By Dean Whittaker

This month I had the privilege of attending the Industrial Asset Managers Council’s conference held in Milwaukee Wisconsin.   To make the trip more interesting, I took the 12,000 horsepower 35 knot high speed catamaran Lake Express Ferry . Arriving via water taxi was fun and had the added benefit of avoiding Chicago traffic.

The four-day IAMC conference included three keynote speakers. All three were memorable, which is why I am highlighting them this month.

The first, Bob Woodward, journalist and author of books about presidents from Nixon through Obama, described his interview process with key members of the White House staff and cabinet members in writing his most recent book Fear, Trump in the White House.  Fear is a fascinating look at the political process by which the 45th president was elected, the transition of power and how the new president’s process of making foreign and domestic policies decisions affected those working most closely with him. I am currently reading the book.

The second keynote speaker was Richard Mullender, a Scotland yard hostage negotiator. Mullender shared the process he uses when negotiating a hostage situation.  He said listening for facts, emotions and the rationale of the person involved is key.  “If you want to know what someone is thinking pay attention to their questions” and “Keep people relaxed and they’ll open up.” These skills gave me new ways to think about effective listening and interviewing.

The third keynote speaker was Doc Hendley, founder and president of Wine to Water, an organization whose success demonstrates the powerful effect an individual can have through their community network.  As a bartender, Hendley, began a journey that took him to Sudan, to learn first-hand the plight and fundamental need for clean water. He described the efforts of his team of Christians and Muslims to repair wells and overcome the attempted genocide of a mostly Muslim Sudanese tribe.  The takeaway for me in this session was an individual’s capacity to impact the greater good when committed to a cause beyond one’s self.

Once again, IAMC has provided rich content, as well as an opportunity to meet and understand the needs of corporate real estate managers.  For me, it was also a chance to renew old friendships, make some new ones, as well have a good time en route, zooming across Lake Michigan.

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