6 big ideas you missed at the YPG Workshop (and why you should never miss one again)

ACM Chemistries Inc. hosted the Young Professionals Group (YPG) Fall Workshop in Atlanta last month

"A piece of advice for those entering in this industry? Respect. You see a lot of people in this industry that are different from those you might see coming out of college. You might have people that can barely use Microsoft Excel but at every other technical point in their job they're simply brilliant. Don't judge a book by its cover. Learn from them. There's decades of information that can go wasted if you don't."

Drew Helon offers this to a room full of his peers — otherwise known as YPs, short for “Young Professionals” — while just outside the window the enthusiastic Georgia sun bakes the air. It’s the middle of September. They’re at the headquarters of ACM Chemistries, Inc., just outside Atlanta, for the group’s fall workshop.

The anecdote, as well as the ones that ensue, is met with smiling faces and a popular emoji.

“The biggest thing I think for me and a lot of us here is this networking opportunity,” says Zach Boyd. “The more people you get to know through these events that have experienced and solved similar issues — tech, sales, whatever it maybe — the better you’re going to be at your job. And it’s as simple as talking with one another. There’s so much power in sharing knowledge and experiences.”

“It’s just one of the NCMA resources that allows me to help my customers and ultimately drive sales for our company.”

“The network really does help,” says Emma Rustico. “I had an instance where I ran into an aggregate issue and I was able to reach out to one of my connections that dealt with aggregates and the problem was solved a lot less painfully and in a lot less time.”

The guest speakers throw a lot of fastballs. They’re industry veterans and experts that address the small crowd like chummy acquaintances. They’re not lecturing. They’re passing along.


The experience the workshop provides must be just that: experienced. There’s a reason people go to the theater.

Guest speaker and industry maven Bobby Staten tells about the time his team decided to do something they never did before: get every sales person in the same room, once every quarter. The results, he says, were astounding.

“The ROI is hard to pinpoint but trust me: it’s invaluable. That sharing of information — each time you come away with things you never realized before.”

In no particular order, here’s a shortlist of ideas that were explored in depth during the two days in Atlanta.


No matter what you do, no matter who you are, you need a coach. Don’t think so? Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer would all disagree (they had/have coaches). “No one is good at seeing themselves as others see them,” said Alan Ketzes, a guest speaker at the workshop who is a coach to dozens of CEOs in the United States. “Coaching is becoming a major part of business now. Bill Gates says that everyone needs a coach. And it’s all about where you want to go, not the coach. They ask better questions, and explore you on your answers.”

Atul Gawande, a successful surgeon and The New Yorker contributor, agrees.

“The pedagogical view was that was professionals can manage their own improvement and growth — it’s the old trusted view. But sports takes the other opposing view, that no matter how good you are, you need a coach.”

And sports, as it often does, has a great point.


Consensus building can take you from being a manager to being a leader. You lead people, you manage things. People don’t want to be managed, they want to be lead — they want to follow a leader.

“A leader always builds consensus,” said Bobby Staten. “They get everyone’s opinions and make an informed decision afterwards. It’s so much easier when everyone can say ‘hey, at least they listened to me’ — even if they might not agree with the outcome.”


A mission statement is not a vision. It’s important to know this, because you’ll need both if you’re trying to establish a successful business. A mission statement is something you put together to give every member of your team a plan on what goals you’re aiming to accomplish on a day-to-day, week-to-week basis. It also involves a layout of how you’re going to do so. A vision statement, however, is a snapshot of what the organization’s future is going to look like, should you realize your mission statement, and the tasks at hand.


Hire the right person, or don’t hire at all. Always. No exceptions. Bobby Staten went into detail about hiring and how selecting the wrong person for a position — or someone you’re not entirely sure about — can wind up costing an organization precious time and money in the long run.


Talk to one person you’ve never talked to before, and do this every single day of your life. And not just on the phone. It’s been found that talking to stranger can not only aid your overall well-being, but it can expand your business. Don’t be afraid of phatic expressions, because they usually lead to conversation that’s meaningful and substantial. Remember, every opportunity is attached to a person.

“If you’re looking for an opportunity, including one that has a financial payoff, you’re really looking for a person,” said entrepreneur and author Ben Casnocha.


A hard kitchen floor is the best place to take a 20-minute nap after laying block all day. Frank Gandora, president of Creative Hardscapes in Colorado, explained this. He also went into how you should bid the situation, not the job, and why a contractor is constantly trying to buy new machines.


For more details on the next workshop this spring, email Carrington Blencowe.

Published October 3, 2019
Share This Article

Related Updates

View All Updates


YPG Spotlight: Starling Johnson Kaklamanos
View Update