I recently listened to a keynote speech from Gary Brecka, a human biologist, author and entrepreneur, who gave this powerful talk that connected so many dots for me.

In his speech, Brecka talked about this law in physics called Constructive Interference—when two wavelengths of equal length meet. The size of the frequency doubles. Neither Einstein nor Newton could explain what this phenomenon is; but what this means is you can get energy from conversation. You can get energy from what you’re reading on this page… right now.

See, you can get energy from people around you. On the opposite side of that spectrum, we’ve all had experiences with people who have sucked the energy out of the room.

Researchers are able to measure the frequency of energy leaving the human body during interactions, and can even tell when someone is experiencing anger, passion or despair.

Do you know what the most powerful frequency that these researchers measured leaving the human body? It was authenticity.

True authenticity happens when your words are truthful and you believe what you’re saying. Every expert in our industry knows the importance of authenticity. Brecka’s speech helped me to understand why we work so hard as an industry to be successful.

If we lacked authenticity in our jobs, we would never earn our clients’ trust. If we lacked authenticity in our fields and with our clients, we wouldn’t be able to achieve the level of success we’re all aiming for.

Recently, I had the honor of experiencing true authenticity through the heart of Kevin Gwaltney.

I met Kevin, the President of Diamond Roofing in Kansas City, at the 2012 International Roofing Expo in San Antonio. He had just been put in control of the company after the sudden and tragic death of his father—without a succession plan in place.

The pain he was going through was personally and professionally overwhelming; but his story was powerful. Kevin’s authenticity is what made his story powerful. He had pushed aside that grief to share his story so others wouldn’t face the same perils.

The surge of energy I felt after leaving that meeting has inspired me in so many ways, and continues to inspire me today. He also made me realize that our relationships in this industry are unlike anything I have ever experienced before.

Tragically, Kevin passed away from cancer in January of 2023, at just 45 years old. As heartbreaking as it was to lose him, it was incredible to see how many people from different corners of the AEC world jumped in to help Kevin in his time of need.

All in all, Brecka’s speech and Kevin’s legacy have inspired my latest Publisher’s Note, and have left me with some tips I hope you take with you into the New Year:

  • Always be willing to share information within our industry, even with your competitors.
  • Leave a legacy of building relationships and connections.
  • Let down your guard, share your knowledge and ask questions.
  • Allow your clients and peers to feel like family.
  • Create authentic relationships that change your life and business.

So, how are you leading with authenticity in your everyday job? How can you strive for more? These are the questions we should be asking ourselves as we move through the 2024 season. To all of you, cheers to a New Year and many fresh starts.