How Sport Can Amplify Your Career
Is mixing the intellectual world of engineering and the physical world of sport, some kind of Venn diagram gone wrong?
Professionals in both need to combine strategy, foresight and expertise with skill and instinct. If you mix all these qualities into one person, do you get a super-human engineer?
Our guests on the show today share how sport and teamwork helped them excel at engineering. They are engineer and former Mayo GAA star Tom Parsons, and athletic legend Jenna Bromell who is currently a Senior Process Engineer with J&J Vision Care.
Listen below or on your podcast player!
Topics we discussed include
02:09 Tom’s & Jenna’s engineering backgrounds
09:09 Tom and GAA at All Ireland level
12:37 Jenna running for Ireland
13:58 How engineering and sport are similar
15:28 How their own engineering careers were helped by sport
20:10 Focus on performance not just for sport
22:45 How to think better at work
24:10 How to kill work stress
27:15 Commonality between sport and work teams
32:16 Where they get time to do so much
34:40 Getting through tough times at work
36:41 The impact of AI and tech on engineering
Jenna Bromell works as a senior process engineer for Johnson & Johnson Vision. During her time at UL, Jenna was a dual student-athlete, a recipient of a UL BEO sports scholarship and was awarded the UL President’s Special Distinction Award for finishing top in engineering in 2019. She has competed for Ireland at the European Junior championships, World Junior championships, European U23 championships, European Team championships and European senior championships. Jenna is currently a committee member of the Engineers Ireland Thomond Region.
Tom Parsons was an engineer with Jacobs, a fortune 500 professional and technical solutions company while also playing at All Ireland Level for Mayo GAA. Outside of Croke Park finals, a career highlight for him was being awarded an honorary Fellow with Engineers Ireland in 2021. Today he serves as CEO of Gaelic Players Association.
Looking for ways to explore or advance a career in the field of engineering? Visit Engineers Ireland to learn more about the many programs and resources on offer. https://www.engineersireland.ie/
“Don't underestimate the power of 10 minutes. If you want to exercise for 10 minutes, you can get a valuable session in whether it's in front of your television or out in the garden.”
“The great thing about having sports outside of your work life, is that you are not solely defined by one thing. If work is going great, then I'm an engineer. If not, then I’m a runner! You always have something to be positive about.”
“Businesses are learning from high performance sport and high-performance teams around the world. They're all incorporating those skill sets into the workplace.”
For your convenience, here is a 90% accurate AI transcription of the episode.
Dusty Rhodes 0:42
Hello there, my name is Dusty Rhodes and you’re welcome to Ampliflied, the Engineers Journal podcast. You might think that mixing the intellectual world of engineering with the physical world of sport is some kind of a Venn diagram gone wrong, but actually, they have a lot in common. Professionals in both need to combine strategy, foresight and expertise with skill and instinct. But what happens if you mix all of these qualities into one person? And can that person give us some tips on how we can improve our own day-to-day lives, making work a little easier and a little more creative? To find out more, we have two guests on the podcast today who have excelled at both engineering and sport. Tom Parsons, while working as an engineer was hugely successful with Mayo GAA for over a decade. Today he is CEO of the Gaelic Players Association and a fellow of Engineers Ireland, Tom, you're very welcome.
Tom Parsons 1:41
Thanks, Dusty. It's great to be on the show, really looking forward to the conversation.
Dusty Rhodes 1:45
Also joining us is Jenna Bromell, who is a Senior Process Engineer with J&J Vision Care, and also an athlete who's represented Ireland at European and world level. You're very welcome, Jenna.
Jenna Bromell 1:58
Thank you looking forward to discussion as well. Well, listen,
Dusty Rhodes 2:01
Let's talk about engineering. First. Tom, you are an engineer with like, massive global firm. Give us a little bit about your background.
Tom Parsons 2:09
Yeah, dusty. Look, first and foremost, I'm really passionate about engineering. There's so many synergies between engineering and sports between being innovative, creative, teamwork, people projects is great. So I started off my career. Yeah, working with Jacobs engineer and carried off. I had picked up actually an injury in sport at the time, and I had an opportunity to take 12 months off. So I went over to Cardiff and they started working on really improved interest in energy projects. And so we're working on high voltage substations working with a diverse group of engineers from pros from where control engineers, electrical engineers, Civil and Structural Engineer, so it was a real eye opener. And then, you know, throughout my, my, my career, and in sport and engineering, they collided, I moved back to Ireland, then to work with Jacobs, again, in highways and infrastructure and started to work on some Irish projects and some projects in the UK, in Essex, for example, and then I just merged, you know, I found engineering, you know, that over a 12 year period to be fascinating, you know, nearly like candy sharp dosti, the the opportunity to work on different infrastructure projects, which was fantastic. And then I suppose aligned with that was different moves in my sporting career plane were male, living in Dublin, the challenges of getting up and down to me or to represent my county, I, you know, I also represented my country as well, and my club and colleges, and at high levels. So it was just fantastic. And I just always found through the years to so many links between sport and business, particularly when you look at the future of work. So when I started engineering, you know, I started with a Graduate Development Program, predominantly structural engineering, it was all hand calculations. You know, within a few years, it was, it was on an Excel sheet, and it was all software that was sent out to design centers and in other parts of the world. So those skills of being able to work with people, leadership, manage projects, be creative, was so important. And they're all the skills that we learned in sports. So I had a fantastic engineering career, and it's not over by any means of the matter. I was voluntary on the board of the Game Players Association, while I was an engineer with with Jacobs, and in that role revert, we represent 4000 Intercounty athletes in Ireland, men and female athletes, many of whom are engineers, and in two years now in the role as CEO, so it just goes to show the, you know, the skills that you build in engineering are so transferable and I found no run and run and what is essentially a business where you're running A p&l or balance sheet, if you're on a team of 12, you're negotiating with the state you're negotiating with the GA, your design and program. So players have transferable skills that I've learned an engineer. And so I've had a crazy career really enjoyable. Sport has played a huge part in elevating the skills that I've brought to my career and my professional career. And vice versa. You know, I think skills and engineering has supported my sporting career as well.
Dusty Rhodes 5:31
And Lala synergies which we discover as we go through the podcast, Jenna, he has engineering been in your blood for a long time.
Jenna Bromell 5:38
Yeah. So what I'd say is that when I was in secondary school, I didn't really know what I wanted to do with the time. And I think that's okay, as well, like, you can't be expected to know what you want to do with the rest of your life when you're only 1718 years of age. So what I did at the time was, I just ask yourself, Do I actually enjoy doing and then I allowed that to dictate my path. So in school, I enjoy doing Applied Maths, Physics, Chemistry, maths, so I'll kind of logic be subjects. And I wanted to go to University of Limerick because it was my, my local university. And that's where it was training as well, so as to suit athletics. And chemical engineering just stood out as a good choice for me because it combined all of those subjects that I enjoyed. So I decided to just go with that. And things worked out because I got an entrance scholarship at the time. Because when even search results and the Noxon Foundation Scholarship, which was hugely helpful. And that also gave me extra opportunities. Like for example, I got to do a business diploma with Harvard Business School, a credential of readiness through that scholarship. So that kind of gave me exposure to the business side. And then I was on Atlantic scholarship as well when I was in UL. So all of these things really helped to support me in trying to achieve my goals, both in engineering and on the rotting track when I was in college, then things get a little bit complicated is when you decide to finish off college go to working, whereas that adds a lot of complications and complexities into creation. So I just decided at the time to just go with the first opportunity that I came across. Again, it was something that was convenient location wise, because I was still training in UL at the time. So I entered the graduate program at Johnson and Johnson vision care, which is just around the corner from us just around the corner where I'm from, so I haven't gone far. Yes, Limerick my whole life. But I love Limerick and I love the opportunities it has brought me. So I'm a big advocate for Limerick long way. So
Dusty Rhodes 7:56
you're a senior Process Engineer at the moment with j&j. What does the senior process engineer do?
Jenna Bromell 8:03
So I would say that they're all it's it's very mixed, thrown like No day is the same. You can be constantly given new diverse problems day to day. And I think that's the beauty of the role as well as that you never get bored with us, you know, you always encounter new problems. So I'd say overall, if I'm to describe what I can get off to in that role, it's, you know, it's project management. It's providing process input for new designs, its characteristic characterizing new processes. It's troubleshoot, troubleshooting any yield issues. So if we encounter that there is a particular defects operating at a high level on a production line, we might be called in to try and work with team to identify what the root cause is and put a solution in place. So the job description is quite varied for us. That's the beauty of us as well.
Dusty Rhodes 9:01
So you both have excelled at a sport as well that time you briefly alluded to what you were doing. Just tell me about your sports career.
Tom Parsons 9:09
Yeah, incredible career really, I suppose in the west of Ireland. There's very little distraction in other sports except for Gaelic football. So growing up as a kid, it was if you are playing Gaelic football and male, you're in trouble so look from very young age, I was always playing sport and found myself putting on the male jersey, you know, at at minor grade into under 21 and senior grade at a very young age. So broke into the senior team at 19 which was an incredible experience really when they're so young because it means so much to the people in me or to represent your club in your county particularly direct represent your your county so something you're very proud of and you know, your your dreams and your hopes, your aspirations kind of come through true when you're when you're lying in there. out in front of, you know, 35,000 people in McCarren Park. So that's what I that's what I did. I started at 19 Playing with my university as well. Players, the international rules of Ireland that year, really had, you know, a fantastic Bang to the scene, they have added Intercounty level, and had a lot of success at 1920 21. Clear, burnout played a huge role in all 36 months, it was a month off, picked up a chronic groin issue and worked with every sort of rehab coach to try and get it right. Performance dipped, and I was released 2122. So that was a period that was really difficult for me, because I was trying to find my identity away from the game. And a big part of that then was kickstart my engineering career. So I had just completed a master's in energy management. At the time, you know, we're talking always online there was with with the lack of jobs and engineer and nobody was getting work, you know. So I did that master's in energy and then moved to carrodus. And that break my sporting career of two years, where I needed to get the body right and get away from the game. I really leaned on engineering on my career and found a lot of purpose and joy away from the game. I came back then to play with mail two years later. So I had that break between the ages of 22 and 24. And then I got a call up to come back and play with me also came back and played on me on 2014. And then from 2014, right up until 2020, you know, played in for an hour and finals, you're playing the biggest games in the sporting calendar in Ireland, in Croke Park in front of 80,000 people. And that break actually stood me well, so those years were incredible years, we forged a really competitive team in May or unfortunately, we came up against an awesome Dublin side. And every time we'd meet in all Ireland finals, that would either go to a replay or we'd lose by a point sport in 2020. Then my glass time I kicked the ball was in core power UK and all Ireland final in court. And that's the last time I've I've played so looking fantastic career, you know, probably over 100 caps with with male representing your county and representing my club. And you're then since since 2020, I suppose the transition has been great, because I've moved into you know, see you as a guitar player association. So I'm still working with athletes all the time, which is which is great.
Dusty Rhodes 12:37
And Jana, you've done fantastically well. Your field is running. Yes.
Jenna Bromell 12:43
Yes. So I was historically a 400 meter athletes. So when I was in university, I was competing in 400 meters and the four by four relays well. And then when I graduated from university and started at Johnson and Johnson, that's when I started to transition to the 800 meters. So it's a hard transition, it takes time, because you're using clearly different energy systems as well. There's a lot of endurance to build up over time. Force, I did make a good breakthrough in 2021, our two year of injury. So hopefully this year, we might see some good results again, but it's just it's never a linear process. And I think that's something that, you know, people need to understand as well as that, you know, no matter what you're what you're in a life no matter what sport, there's always ups and downs, absent highs, you know, ebbs and flows. So I think that that's just important to take into account as well as that. You know, there's always complications along the way. But you know, what to find see was how you bounce back. Yeah, condors complications,
Tom Parsons 13:58
I think I have to come in there. I think it's, it's so true. I think when you look at a sporting career, being able to deal with setbacks and obstacles is absolute paramount, and nobody's career is linear. And that's what it's so true life as well, and engineering and projects. And so, the one thing I would say is you learn those lessons very, very quick and high performance sport. That's all transferable. And I think at some point along the line, everybody learns those lessons, right? That in your professional career in engineering in projects, it's not linear, there's ups and downs as obstacles. The big the big behavioral skill set has been able to deal with obstacles and comeback so absolutely agree with each other.
Dusty Rhodes 14:41
So generally, speaking in high performance, give us an idea of the level that you performed in in the world.
Jenna Bromell 14:48
So I have convinced that European Junior Championships World Junior Championships ERP and senior championships the past two years I haven't had adds any international action bus in order that I trust, that's part of the process as well, you know, I'm trying to adapt to the eight entourage, or I'm trying to bring down my time. So it's your take that one step at a time for the moment. I'm trying to get into the right races and trying to get getting myself the best opportunities to try and ultimately get where I want to get. So yeah, it's just taking it one day to toy with the moment.
Dusty Rhodes 15:28
Let's see how this kind of career in sport affected your careers in engineering or helped your careers in engineering. Jenna, how would you say that being an athlete shaped you as an engineer,
Jenna Bromell 15:41
you know, it's always coming back to what we were just speaking about, it's the mindset that you have to develop as an athlete really translates into making you a better leader in the workplace. So for me, as an athlete, first of all, I think, you always need to learn to trust in yourself, because when you go on the start line, and the gun goes off, it can actually be the loneliest face ever. But you have to actually trust in yourself that you can perform. And it's the same in the workplace, when you're given a challenge. When there's a setback, you need to actually have confidence in what you can do to deliver on the issue. No. And I think another thing is that it's resilience, it's the ability to bounce back. It's not letting failures bring you down, but actually learning from your failures. So you know, no matter, boss, you know, the job that we go into in the workplace, there's always going to be setbacks, there's always going to be challenges. But what defines you as a leader is how you enable those challenges, to give you momentum, to push forward to learn from them, and to ultimately become better and to bring the people with you along the way, you know. So I think it's the mentality that being an athlete teaches you, that really converts into making you a better leader in the workplace. And I think it just kind of dictates your leadership style in the workplace. As
Dusty Rhodes 17:14
Tom, Jenna said, it can be the loneliest place in the world from from a team point of view, do you get what you're saying?
Tom Parsons 17:21
Yeah, I completely agree with Jenna, like, what stress transferable is all those character skills, you know, and, you know, as an engineer, and of equations, right, but if I could define performance, in any walk of life, right, not just professional, your career or engineering or sport, but even in your family life, or any hobbies and passions, you know, performance equals our capabilities, right? Multiplied by or messed around with by our behaviors. And like, that's ultimately it. So if you have somebody or a person who has is a very capable person, and they're an eight, or nine out of 10, but their behaviors is on the floor, and there are two or three other trends to performance is on the floor, in sport, in engineering, in any walk of life. But the magic that you learn from high performance sport, is that the bigger piece is behaviors. So your capability as a sports person, or as an engineer, or as a project manager, or as any professional, your capability, even if it's five or six out of 10 in that skill set that you know that logical process driven skill set, if that's a five or six out of 10, but you have the right behaviors. If your behaviors are an eight or nine out of 10, your performance goes through the roof. And that's jewelry sport and what is behaviors behaviors is exactly what Jenna said. It's about our character. It's about how you deal with failures. It's about your self discipline, your communication, how you engage with people, it's about growth, that mental mindset. And it's so important. And I think now more than ever, when you look at, you know, AI, the future of work, how we're streamline and processes, and I'm sure Jana can, you know, attest to this, you know, in j&j, like processes are becoming, you know, their problems are never solving themselves with artificial technology and improvements. Now, more than ever, we need engineers to focus on really good behaviors, and managing people and be able to be able to collaborate. So I really think that, you know, people don't have to be a high performance board, but engage in you know, team activity away from your professional career is hugely beneficial because you get to understand the dynamics of work and routines. And, you know, most engineers, most projects, you know, actually I'll say every project can't be delivered alone. You need the group. You need to set a vision you need to work together, you need to collaborate with other people. So To be a good engineer, you need, yes, that logical piece. But you also need that, you know that ability to have the right behaviors and the right character to work with people.
Dusty Rhodes 20:10
Again, what both of you are saying, and then I'm also in the back of my mind thinking, both of you have been to the very pinnacle of your sporting careers. And a lot of people who are listening to the podcast, we're just regular Joe's Jermaine, we get the boss of Chuck iron to work or whatever. How do you think it's a really interesting point that you both make about, you know, kind of being focused on performance? And if you focus on your performance, well, then you get the success. And you can kind of see how that has driven you in the sporting field. How does that mentality translate for regular people?
Tom Parsons 20:44
Well, I'll come in, first of all, why Jetta? I think I am a dad or two kids, I have a three year old and a one year old. And let me tell her, you know, I need to have a high performance lifestyle to just navigate life at the moment Never mind being an athlete, right? So I'm just a firm believer that you know, do what is hard and life will be easy, right? But who was at what is easy, and life will be hard. And when you think about that, life is hard to navigate, you know, a family, kids relationships, hobbies, pairings, along with balancing a career. And in engineering, you know, anybody that is in a professional career, particularly engineering, you need to be on top of your game. So you do need to have a high performance lifestyle. And I actually think that people want to be the best their best selves. And we even see that now in in sport and technology. You know, so many people I see wearing, you know, a Garmin device or a whoop device, want to know, their metrics, want to know how they're performing, even if they're just casually running or casually training. So I actually believe that, you know, we all need to learn the skills of being a high performer and just navigate the challenges of life. And let me tell you, my my wife, she's a physiotherapist. And she's fantastic. When I think of high performance, I think of her because how she manages to get you know, the kids up and to bed at certain times, set out different develop habits and children and maintain a job and manage the house. Manage me, she's she's amazing. But again, it goes back to all those behavioral skill sets that Jenna total.
Dusty Rhodes 22:29
I had a work application from somebody who a woman returning to the workplace. And she put for the last five years of her life and her CV, she said onboarding a human being.
Speaker 4 22:39
I thought it was absolutely brilliant. Absolutely. Brill,
Dusty Rhodes 22:45
back to sport and thinking about being physically active agenda. Do you think that just being physically active in any way can help people think better at work?
Jenna Bromell 22:55
Yeah, absolutely. So I actually think that I probably wouldn't have done as well, in my career, if I didn't have athletics, there's just that release, outside of work and outside of studies in the evening. Like, I find that if I'm just working all day, without taking breaks without getting there without getting exercise. I just can't think in the same way. Often, if I'm struggling with an issue, if I have a challenge that I just need to get in like and sway third, I need some inspiration. I take the time away from the laptop, I go exercise, I come back to it. And I find when I come back to us, I'm so refreshed and I think in a different way. So you know, it's just come back to the the high performance question. It doesn't matter if you're a high performance athlete or not. It's just taking that time outside of work, to to do something outside of that day to day to get the fresh air to exercise the body. It just makes you think in a better way clears the head and it definitely results in a better more productive person at the end of the day.
Dusty Rhodes 24:10
Jenna so physical activity to helps you think a little bit better at work.
Unknown Speaker 24:14
Does it help with stress?
Jenna Bromell 24:17
Yes, definitely. I think it all comes back to just relax yourself giving yourself a break outside of the stress. Yeah, you know, okay, high performance competitions like that is stressed to be fair, right? So athletics can be stressful as well. Boss, you know, just an easy jog or just going to the gym. You know, not even thinking about those hard sessions. That break outside of a stressful situation. Definitely helps to just break down the stress levels to ground you rebalance you so that you could talk a lot stress a bit better and you go back to it. So I think it's definitely impact I want to take that time away from the stressful situation. But the other thing that I'd say, and it kind of comes back to what Tom was saying earlier, where, you know, he got injuries, but he had something else to fall back on. I think the great thing about having sports or something outside of your work life as well is that you're not solely defined by one thing. So, you know, if, if work is gone, man, okay. I'm an engineer. If Ronnie is gone, well, I would at least be nothing at all. You all is. You have
Dusty Rhodes 25:34
something to feel positive about? Yeah, you
Jenna Bromell 25:35
always have something that's going to be going well, exactly. So I think it's good to have something as a backup for the days when you're not feeling so good in, let's say your your main thing in your day to day. So I think it's good to not tie your identity shot one thing, but to have lots of different pockets, not too many pockets for different pockets going on in your life.
Tom Parsons 25:58
Yeah, yeah, I agree. Just the buzzword in industry, at the moment is resilience if we need to be more resilient, and to Jennifer's point, like you can't be resilient, if you decide to put all your energy on your professional career, and you're gonna allow your relationship to break down, you're not going to engage in your physical health, you're not going to have hobbies away from the game, you're not going to invest in friendships and relationships. Because what happens then is, at some point along that journey, you know, if you're so career driven, you're going to encounter an obstacle or a setback. And then you don't have that broad live engagement that helps you overcome that resilience. So absolutely agree with Jana, you know, in 2018, I had a very significant knee injury, my knees essentially rotated in the wrong direction at 90 degrees, risk of losing my leg, three surgeries, seven months off work. And, you know, I came back and played but during that process, I did a lot of talks and podcasts. And people kept asking me how we saw resilient to come back? And the answer is exactly what Jenna said, is, I won, I lost my sport and my professional career for seven months, because I couldn't physically work with the motor surgeries that I needed. I fell back on my relationship on my family are my friends on personal growth. So we talked about personal growth? What does that look like? Just listening to podcasts like this, that's reading books that's grown, that might be taking a course. So find a resilience in your life to be a better professional to be a better partner to be a better appearance? Whatever it is, you have to you have to have diversity in your life. You have to it's really important.
Dusty Rhodes 27:51
Can I ask you as well? Both of you because Tom, I know you were playing it was a team sport. But Jenna, take it out with athletics, you are part of an athletics team. It's not like you're you're just out there solo on your own? And what does that kind of being part of a team, whether at your level, or whether it just an amateur level kicking ball at the at the weekend? How does that experience with teams help you with work teams? Jenna?
Jenna Bromell 28:17
Yeah, so I think that you have to be part of a team, no matter what area of your life that you're talking else, you know, like, being part of a team is actually central to progression in every part of your life. So in athletics, okay. And also tie with individual when a running race and running it on my own. When the gun goes off, I need to trust myself. But you have those foundations in the backgrounds that are made up of teams. So I train with the team, I have a court, I've an SSE court over Physiol I have that support neck network there. That way, you know, when the going gets tough, or when I have a setback, they're there to reassure me, they're there to go into me. So it's having that support network that can guide you when the going gets tough and set you up for success. It's the same in the workplace. The team are, I suppose, the leader of the team as well, they have to try and set up the team for success. They need to support them when the going gets tough. The need to reassure them the need to upskill them. So it's the same sort of aims of the team in both situations, you know, what is common to the softer side of things, it's not just focusing on the delivery of a task, but it's focusing on how you deliver and how you can enable a person to deliver
Dusty Rhodes 29:46
and from your point of view, then Tom, how does what Jana is saying then apply going from team into workplace
Tom Parsons 29:53
it's so relevant again, it's just you can't achieve and then are on you you just really can't although you the different skill sets and different types of people. The best analogy, I think of teamwork. And I was only reading this actually, last week, I thought it was fascinating. There was an engineering piece to it. But there was a study done on a flock of geese. They're all hooked up with heart rate monitors. And geese migrate three or 4000 miles every year. And they fly in this vector formation. And I was reading this this study, and it was outlined and the reasons why they fly in that formation. What happens is the first bird flies and takes a lead in position. And they fly for as long as they can, and they fatigue and then they rotate to the back of the V. And what was interesting was the heart rate monitor showed that the bird at the front that they hit, their heart rate was nearly doubled after the bird at the back. Right. So if abroad try to take undertake that 3000 mile journey alone that only get a third of the way there. But when they fly collectively and together, and they they work together as a team, they migrate to three or 4000 miles. And what's interesting there is the key lessons there is everybody in the team is a leader. So you know, I don't believe in, you know, having a manager or a boss, it's creating that environment where everybody takes the initiative walks together, there's, you know, that flat line structure, and you're providing guidance, because when you look at leadership and teamwork, what you want to do was create more leaders within your team that are motivated and there is bought into the project. And as you are. So you learn these skills are all, you know, transferable. And I suppose that's why we see, you know, a lot of sports people transition into leadership roles and businesses and, you know, it's very simple concepts that they, they incorporate into the team. So I think anybody that is worth our salt that is in a management position, does leading the team really needs to invest in learning about leadership, learning about team dynamics, learn learning about the behaviors of teams, because it's just does genocide is so important.
Dusty Rhodes 32:16
I love what you guys are saying, I there's one thing that comes into my mind for somebody who's not doing sport, but is working in in, in an engineering team. All right, where do you get time to do all this because life is just so full of so many things.
Tom Parsons 32:33
Exactly. Look, I think, and I have two kids, and they understand the time constraints is, is is crazy, a few times, don't underestimate the power of 10 minutes. So you know, if you want to exercise for 10 minutes, you can get a valuable session in whether it's in front of your television or out in the garden and a couple of high knees burpees be creative, be innovative. Don't underestimate the power of an hour, you know, to forge a relationship with your partner. And, and and it's that, you know, it's that task setting, you know, it's understanding the know what's important, what's urgent, what's not important and not urgent. And there's so much of actually what we do that's inefficient throughout our day. And, you know, to be in today's words, you know, I don't care who you are, you know, to survive easy to have high performance skills. Because, you know, it is tough, it is tough being working for the likes of j&j was a fantastic company. But like, everybody that works for these, for businesses that are worth their salt, you need to be efficient, you need to develop these skills. We talked about goal setting, we talked about teamwork, we talked about self discipline, you need to understand these skills. And it's back to the very opening of American or what, you know what synergies transport and business we talked about capability and behaviors. You know, 10 years ago, an engineer and and I remember sitting in interviewing people, we focus so much on the capability, what was their degree? What was their masters? What did they what did they achieve? What was the, you know, what was the work experience? Were they a chartered engineer, and we've completely forgot about our behaviors. Whereas now you can see in companies, they spend so much to learn about what what, what's this kind of person, how to deal with setbacks, how do they deal with failures? How do they work with people? So, you know, we're learning all the time. And then our that's all common from that, you know, like it or not, businesses learning from high performance, sport, and high performance teams around the world. And they're all corporate and those skill sets.
Jenna Bromell 34:40
So I'm not going to lie, there's times I struggle. Like it can get difficult at times when you're trying to do everything together, especially when things come together. So fee like a lot of time when it rains it pours. So you can go through a period where it's very manageable, but you can go through periods where everything comes at once And I think when it comes to those heavy periods, the key first of all is to remember why you did you do it. So think about your purpose, think about what you're all used to. And normally, when you remind yourself of what drives you what your values are, that can help you to push through your limits are on. So I think it's important to, you know, start thinking about the self care side of things as well. I'm pretty bad for that myself. And it's something that I'm trying to improve on. Both, I think when the going gets tough, it's important to think about, okay, how can I actually take the time to try and care for myself in this difficult situation as well? Like, is there things I could do like meditation or going for a walk or meeting my friends, just me just taking that time, even if it's just a small amount of time, just taking their time away, to try and refuel yourself? In that difficult scenario, I think it's really important to help you to better enable your two managers
Dusty Rhodes 36:07
kind of wrap up by asking you guys a question about shocker engineering. We speak with a lot of CEOs on the podcast, you guys are both more at the the actual, say, of engineering. And I think you can't I get the impression you both kind of grew up where the internet was just there, you never knew a world without the Internet. So I'm interested in your point of view as to where you think online working, and collaborative working, and AI is going to take engineering in, say 10 years time.
Jenna Bromell 36:41
I think with machine learning, it's it's definitely becoming a really predominant thing in the workplace. Like, we're constantly looking for new applications of machine learning, and how can we make everything automated, like where I work? There's so much automation, and we're continuously looking at trying to further automate and further finds the latest technologies, and how can we do things hands off and actually try and breathe algorithms into things as well. I think that it's actually kind of hard to predict, it's hard to see because it's not there right now. Like we would see what like chatty tea there at the mall, like it's absolutely mental, what it can come up with. And I think that we can never fail to be surprised by what further developments can take place. And so I think it's a little bit unpredictable. But at the same time, I think that's really exciting as well is that I feel like there's so much development to come in the next few years. I feel like the rate of development has been, let's say, relatively slow or relative for the last 50 years. But with the cheer that's coming along now, I think it's actually becoming exponentially greater. So I think I think there's some very exciting years ahead, and I say the next five to 10 years.
Dusty Rhodes 38:02
And Tom, you were saying that about change earlier, you were saying it was firstly calculate pen and paper, then calculators and then Excel, and then software programs. And now it's all being farmed out. Where do you think it's gonna go in the next 10 years,
Tom Parsons 38:14
similar to chatter, like the rate of change will ever be a slow, and that's a fact. And how important is engineers? They are right up there. Because you look at the global challenges that we have with climate change, movement of people increase in population, age and infrastructure, huge challenges. We need engineers to solve these problems. And I think, you know, I started off as a structural engineer, and then I was settled. And I was team lead. And I went to energy highways. And there was a point in my career where I thought I need to specialize in something. And it really bugged me as a senior engineer, that I was specialized in in any one space. But now I actually think that's a strength because we need to be adaptable. And as Jenna said, we don't know what the careers will be AI will absolutely automate a lot of the design process, design engineer and will change absolutely in the next and it has changed it has changed already. So being a professional that is able to, you know, on a Saturday or on, on learn and relearn is just is so important. And I think that's what CEOs are looking at, you know, even in Jacobs Engineering when I started, you know, everybody was an engineer. And when I when I left the business, there were we were hiring people coming from different perspectives, you know, coming from sciences coming from social sciences, so that you had diversity of thought in the realm. And you look at a lot of core values of organizations or businesses and they put down diversity and inclusion. And it's not just for us, you know, the social side of things. It's also for performance, because we need people in the room with different thoughts. And we need to create space to solve the problems staff or organizations are faced in that mode. And you know, the global challenges that we face.
Dusty Rhodes 40:13
Tom Parsons and Jenna Bromell, it has been not only fascinating, but absolutely inspiring chatting with you both today. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast.
If you'd like to find out more about Tom and Jenna, you'll find notes and link details in the show notes area of your player right now. And of course, you'll find more information and exclusive advance episodes of the show on our website at engineersireland.ie
Our podcast today was produced by dustpod.io for Engineers Ireland. If you'd like more episodes, just click the Follow button on your podcast player to get access to all of our past and our future shows automatically. Until next time for myself, Dusty Rhodes. Thank you for listening.