President’s Address: This Is Our Society

November 20, 2019

Good evening everyone, I hope all of you have enjoyed the conference so far. If you were in attendance at the ASNT Awards Banquet the last two years, you will know that those are some tough acts to follow. So here goes.

First and foremost, to my beautiful wife Sharyl, I want to apologize to you up front for the time and devotion I will put into this position. I also want to thank you up front for the love and support you will give me during the next year; without your love and support, I would not be able to do this.

For a while I have been wondering what to talk about when I finally get here, and then it dawned on me as to how I got here. Most people do not know about NDT until they are in it, and once that happens, they cannot or do not want to get out of it. However, simply being in NDT is not enough. Once we have been bitten by the NDT bug, as much as we may not realize it, we need a mentor, as well as the ability to network.

With that, by show of hands:

  • How many of us have been mentored?
  • How many of us have mentored someone before?

Mentors come in all shapes and sizes. A mentor could be anyone from another trainee to the Level III to the owner of the company. I myself have had several mentors over the years. One of my first mentors was the first trainee I worked with, Alberto Sandoval. A mentor is not just a person who helps us “move along”; a mentor is someone who helps make us better or nudges us in the right direction. It could be in the form of helping us understand what we are doing wrong to helping us set goals to better ourselves, such as getting more certifications or getting into advanced inspections or even becoming a Level III.

Mentoring is not just limited to an individual basis. Mentoring can also be done on a much grander scale. ASNT will be seeking active collaboration between other sister societies. By working with other societies, this will allow us to mentor other societies, as well as be mentored by other societies, in addition to sharing our experiences and lessons learned along the way.

When I think of how I got to where I am, I think of my first mentor. My first mentor started mentoring me long before I even knew I was being mentored. I, like most people, did not know about NDT until I started doing it. One thing that I have always enjoyed is that unique story that everyone has as to how they got into NDT and ended up where they are. Some stories are more interesting than others, and some are much more unique than others. My story starts out as a love story.

The year is 1982, the month is April, and several people are getting onto a bus in Orange County, California, headed to Tijuana, Mexico, for a day trip. During the drive a man gets up and starts talking to several of the patrons on the bus. Then, he spots a woman, sits down, and starts talking to her. Fast forward a few months and before I know it, I am being introduced to NDT. Now my first introduction to NDT was not glamorous, such as learning how to perform penetrant or magnetic particle testing on a critical life-saving part. No, my first introduction to NDT was learning how to sort radiographic film. I am nine years old, in a new house with my soon-to-be stepfather, learning the difference between unexposed film, cleared film, and processed film. I did not know it at that time, but my mentorship in NDT was just beginning.

Mentors are very important in this field, and one of the best ways we can give back is to be a mentor ourselves. Given that mentoring is advising or training, there is always someone who is in need of a mentor and there is always someone who wants to share what they have learned.

Eight years later, I am in need of a full-time job, and I find my mentor helping me get my first job in NDT. Since then, I have worked with several people; some of them were great mentors to me, and a lot of them helped me to understand the importance of passing on what I have learned, as well as becoming a member of ASNT and getting involved both locally and nationally. I feel that one thing that is forgotten along the way is who helped us get to where we are.

Another way we can help others is to help them network.
As I said earlier, when people are new to NDT, they need the ability to network. Networking is not just about finding a job; it could be a way to get help with a problem someone is having while performing an inspection, to even being able to borrow equipment. Let’s face it—how many of us have called someone to get advice about an inspection problem we were having? The best way for people to network is through membership, but I also understand that when you’re new to the industry, you may not be able to afford a membership. Personally, this was one of the struggles I had when I was new to NDT; there was a period of time that I could not afford a membership either.

Therefore, it is with great personal pride and satisfaction, along with a lot of hard work, that I am extremely honored to announce a new membership category called the “New NDT Professional Membership.” This new membership category is for individuals who are within the first five years of their career with the purpose of getting them excited about being a member of such a great organization. This membership is only $40 per year and upon their first renewal, the member can choose a free PDF of a Level II Study Guide or a Questions and Answers book (personally, I would recommend the Questions and Answers book). With this new membership, I am also issuing a presidential challenge in that every member finds one person who qualifies for this membership and gets them to join the ASNT family.

As president, this is not my Society. As members, this is our Society. I have said it many times before: a society does not survive without its members.

In regard to mentoring, the bottom line is that there was often some mentor who helped us, guided us, or just plain believed in us enough to push us to where we are, and I personally am extremely thankful for all of my mentors. With that, I would like to thank my mentors for helping me get to where I am. Once I decided to become a Level III, I met Dr. Steven Senne who helped me start my business and mentored me along the way, in not just being a consultant, but being a Level III. Years later,
I wanted to give back to the industry and that is when another great person pushed me into joining the ASNT Board of Directors. If not for Ray Morasse, I would not be standing here today. From Alberto on day one, to Steve, to Ray, and to everyone else in between, thank you very much for believing
in me.

It has been said that if you give a person a fish, you have fed them for the day, yet if you teach someone how to fish, you have fed them for life. When we mentor someone, we are feeding them for life. I ask everyone to feed someone for life.

With that, I ask again:

  • How many of you have been mentored?
  • How many of you have mentored someone before?
  • How many of you will mentor someone in the future?

In closing, I would like to thank my first mentor. Without him pushing me to be better and to set goals, I would not be where I am in NDT. What I ask of you is to be a mentor to someone and to thank your mentor for helping you. Finally, I would like to thank my mom for having the courage to get onto that bus so many years ago and for introducing me to my first mentor. In conclusion, I am dedicating my presidency to my stepfather, my friend, and my first mentor, Mr. George D. Howard.

Another goal achieved, George.

Thank you very much for listening.

2019–2020 ASNT President