Like it or not, things change; change is written about in songs of every genre and has been recited in historical discourse that influenced the stability of our Nation. It impacts us in personal triumph or defeat that can send one to a high mountain peak or deep, dark valley in life. The simple word “change”, is one that some believe we hear much too often. Unfortunately, when we do hear this word used, whether in conversation, news, or even political campaigns, we tend to associate the result of that change in a negative way.
While many view change as something that happens “to” us, change is actually something that happens “because of” us. We influence change in everything we do; even by doing nothing, we affect change. Most often, it is our lack of action that results in negative changes. Accepting change is simply learning to adapt to these adjustments, while influencing change is taking a proactive response to those things on the horizon we do or do not approve of. If you don’t like the changes you see, get active and become a voice. From preschools to politics, it’s “the squeaky wheel that gets the grease”, and in each case, the “squeak” doesn’t sound much different.
While the bluegrass music I play in the background of my office may drown out any “squeaks”, I have been hearing your voices and reading your emails to incorporate changes that are positive; with the purpose of benefiting your business and promoting your success. So far, these changes have been focused on the 2012 SFI Workshop Schedule. As you study this year’s schedule, you will notice the following:
- Core classes are offered on back-to-back days at each respective location.
- Continuing Education classes are now 4 hours while core classes remain 8 hours each.
- Several 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm classes are being offered based on enrollment.
- Courses are listed by location, not subject.
- Unchartered Territory is being explored. (New locations!)
- Many more classes are offered over fewer days in each location. (So be sure to get your credits in while the circus is in town!)
- Several new CE class topics are being offered this year such as; Refresher for Water Quality BMP’s, Courthouse Research, Employee Hiring, Training and Retention, The MFL Program, Effective Leadership and Forest Policy.
Hopefully, these changes are well received and you gain professional, as well as personal development in all of them. As successful forestry professionals in today’s market, we have endured much change and triumphed over many challenges. Being prepared and making our voices heard are the best things we can do to be more than just survivors. Without a doubt, we are wise to recognize more challenges and seize more opportunities that come as a result of change.
That being said, I challenge you to get involved in developing YOUR organization; be active in your membership, encourage others to become members of your organization, express your opinion, don’t just take a class to “get it over with”, but take advantage of multiple SFI classes this year and apply what you learn. You might just find the tools you need to influence the inevitable changes of the future!
Ben Parsons, FISTA Training Coordinator, is originally from West “By God”, Virginia as they say in that part of the Appalachian Mountains. His family’s deeply rooted philosophy of living off the land was monumental in deciding to earn a degree in Forest Management from West Virginia University. Throughout his career, Ben has had the opportunity to tackle a wide variety of assignments. He measured Forest Inventory and Analysis research plots in Virginia and Georgia, been involved with urban and utility forestry operations throughout the Appalachian region, procured lowland hardwood timber in the swamps of South Georgia, managed logging contracts and harvest operations in Arkansas and specialized in water quality and harvest planning as well as fighting forest fires in Virginia. As FISTA Training Coordinator, helping to meet your safety and educational needs is the number one priority here at FISTA. For more information, contact Ben at 800-551-2656 or email@example.com