The IWCS International Cable Connectivity Symposium is upon us, so we asked outgoing CEO and director John Barteld to share the top five things the IWCS has done in the past 10 years.
The International Wire and Cable Symposium (IWCS) has had an interesting time over the past 10 years. At the close of 2004, the IWCS was reeling from the impact of the technology implosion of the late 1990s and the devastating results on industry following the events of 9/11. Attendance at the annual symposium was down, but contracts with facilities for the conferences still had to be honored. Financial and mission stability were missing. Then, five things happened:
- The realization that the industry would not continue to “volunteer” its new technology work finally was confirmed. The industry had reduced its development activities and raised its expectations of reduced staffs to perform the day-to-day work, permitting development work only as time permitted. The IWCS, in order to survive, had to go out and get it. More outreach was required and achieved as the technology content of the IWCS annual symposium dipped, then recovered to a more stable level as authors were solicited and “invited” to submit their work.
- The IWCS could not survive without the active support of the industry. The “sponsorship” of the IWCS had to increase from its modest level to one that would actively support the organization’s work and continuity. Industry sponsorship increased fivefold between 2004 and 2014.
- The wire and cable industry, like all industries, needed (and still needs) to attract more young people into its ranks. Although not a “sexy” industry, renewal of talent is still necessary. The IWCS implemented a scholarship program, now granting more than $30K in annual educational support, to help develop that talent, or at least make the industry more visible to the next generation of leaders.
- The “old” way of doing things does not work very well anymore. Electronic access is critical for dissemination of information. The IWCS now publishes the work presented in electronic archives, making it available to all. The efficiency has led to lower costs and more accessibility. Reliance on print editions and the post office has been reduced to a minimum.
- It is important to know when it is time to leave. After 10 years, it is time for new blood to oversee the continued success of the IWCS. New connections, new technologies, and new ideas lead the way. Sometimes it’s tough to give up a passion, but it’s time as I step down at the end of the year.
Learning never ends, nor should it. The next generation of leadership comes in with new approaches, new skills, and new vigor to see the way forward. It is time!
John Barteld is retiring at the end of 2014, after nearly 40 years in the wire and cable industry. He has served on company boards of directors in the US and the Middle East and as chairman of the board of directors for a company in India. After retiring from an active role in sector companies in 2004, he has continued to serve the industry through his role as the CEO of the International Wire and Cable Symposium, the premier forum for exchange of technology within the wire and cable industry. Additionally, he is engaged in industry consulting and is a professor of management and strategy at an American university.