230 Transcript

The following transcript is provided by YouTube. Mistakes are present.

[Music]
nation have you heard about the rocket
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welcome to scaling up the podcast where
we scale up on knowledge so we don’t
scale up our systems i’m trace blackmore
i get to host this fantastic podcast
and nation i am so excited about all the
things that we have done this year of
course we’re wrapping up the year we’re
in the last month of the year we’re
getting ready to say goodbye to
2021 i think we’d all agree
2021 came with its issues
but at least we’re starting to head in
a different direction from 2020 things
are starting to make a little bit more
sense although i’m going to be honest
with you there is so much out there that
just doesn’t make any sense at all
here is something that i
am just inspired at from 2021.
it is the water treatment community the
water treatment community has come
together in a way that i haven’t seen
all industries do and to be honest i’m
not connected with all the industry so
it’s not fair to say other industries
don’t do this but i am connected with
the water treatment industry and i have
been a recipient
of people coming together within this
industry sharing knowledge to give other
people so they can make better decisions
in time
before they have to make drastic
decisions and don’t really have time to
make them count now we’ve done this
throughout the year definitely dealing
with the raw materials and supply chain
issues
talking about different things that we
can do to weather that storm of course
we have the rising tide mastermind where
it’s a group of people where we get
together on a weekly basis and we talk
about issues just like this and we share
ideas
on what we’re doing and the results
we’re getting from doing those items and
a lot of times we’ll find out that what
we’re doing is not working and combining
the experiences of the collective group
we can now
cut through the forest of all the
confusion so much easier because we have
all of these experiences that we can
talk about that we can learn from that
we can help each other with so i didn’t
start out this monologue to talk about
the rising tide mastermind but the
spirit behind the rising tide mastermind
is what i did want to bring up and it is
that we are part of a community
i know because i did it for so long i
would get in my car i would drive to an
account i would speak to the customer
and then i would spend another hour so
driving to the next account
and i was by myself and i felt like i
was by myself and i didn’t have as much
fun because i couldn’t share my
experiences with other people because i
had so much alone time we caught
windshield time i was spending so much
time just staring
through my windshield as i was driving
from account to account well as i think
you all know that was the premise in
which i decided we needed a podcast
we’re in our cars already
we have plenty of time and you can only
take so much talk radio
so why not have a podcast that is just
for us industrial
water treaters and because i did that
and mind you i had no idea what i was
doing what i was getting into when i
made that decision over four years ago
but in that four years time in greater
than four years time coming up in five
years not too long from now
i’ve seen
a community that was always there but
they didn’t have a way to connect and
being part of the scaling up nation gave
people a way to make those connections
it gave them an easy way to talk to a
fellow water treater without worrying
about them stealing business oh my gosh
if i talk to this guy that i consider a
competitor they’re going to come take
all of my account so i’m not going to
talk with them well folks they’re the
people that probably the only people
that understand what we go through
day after day
and i have seen developed over the
four-year times of people getting to
know each other people reaching out
saying hey i do exactly what you do how
about we go somewhere and we talk about
it how about we figure out how we can
help each other so it’s the spirit of
that that i just want to acknowledge
that we are doing such a good job of
growing our community of sharing our
information
and making sure that we don’t have to do
things on our own
we all heard together everybody achieves
more i think that’s the
acronym for teams but it really is
i don’t have to do something on my own
and experience the same results that you
did when you did something on your own
you can now advise me
on all the things that you would have
done differently and how that would have
changed the results and now i can
experience that and then when i find
somebody that’s going through something
similar i can now share that information
and they can do the same it’s just
really exciting when we think about all
the issues that we can solve when we
just start talking with each other
you know one of the issues that james
mcdonald is trying to solve
is us
not learning new things with all the
experiences with all the things that we
have around us day to day
so once again here’s james mcdonald in a
new james’s challenge
[Music]
hello scaling up nation the next james’s
challenge as we grow as an industrial
water treatment professional drop by
drop is
make time for your family friends and
you
sure industrial water treatment is
awesome and can be all-consuming but
having a proper work-life balance is
important to being all you can truly be
never forget that and strive to find
that balance the balance will be
different during different phases in
your life mine has been
be self-aware enough to readjust that
balance when needed
when you come to your in days you
probably won’t wish you had tested more
water samples but you may wish you had
spent more time enjoying your family and
friends
be sure to share your experience on
linkedin by tagging it with hashtag jc21
and hashtag scalinguph2o this is james
mcdonald and i look forward to seeing
what you share
thanks james well i want to go ahead and
move to our interview today i started
today talking about community and the
reason i’m doing that is i am just
amazed that we are part of a water
treatment community and it’s not just in
my city it’s not just in my state it’s
not just in my country it is worldwide
and i’m going to introduce you to
somebody who is a member of the scaling
up nation
that is very far
from atlanta georgia and most likely
very far from where you are listening to
this podcast
my lab partner today is walid corey
waleed you and i are actually face to
face we met virtually you gotta love the
internet i think we met on linkedin how
are you today correct it excellent thank
you for having me today it’s a pleasure
and an honor to be talking to you well
well the honor is all mine and i want
the scaling up nation to be honored as
well do you mind telling the scaling up
nation a little bit about who walid will
it is so my name is walid i’m in the
middle east completely outside of the
u.s
and i’ve been in the water industry for
the last 20 years
and lately i started my own company
after having worked for 20 years in
multinationals mainly us fortune 500
companies
and you reside where so i’m based in
dubai i’ve been here for the last 20
years in fact this month i celebrate my
20th 20th year
so i see things that happen over in
dubai and it’s just amazing all the
structures that are being built over
there is living over there just like
living in disney world every day
it’s like a little bit like las vegas
but without the gambling part so so you
have to see it’s a compensation or
something like this so yeah it’s brand
new it’s more like disneyland for adults
what is your role what what do you do on
a day-to-day basis
so it’s kind of mixed between couple of
things so
mainly i run my own company so i started
this company a year before this atletics
and
the purpose is to help solve the water
crisis in africa so we’re trying to do
our little part we invest in
young companies recently startups you
know with young entrepreneurs and we
help them to scale up their company so
they can meet the water needs for
industries and municipal customers
within africa this is my main job at the
same time i do a lot of influencing and
a lot of
linkedin influencing and i try to
be on multiple panels trying to help you
know educate people about water the
needs and so on so this is how like
roughly i spend most of my time i want
to say if we looked up how you listed
your title on linkedin it says water
strategist investor and influencer tell
us what each one of those mean
yeah in fact in fact the order is
important because you know like i worked
for 20 years in multinationals as i said
and you know in martin luther you do a
lot of strategies so
by hook rook you have to learn to become
a great strategist so the more you go
higher in the organization and and i was
lucky because i worked in like 10 years
in general electric so you know ge in
terms of of strategy and and
and the development it’s an amazing
company so
we’ve done a lot of strategic plans and
the idea was to how you can scale
operations how can scale business and so
on but
as you know when you work for a
multinational strategies are impacted by
the level of investment because you have
multiple
opportunities to invest so you can
invest in middle east you can invest in
asia in latin america
and so on and then ultimately the funds
will go to where there is a higher
return and less risk so you know our
region is known africa and middle east
either wars or political risks are
currency risk political situation
fluctuations all of this so lately
when i started my own company i moved to
the investor side i said okay if you
cannot execute a lot within a
multinational framework because it’s
more risky to operate why i don’t go and
execute the strategies on my own so
basically i raise money and then i
deploy this working capital to to fund
operations in africa so that’s the
investing part
and of course i’m passionate about the
water topic and i think these are go
hand in hand when you’re trying to
empower people and help them to grow
their companies
also you have to influence the decision
making you have to educate you have to
talk about the policies so i spent a lot
of time either on linkedin but also in
conferences you know and attending to
meetings and shows presenting and so on
and how you and i met you do a vlog tell
us about that how you got involved with
that and what you do on a regular basis
with it
yeah so this is kind of started by
chance i was in uh during college you
remember like when killed we were all
locked down so nothing to to do it
mainly with the outside world so
so i remember i just post a question uh
on linkedin i forgot what was the topic
but it was like a basic question about
some topic on the water industry and i
attacked it like water question and then
what happened uh got a lot of
interactions i used to have like already
10 000 followers so i had a lot of
interaction with this question i said
okay so why don’t i ask more questions
and it became very
enriching at discussions think about it
you have all the top talent in the water
industry contributing to this uh
in this platform to the question so
you’ve got really the greatest minds and
then i said okay why don’t we
move deeper in the topic and then i can
pick a speaker and talk with him about
this uh
a question specific topic so i picked
the first discussion was with professor
dragon savik the ceo of kwr research
center in europe the largest research
research center in europe and we focused
mainly on on the coveted and
wbe water-based epidemiology so how you
can measure coverage in waste water and
and what it can tell you you know this
was like a big topic back then and then
i said okay it’s getting a lot of
traction people enjoy it so let me go
ahead and keep doing it so so i do these
short videos where i pick somebody and
then we discuss a topic specific topic
to the water industry
and i believe you’ve had a great friend
of show james mcdonald on your program
as well oh definitely definitely with
james we spoke last year about the
industrial water week just before the
launch of the industrial water week what
to expect what he advises how it started
and it was very interesting
so we’re in the fourth year we just
celebrated the fourth concurrent
celebration of industrial water week
how do you celebrate in dubai
so in dubai we had like multiple uh
events related to to the industrial week
so
because i’m based in dubai but my focus
is now on africa so our team was mainly
spending time with indus industrial
clients you know educating them helping
them on how to solve the water issues so
so so we do it on day to day basis you
know on top of the industrial water week
and during the week we posted specific
questions and topics and videos about
everyday about the cooling about the
boiler and so on well you mentioned
getting the word out and all the things
that you’re doing to help with the water
issues that are in africa can you tell
our audience a little bit about that
so as you know like africa today is
still
behind in terms of water and sanitation
so there have been tremendous progress
in the last 10 years
in the water side
still behind still running behind but in
terms of sanitation it’s even even worse
so
what we do we help
european and u.s suppliers
connect locally in africa so so we take
out all the risks that they might be
facing locally
by being present on the ground and at
the same time we educate all our team
across all all the we have seven
countries where we operate already we
educate them give them the same level of
education that you would expect if you
are based in somewhere like the us or
europe so then the supplier and the
technology can be implemented directly
within africa
and solving some of the issues they face
for example in industrial water
you need high purity
uh water for example to run your power
plants or if you want to do food and
beverage you need also very good quality
of water so our team can help with
resins with membranes with antiscalenes
but at the same time they can educate
the customer how to apply them to get
the best return out of the equipment and
their products
what’s the number one thing you want our
audience to know that could help your
cause
i think
water scarcity is kind of overrated
because people they always talk about
water scarcity you know and the
solutions are here today you know it’s
it starts first by by optimization so
you have to reduce your water footprint
but then there is reuse there is also
advanced treatment and so so the
technology is available
but people tend to shy away from this
and just talk about the scarcity part
so i think people have to shift their
mindset from telling the story to
deploying solutions so i think people
need to understand that africa is is a
similar market to other places you know
so from outside people
are worried because we all grew up
seeing pictures on on on the movie on tv
and from africa like either farming or
wars or conflicts
but at the end each country is like
similar to any place in the world you
have people who are trying to make a
better living they go to school so we
just have to go there and visit and try
to understand that the market is
relatively similar to other places like
in every country we’ll have customers
who are
on the higher value end of the spectrum
and you have customers who are looking
just for prices you know so and and like
typical in any country you can go there
you can find business you can help
improve the quality of water so my call
to action will be don’t be scared about
what’s happening there try and explore
you know other than the uh
vacation part which is like like the
tanzania arcania for safari you know try
to see and each country is different
it’s completely different and it’s
exciting you were recently at weftec for
those that did not get to go to weftec
what would you say it was like
you know i was impressed because
this was my first trip to the u.s after
the pandemic so i was there just before
like end of february 2020 and then this
was the first trip after the pandemic so
first it was very successful
probably it was half of what it used to
be in the past in terms of size of
exhibition and attendees and so on but
people who were there were intentionally
there you know they were not coming just
for for the visit because they made the
effort they know the coveted
restrictions they had to get vaccinated
or had the pcr test done so they made
the effort to come and and you see like
all the interactions i’ve had were
really high quality interactions because
people were there because they want to
be there so for me it was a good
experience and i also had the chance to
to speak in wolf tech and and talk more
about africa because i told the
organizer like in case you have any
cancellation from due to travel
restrictions and so on so i’m willing to
to take the slot and it happened you
know so so i was lucky to be able to
also expand the measures this is part of
the influencing you know role
so other than your talk what were some
of the other things that you thought
were just outstanding that happened at
weftec
one of the things i like always in at
world tech is that a challenge they have
for operators
so you see see all the teams coming into
after just to to make sure that they can
win all these
these challenges this is kind of
interesting but then also
this year they had the innovation uh
side where they have a lot of companies
small companies who cannot afford to be
having a full boost you know
full-fledged boost so they created like
an innovation pavilion and you had small
tables where all these companies were
there and i think it was interesting
because it gives them the opportunity to
go and pitch to people
who are really senior leaders and so on
coming to the coming to the weftec i
love asking this question or this next
question because there’s
so many different answers you’re an
industrial water treater how did you get
into industrial water treatment by pure
luck i didn’t even know it existed so
when i was to start university uh i’m
from lebanon in lebanon like typical
father wants his kids to do either
engineer doctor or lawyer you don’t have
much choices you know so if he’s
successful it’s because his kids have
done one of those three you know this is
how the mindset so so i hated medicine i
also low i’m not good at all in in load
so what happens
left last is engineering because i had
good
mass grades so okay let’s do engineering
so i started engineering first couple of
years you have like general engineering
it’s a french system you do like general
courses so third year you have to choose
what you will be doing as a major
and then i said okay i’ll go into
environment because i love the
environment and all these actions so i
added the first two years of environment
and then uh
the last year you have to decide so i go
on the water water track but still it’s
general water i did later a master’s
degree in water sciences which is like
more underground water rivers dams you
know this type of water water treatment
basic water treatment municipal so then
i joined joined nalco and the funny part
i i go to kuwait for a kind of an
immersion on the job learning and
you know in naco days you’ll get all
these big books that you have to study
and like boiler cooling and so on so so
i’m studying these books before going on
the site in the refinery and like it
tells you if you go inside the boiler
you have to put like all the all the
process you have to do before going
inside the boiler i was like inside the
boiler what do you mean go inside the
boiler
for me boiler is like the home boiler
you know it’s very small boiler
so i go the first time on site it’s
massive you know like you have like 10
floor furnaces and and for me it was
really like oh there’s something else
other than than just municipal water to
treat and and this is how it started so
it was exciting
what was the experience that you had
that you said you know i thought i’d
like this but this is the career i made
the right choice
i think when you
try to work in industrial water you
touch on multiple applications you know
multiple industries and
i was lucky because being in a remote
country away from headquarters like in
kuwait in this case
so
you have to do things on your own you’ll
be called to go to a paper mill you’ll
be called to go to a food and beverage
account you know power plant refining
and so starting the diversity of the
applications and the systems and
and how impactful it is either it is on
the pre-treatment our
utilities are even at the discharge so
the fact that i loved the original
environment and anything related to the
environment this came from me like you
know what it’s a nice place to be in
what would you say one of your most
challenging issues has been as an
industrial water trader
oh yeah many you know we can start with
the first one
which where i i wanted to go on the
water treatment site so so
in the refinery in kuwait
so think about like i’ve been there for
a couple of months we’re doing a trial
replacing hydrazine by uh carbohydrate
so yeah i mean there were a few cases
the first one was basically when i was
in the refinery in kuwait and i have
been like two months in the job it was
christmas eve and then we were doing a
trial to replace hydrazine carbohydrate
non-carcinogenic
and then one of the boiler shuts down
because they had like a high ph
ingression
and the low pressure ingredient and of
course who to blame the chemical treater
you know as typically by operation so
think about it it’s christmas
everybody’s on vacation from my
management i’m
two months in the plant you know and
then trying to understand what’s
happening and then the second boiler
goes down okay because they had four
boilers so the patch went down the
operators tried to blow blew down very
quickly and then they had a tube failure
to rupture
so the second ball shuts down refinery
cannot run on two boilers out of four
so the whole refinery drips down so
imagine like you’re shutting down the
whole refinery so this was like really
overwhelming for me of course it was not
our fault it was a issue was with a
demolizer but it takes like you know
they are true to understand what was the
problem but then for me it was like okay
so we impact really the refined
operations of our customers so this was
like kind of very challenging but you
know the more you go in senior roles and
then
you get more challenges on on different
scales so for example in saudi i had a
case where where our treatment was not
performing so you have to deal with
refining manager and so on and same
thing in in morocco so you know it’s
it’s not any straightforward job
especially when you’re working with
high stressful uh operations where you
have leaks and and so on so
it also it makes it
interesting and exciting because you are
trying to find to solve tough challenges
you know if if there was not tough
challenges they will not need us in this
job you know they can just buy the
chemicals and apply them yeah that’s a
great point uh there’s this job isn’t
easy and thank goodness it’s not easy
because they need people like us
correct like 15 years ago i used to hear
that we will not need any more people
because we can buy some online and then
but today it’s still the same case
people are there are of course
productivity improvement but they still
need people to go and advise how to
operate
and i’m sure it’s the same case over
there instead of companies hiring more
people to manage their own equipment and
to do all the things that we do for them
when they hire us
they’re streamlining their crew they’re
having less and less and less people
they need us more than ever
correct definitely definitely i remember
like in many cases the operations team
will rely more on our results compared
to their own lab because they know that
we are taking the right sample at the
right sampling point you know is the
right procedure
what would you say was your proudest day
in water treatment something that you
just thought yes that’s that’s my
accomplishment that’s that’s proving
that you know i’m in the right field i
love what i do and here’s the proof
you’ll laugh about it so like i was in
kuwait and then i’m called to go and
help in bahrain okay they had a boiler
audit so so they need somebody to go
from our team and
think about it i’m young i’m asked to
fly in in the morning take an
international flight and come back at
night you know so i thought like i made
it you know i’m a big big businessman i
fly just for one day
just to go and do a site audit and
convert so it was like like really
big thing i mean this was in the early
days but
looking back i think the best
achievement is the people i’ve coached
i’ve hired i’ve coached i’ve developed
together with my leadership teams and
and today they are very successful so so
it makes you really proud that
that you are there but also you’re
helping now people to to go on the same
track and i see it like if somebody
resigns people complain over losing him
and so on
my point to my team is always like if
the person is resigning it means they’ve
got a better opportunity so shame on us
we did not give them a better
opportunity but if they found one for
them it’s much better because we know
they will grow
well let’s talk about that a little bit
because i know you are a coach you coach
other people in this industry can you
tell us a little bit about that what the
person you’re coaching gets out of the
relationship and why do you get out of
the relationship
yeah you know i do a lot of coaching as
you mentioned and
i mean i used to do it earlier in my
roles as part of the leadership team of
a company but then
now that i have a little bit more
free time because i’m not in a
multinational environment you know it’s
all back-to-back stress in terms of
deliverables so i have more more
bandwidths and i think what what people
gets out of it is that they tend to to
get something to think about so i don’t
come back to them and telling them no
you should do this or we should do it
that way what i usually try to do is
just ask questions you know probe them
why they’re thinking that way
can they do it in different way you know
and so on so i try not to really push a
solution unless i see like it’s really
critical for them to to to notice what’s
that they are doing something wrong you
know
and the good thing is that
with the linkedin exposure i’m coaching
people and i never met before you know
so for example somebody
there is a lady for example in
california who
we have like frequent calls you know
same thing in australia so completely
different countries you know and
different spaces
i think what i get out of it is that
first i stay in touch with what’s
happening in the market because these
are all related to water so so the
problems they might be experiencing they
will give me some information to connect
the dots
and also it’s it’s a personal uh sense
of
pride you know because i’m helping
people other people to grow their
careers
so many people listening today they
probably don’t consider themselves a
coach i think they should but they do
consider themselves a teacher or a
trainer what is a tip what’s a mindset
that you can give them that will help
them
i think
teaching is it’s not easier but it’s
different type of skill sets so teaching
means you go back to the textbook or
your life experience on the ground
and you try to communicate how to do
things you know it’s more like a a
technical
commercial activity so it’s a specific
activity that you’re trying to teach
i think all of us we coach in our
day-to-day life you know like like as
you mentioned so most people they will
be coaching but they don’t notice that
they are coaching and then when you talk
to them about mentoring and someone said
oh really we don’t need i don’t know how
to do mentoring and so on
it’s not that complicated it’s just that
they have to be more going through
open-ended questions versus you know
just
asking a closed-ended questions because
close-ended question you’re just giving
them the answer well if you ask
open-ended people will think and and
will develop faster
i really think that we put too much
pressure on ourselves with the words
like leader trainer coach mentor and we
think that we have to have this
grandiose plan we’ve got to know so much
we’ve got to be able to do so much and
it’s not that at all we just have to
take an interest in the person and share
the experiences that we’ve had
what’s something that you think you can
tell our scaling up nation that might
get them to realize that they’re already
doing these things
so if i look back on my career i’ve
always had help you know people more
experienced than me who who who helped
me you know and if you look at what you
do in your day-to-day activities i mean
if people look at what they do in their
day-to-day activities they are helping
around and and when they start analyzing
what are the help they are giving to
other people
they will see that they are coaching in
fact you know when you give an advice to
a young engineer who just started
when you’re at customer side and you
tell the customer how to for example
improve his uh cycles of concentration
so so anything you’re doing and with
other people you’re basically coaching
them you’re teaching them you’re helping
them without having a defined name you
might have a role of sales engineer but
basically you’re educating your coaching
you’re helping other people to improve
their jobs
something that i know that you’ve
covered
numerous times on social media something
i’d like to talk about here
is uh diversity in the workplace
specifically gender diversity i think
we’re mostly a male dominated industry
the
women that i know that are in the
industry are extremely successful what
are you seeing as a shift to more
females in the workplace
and what can you add to that
conversation
i think your spot on for me this is a
really important topic because i look
back when i was studying engineering we
had seven
women out of uh 70 students in my class
so 10 you know and and think about it
like 10 percent at university and then
they drop out later in their careers so
for example they get married some of
them will stop or some of them will move
to another type of role and so on so you
end up with two three women working in
the same field you know so like two out
of 75 so the challenge first is to to
find
women engineers at least 20 years ago in
our region but the biggest challenge is
to
help them grow their careers and also
retain them because you have the both
aspects you have the diversity and the
inclusion part so of course diversity is
not just gender but i focus a lot on the
gender part because i see it as a big
gap in in our region and as you
mentioned is water industry and my
message to my team was always that we
don’t want to go and hire females we
want to hire the best candidate
available but to get there we have to
first kind of enlarge our
slate of candidates so if you’re
interviewing 10 male you will get for
sure to make but if you’re interviewing
10 male 5 male and 5 females you will
get the first chance whoever gets a job
so so for example in my last job at
donna we started the program where we
were hiring inside sales engineers and
for us this was a kind of point of entry
to grow people within the organization
and i think we did a good job because we
started with 14
female diversity when i joined five
years later we were at 50 percent you
know 50
uh gender diversity if we can do this in
the water industry in the middle east
where it’s a very conservative
society i think it can be done anywhere
you know there is no reason why you
cannot do it anywhere in parallel we
also need to continue thinking about the
woman empowerment and having them
growing their careers you know there is
no point of hiring someone and just
keeping them where they are so the idea
is goes hand in hand so so first you get
to a gender diverse population but then
after you also need to give a fair
chance for for those to succeed for both
male and female to succeed
wally not too long ago we placed an ad
for a new engineer we had zero women
apply for it was that because of how we
wrote the ad or is that because we’re
not advertising in the right place what
can we do better
you touch on something good like like
the wording a lot of wording can
sometimes
uh
put off any woman from applying because
for example if there are some words like
if say strong character you know are so
that that are
usually
confused with male characters and then
the ladies will not apply
but
also another thing that can be done is
to
be proactive in the search so so not to
wait until we have an opening to go and
fill it because as you said this what
happens when you when we just open a
roll you will not have the time to wait
to to find the diverse state of
candidates so we’ll just go with whoever
applies
so one thing we’ve done for example is
to go and scout for talent early on and
then once with we have an opening we
have the headcount approved we go back
to them for example in marketing
i’ve met very good qualified employees
but i didn’t have jobs for them once we
had the job so we reach out to them
you need always to be scouting for
people so so and it of course it applies
not just to gender but in general
one time we had a lady out
in dubai she was moving she was
relocating to dubai and
she was following her partner and we
didn’t have a role for her but we saw
that she was really highly qualified and
then with my uh
manager i told him why don’t you create
for her role once we we have an
opportunity so few months later we found
the opportunity we called her and she
came on board today she’s one of the
most successful employees uh in swedes i
used to work for ge but it became fierce
so she’s still there and she’s one of
the most successful
employees of cs if we didn’t do this
early on we would not have had her in
our team
who would you say have been the most
influential in your career
i think there are a few few people who
really impacted my career before even
starting my careers when i was at
university i used to do a
part-time job which is a
summer camp so i used to to coach kids
and and man you know so i started as a
junior employees and i ended up managing
the
summer camps the whole summer camp was
like 250 kids
and the owner of the summer camp even
though he didn’t have any education in
terms of like university leadership or
experience in big corporation he was
really inspiring and and motivating and
you just showed up to the summer camp
because you love working with him you
know so
i think this is what sets the stage for
me is that you know what i want to grow
in my career when i go in a company i
want to grow but then after i was lucky
to have like good leaders and good
managers one of them
in fact i met in wife tech so he used to
be my manager at the ge days and uh he
went back to the u.s after his
assignment was was over his name is bob
holtz
so he’s the one who really helped me to
scale my leadership skills and and
believe in me and go like in bigger
roles compared to those i was doing
before so i was managing like few people
but i didn’t have this big you know
space to to play with
and
in parallel i think it’s not just like
people who are you’re working with
my wife was also kind of a driver you
know in terms of giving me space to be
what i am today i mean she could have a
different type of personality and then i
would have been stuck you know between
maneuvering between you know home and
work and so on we mentioned all the
things that you’re doing with social
media if someone is not aware of that
how can they find you and what will they
find when they go looking
yeah
i think if they are not aware about
social media
and they want to be in the professional
field it’s a mistake because they can
learn a lot of things on social media
and network with people so so this is a
must it’s really a must
so
the best place to find me is on linkedin
just go on linkedin and type it for you
find a lot of things i’ve posted
and
most of my posts are related to the
water industry or diversity or
leadership but it’s all related around
around the same topics
and
i’ve done even some some trainings on uh
how to interact on linkedin and how to
build relationships and so on so also
they can benefit from from this part
that people sometimes
people sometimes they go to linkedin
just to apply for a job and i think it’s
too late when you when you go to apply
for a job on linkedin means 400 people
would have applied so your chances of
standing out from the 400 candidates is
almost nailed so
so that’s why i encourage people to go
on linkedin and do a lot of work in
terms of
building their reputation so so when
they go for example answer a question
give a suggestion in the space people
get to notice them and then after when
they are about to hire they reach out to
them
if you could only get one point across
today what do you want that point to be
i think developing ourselves
we should not get stuck in in
there was a book i i read what what got
you here one god won’t get you there you
know so so you cannot
get stuck and and say okay i’m i’ve have
achieved because
there is always a constant challenge and
and you need to always improve yourself
or as you left behind so so people need
to really continue developing themselves
and and to me this is really critical
especially in nowadays where where
things are really fast moving
well let’s unpack that for a second
because as a water treater your first
day probably your first year you’re just
drinking from a fire hose all this
information everything is brand new then
you start learning what your typical
day-to-day is and this is what i think
really separates the people that are
great in the industry and people that
are just okay the ones that are great
continue
to learn the ones that are just okay
they’re really good at what they see on
a day-to-day basis but they don’t
challenge themselves so my question is
how do you challenge yourself how do you
know when you don’t know something and
how do you go learn it
i think it’s a good question so so
basically when i when the job becomes
easy it means i’m not learning anything
so i get to know that i’m not learning
anything you know and then i need to
find something else so for example when
i was at malcolm the first year as you
mentioned i was like learning a lot and
then you had an exam if you if you pass
the exams and you move to sales
so it was really challenging and it’s
sense of achievement because you you
graduate from the program now you think
you you’re excellent you can do anything
you want you know but then of course you
have to drive numbers and so on but then
after three years it was like
kind of boring because as you mentioned
i’m doing the same thing and i was
looking at my manager he was in his 40s
and
he was always complaining about this job
but he cannot move anywhere because he
is only done chemicals in specialty
chemicals i say okay i’m not going to be
like this i have to learn something else
and that’s why i moved to ge because i
moved in the equipment business so so
here i’m learning more about the
equipment like reverse osmosis waste
water mbr all the different technologies
and
of course five years i was back to the
chemicals because i like the chemical at
the end of the day so i spent like 10
years just doing the chemical first but
i think in every role you can play and
and one of the best ways to to you can
learn and one of the best ways to learn
is to teach
i’ve seen that that when i have to
present a topic but like a course not
not just a presentation like really a
course deliver a course then i have to
learn because i need to be ready for the
questions and the questions might not be
easy you know so i have to be really
understanding the topic and then after
you present also you get questions that
you cannot answer so you learn more so i
think
learning by teaching is really important
uh sometimes because it helps you to
keep
improving yourself and again if you’re
bored from your job it means you’re not
learning something much move to the next
one
i love that answer that is underscore
that
absolutely well let’s move on to the
lightning round my first question if you
can go back in time and talk to your
former self on your first day as an
industrial water treater what advice
would you give yourself
i think i would tell this young guy
think big
because back then you know like you go
to a refine you think it’s big you know
but that
i mean if you do the same career in a
small geography or you do it in a bigger
geography you can really grow faster
so i would think like think big don’t
don’t get
yourself stuck in smaller geographies
smaller organizations smaller company
you mentioned a few books already on
this interview but what are the last few
books that you’ve read
i’m not really into books a lot so i
don’t read a lot of books i do a lot of
internet surfing articles and and so on
but uh
there are few books like the last one i
was reading is a hot seat from jeff
immelt it came out like this year and
it’s just the story of ge when jeff
immelt was leading the company you know
it has a lot of issues and it’s a mix of
leadership uh business ac man
recognizing failures but also what were
the challenges and so on so this
interesting book
another one which inspired me a lot in
my
africa work
was
the book titled african business
revolution
which came from three mckenzie
leaders and it talks about africa one of
the examples they say like how many
companies in africa
that generates more than one billion
dollar revenue
so most people they ask this question to
tons of ceos globally and most of them
said 10 15 20 50. so in fact there are
400 companies in africa who generates
more than 1 billion in revenues you know
so this is the type of book that helps
you understand africa and see what why
the need to go there as a market
and
and the third book i i like is a black
swan it was written by a stock exchange
broker gentleman he was originally from
lebanon and immigrated to the u.s and it
tells you about like all the forecasts
we do all the things we plan and so on
chances are they’re not uh
be executed even
the longer like if you do like three
years forecast like the typical ge and
then
projects
chances are cannot be executed because a
lot of things that will happen in the
meantime so
these are i think three interesting
books that i encourage people to read
now you mentioned researching things on
the internet i know it’s hard to believe
not everything on the internet is always
factual
so you as an industrial water treater
that is the easiest way to do some
research do you have certain places you
prefer going to others
in terms of technology i rely a lot on
linkedin if if i want to read about
technology because think about it you’ve
got all the professionals on this
platform like you like sharing all these
videos and discussions and articles
anybody who publishes a paper who would
love to to also highlight it on linkedin
that has published this paper so you get
tons of tons of material of course there
are like some of the magazines that you
can go go to like the global water
intelligence and and smart water
magazine and so on
but i think you can pull tons of
information from from linkedin in terms
of latest development in terms of
technology but also within the industry
so i think this question is going to be
interesting because we have different
pop cultures so the question is when
they make a movie about your life who
plays you
maybe maybe it can be tinten you know
stint in the the explorer the jedi
explorer who goes around all the way
discovering countries and so on so
decided it’s a cartoon but i think it
will be well fit because he has a
little bit the same hair but also he’s
been around the world trying to discover
things
there we go there we go my last question
you now have the ability to speak to
anybody throughout history who to be
with and why
i’ll be talking to my grandfather from
from my mother’s side so it’s not like
very far in the history but
it was kind of a different life back
then so
so he was born early 1900 and
he was a taxi driver so back then cars
were not available in lebanon so he was
the first one who got a car in the whole
village you know and he will be taking
people to
the city you know and so on
so i really wonder how life was was
before you know like what were his
challenges and so on and what was
business for him you know like why how
he will budget his his uh maintenance
for like how do he calculate what his
expenses he has to how much he has to
charge and all of these things there was
no courses about it back then you know
it was just you learn on the fly so i
have some memories with him when i was
like five years old maybe but then he
passed away he used to do a lot of uh
carpenting work he used to do like small
things that he loved it like it was like
his hobby so this is a memory i have
from him but i don’t know him as a as a
businessman as a
how how hard it was how did you know how
he got the idea of buying a car the
first thing you know so
well i want to thank you for coming on
scaling up h2o and really unite the
world we’re all industrial water
treaters you live what are you about 12
hours difference from us
roughly
yeah a little bit more yeah
but we’re doing the exact same thing so
how awesome is that we are part of a
community and instantly when you and i
started talking we understood everything
that we were going through on a
day-to-day basis
that’s true that’s true i i really like
your summary because it’s true like we
all think i like you know when when we
meet globally we all think i like
wally thank you for coming on scale it
up h2o it was my pleasure and i really
uh looking forward to continuing the
discussions together
once again wally thank you for coming on
scaling up h2o again there are no
borders to the industrial water
treatment community and as i mentioned i
met walid virtually
he was putting out content on linkedin
and that is one of the areas i do
exactly what he advised us to do on the
interview is i go to social media and i
start looking for topics one that make
me smarter
two that i can talk about here on the
podcast and he puts out great content
and it was through that content that we
connected on linkedin and we had a
relationship that was pretty much
restricted to linkedin then we decided
let’s have him on the podcast so he can
tell us a little bit more about what he
does and how he does that so are you
using linkedin like that as he mentioned
so many just go on linkedin to apply for
a job and i have to agree with them if
you’re applying for a job on linkedin
you’re probably at best number 102 now
that doesn’t mean you’re not going to
get that particular job but if there was
more of you out there
where a potential employer can see
more than your application more than
your resume
that
is going to bolster your ability to get
said job over everybody else it also
does something that waleed
asked us to change our paradigm about
that we’re not just a student we are a
teacher and the absolute best way i
cannot agree with him more
is when you learn something new
do not consider yourself a student of
that information when you learn
something consider yourself a future
teacher of that information
when you’re now listening to a lecture
reading a book researching something and
you come at it from i’m eventually going
to teach this topic you will devour that
information
so much more differently because
you’re now thinking of all the questions
people are going to ask you you’re now
thinking of how everybody learns
information
differently you’re thinking of all of
these things
ultimately you are in the mindset of
looking at the information
through how do i share it with others
we’re just continuing this theme
all the way through the show i really
think that is what the water treatment
community is about
it helps us learn the information better
when we change our mindset to that as a
future teacher and it also helps our
industry
to get better one of my goals with this
podcast is to raise the bar in the
industrial water treatment industry one
water treater at a time now i can’t do
that that’s up to every one of the
listeners to do that but i can make
things a little bit easier for you to
find i can give you some techniques and
maybe some ideas that you can go act on
but i can’t do anything to make you act
on it and when i go to the conventions
and the trade shows some of which walid
and i were talking about earlier
and so many of you come up to me and you
thank me for a particular designation
that you received or some sort of
credential
or something that you’ve done in your
job and you say i did this because of
scaling up h2o first of all thank you so
much for telling me that i love that
that is how i get so much joy out of
having a microphone sitting on my desk
and doing this podcast each and every
week i want you to know that you were
100 responsible for that i might have
inspired you i might have given you a
tool to get you from a to b
but you were the one that actually took
the steps to get there so i want you to
give yourself credit and i also want
everybody out there as we’re wrapping up
this year
what are the things that you need to get
done
and maybe you’re not going to get them
done in just a few short weeks time
what have you learned over this past
year what are the experiences that give
you better data so you can analyze why
you weren’t able to complete the task
that you didn’t and why you were able to
complete the task that you did all of
that information is life telling you
how you can get better and what you need
to know about your own life to get
better
if you take time to listen to that
lesson
so if you want some homework over the
next week i want you to consider all the
things that you learned over this year
and figure out how you’re going to apply
them going forward the other thing i
want you to do is tune in next week for
a brand new episode of scaling up h2o
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