President’s Message – October 2022

By Michael Pearsall, P.Eng., CVS, FEC – President, SAVE International


This month, I want to talk about participation in chapter activities and local events.  One outcome from the global pandemic over the past couple of years, is a leap forward in the quality and availability of virtual events.

Besides the great annual conferences, one of the things that made me embrace SAVE International in my early years of membership were the chapter events.  In those days, I lived in a relatively remote area as far as SAVE was concerned. For at least the first 10 years of my involvement, there wasn’t another SAVE member that lived within a four-hour radius of my home.  As such, I was assigned to a SAVE chapter that was headquartered about a six or seven-hour drive from where I lived. On top of that, I even had to cross an international border to get there.

However, with encouragement and assistance from some active chapter members and some creative scheduling of work trips, I managed to attend some great chapter events.  Still to this day, I am happy that I made the effort to attend those chapter events.  No, I didn’t get any PDUs or certificates for attending the events, nor did I care – like everyone seems to so much these days.

To me, those chapter events had two basic functions: “Build Friendships” and “Increase Knowledge” in that order of priority.  I enjoyed being around other practitioners and hearing about their work.  I wanted to know them better and see how they were applying the methodology.  Was there something I could use from their experience to help my projects?

I recall one chapter event where I drove five-hours, had a work meeting, then hopped in a car with a fellow SAVE member and rode another hour in the dark to a meeting in a place I had never been to.  At that chapter meeting, there was a presentation about some work a practitioner had done for Xerox using cause and effect diagrams within their Value Methodology (VM) workshop.  At the time, I was questioning why I had made the effort to attend the meeting. However, just a week later I found myself in a stalled workshop that was on the verge of failure.  My mind was racing for ways to salvage the workshop and I suddenly had a thought about the SAVE chapter event I had attended.  When we re-grouped, I did my best to get the team to use a cause and effect diagram approach.  I’m sure I didn’t do it entirely correct, yet it was a “eureka moment” for the team and we ended up with a study that won multiple awards for its results.  That trip to the SAVE chapter meeting was proven to be of more value than I could have expected.

Recently, being SAVE President, I have had the pleasure of being invited to a number of virtual chapter events. If I can fit the event into my schedule without too much effort, I believe that as SAVE President I should attend.  I am happy to say that I haven’t been disappointed by any of them.  They have all been excellent and I still get something out of every one of them.

I will admit, I do truly miss the old in-person chapter events – they were far superior for achieving the “Build Friendships” function.  I honestly wish that the old SAVE chapter I first belonged to still existed, as I now live within a short drive of where we used to meet. However, you can’t beat these virtual chapter events for ease of access from all over the globe.

Sadly, I am shocked at the low attendance I have seen lately at some of these fantastic short virtual events.  I urge all SAVE members to reach out and take advantage of these virtual chapter events when you hear about them.  For very little effort, I think you will find a lot of value.