Michael Cardus and Create-Learning interviewed as a Rising Star with Training and Development in the Western New York Region…to read article
Teaming up for better production
Business First of Buffalo – by David Bertola Business First
Along the top of the front page at Michael Cardus’ Web site is an image of a light bulb. His company’s name buttresses it in a blocky, sci-fi sort of font, the kind that might spell out “Star Trek.” On the “About Us” page is a photo of people who appear to be untangling a cluster of colorful wires.
Communication training and collaboration between departments that need to work together are also courses Cardus teaches.
In fact, a second, closer look at the photo shows the people aren’t unknotting wires at all. They are hula hoops, contorted into a tower as part of an innovation and creativity exercise that asks participants to build the tallest structure.
But like a ball of wire, Cardus’ journey is almost as circuitous. The Poughkeepsie native began teaching children science at outdoor education camps. After attending Paul Smith College he did more camp work, then it was off to North Carolina, to take a job at Bic, packing boxes to make ends meet.
A manager there recognized his skills and recommended he enroll in Six Sigma training. Eventually, he’d teach forklift driving at Bic, then it was on to Clemson University to work with emotionally-disturbed youth. “I did a lot of workforce development programs there, they’d use ropes, zip lines, and a challenge wall I talked to them about team dynamics and behavior,” said Cardus, who eventually was promoted to director.
He returned to Poughkeepsie to care for his ailing father, and took a job as a camp counselor. He met his girlfriend there. And when she moved to Buffalo for her job, he came along too. The couple is planning a wedding next May.
Cardus’ first paid consulting job was in August, 2006, a freshman orientation for Cazenovia College.
His business crystallized from there.
“I started doing a lot more and seeing the power behind groups engaged versus sitting in lecture halls, and saw how adults are thirsting knowledge. It kind of kept snowballing,” he said.
Today, Cardus works with people to discuss leadership, and about a shift he noticed where the empowered worker, the one with more knowledge, is the one creating and building.
Areas he addresses include creating an accountability and feedback systems where people can be honest and give information. He also uses the popular DISC assessment training tool, and 360 assessments of groups.
Cardus works with about one client a week, who are in various stages of training, follow-up assessment or planning.
His client roster includes Cazenovia Recovery Services, Autistic Services Inc. and Rochester-based LunchByte.
Cardus’ title is adventure consultant, which sounds as if he teaches how to steal the Hope Diamond under the cloak of darkness, wrestle an angry grizzly bear or safely land a helicopter that’s caught fire.
But no. It’s a tag a course participant bestowed on him, and it stuck.
“Adventure can be physical or emotional,” he said. “How I see the term adventure fitting in, we’re really asking people of having an open mind to a different system of training, having the adventure of going into
a meeting room and not staring blankly at someone talking for four hours, which makes training sound a lot more fun.”