Get to know your fellow VYPers in this recurring series of Q&A sessions with some of the Valley’s top young professionals.

Matt Lovelady

Lovelady encourages young professionals to always be ready.

This month, meet VYP board member Matt Lovelady, section supervisor at Salt River Project. Responsible for wrangling the performance and development of more than 20 metal fabricators, mechanics, pump repairmen and trades helpers, Matt has a B.S. (manufacturing technology and development) and M.S. (management of technology) from ASU. Matt and wife Brenda recently celebrated their ninth wedding anniversary!

Q. In your work at SRP, how do you deal with advancing technologies and ensure that those you work with stay current? 

A. You have to put forth some personal effort. Change management, communication, education and market trend analysis are all key aspects of dealing with the ambiguity of advancing technologies. I constantly research upcoming initiatives and educate myself in efforts to help share the information with co-workers or members of the management team

1. What is the greatest piece of career advice you have received that you continue to pass along to others?

I have received a lot of good advice from mentors and peers throughout my career, some of the greatest pieces of wisdom I continually share are: 1.) Always be ready — keep your résumé up to date, develop a marketing plan and prepare an “elevator” speech or sales pitch for yourself;  2.) don’t be afraid to take a risk — be strategic but, do not pass on opportunities because of uncertainty; and 3.) beware of a narrow focus — look at the big picture, don’t get hung up on the little details and understand your ultimate goal or objective.       

2. How — or in what ways — do you believe you can help advance the leadership skills and career of young professionals as a VYP member and VYP board member? 

As a young professional, leadership opportunities are not always clearly defined.  Coming from a diverse background in a variety of industries, I can attest that you can be successful in a role as an informal leader without any positional power. It is the responsibility of the VYP board to mentor, build relationships, educate and provide an avenue for members to develop skills that will directly impact or add value to an organization.

3. What have you found most beneficial to being involved with the VYP program?

One of my personal development goals is the VYP program Network Performance, which revolves heavily around meeting people and building lasting relationships. My participation with the chamber has allowed me to meet and interact with people from all walks of life, in different industries and with diverse backgrounds.

4. If you could have lunch with any person, dead or alive, who would it be and why and where would you take him/her?

I would like to meet and have lunch with Henry Ford. At the time, he had an amazing vision, strong leadership skills, high self-confidence, and he revolutionized the automotive industry and modern manufacturing. Just to hear about his experiences and how he overcame struggles or road blocks would be very fulfilling. I would take him to my new favorite BBQ place, Little Miss. BBQ in Phoenix.

5. Favorite Arizona spot to get away for a weekend?

There are several great places to get away in Arizona. Brenda’s and my go-to spot over the last few years has been the quaint wine country of Southern Arizona, about 45 miles south of Tucson, in Sonoita.  If you haven’t been, I would encourage everyone to go at least once. There are always weekend activities, live music, events, vineyard tours and — most important — wine tasting.

6. What is the top Matt Lovelady Bucket List item you have fulfilled?

As I got older, and priorities changed, I realized the importance of a higher education. I set a personal goal to attend graduate school. I was fortunate enough to check that item off my list in the spring of 2013.

7. What’s next up on your bucket list?

Most of my bucket list items revolve around traveling the world. The top destination on my list is to take a European adventure and travel around several countries with no real plan, to just wing it!

-Written by Sandy Des Georges

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