Skill TV and social networks get the word out about the maintenance crisis

March 10, 2009
Contributing Editor Joel Leonard finds new ways to use Skill TV and social networks help get the word out about solving the maintenance crisis.

Pop culture figures have begun using the term “man up,” which, when used in a certain context, is meant to encourage either kids or immature adults to rise up to meet the responsibilities of adulthood. Playing on the meaning of this term, we need to encourage more to “skill up” to meet our society’s deficiency in electrical, mechanical and automation skills. If more people “skill up,” then companies can more easily exploit innovative technologies to help them be poised for growth once we emerge from this economic downturn. is on an educational journey in video production and distribution to help address these challenges. We’ve upgraded to a better online video player and have more videos available for on-demand viewing. We are constantly striving to improve the means with which we deliver the maintenance crisis message to the world.

On, we love to uncover what the traditional media overlook. For more insight on traditional media bias against the maintenance and engineering function, check out the recent interview I did with Sandhills Business Times Editor and Publisher Ted Natt. After he interviewed me for his monthly periodical, I turned the camera on him and asked him why the media don’t have respect for our profession. His answer illustrates the underlying challenge as to why we continue to endure a general lack of appreciation.

To make it easier for viewers to see our growing volume of content on our new player, we have separated the videos into the following categories:

In Crisis Comes Opportunity: In this section we share videos that explore the challenges and opportunities of the skills and maintenance crises. For example, when you visit this section, you will discover a five-part series on the Compete 2.0 Congressional Workforce Briefing.

Finding Skilled Workers: Here we share tactics and techniques to recruit new workers, retain existing workers and draw on service providers. When you visit this section, you’ll discover the “Exit Poll Results: Experiential education works to build pipeline of future engineers.” This innovative educational approach already has attracted dozens more engineers to the profession.

Improving Efficiency: In this section, we share information about technology, new tools and processes to upgrade worker and equipment performance. For example, when you visit this section, you’ll find the interview with Doug Waetjen from UE System that shows how to use ultrasonic leak detectors. Companies have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars by implementing this technology.

Skill Up: In this section, we share information about maximizing training programs, coping and thriving during economic downturns, and getting more executive support for the maintenance and engineering function. When you visit this section, you can find the role-playing video with Pete Little in which Pete plays the wily maintenance manager and I play the new CEO who, out of deference to the managers’ years of service, shares the future of maintenance labor reductions. Well, after the wily maintenance manager has his say, the new CEO actually considers adding more maintenance talent. This is a great video to share as more business grapple with tough head-count decisions.

To see what goes on behind the scenes at Skill TV, we have created a blog at where you can read more about some of your favorite industry professionals.

Stay tuned in the coming months as more insightful interviews with industry experts, government leaders, maintenance technicians, as well as other interesting resources are added to the site. For example, we just released a video from the SMRP Conference with industry experts Terry Wireman, author of numerous engineering books and dozens of articles; Wayne Vaughn, former maintenance manager with Harley Davidson; and Kahn Ellis, former technology leader with SAP. All currently work with Vesta Partners and share some insightful perspectives on the maintenance crisis.

When you visit, you’ll discover podcasts on SkillRadio, news bulletins, related articles, training knowledge centers and an extensive listing of resources, associations and organizations.

We also have a Facebook page and a LinkedIn page (, and have posted mini-blogs on the Pickens Plan site (, Current TV (, and the Association for Maintenance Professionals site ( You also can watch numerous videos on the SkillTV1 Channel on YouTube at Feel free to subscribe to this page to receive new content updates, and feel free to link your favorite maintenance-related videos to the site.

If you have suggestions or comments about how to help more people “skill up” to meet the opportunities that are available, please share them with me.

E-mail Contributing Editor Joel Leonard at [email protected].

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