A conversation with Nate Beil, chair of the Maryland Chamber Board of Directors and president of KCI Technologies Inc., a 100-percent employee owned engineering, consulting, and construction firm.
KCI Technologies partnered with Maryland Chamber members Whiting-Turner and the Community College of Baltimore County on the P-TECH program.
The P-TECH program prepares students to enter quality jobs in industries like engineering.
"The success of an organization is dependent largely on relationships and partnerships." -Nate Beil
President, KCI Technologies, Inc.
Chair, Maryland Chamber of Commerce
KCI Technologies partners with several other businesses on projects, including with Whiting-Turner on the P-TECH initiative. What’s your view on partnerships between education and business?
We think these partnerships are vital. Traditionally, education institutions have done a great job of educating our workforce. The basic blocking and tackling of math, science, literature, arts and communication have not changed. However, our world is changing rapidly, so our institutions’ ability to provide the traditional well-rounded education has to be augmented by industry’s needs. This can take many forms. The outcome is a competitive workforce. That is a goal worth achieving.
What does it mean to help young Marylanders succeed in their education and prepare them to enter the engineering and construction fields?
Our industry is struggling to find employees for our field technician and trade openings, so the ability to create a program to fill this gap is absolutely necessary. It’s also personally fulfilling to be part of a program that drives careers for our young people, who may not be aware of these jobs and how vital they are, both to our economy and to them.
What would be a P-TECH partnership success story for KCI?
Success is every one of the students graduating from the program and employed in our industry. A KCI success story would be for one of these students to become our practice leader for our Survey group in the Greater Mid-Atlantic region.
What have you learned along the way that still helps you today?
A solid, well-rounded education, plus the willingness of an employer and employee to invest in each other’s career and business, is the true success of any company. Our biggest assets go home every night!
What is one characteristic you believe every leader needs?
Humility. Someone once told me that confidence plus humility equals poise. Confidence minus humility equals arrogance. I will take poise every time.
How do you feel that your role as the Maryland Chamber board chair helps you in partnerships and in business?
The chairmanship has given me a broader sense of the business issues and opportunities facing our Maryland businesses. Changing regulations and tax environments continue to create headwinds. The Maryland Chamber allows us to be educated on these changes early so that we can advocate for all Maryland businesses. Competing together as a state for new business— for the new Amazon HQ2, for example—is huge. The business community should work together to make these opportunities happen in our state.
Next month, we will feature Systems Application & Technologies Inc. President & CEO Timothy Adams with a focus on diversity. Be a part of the REPLY ALL series—submit your questions for Timothy here!