Podcast: The future of SMRP ¬ Upgrading the skill sets of maintenance and reliability professionals

Podcast: The future of SMRP — Upgrading the skill sets of maintenance and reliability professionals

Dec. 4, 2023
In this episode of The Tool Belt, Rick Baldrige, CMRP, CAMA, discusses SMRP’s commitment to education and its comprehensive, integrated approach to training.

Rick Baldrige, CMRP, CAMA, has worked at Cargill for over 40 years, most recently as the company's Global Reliability Leader. He has also served as chair of the Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals (SMRP). Before retiring, Rick spoke with Plant Services editor in chief Thomas Wilk at the SMRP Annual Conference. The pair talked about the future of SMRP, where the organization and the conference is headed, and SMRP's aproach to training and certification.

Below is an excerpt from the podcast:

PS: As you said on the first day, SMRP is back to breaking attendance records, and I'm picking up that vibe across the board here.

RB: Yeah for sure. Coming out of the pandemic, we weren't even sure how quickly that it would ramp back up to the days when we had real large attendance. But this year, we have actually, on this particular conference set a new record of about 1,240 people.

PS: That's incredible. We talked a little bit before we started recording that we thought attendance might get back to this rate next year. But the fact that we're already here this year signals that plants are willing, once again, to get back in the rhythm of getting together as professionals and talking about advancing the industry.

RB: Absolutely. There's so many opportunities for people that participate, and I'm just really happy that people are taking that advantage.

PS: We're going to spend most of the podcast talking about the activities that SMRP has on the immediate horizon, especially in the education that SMRP offers beyond the conference. Rick, I'll just ask you directly to talk about some of those initiatives that are coming up.

RB One of the bigger things that we focused on this year was on our education program. There's been a very, very big pull for several years on further education, focused primarily on our five pillars. And there's always been opportunities and will continue to be opportunities in areas of doing things like webinars, we’ll continue doing those kinds of things. But a comprehensive integrated approach at a training program for the five pillars, that’s something that we've been working on for a couple of years, with a very, very large focus on bringing it home this year. I and the rest of the board had an opportunity to see a demo of the first module this week, and everybody was very, very impressed with what we saw. It's everything that we wanted it to be, and the deliverables of it, every one of them has been met.

PS: It's the next logical step in the way that SMRP has made access to the body of knowledge that much easier for folks who want to continue their own professional certification and just reach out to resources online as they can get to them. You led with this in your opening keynote address, and it was really good to hear that the training modules are this far along.

RB: We're really looking forward for people taking advantage of it, and it will really make a difference for them. There's been a big pull for this for a long time. In the absence of us doing this, that pull always remained and so what happens is that there's other training programs outside of SMRP that come up, and to the defense of them, it's nothing bad about them doing that, but can they really have that comprehensive holistic approach as to our five bodies of knowledge? This is an avenue to get there.

PS: That's something where for Plant Services readers and listeners and webinar attendees, we've noticed that we do get a considerable on-demand viewership and listenership, because the people we're targeting and that you’re targeting can't always get the time they want when they want it. It's as they can log on, right, at that their own speed.

RB: Exactly. The entire course is self-paced, so you can take as much in proper sequence, take as much as you want to take any single time, and come back to it and return back where you started from. I think there’s two different audiences for it. One of those audiences are people that just really have a desire to learn more about maintenance and reliability. This is really an approach for them to really take advantage of that through the five different modules that we have. And the other audience are those to help them prepare for the CMRP, the Certified Maintenance and Reliability Professional certification. It's an opportunity to fill some of the gaps towards preparing for it.

PS: One of my questions for you on the modules was, at this point given that there are several certifications offered by SMRP, would these modules also help prepare someone for something more like the CMRT? Or is that something that might be on the horizon?

RB: Yeah, for those that are pursuing their CMRT (that's a Certified Maintenance and Reliability Technician, much more on the shop floor, mechanical/electrical technician), this would not necessarily prepare them for that. However, they would probably fall in the other category of learning more about maintenance and reliability. Then of course, we have the CAMA, the Certified Asset Manager Assessor certification, it would definitely work on parts of achieving the CAMA.

Read the rest of the transcript

About the Author

Thomas Wilk | editor in chief

Thomas Wilk joined Plant Services as editor in chief in 2014. Previously, Wilk was content strategist / mobile media manager at Panduit. Prior to Panduit, Tom was lead editor for Battelle Memorial Institute's Environmental Restoration team, and taught business and technical writing at Ohio State University for eight years. Tom holds a BA from the University of Illinois and an MA from Ohio State University

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