I always get something out of the SMRP conference, in 1998 it helped me to start a business, this year it provided an answer to a question I have been asking myself for nearly twenty years.  What was so special about the first maintenance group I worked with?

I mention this group in the forward of my book Reliability Centered Maintenance using RCM Blitz™, the Polymer Maintenance team was special, a group of young hard-working guys who worked together to improve the equipment we maintained to help make the department we worked in a better more profitable business.  In the years since I left Polymer I often wondered what made this team so special.

Looking back on my career I have the fondest memories and made the most growth in the first ten years I worked at Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, NY.  In that time frame I completed a skilled trades apprenticeship, worked as a Journeymen and Maintenance Team Leader, and worked with a crew of people who I remain friends with to this date.

The key word here is friends, while we worked together, we really enjoyed being together and as a result we did lots of things together outside of work; golfing, hunting, boating, skiing, Friday night Happy Hours at the Brew House, Float parties on the lake and football games in the freezing winters of Buffalo.

Friends is the key word because friends have a stake in each other’s lives, friends know husbands, wives, and kids.  Friends enjoy spending time together and as a result they know they can rely on each other to be there to lend a hand, to share ideas, to build on what is already good in effort to achieve great.

Friends don’t let each other down, they don’t leave the next shift with a pile of work and they aren’t afraid to call someone out when they’re not carrying their share of the load.

I made to trip to meet with SMRP to meet with a couple of clients this year, one pointed out the fact that the corporate reliability team he is building has become friends over the past year and as a result they have been able to make significant changes and improvements at work and now are finding themselves spending time together outside of work.

Friends, what an interesting concept!

Below is about 75% of the Polymer team 25 years after we last worked together….

Polymer 1PolymerGroup

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