ILMA Compoundings June 2018 - 29

Second Season

The overlooked advantages of hiring older talent in 2018
By Jim Moul

S

am Walton was 44 years old
when he opened the first
Walmart store. Vera Wang didn't
become a fashion designer until she
was 40. Little House on the Prairie
author Laura Ingalls Wilder published
her first novel at 65. If these famous
individuals' stories prove anything, it's
that success doesn't have an age limit.
In fact, people who have a few years
under their belt present a real benefit
to employers in all sorts of fields, and
the lubricants industry is no exception. With seasoned talent ready and
willing to work into their later years,
perhaps more than they ever have
before, ILMA-member employers
have an opportunity to capitalize on
the trend.

Considering Seasoned
Employees
For employers, the benefits of hiring
seasoned employees are numerous. An
obvious one is previous experience in
the industry. "It's an acquired skill set
to be more of a listener than a talker.
Salespeople in particular tend to want
to fill the silence, and that's something
you learn over time," said Cathy
Novak, a lubricant and metalworking
technical service specialist with Palmer
Holland Inc. and a past president and
board member of ILMA.
With more than 30 years of
experience in the lubricant and
metalworking markets, Novak has a
unique perspective that she feels only
comes after years in the industry. "You
realize that sometimes silence is a

good thing," she said. "I come from a
background in research and development, where you collect all your data
and then you make your decisions. I
brought that skill set to the table."
David Breitigam, vice president of
Environmental Health and Safety at
American Refining Group, agrees with
Novak. "I think the benefit of a seasoned hire is that we've gone through
and experienced the ups and downs
in our profession. I think we're likely
more even-keeled about things and
have different ways to address topics
along the way," he said. "I think,
having had experience with three or
four other companies, I've always
taken away what I believe are the best
strategies on how to go about implementing a program or dealing with a
personnel situation. [Collecting] the
best practices along the way has been
key for my career and, I imagine,
others like me."
So, it makes sense that Eric Kielts,
a business manager at Palmer Holland
Inc. (who hired Novak) and a past
board member of ILMA, sees experience and stability as the two major
advantages that seasoned workers
bring to their employers. "I think
there's a vast amount of industry
knowledge between the ears of older
workers," he said. "If you don't employ
them and capture that knowledge,
it can ride off into the sunset and be
gone forever. Also, since they're not
looking to climb the corporate ladder
the same way that a 25-year-old might
be, you have a greater probability of
long-term loyalty."

29



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ILMA Compoundings June 2018

ILMA Compoundings June 2018 - Cover1
ILMA Compoundings June 2018 - Cover2
ILMA Compoundings June 2018 - 1
ILMA Compoundings June 2018 - 2
ILMA Compoundings June 2018 - 3
ILMA Compoundings June 2018 - 4
ILMA Compoundings June 2018 - 5
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