At JETC, Opportunities to Observe and Learn from New Environments

By Laura Lavelle, Guest Contributor  

“The days are long, but the years are short.” Thank you author Gretchen Rubin for articulating this phrase so eloquently. The expression resonates with me in both my professional and family life, although truth be told, sometimes the days aren’t long enough. The years fly by, however, no contest.

Thankfully, JETC marks a consistent spot on the calendar every year to help me reflect on professional achievements of each passing year, reconnect with my network, and usher in new opportunities.

To me, late spring means SAME JETC. The same way the school calendar or holidays offer a chance to reflect on the circumnavigation of my world each year, so does JETC for me. JETC has become an annual event for me, and I plan to continue the trend. I remember the start of friendships, the introduction of DOD policies and initiatives, my own project milestones, and even a sense of geography, as they relate to past JETCs.

The 2018 JETC in Kansas City will be my fourth consecutive year of attendance, and I make the week a priority on my calendar. The conference allows me to connect with people, places, and ideas.

People. Where else do I have the opportunity to touch base with so many colleagues, clients, leaders, and friends in a 72-hour time span? In my experience, surrounded by like-minded professionals, friendships are made fast at JETC. These are friendships that I know will endure for many years ahead. It’s easy to find individuals that share my same values, and that are also inspired by similar ideas.

Places. Through technical tours, the outings organized by our SAME Architectural Practice Committee, and the chance to spend time in a new city, JETC offers opportunities to observe and learn from new environments.

Ideas. I wish I could bottle the energy from the exhibit hall, conference rooms, and hallways between sessions. Then I would ration those bottles throughout the year to deliver the same inspiration felt during the training sessions, keynote presentations, and panels.

I can’t believe how the year has flown by, but the month of May somehow circled around again. I’m looking forward to the upcoming JETC, and in particular, I’m eager to introduce one of my colleagues, an SAME Young Member, to this conference. I know she’ll find it as inspiring and engaging as I do.

Thankfully, he arranged to cover my absence at the office and very wisely said, “Laura, go to the conference. Don’t miss the opportunity. Conferences should be for young people.”

Many years ago, I had registered for another professional organization’s national conference, but a project deadline slipped and conflicted with the conference week. I was guilt-ridden about leaving the project before it was buttoned up and discussed my concern with the project manager.

I planned to skip the conference to see the project through. Thankfully, he arranged to cover my absence at the office and very wisely said, “Laura, go to the conference. Don’t miss the opportunity. Conferences should be for young people.” His words have always resonated with me. I embraced the opportunity of that conference, and was grateful for the chance to meet with leaders in my own company and across the profession at the conference.

Fast-forward to today, now I’m grateful I have the opportunity to introduce other young professionals to JETC. I hope you can as well. #SAMEJETC18

Contributed by Laura Lavelle, Facility Programmer, Project Manager, Jacobs.