Is Your Firm Ready for the Next Generation of EPs?

I learned this week that a private high school in my neck of the woods is requiring all of its students to have iPads next year. My first reaction: Wow. Pretty bold move. Then I wondered: Why are they doing it?ipadsm

For this, I called a former colleague whose son is a student there. The administration gave parents two main reasons:

  1. This makes them the first among peer schools to do this thereby positioning their institution as “an innovator in 21st century learning,”
  2. They view this as a way to “better prepare their students for a digital future.”

Within the next few years, the school also told parents, the iPad will revolutionize the textbook industry, making the initial outlay for such a device pay for itself over time.
This got me thinking.

First, other schools will likely follow, particularly if the statement about the investment paying for itself rings true. It’s a given that the next generon of high schoolers will graduate completely proficient in iPads, with the majority likely to proceed to undergrad programs and eventually, job hunting.

Technology is moving at breakneck speed, so how important is it for environmental firms to invest in new technologies to be perceived as “innovators” by tomorrow’s batch of eager young job seekers? Will it be harder for consulting firms to attract top talent without staying up to speed on the technology front?

For an insider’s take, I reached out to a recruiter in the industry whom some of you may know, Sean Rigsby, Senior Environmental Recruiter, Managing Partner, Rigsby Search Group, LLC. Here’s what he had to say: “Technology is going to be huge. I can’t lie. If a firm gives its employees iPads, and can get their work done quickly and sell it effectively to clients, then yes, that’s going to be attractive to candidates. For a junior kid out of school, looking at a company that uses technology toys can definitely be viewed as a competitive advantage versus another firm that isn’t as tech-savvy.”

At our client summit in Scottsdale in May, my colleague Paul Schiffer, along with co-presenter Dennis Firestone at CBRE, shared some pretty mind-blowing applications that could revolutionize environmental due diligence in the not-so-distant future. It says a lot that it was the most highly-rated track of our two-day event and was the track that attendees talked about most at networking events. Technology is changing virtually every industry, including ours, and it gets people excited to think about what might be possible one, three, five or even ten years down the road.

Following the latest developments and their potential to improve efficiency is hugely important to managers at environmental firms especially with junior professionals coming out of schools and joining the workforce. Being able to conduct environmental due diligence quickly and efficiently for clients will separate the winners from the pack.I worry that grammar and writing skills are falling by the wayside as the younger set gets use to text-ese and short pithy posts, but that’s a topic for another day.

How would you feel if your child’s school required iPads in the fall?

What is your firm doing to embrace technology? How are they educating staff on technological improvements? And for those whose firms are hiring, how important is it for applicants for Phase I ESA jobs to be tech-savvy?