Eric Jenett was a giant in our field. He was one of PMI’s five original founders, was PMI’s first Project Management Professional, a PMI Fellow, PMI’s President in 1971, Chairman in 1972 and Secretary from 1975 to 1976. He was also a founding member of the Houston Chapter as well as a thought-leader in the field. As evidence of this Eric went on to author more than 30 publications and presentations.
Eric gave freely of his time to advocate for project management and to help build the world’s largest professional association of project managers. I met him once many years ago and chatted with him at a PMI conference. He didn’t know me from “Adam” as the old saying goes, but he spent a good bit of time talking to me. Even though a generation separated us our interest in project management was a great common bond.
As the years went by I would see him at every PMI North American congress. I was always impressed that here was a man, well into his 80s, taking an active interest in project management, and the association he helped build. It was, to say the least, inspirational.
All this is why when my friend and colleague Dr. Ginger Levin told me she was going to nominate me for PMI’s 2013 Eric Jenett Award for Project Management Excellence I was extremely flattered. It was also why I thought I didn’t stand a “snowball’s chance in you know where” of winning. But she persevered in spite of my pessimism.
In addition to her letter advancing my candidacy, 6 colleagues “penned” very complimentary letters of support as well. They included Ed Phelps, the founder and former owner of ESI, my employer; Nicholas Schacht, President of PetroSkills and also a former colleague and boss; Matts Larsson, Director, Training & Development, Tetra Pak, our client; Larry Bull, former PMI Director and OPM3 Certification Director; Paul Travers, Managing Director, TD Ameritrade and former client; and, Carl Pritchard, President Pritchard Management Associates, a former colleague at ESI and long-time friend and co-author.
The package was sent to PMI and I had nothing left to do but wait (for my rejection!) Well, that never arrived.
Much to my never-ending surprise, on July 19th at 1:50PM I received an email from Donna Huber who runs PMI’s Professional Awards Program notifying me that I had been selected as the winner of this prestigious award. I could hardly believe it.
Of course, winning this award is really a thrill given the man after whom it is named.
But even had I not won, what has been most gratifying, and humbling for me, was that Dr. Levin and all the other good folks who supported my nomination, felt I was worthy of such an honor. That really means more to me than anything. Thank you so very much.