There’s something to be said about nurturing the next generation. In the exhibit industry, it’s a priceless way for experienced employees to share knowledge, gain fresh insights, and facilitate success. This intergenerational approach becomes even more valuable when performed in a strategic, motivating mentor-mentee environment. The mentor teaches industry specifics while providing personal long-term support, and the mentee maintains confidence while learning to effectively build skills and navigate the system.
Diverse Benefits: From Company to Client
Efficient operations and meeting high expectations are a must for custom exhibit fabricators, which is why they are always in need of quality support. That’s where mentoring new help comes into play. It encourages proficient problem solving and contiguous workflow to ensure maximum productivity. Mentoring is clearly an asset to an established company, but what’s in it for the important clients behind the projects? Should clients even care about who’s working on their project or how it’s being built?”
“Without a doubt,” says Alfonso Gonzalez, K2 Engineering Detailer and mentor. “Client satisfaction is everything to us, which is why we’re extremely selective when it comes to bringing new individuals on board. Establishing and practicing mentor-mentee relationships helps ensure we maintain quality and uphold our client commitments. It also ensures we utilize modern technologies, increase productivity and avoid confusion, which are benefits for everyone involved,” he says.
Strong Company, Satisfied Clients
K2’s mentoring strategy is designed to create a culture of learning based on reciprocity, mutual respect, clear communication and accessibility. Mentors become strong leaders focused on bridging the generational gap and passing on their legacies, and mentees share ideas without fear of repercussions. Moreover, competition is eliminated or utilized in a positive way and feedback becomes an expected exchange. When this happens, job satisfaction increases and project expectations are exceeded, both making for internal unity and satisfied clients.
Alfonso, who has three decades of experience in the exhibit and display industries, is mentoring Jacob Kling, K2’s newest engineering detailer. Alfonso is teaching Jacob essential design, engineering, CAD and CNC computer skills used to create exquisite 3D structures. In turn, Jacob, who has a background in the mill work industry, has introduced innovative CAD skills to enhance K2’s existing process. Both schools of thought are married creating stronger professional paths for Alfonso and Jacob, as well as contributing to the tradeshow industry’s future.
Mentoring for a Strong Future
As the tradeshow, exhibit and display industries evolve, the importance of sharing intergenerational skill-sets, challenges, set-backs and triumphs in a collaborative environment becomes critical. The established skills of yesterday have proven to be much more effective when infused with fresh viewpoints and approaches. The industry as a whole – clients included – all reap limitless process and product benefits.
“Mentoring just makes sense,” says Alfonso. “I’m not only teaching Jacob industry responsibilities and skills, but also the value of team spirit and inclusiveness. Being a role model is an incredibly rewarding and respected experience. It’s nice to know that what I’ve learned in my career will benefit the future.”
For Jacob, the benefits of mentoring are just as rewarding: “I’m learning the tricks of the trade in a trusting, engaging environment and preparing for a successful career in exhibit fabrication,” says Jacob. “Everything I learn from Alfonso is focused on high service and product standards. I couldn’t ask for a better way to grow.”