’s abilities to drive team performance and influence others. With this position Uma has had the opportunity to specialize in talent and performance management, along with employee branding.

What hiring techniques do you use in the energy industry? What is working now versus what has worked in the past, what will work in the future?
In the past, recruitment was about volumes. With the vast changes that have impacted our industry, due to the downturn, recruitment is now about value. In other words, identifying the best solution in light of digitalization, changing competence requirements and a renewed strategy.

How do you create opportunities to increase employee engagement?
The three main activities through which employee engagement is maintained and increased are continuous feedback, strength-based development and creating a learning culture. Further encouraging continuous feedback and openness around decisions gives more impetus to engagement. This can be done through town halls and Senior Leadership presence from time to time.

Get to Know the HR Pro

What one event in your childhood had the greatest effect on your life?
It was the time when I did bungee jumping. I felt every moment of the activity was crushing every inch of fear that I had.

If you weren’t doing what you do today, what other job would you have?
I would have been a Musician: teaching, researching and performing.

 

What Keeps You Up at Night?

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Kylee Beth Ngo
Manager of Compensation and Benefits
Genesis Energy, LP

What is your biggest challenge, or what “keeps you up at night” as a human resources professional in the energy industry, and what are you doing to address it?
Over the last year, many companies in the oil and gas market have made difficult personnel decisions whether it be around hiring freezes, reductions in force, delaying merit increases or freezing salaries, and decreasing the value of short-term and long-term incentive programs. Often times these types of responses create uncertainty and anxiety in the workforce, which leads to dissatisfaction with the company. One of the many challenges in this environment is understanding the attrition risks when the job market does open up again. Some employees who were dissatisfied with the annual bonus they received or the lack of a merit program, among other things, will be the first to enter the job market and potentially leave. Unfortunately, some of these will be key employees and high-potential employees. As an HR team, each time we implement a program, we work to identify these employees and address individually to help mitigate any risk of attraction in the coming years.

How is technology affecting your role in HR?
Technology has streamlined the administrative functions of many HR activities including recruiting, onboarding, compensation management, benefits enrollment, and others. Over the last two years, management at Genesis has embraced multiple initiatives to enhance the technology in place, allowing me to transform the Compensation and Benefits programs. Two years ago we implemented online open enrollment for the first time modernizing a very archaic process and eliminating hours of work for the benefits team. A year ago, I worked with IT to build direct file feeds between our HRIS system and our carriers removing the need for double entry of benefits elections. On the compensation side, in addition to fully utilizing the Compensation Workbench for the annual bonus and merit program, we have moved all one-time payments into the HRIS system eliminating the need for email trails of approvals. Each time we are able to move a manual process to a tool, it reduces the manual workload of my team, allowing us to focus more on the strategic direction of the programs and the employee experience all while decreasing the potential for errors.

The two year delay of the 40% excise tax, also known as the Cadillac tax, on employer-sponsored healthcare benefits was a significant opportunity. This was part of the first wave of significant changes to the landmark Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). What changes are your company still considering in response to the PPACA? Or, is your company taking a “wait and see” approach? What is the driving factor behind your company’s approach?
The delay in the excise tax was considered by many HR professionals, specifically Benefits professionals, to be a huge win when it comes to the ACA. However, prior to this delay, many oil and gas companies, including Genesis Energy, LLC, had already implemented the “wait and see” approach. While the health care insurers and consultants have better developed many alternatives to the traditional health offerings (exchanges, narrow networks, full replacement consumer-centric plans, and specialty care management programs) which would decrease the actuarial value of a plan, in turn decreasing the excise tax burden, the traditional PPO is still the most prominent plan for most oil and gas companies. For Genesis Energy, LLC, the potential for the excise tax did not immediately change our benefits strategy. We discussed offering alternatives as additional programs to the PPO, but chose not to implement. In the coming years, there may be opportunity for us to adopt more aggressive strategies, but for now we shall wait and see.  

How do you facilitate communication and a positive work culture in your company?
From a benefits perspective, I have created an educational email communication program. Just like many other small companies, Genesis does not have an internal communication team with most Genesis branded communications created by outside consultants. As we discussed the need for a benefits communication program to educate employees and get them excited about benefits, we had to look to alternatives. These alternatives actually come straight from the vendors as most have well developed communications to serve our exact need. Over the last few months, I have sent a weekly or bi-weekly email with these “canned” communications and the result has been overwhelming. The increased discussion around benefits and the additional questions the benefits team has answered not only helps to educate the employees but it gets them excited about their benefits. Any time an employee can better utilize the benefits we provide, or chooses to increase their 401k deferral, we feel we have positively impacted our employees.

Get to know the HR Pro

What one event in your childhood had the greatest effect on your life?
While not a single event, playing softball had the greatest impact on my life. As a member of the team, you have to work together to achieve a common goal while working individually to succeed in your own position. This can be applied to most aspects of my professional life. I have a team working together to achieve a common goal, but I must individually succeed in my own role to make the team successful. As a softball player, my position was pitcher which meant I had to practice the hardest and longest and be the best player on the team in order for the team to win. I have applied this mentality to every professional position I have taken. I have to be the best in my role, work the hardest and set an example for the team.

WorkforceNEXT: Talking with Fred

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Fred Stawitz
Principal, Technical Training and OQ Regional Coordinator
Kinder Morgan, Inc.
President and National Award-Winning Writer, Educator
Storymakers, Inc.

Fred is a thoughtful leader specializing in employee engagement, with over twelve years of progressive expertise in the design and implementation of state of the art skills management programs that maximize workforce productivity, retain talent, and ensure regulatory compliance. He’s also a national award-winning writer and educator, published author and popular conference chairman/speaker. He has appeared on CNN Headline News in Southern California, was a featured guest in a PBS special one-hour program in Pennsylvania, and was quoted in a special Congressional Quarterly report.

How do you attract new and qualified talent? How do you work to retain talent?
Your best recruiters are your employees if you treat them well. When employees are engaged and committed to the organization they will tell friends and family what a great place this is to work. The word will spread. Or you can draw new recruits in the door with glitzy advertising and buzz words like teamwork, opportunity, and rewards. You will only keep them if the functional culture they experience when they step in the door does not differ significantly from the aspirational culture you promote with values statements and mantras posted on the walls.

How do we keep an engaged and committed organization when the going gets tough?
You keep an engaged and committed organization when the going gets tough by establishing the conditions that foster an engaged workforce before the going gets tough. You build trust between management and workers by creating an atmosphere of respect and open communications. You create an environment where pain and rewards are shared equitably at all levels in the organization. Not an environment where pain is pushed to the bottom and rewards always give those at the top a soft landing. You don’t treat workers like a commodity that you can easily jettison to lighten the load when the going gets tough. You view an engaged workforce as the way you do business and your employees will be committed to the success of the organization in good times and bad.

How do you create opportunities to increase employee engagement?
You don’t have to create opportunities to engage employees. Those opportunities exist in the normal course of doing business. The question is, do you take advantage of these opportunities and allow employees to act within clearly defined areas of authority and responsibility? Do you support them in navigating a path to success or hang them out to dry when something bad happens? Do you give them ownership of their role in the process? Employee engagement is better viewed as a value, not a technique to boost productivity.

What does the future of the workplace look like? How can we prepare for the next generation in the workplace?
The workplace is currently in flux. Traditional top down approaches of authority and control are being challenged by a new generation looking for the opportunity to contribute. If their efforts to engage prevail, then the future looks bright. Young people bring energy and creativity that if channeled in the right directions can transform the workplace as we know it. Society stands to benefit from higher levels of engagement, new methods of collaboration, more efficient and eco-friendly processes, and more socially conscious business practices. If they fail, the outlook for the future of the workplace and society as a whole may be a bit more bleak.

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What’s the one thing you want to accomplish before you die?
Before I die I want to find a forever home for one more homeless pets and help one more person move closer to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life. If I can accomplish both tasks at the same time that is simply icing on a chocolate eclair.

Do you have a pet? If so, tell me about it.
I have many furry members of my family. Most are strays who through no fault of their own were abandoned on the street and thankfully found their way into my life. Each has a wonderfully vibrant personality that adds so much joy and love per pound of body weight that the ROI of the small effort required to care for them is incalculably astronomical.

What’s the most unusual place you have visited?
Planet earth is the most unusual and intriguing place I have ever visited or lived. Whether strolling along the pathways of Dowager Cixi’s Summer Palace on the outskirts of Beijing or attending a briefing at The White House. Whether waking up next to a coyote under a picnic table in Kansas, bar hopping at midnight atop the handlebars of a bicycle in Baden Baden, marveling at the Alps in Austria, or swimming with seals in Alaska (WOW that was cold!) My life has been and continues to be a full array of unusual places, people, and events that keep me always interested in finding out, what’s next?

WorkforceNEXT: Talking with Jamie

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Jamie Belinne, SPHR
Assistant Dean, Rockwell Career Center
Enactus Sam Walton Fellow
C.T. Bauer College of Business, University of Houston

Inspirational speaker and educator helping people embrace change, diversity and growth. Jamie’s specialties include managing generational differences, leveraging interpersonal style differences on teams, enjoying and promoting diversity, Millennial and Gen Z career development, negotiations, recruiting, onboarding, conflict resolution and women’s leadership issues.

What are the best practices you’re seeing among energy companies who hire college graduates?
The best companies are realistic about the cyclical nature of the industry, and they know entry-level hiring will be one of the first things to pick up when things improve. As a result, the best companies are staying involved on campus with branding activities, even if they’re not hiring much or at all. We’re seeing more energy companies volunteering to guest lecture, presenting to student organizations, helping with mock interviews and resume reviews, and sponsoring leadership and diversity programs that aren’t focused on hiring.

Should companies be on campus if they’re not hiring?
Don’t attend career fairs or host interviews if you’re not hiring. But it’s important to keep a strong brand on campus to position you for future hiring. The best companies are currently doing programs that target freshmen and sophomores so those students will feel a strong connection to the company when they are graduating and entry-level hiring has improved again. Otherwise, you risk being forgotten, and you won’t get the top candidates when you return in the future.

As Gen Z starts to enter internships, what can we expect?
I survey thousands of college students each year, and Gen Z is definitely different from the Millennials.  Gen Z is very comfortable solving problems independently and even implementing their own ideas with limited involvement or oversight from others. For this reason, it’s important that new hires are very clear on what types of things need approval prior to moving forward. It is also important to be very clear on what information can and cannot be shared, and with whom, and under what circumstances. This is a generation that has been very successful through crowdsourcing, so they are less likely than the Millennials to seek approval before asking questions or testing ideas outside of their own departments.

How should you attract Gen Z to the energy industry?
As with the Millennials, it is still important to tie your company’s work and mission to a larger meaning.  The more you can talk about how your company is improving the world and the lives of people in it, the more exciting you are as an employer.  Social entrepreneurship is big with this generation, so showing how your company impacts the “triple bottom line” (people, profit, planet) is critical. The students also want to see a family atmosphere in their potential employers. Team-building activities and co-workers who socialize are big perks for younger hires. They no-longer expect work-life balance as much as work-life integration. They may play Pokemon Go at their desks on occasion, but they will also bring work home and work on projects after hours.

Get to know the HR Pro

What “lesson from Mom” do you still live by today?
Find something nice to say. Complaining and gossiping never got anyone anywhere.

If you could spend a week anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I’d love to visit the Galapagos Islands and see all of the unusual wildlife.

What’s the worst mistake you ever made in life that taught you a valuable lesson?
I took a job right out of college, just because it was in my field, without really thinking critically about the company. It was a terrible fit for my values system, and I cried all the way to work every day. That decision has made me passionate about making sure other college students don’t make the same mistake I did!

Prior to her position as Assistant Dean for Career Services at the C.T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston, she managed Recruiting and Staffing at The University of Texas at Austin. Earlier at UT, she built McCombs’ first MBA Career Services group.

She is a founding member of the global MBA Career Services and Employers Alliance. She is the recipient of the National Association of Colleges and Employers 2012 Professional Change Maker Award and the 2013 Innovation Excellence Award in Diversity Programming for one of her books on career development. She is also an Ironman and a mother of two.

 

Houston’s Oil Industry Eyes Recovery, Job Creation

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Jenny Philip, senior manager, economic research for the Greater Houston Partnership, discussed the future of Houston?s energy workforce at WorkforceNEXT?s Fall Summit Oct. 20. Houston has lost 24,700 mining and logging jobs since the beginning of the industry downturn (December 2014).

?Houston is the energy capital of the world,? said Philip. ?We love to boast about that in $100 oil, but we also have to own that in $26 oil or our current $52 oil.?

We?re on the verge of approaching $54 per barrel oil, which Philip said is when many energy analysts believe we will start seeing more exploration and production activity and hiring.

In a September meeting, OPEC agreed to cut oil production, but Philip said market fundamentals are holding back a surge in oil prices.

?If you look at supply and demand, you have to take into account not only the production that is already occurring, but the amount of surplus capacity that has been built up throughout the course of the downturn,? she said. ?Right now, we?re at about three billion [barrels] and we?re not able to draw down on these inventories in a significant way until next year.?

Those aren?t great market fundamentals to support a huge oil price increase, but there is movement toward a $55-$60 oil price environment, she added.

Assuming the price trough of $26 oil in Feb. 2016 is the lowest the industry will see this downturn, Philip said typically it will take two or three quarters to see drilling pick back up, which is happening now. Two or three quarters after that, we?ll see an uptick in hiring.

?We?re not going to see a huge hiring binge. As the industry recovers, significant hiring is still being held off,? Philip said. ?The concern with energy industry hiring is that a lot of the technological advances that were employed during the downturn actually cannibalized human capital. The projects that were hiring were the ones looking at technologies to take people out of the workforce.?

Similar to adjusted expectations to the rig count and oil price, the industry has to adjust its expectation of the head count post-downturn.

Moving into 2017 and 2018, Houston isn?t expecting to see a recovery like it did coming out of the Great Recession in 2009, said Philip.

?What took us into the Great Recession was a financial crisis,? she said. ?What took us into this downturn was specifically about energy. Houston?s employment continued to grow, even with the volatility of oil prices.?

>> View original article

WorkforceNEXT Q&A: Talking with Jamie

Posted by

Jamie Belinne, SPHR
Assistant Dean, Rockwell Career Center
Enactus Sam Walton Fellow
C.T. Bauer College of Business, University of Houston

Inspirational speaker and educator helping people embrace change, diversity and growth.
Jamie?s specialties include managing generational differences, leveraging interpersonal style differences on teams, enjoying and promoting diversity, Millennial and Gen Z career development, negotiations, recruiting, onboarding, conflict resolution and women?s leadership issues.

What are the best practices you?re seeing among energy companies who hire college graduates?
The best companies are realistic about the cyclical nature of the industry, and they know entry-level hiring will be one of the first things to pick up when things improve. As a result, the best companies are staying involved on campus with branding activities, even if they?re not hiring much or at all. We?re seeing more energy companies volunteering to guest lecture, presenting to student organizations, helping with mock interviews and resume reviews, and sponsoring leadership and diversity programs that aren?t focused on hiring.

Should companies be on campus if they?re not hiring?
Don?t attend career fairs or host interviews if you?re not hiring. But it?s important to keep a strong brand on campus to position you for future hiring. The best companies are currently doing programs that target freshmen and sophomores so those students will feel a strong connection to the company when they are graduating and entry-level hiring has improved again. Otherwise, you risk being forgotten, and you won?t get the top candidates when you return in the future.

As Gen Z starts to enter internships, what can we expect?
I survey thousands of college students each year, and Gen Z is definitely different from the Millennials.  Gen Z is very comfortable solving problems independently and even implementing their own ideas with limited involvement or oversight from others. For this reason, it?s important that new hires are very clear on what types of things need approval prior to moving forward. It is also important to be very clear on what information can and cannot be shared, and with whom, and under what circumstances. This is a generation that has been very successful through crowdsourcing, so they are less likely than the Millennials to seek approval before asking questions or testing ideas outside of their own departments.

How should you attract Gen Z to the energy industry?
As with the Millennials, it is still important to tie your company?s work and mission to a larger meaning.  The more you can talk about how your company is improving the world and the lives of people in it, the more exciting you are as an employer.  Social entrepreneurship is big with this generation, so showing how your company impacts the ?triple bottom line? (people, profit, planet) is critical. The students also want to see a family atmosphere in their potential employers. Team-building activities and co-workers who socialize are big perks for younger hires. They no-longer expect work-life balance as much as work-life integration. They may play Pokemon Go at their desks on occasion, but they will also bring work home and work on projects after hours.

Get to know the HR Pro

What ?lesson from Mom? do you still live by today?
Find something nice to say. Complaining and gossiping never got anyone anywhere.

If you could spend a week anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I?d love to visit the Galapagos Islands and see all of the unusual wildlife.

What?s the worst mistake you ever made in life that taught you a valuable lesson?
I took a job right out of college, just because it was in my field, without really thinking critically about the company. It was a terrible fit for my values system, and I cried all the way to work every day. That decision has made me passionate about making sure other college students don?t make the same mistake I did!

Prior to her position as Assistant Dean for Career Services at the C.T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston, she managed Recruiting and Staffing at The University of Texas at Austin. Earlier at UT, she built McCombs? first MBA Career Services group.

She is a founding member of the global MBA Career Services and Employers Alliance. She is the recipient of the National Association of Colleges and Employers 2012 Professional Change Maker Award and the 2013 Innovation Excellence Award in Diversity Programming for one of her books on career development. She is also an Ironman and a mother of two.

Building Your ROI Case: Q&A with Dr. Brett Richard

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Dr. Brett Richard, Manager, HR & Organizational Effectiveness, Sasol

Q: Why is ROI important for HR Leaders to Consider?

A: Challenging the HR Community to think in terms of ROI specifically focuses on how Energy HR Leaders are using ROI to show senior executives and other stakeholders the value of human capital in today?s marketplace. If HR Leaders are not considering ROI surrounding their programs during this challenging cost containment environment, then they are at risk for losing key initiatives and programs for a variety of areas.

HR Leaders must be cutting edge to be effective for today?s marketplace, and learning how to establish and prove ROI is an important skillset to stay at the forefront of this industry.

Q: What is the key first step in building the ROI case?

A: There are two primary steps that should be taken for each program that you want to apply a ROI case to improve or save the program.

The first step is setting the stage with management and creating the value proposition.

Preparing/Creating the Value:

? Getting buy-in and persuading senior management
? How to structure an ROI program for maximum effectiveness
? Understanding the value that senior management places on various programs
? How to extract the specific value propositions that will make an ROI analysis effective

Q: How do you isolate the ROI for a specific program?

A: The isolation step involves determining the specific metric that will help the HR Leader to establish ROI. Without this metric the case cannot be calculated and measured.

Placing a Metric that can establish ROI:

? Identifying the primary metric
? Calculating the effect of a measurable program
? Numerous ways you can calculate ROI- not every method works for each program
? Controlling the variables and understanding challenges or flaws in the ROI process

Q: Which types of programs work well with establishing an ROI case?

A: The ROI analysis can be used with almost any program that allows the HR leader to establish a primary metric and then calculate the effect of the measurable program. However, not every method of calculating ROI works for each program. This has been used effectively with training programs, benefit programs such as day care or wellness have also been showcased with an ROI analysis.

How Big Data and Analytics can REALLY be used to establish and grow your HR programs.

Trade Show Leader: Stone Fort Group’s Sean Guerre

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Sean Guerre is a media entrepreneur and currently is the co-founder of Stone Fort Group- a Live Event & Digital Media startup serving b2b communities in the Energy, Transportation and Workforce/HR markets.

His claim to fame is serving as a former chairman of the Society of Independent Show Organizers, and he has been a keynote presenter and speaker at SISO, IAEE, Folio, Niche EventFest and CEIR Predict.

Prior to founding Stone Fort Group, he co-founded TradeFair Group (energy media), which was sold in 2012 to private equity firm Veronis, Suhler & Stevenson.

Guerre graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with a BBA/Marketing, lives in Houston with his wife Katy and 2 daughters. He has served on the boards of SISO, St. Cecilia Catholic Church, Southeast Media and Pink Petro.

He is passionate about launching live events, new digital media brands, startups, running, cycling, craft beer and spending time with his family.

Guerre’s favorite quote aptly captures his sense of humour as well: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face” – Mike Tyson.

He took some time to tell us how he got started in trade shows and to give some witty wise words.

TSNN: How did you get started in the industry?

Sean Guerre: I was fortunate enough to have a fraternity brother who was working at an oil & gas publisher launching a trade show group. He asked me to come over from my current job…selling fax machines…I think I made the right choice 😉 We had an awesome adventure building and growing shows for them in the US and then globally. After a few years we jumped over to our own startup to manage and build shows for ourselves and I have never looked back!


TSNN: How different was the industry when you started, compared with today?

Guerre: As you can guess from my 25 year-old starting point, all of the tech was built well after I started in the trade show business. Rolodexes, phone calls and foam core floor plans were the norm…and fax machines of course! Print marketing/Direct Mail was king and business moved at a slower pace. Everyone worked in the office and there weren’t many shows held by corporations, mostly association and some for-profit. The majority of events were horizontal and focused on major industries and large segments.

It is a much faster business pace today with instant feedback from digital ads, social media and the ubiquitous email. It is easier to test a new event concept and determine the likelihood of its success with the marketplace. The ability to connect with a marketplace is also significantly easier through all the channels that exist in today’s trade show industry. Our teams work virtually, they are global, and events serve key niches regularly.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the focus of bringing a community together to share knowledge and have buyers and sellers trade challenges and solutions.


TSNN: What are some of the lessons you have learned being a part of this industry?

Guerre: I have been incredibly fortunate to have had strong mentors in the trade show business right from the start, and the lessons they have taught me are priceless. Sharing information is something that you rarely see in business, but in the event business it happens everyday and makes us all stronger.

David Johnson, my first boss, showed me this business and all the possibilities of how we can serve a market need, which is the only real reason you should launch an event.

Michael Hough, Denyse Selesnick and Lew Shomer showed me how to profitably launch and build a trade show as a small company without any real investment, but with passion for a market.

Don Pazour taught me how to be gracious, grow a business to the next level, make it more profitable…all at the same time.

David Audrain, Joel Davis, Phil McKay, Scott Goldman, John Failla, Carl Landau and so many more from my experience at SISO are a constant set of sharing peers that give me great counsel on launching & building our events.


TSNN: What is your favorite part of being in the industry?

Guerre: There are actually 2 fave parts for me:

1.     The people! I truly love the great people I have met in the trade show industry. From the folks in the industries we serve, the awesome teams who made our shows successful over the years, and of course the great people who are all part of the trade show industry.

2.     Shows! That feeling you get when you start a show from scratch with your team. Finding the market need, developing the relationships, creating the marketplace and then seeing it all come to life…it is one of the most magical experiences that one can have.


TSNN: Anything you miss that you wish was still around?

Guerre: I’m a pretty optimistic person and stay focused on the present and future, so honestly there isn’t anything I really miss from the past, it was all a great adventure. If I had to pin down one item…I do kinda miss those big foam core backed floorplans. It was just cool to see them around the office every day, get colored in as booths were sold, contracted and collected $$$. Salesforce Reports and Online Floorplans don’t have quite the same feel.


TSNN: Anything you are thrilled went away?

Guerre: Fax machines!


TSNN: What do you hope your personal impact on the industry is?

Guerre: Hopefully I have given back at least a small amount back for what the industry has given me, which has been tremendous. I will continue to strive to give back, help new folks entering the industry, give advice and time to young entrepreneurs and promote the live event industry as a fantastic marketing channel for b2b marketers.


TSNN: Any wise words about what this industry means to you overall?

Guerre: I’m not sure this is wisdom but here are 2 quotes that I love which sum up much of what I have learned as a 25 year veteran in the trade show industry:

· “Anytime someone throws money at you…don’t duck!”- Sheldon Adelson

· “Everyone has a plan until they are punched in the face”- Mike Tysonhttps://lh3.googleusercontent.com/NRJvp0kuN9efkMXo1WOIeLq5mMHq0iVOGtj4If5vV4crQjEcF0U2-ufRggMaJQMvEsa9Mvw8odEKyP118r-DMVk5YFaBZTaPiHGvGXA0Gc7V3OTexjzYLgC0VpIl_eSIhcZwsNCr