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APRIL 2019 I SMT007 MAGAZINE 29 We have not really pushed corpo- rate sponsorship, but I think next year, I would like to do that a little more intentionally. I want to say, "We have great value here and a common interest. Your company is interested in hiring and finding top, innovative talent, and the talent at the conference is seeking organizations and technology that they didn't realize existed or they may not have seen in a book." When an attendee sees the presentations about what the company has done and is planning to do, it provides exposure to forks in the road—different available opportunities and pathways. Johnson: Every one of them has potential. Andrews: Definitely, whether that's something the company deals with on a tactical or strate- gic level. Instead of dealing with the marketing or HR department, you talk with the engineer- ing teams that understand the importance of it. As the conference evolves, I would love to see engineering departments and technical staff from various companies send their employ- ees. The conference is an opportunity for that employee to grow professionally. Somebody asked me a long time ago, "Why do you bother attending conferences or meet- ings?" The simple answer is, "I'm searching for one new idea." I don't know where it's going to come from, but is that one idea worth $500? Absolutely. It's one idea that I can put into action that gains me $5,000; I bet that you can't make money any better or faster way. The return on the investment are huge. I'm look- ing forward to having opportunities to chat with companies as well as the young people on our volunteer committee, such as Ramesh and others around the table, and those who are coming up and we don't know yet. It's interesting to watch the growth in their attitudes and abilities over the course of the year. We had one very shy person who had never worked on a conference or had any level of responsibility. He not only stepped up, but I had a chance to chat with his university VP who wrote him a note. The young man didn't know why she sent him because the VP said, "I understand you're doing things with IEEE at this conference. Let us know if you need anything," which knocked his socks off. He only went up from there. If you're making that kind of an impact, whether it's working on the conference or watching a speaker excite an entire audience or young professionals feeling empowered, it's worth it. I am involved with many other community and STEM activities ranging from the Salvation Army to the Future City Competition. Some- times, people asked me, "Why do you do all of that?" I do it because when I go to a party or stand in front of an audience, I don't have to talk about the weather, sports, or politics; I can talk about the difference that somebody made in my life because of something that I did. What happens to you at this conference is the difference that you make. When some- body walks up to you and says, "I was excited to hear you speak and to have a chance to sit next to you and talk to you because I didn't realize..." fill in the blank. Then, it all matters. It's all about making an impact. Johnson: That's what it's all about. I've certainly been excited to be here. Andrews: And you're always welcome. Johnson: Thank you. SMT007 Student hardware sometimes came out of the backpack for discussions with conference mentors.

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