In his inaugural address to the United States on Jan. 21, 1961, President John F. Kennedy presented one of his most famous quotes: “And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

This simple statement was a challenge for all to get off the sidelines and not wait for others to accomplish things for you, but rather to volunteer and complete things that benefit our country. This challenge was needed at that time, but I believe it is needed even more today in our country. I also believe we can apply this idea to our present situation with organizations in which we are involved.

During this time, I have had many discussions with individuals in our industry, our organizations and the communities in which we live. I hear that we need our organizations to do this, we need our organizations to do that, and we just need all these organizations to do more for us. Many of the ideas are very good suggestions that require energy and resources to develop and implement.

To continue to meet the needs of the organizations in which we are involved, we need more volunteers and people to step up and do something or all of these suggestions will fail to address and solve today’s challenges, merely because they were never implemented.

Today, I see a small, select group of individuals from leading companies who are involved in our industry’s organizations. Certainly I appreciate all of the effort, time and work these volunteers have completed and will continue to complete in the future to advance the maintenance and reliability industry and community.

I would like to give one example of a person who has worked tirelessly for many years helping advance the maintenance and reliability community. I met him nearly a decade ago as I became involved in development of the Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals’ (SMRP) Certified Maintenance & Reliability Professional (CMRP) certification exam. I have become a professional colleague and a friend of this person because of my volunteer work in this organization over the years. His name is Jack Nicholas.

As some of you may know, Jack has contributed many things to the maintenance and reliability community over his long career. Even though he was approaching his retirement, Jack continued to devote an untold amount of volunteer time on the certification committee called SMRPCO (SMRP Certifying Organization). I believe he was driven to ensure that this CMRP certification test was done correctly and with rigorous processes. His work, along with many others on this team, has resulted in a premier certification process for the maintenance and reliability industry.

Jack’s commitment and the commitment of many others who volunteer inspire me to give the extra effort and time to these good causes. We continue to have ideas that need developing and energy to move implementation forward. We need more ideas that will bring benefits and value to our organizations and communities. All of these issues require energy and involvement from people.

So, please consider getting involved further in your organizations and communities. Think about what you can do for your organization(s) to advance the programs, products and goals. You will find these volunteer efforts to be rewarding, and you will most likely have learning experiences that will help you grow in both your professional and personal life.