Millennials on the Move: George Faatz
32, Director, External Affairs at Virginia Natural Gas
How do you see your generation (millennials)? How do you think older generations define millennials?
We’re diverse, just like the generations before us. It’s unfair to paint an entire generation with one brush—on the one hand: entitled, impatient and self-centered, and on the other: socially conscious, tolerant and innovative. Collectively, we have the potential to be a tremendous force for good— socially, environmentally and economically.
In what ways does having younger employees add to a company’s success?
Younger employees provide fresh ideas and new ways of thinking. One thing I am always cautious of is presuming a new way of doing things is better than the current. A healthy respect for the way things are currently done should be paired with openness to innovation.
What have been a few keys to your success so far?
My dad always told me that God gave me two ears and one mouth for a reason. You’re not learning if you’re busy talking.
I’ve also been fortunate to have bosses and mentors that have challenged me and invested in my growth—this has been invaluable to my success.
Is there anything that you would change about your generation as a whole? If so, what?
I want my generation to be known as doers, innovators and change makers. We’re fresh out of the gate. I think we still have time to prove that out.
What do you look for in a job/company?
I look for a quality group of folks to work with. I spend more waking hours at work than I do at home with my family—and brand new baby girl! For me, it’s important that those I work with have a strong work ethic and a commitment to the work itself—it makes it more rewarding for everyone if that’s the case.
What do you feel are some of the biggest perks of living in Coastal Virginia? What changes do you think the region should implement to continue to be a draw for millennials?
Coastal Virginia is a vibrant region with many opportunities for millennials to get involved and make a positive impact in the community—and to do this early in one’s career. The only drawback for our area is connectivity. I believe a better-connected airport is key to our region’s future—not only to attract big business to locate here and increase our marketability as a tourist destination, but to entice more millennials to stay or return to Coastal Virginia.
Tell us about some of your favorite ways to do worthwhile networking.
I enjoy networking at charitable events in the community. Not only do you get an opportunity to help nonprofits, but these events bring together a broad cross section of the community to build relationships with.
How are you contributing to life/community outside of the workplace?
I serve on the board of the Virginia Gentlemen Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to finding a cure for ALS and building Camp Grom—an adventure park for wounded warriors and children with disabilities. Additionally, I am an active volunteer at Trinity Church, a member of the Samaritan House’s 100 Men and a board member with the Business Consortium for Arts Support and the Hampton Roads Chamber.
What advice would you offer to other millennials or recent graduates about getting their careers to take off?
Nothing trumps experience and hard work. Take on new projects—figure out what you like doing and what you’re good at—and go do it. There is no handbook or mold to fit into; just be yourself.
From his nomination:
“George is a genuinely kind person whose first nature is to think of his family, colleagues, friends and neighbors. I have only known George to be considerate and wanting to improve his community. He stands out from his peers because his maturity in stressful (and non-stressful) situations allows him to give thoughtful, strategic consideration to the issues at hand.”
—Angela Bezik, colleague/friend