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Get Out in the Community? That’s a Clown Question Bro…

October 22, 2012

Since I’ve been at EWI, one of the things I’ve been asked to do is get out in the community more.  This generally wouldn’t be something I’d chose to do (remember… I’m an accountant) so luckily I’ve been able to select what that means to me and how it may benefit EWI.

Attentive Miami University business students (except for the kid with the baseball hat sleeping in the front row)
First, I spent two years working with the Childhood League as part of their business advisory board.  One of my daughters was helped immensely by them and this gave me an opportunity to try and give back a little.  I met some great people both at the center and on the board, and got an appreciation for how a Board looks from the other side of the table.  I think this has given me a broader perspective and maybe made me a little more effective working with our Directors at EWI.  More recently I joined the Greenswell business advisory board.  It’s too early to tell how this will work out, but I’m excited because they’re a wellness organization that also coordinates running events and triathlons.  EWI is very engaged in wellnessand this seems like it should be a nice fit.


Finally, and easily my favorite “getting out in the community more” activity is the twice a year trek I make to Oxford, Ohio and Miami University (the good Miami college).  I reached out to the former Assistant Dean of External Relations for the Farmers School of Business and he hooked me up with Professor Ron Collins who teaches in the accounting department.  I am very grateful they took a chance allowing me to speak.  Granted I’m unpaid and it was an opportunity to hit me up for alumni money, but nonetheless if you know me, it was still a risk (as a side note, access to Redhawk hockey tickets wouldn’t be a bad thing to have come my way).

I’m not sure if what I do qualifies as teaching, presenting, lecturing or none of the above, but I do generally wear a collegiate looking blazer.  I try my best to tie together what the student’s are learning today (both in and outside the classroom) at Miami with what happens in the “business world”.  I get to talk about some of the great projects and ventures we’ve done at EWI from an accounting and finance perspective.  I end by rolling through some of the stuff I’ve learned (mostly by luck or screwing up) over the past 20 years that has stayed with me.  It’s very interactive (although 9am classes not so much) with no two classes being the same (luckily I don’t think anything I talk about is on a test).

You can even win something (if “you” equals a team of 7 and “something” mean a golf shirt split among your classmates)

So how does speaking with 200 or so Miami business students a semester benefit EWI?  Certainly not in a way that creates an ROI that I would sign off on (it’s as flaky as trying to  justify blogging as an investment of time).  What I can say though is that it is very energizing talking about how great of a place EWI is, how important manufacturing is to the US economy, and the positive impact these students will be able to have on the businesses they work for.  It doesn’t seem like long ago I was sitting in Laws Hall thinking about (among other things) how I was going to get a job in public accounting .  Manufacturing didn’t enter my mind except for figuring out how to account for it.  The stuff our engineers do at EWI is amazing and they’re helping make our member companies (i.e. the U.S.) more globally competitive.

You can ask Bryce Harper if I’d encourage any of these bright minds to move into engineering, but if I can introduce them to what’s great about innovation in manufacturing, I imagine that’s a pretty good return for EWI … Just don’t try that ROI logic on me.

Thanks for your help in getting the EWI word out.  I (Jim Tighe) can be reached at jtighe@ewi.org, follow us on The Twitter @EWI_innovations,  ‘Like Us’ on Facebook “EWIinnovation” or you can even call me on a rotary phone at 614.688.5064.