Hard Work + Ability to Change = SUCCESS

PM Network, September 2009 | Go to article overview

Hard Work + Ability to Change = SUCCESS


An Interview With Congress Keynoter T. Boone Pickens

Those who are coming to Orlando, Florida, USA for PMP Global Congress 2009-North America are in for a treat: The keynote speaker for this event, taking place 10-13 October, is the highly successful and sometimes controversial energy entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens.

Mr. Pickens, founder and chairman of BP Capital Management and author of The First Billion Is the Hardest, has been proposing a comprehensive approach to address U.S. reliance on imported fossil fuels. PMI recently had a chance to chat with Mr. Pickens on energy, leadership and a variety of topics of interest to project management practitioners. Here is a transcript of that interview:

* If there is no great effort to switch to alternative and renewable forms of energy, when would the U.S. economy feel the effects in terms of drastically reduced supplies and higher prices?

* There is no question that we are going to have to use renewable energy, both wind and solar. These ari going to happen. Prices got higher as supply is strained and there is an increased demand. Trices may run off scale. We are already feeling the effects of drastically reduced supplies, such as oil, and they will reduce more over time. There will be an upward trend until you can get resources that can compete. If you aren't using resources like wind or solar, you are a sitting duck.

* Do you see solar and wind being combined or segmented across the country?

* It is good to have wind and solar work together. Sun shines during the day. it is windy at night. Even with both of these resources, we still lia ve to have peaking power available to the system.

We've got to get started on [wind and solar], even though they may be more expensive in the beginning. The Congress is working on legis- lation to fund a "Green Bank" which will provide low cost loans - not grants but loans - to allow these projects to get underway. We also need a new transportation grid to get those electrons from the Midwest and Southwest to the major metropolitan areas where they are needed.

* Can you describe how much growth you expect in the alternative energy sector? And, is there a chance of a bust like the dot-com bust?

Sure, you could have a runaway for awhile, but I think renewable energy is here to stay. There is an opportunity to make money and develop new products in the sector. If we get 200,000 megawatts going in the Great Plains, it is unbelievable what it would do for the economy, jobs and taxes in the small and mid-sized communities which have lost population over the past several decades. It can all be done with the right leadership.

* How do you respond to critics who say the wind is not the most reliable form of renewable energy because it does not always blow?

If you don't think the wind doesn't blow all the time, you're not from West Texas. In the "wind corridor," which is about two states wide running from Texas to the Canadian border, it blows about 30-40 percent of the time, which makes a good wind product. You obviously have to build more than one or two [wind farms], and you have to peak it with natural gas. It is just managing your resources. We have resources that we don't even use, and if you want to use them or change them, people won't even try.

* Your career is regarded almost as the definition of entrepreneurship in the United States. A good project manager almost has to act as an entrepreneur, especially in traditional non-matrixed companies where bosses don't like to share their staff members for cross-functional projects. …

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