I am back on the road again! In mid-September, I had the pleasure of visiting two ASHRAE chapters in Pennsylvania!

Act 1: Philadelphia

I arrived on Wednesday evening, where Philadelphia Chapter President Mike Calabrese for a splendid dinner at Del Frisco’s. Anytime I visit Philly, I am so impressed by the history that lives in the architecture of the older buildings. The restaurant was built into 1924 banking building. Mike showed me the private dining room downstairs located inside a re-purposed safe vault! After the meeting, we toured a small area of downtown where I got a glimpse of the building that is home to the Union League of Philadelphia.

The next day, I arrived at Fogo de Chao for my presentation. A Brazilian steakhouse is new to me for an ASHRAE meeting! Now THAT’S a lunch. Attendees were treated to the full Fogo fare: salad bar, cheese bread, and every cut of steak imaginable! I’ll admit, it was tough to stay on-topic while gauchos passed by with sabers and meat.

Act 2: Allentown

After the meeting, Gary Debes escorted me to the Lehigh Valley chapter in Allentown. I presented the same topic in both cities; Time Management for the Perpetually Busy Engineer.
At the Allentown meeting, an engineer asked more about how to handle competing priorities on teams. He explained that his office works collaboratively, and different project managers can tap into team members at any time. So, as a project manager, a team member he thought was working on his project might have been asked to work on something else.

For this situation, I think the solution is less time-management related and more, well, management related. It sounds like this office didn’t have a clear prioritization system. Project managers each set their own deadlines and priorities without talking to one another. The solution lies in communication. No one likes meetings, but coordination has to take place to avoid conflicts.

Plus, the engineers in this situation are torn between multiple PMs. As a manager, it’s important to help clarify priorities for team members. If the whole team is communicating, you can eliminate crossed wires.

I am very grateful for the hospitality that was provided to me by the people of both of these chapters. I’d especially like to thank Gary for being my volunteer chauffeur, and Mike for all of his coordination. On to the next adventure!