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April 17, 2012 / Greater New Britain Chamber of Commerce

Chamber President Speaks at the Spring Commencement of Lincoln Technical Institute

Chamber President Speaks at the Spring Commencement of Lincoln Technical Institute

Bill Millerick, President of the Greater New Britain Chamber of Commerce:New Britain/Berlin was the speaker at the spring commencement of Lincoln Technical College of New Britain on Sunday, April 15.  Some 150 graduates and 300 friends and family were at the Newington High School auditorium for the event.

Following are his remarks to the graduates.

Good morning.  I’ve got some bad news. You’re education isn’t over today. It’s just starting.  In today’s world, in the important professions you all have chosen, the learning will never stop.

You leave here with a great foundation, but beginning tomorrow, you will start building the house on top of that foundation.  What kind of house, how big, how sturdy will depend only on you.

Trust me; this isn’t some commencement speech cliché.  I’ve hired hundreds of people. The best employees, the ones I remember best, were the ones who constantly wanted to learn, to invest in themselves.

The complainers would say why do I have to learn this or do this? It’s not my job.  The successful employee would seek out opportunities. Seek out areas to learn.

This is especially important today because technology permeates every aspect of business. But technology changes by the month and as it does you have to keep up. If you don’t, you fall behind, fall back and ultimately are less valuable.

Take advantage of every opportunity for professional development.

If you are graduating as a medical assistant, don’t stop learning about technology as it relates to patient care or medical records.

If you are leaving here with a solid education in heating and air conditioning, never stop looking for places to learn about new technologies and new concepts. I’m no expert, as you all are but I know it wasn’t too many years ago that the entire air conditioning industry changed, almost revolutionary, as Freon began to be outlawed. Who ever thought something as basic as Freon-charged air conditioning technology would ever change? But by 2020, Freon will be no more. How many people who had been in heating and air conditioning for 30 years were able to learn and adapt and embrace the new technology?

Your ability to embrace and welcome change as your careers go on will be one of the defining factors in your success.  Now, if you think, this guy is great at giving out free advice, think about this. When I was in your seats, graduating in 1982, there were no iPads and no Facebook. Today, the Greater New Britain Chamber of Commerce is the fastest growing Chamber of Commerce in the state. Know why? We have embraced the new technologies and put them to work for us and in doing so have attracted loads of new members who see value in the organization.

Many Chambers, which have been slow or refused to adapt to the new technologies are closing their doors, going out of business after being around for 100 years. It’s really pretty sad.

In my position, I work with virtually every business in New Britain and Berlin, I get to see what makes some successful and why others struggle. I see why they hire some people and don’t hire others. No matter what kind of business, there is a consistency in the kind of employee they are looking for.

They want someone who, rather than taking the same old attitude of now what do I have to do? They take the other attitude, now what can I do? Which leads me into one quick, small but extremely important last point.

There will be moments in your careers where you are faced with a critical decision. You will love where you are working, love the people you are working with but someone will offer you more money to work somewhere else.  I’m not going to pretend that money isn’t important, but your happiness and satisfaction is invaluable.   Leaving a little money on the table somewhere else, to work someplace you enjoy going to every day, someplace where you get satisfaction and someplace where you feel you are making a contribution has no price tag.

I promise you this, and keep this with you for the next 30 years and see if I’m not right. When all is said and done – it’s not the people you work for but the people you work with that you will remember down the road.

You are graduating with some of the most important and valuable degrees in today’s business world. The need for electrical and HVAC professionals, not just here but across the country is growing rapidly, as the economy starts to come back.

I was in Florida last week. In about two weeks, when summer season hits, there won’t be enough HVAC people available for all of the work that will be needed. I talked to a few of them, and they are gearing up for what they know will be seven-day a week schedules for the next four months in Florida’s hot, humid summer.

And for those of you graduating with practical nursing and medical assistant degrees, congratulations, you are entering one of the strongest, booming sectors in central Connecticut.

The jobs are in healthcare right now and right here, in New Britain, there is no better example. Healthcare is the largest employer in the region.

Think about it. Two major Hospitals, Hospital of Central Connecticut and Hospital for Special Care, Grove Hill Medical Center, convalescent homes, rehab facilities, private practice offices. A well-trained medical assistant or nurse is a precious asset in the healthcare system.

And again, to go back to my earlier point, they are just starting points. The two hospitals have so many other jobs available that require two things – a good work ethic and a couple of years of on the job training. The opportunities for advancement are there for those willing to invest in themselves.

Did you know that David Crandall, who just retired as president of Hospital for Special Care started his career as a nurse at New Britain General Hospital years ago.

Similarly, for those with electrical and HVAC training and education, some of the most successful people in this city started out exactly where you are. Today they own their own successful businesses and employ hundreds of people.

There is no reason any of you cannot duplicate those success stories. All you have to be is be willing to – invest in yourself – and keep learning.

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