Editor’s Voice – September/October 2023

By Anthony Dunams, PE, CVS – Editor, Value World

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the next generation of Value Methodology (VM) practitioners.  Why? Because what we do as practitioners of VM, as we know, is a very sustainable practice applied to products, projects, processes, services and organizations.

If sustainability is defined as “fulfilling the needs of current generations without compromising the needs of future generations, while ensuring a balance between economic growth, environmental care and social well-being”, then we have a duty to ensure and entrust the services we excel at our carried on by the next generation.  This process is mutually beneficial because the next generation provides us sage practitioners with an infusion of re-engagement and interest in the work that we do.

This summer I hired an intern from Bucknell University to learn about Value Engineering (VE) as well as the other Technical Advisory services we provide at my globally based company.  She was a smart young person who had done extremely well in high school and at college but was not getting any solid opportunities for internships after her junior year of college (this was a blessing for me as I started the intern hiring process late and was so lucky to be able to hire her for the summer).  In two months, she was engaged as an assistant facilitator on six value engineering studies – not just in the shadows of the workshop room or virtual workshop space, but an active and integral part of the workshop team driving function, brainstorming solutions and developing ideas into recommended proposals.  Projects ranged from neighborhood drainage and flood protection projects to rail station accessibility improvement projects to bridge upgrade projects. 

I for one felt like she got the best internship experience one could give with seeing so many different project types and working at the nexus of design improvements and disruptive technology adoption (how could she not have a great summer with our VE practices so diverse and unique with the variety of projects we get engaged in).  Every day she showed up with this smile and infectious way that made all my usual go-to subject matter experts and myself just re-energized and re-engaged in the very interesting and beneficial work that we do. 

For me it reaffirmed that I/us have one of the greatest careers I think there is – how lucky and fortunate are we that we get to step in and provide advice/confirmation/redirection on projects being designed while getting IMMEDIATE feedback that what we have done provides confirmation that the course of the project is on the right track or that there is a better approach to consider or to return to for affecting the most beneficial and functional impact that a project can become.  My intern saw that and through her eyes I saw again the excitement and impact of VE/VM.  Curiously, it also helped that her twin sister also had an internship this summer at a Pharma company, but the majority of her summer was making sure beaker/container cleaning protocols were followed and vetted.  So, my VE intern had more interesting dialogue over family dinners about what she was seeing and doing versus her sister (Value Consulting 1 / Big Business Pharma 0).

I also just hired an assistant facilitator who has less than five years of experience (most of his experience is in large civil projects construction management) and you can also see the excitement for the change from construction management to value consulting, but also the trepidation in his eyes.  Well guess what – this new assistant is going to experience a great career in VE like we have all experienced.

I hope that all my colleagues out there are enjoying a fruitful and productive year in VE consulting and that you are also taking the sustainable opportunity of ensuring and driving the interest in VE to the next generation for it is rewarding and mutually beneficial.

I hope everyone’s summer was thrilling with lots of travel and family time.  More travel is in the works with Rob Stewart’s article highlighting USAV Day in November and the 2024 Value Summit in Nashville, as well as Marc Pauwels’ article on international events that are coming up. 

Stay safe and travel safely!