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Guest Speaker Series: Mark Rabin, CEO of Portable Electric

May 8, 2020
UBC MEL Guest Speaker Mark Rabin

On May 5, Mark Rabin, founder of Portable Electric, connected with MEL students virtually to share his professional experience with entrepreneurship and the portable energy industry. Rabin brought a unique perspective to the global response to COVID-19 and global manufacturing. He offered insight into how leaders should strive to shape the world of tomorrow. How can we become more “future proof”—flexible to change and quick to adapt in the face of crises?

Rabin believes that the world is definitely showing signs of being inflexible when it comes to dealing with crises, and how the stresses of COVID-19 are impacting global manufacturing. He envisions a future where companies can quickly pivot and adapt to challenging circumstances and unforeseen emergencies.

For instance, Rabin calls attention to the huge amounts of waste that result from the current production of items. He believes that an astounding 80% of materials are wasted through the manufacturing process. As future leaders, students were encouraged to consider how to recapture that 80%, and make effective use of as much material as possible to reduce the creation of waste while strengthening their own production processes.

Throughout his discussion, Rabin reframed modernization as the processes of creation a more effective means of production. In his eyes, modernization is a transformation from past ways of doing business to more efficient systems.

These changes will impacts all facets of business, including production and leadership. 

What will the future of globalization look like? Rabin hypothesizes that many companies will have to bring much of their manufacturing back from oversees as travel and trade restrictions continue to impede industry processes. What changes will arise if companies are forced to manufacture products locally, without relying on cheaper and more abundant labour and materials oversees? Students were called upon to speculate how the changes taking place right now in global industry processes will affect supply chain management, and many other aspects of global business.

Rabin ended his presentation with a call to action for students: take eager initiative and begin hyper-networking now.

He argues that COVID-19 has altered the career landscape and the reality of job prospects. So, in order to succeed, students should begin utilizing all of the resources available to them, such as LinkedIn, virtual coffee-chats, etc. to connect with potential employers now. As an employer himself, Rabin advised students to present themselves as individuals capable of offering solutions to problems.

As a closing thought, students were asked to consider what leadership means to them, and how they can apply that definition of leadership in the organizations they are striving to establish their careers in.

Rabin concluded with a powerful statement: Leaders do not wait for the next crisis, they prepare for it.

Are you ready to become a leader and lead your industry to a more efficient and adaptable future? Explore the Master of Engineering Leadership, and how the programs helps you to develop core leadership skills to accelerate your career.