By Steve Noe
When conducting an interview for one story, I often uncover other stories worth sharing in the process. That certainly was the case when I interviewed Jim Roche for the cover story on Green Media’s 2012 selections for “Most Influential People in the Green Industry.”
Without giving away too much of the cover story, which highlights Roche among our six honorees for 2012, I would like to underscore a point that he could not stress enough during our interview and we at Green Media couldn’t agree with more, as evidenced by our third annual “Most Influential People in the Green Industry” awards — the importance of recognizing others.
Jim Roche“It’s very important that people get recognized for the work that they do, and what it does for them is amazing,” Roche said. “You know how you felt when you won an award or a school trophy or something like that. It makes you feel special. Somebody’s out there going, ‘Man, look it! This guy recognized this work that I did! I didn’t think it was that important, but this organization does and all of my peers that are sitting there are applauding me!’”
Having paid his dues working at every level of the industry, Roche realized the importance of recognizing others when he took over as the executive director of the Equipment & Engine Training Council (EETC) in 2000. In one of his first orders of business, he implemented an annual awards banquet to take place on the final evening of the EETC’s annual conference.
“When we started giving the awards and when we started having these EETC conferences, people would kind of dress, let’s say ‘down,’ kind of dress like they would when they were at work — blue jeans, polo shirt, that kind of a thing,” Roche said. “But as we started doing this more and more with the awards — I always wore a suit or a sport coat and a tie for the awards presentation — what ended up happening without anybody saying anything is that, for the banquet, all of a sudden all of the people coming, started dressing up. They started putting on their suits and their ties, and it gave them a chance to get snazzed up a little bit where normally they would just do that for a wedding or some kind of get-together and things like that. So, it was very interesting to watch that change through the years. Like I said, I never said anything about the fact that you had to dress up and that we’re going to take pictures afterward, but it just really happened.”
By about 2003, Roche noticed a seismic shift in the attitude and appearance of attendees at the awards banquet. “Maybe half the people were getting dressed up, and then they were kind of telling the other people that were there in their blue jeans, ‘Hey, man! This is the banquet. This is the evening when you kind of dress up.’ And people were coming up to me going, ‘Oh, I didn’t know I was supposed to wear a suit or a sport coat or a tie for this event.’ And I said, ‘Well, you wear what you want to wear.’ I never put it on people, so it was a peer-related situation where those people who came year after year after year said, ‘Well, this is a special event, and so we’re going to get dressed up.’ So, it was very interesting. The word that kind of got around with everybody was, ‘Hey, when the awards thing comes, you better look really nice, you better be dressed up, or at least have a very nice shirt on and stuff like that.’ So, I really don’t know how it happened. I just think it was a great thing that went on.”
I hope that you enjoy reading the cover story to learn about the “Most Influential People in the Green Industry” for 2012, as well as be inspired to nominate a peer for this year. I also hope that you will consider implementing an annual awards program for your business to see how you can make a positive impact on others.
OPE Editor Steve Noe