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Do Working Engineers Run Engineering Associations?

Do Working Engineers Run Engineering Associations?

Do Working Engineers Run Engineering Associations?

(OP)
I read an interesting comment/lament recently. It seems that the actor's union is mostly run by ex-actors or actors that don't work anymore. Furthermore (and this is the interesting part), the majority of the union is also made up of ex-actors and actors that do not work regularly (ie. think not so much the Brad Pitts of the world but Gza Gza Gabor).

Does it seem to you that the people who run the engineering assocations (the licensing bodies) are made up of engineers who no longer work as engineers? They are mostly managers, owners, etc. The working engineers don't seem to hold many executive offices in the engineering associations.

Or is it just me?

"Do not worry about your problems with mathematics, I assure you mine are far greater."   
Albert Einstein
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RE: Do Working Engineers Run Engineering Associations?

I'm organizing an Applied Technology Workshop for the SPE and every single conversation with a new SPE staffer has started with "well I'm not an Engineer, but ...".  I'm beginning to think that the paid staff is all Business Majors (some pretty effective and sharp folks, but they don't really know what engineers expect/need).  

The officer-level is all volunteer positions from the membership.  Mostly companies send the engineers that they can most easily do without to the comittees, so I'm thinking that the top positions are all engineers-turned-manager, or third rate engineers that no one at the big oil companies misses when they're gone.

David

RE: Do Working Engineers Run Engineering Associations?

Same issue with the I Mech E in the UK. The president and the board have mostly (but not invariably) worked as engineers some time in the dim and distant past.

Cheers

Greg Locock

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RE: Do Working Engineers Run Engineering Associations?

I seem to barely have time to run my personal life anymore...

Regards,

Mike

RE: Do Working Engineers Run Engineering Associations?

Working engineers don't have the time to run engineering organizations!

Our local engineering organizations are run by volunteers that fall into two categories:  retirees and folks working in jobs which permit them to take lots of time off (which usually means management types in large organizations).  At the board level there's the odd true working engineer (ie. engineer still actually doing engineering for a living) but they're few and far between.

You see more working engineers doing committee work- after hours stuff.

What hired staff there are seldom are engineers, though there are a few engineers in there.  Staff don't set policy (in theory anyway).

Most engineers in Ontario don't even bother to get a license.  Only about 25% of Ontario engineering grads bother to go on to licensure these days.  We have a narrow industrial exception from licensure which, because of lax enforcement, is taken as if it were the same as the general industrial exception in the US.  So for most engineers, the license represents little more than some useless letters behind your name and yearly fees to receive a particularly bad magazine- and of course the right to act as a guarantor, free of charge, for all your friends and family when they apply for their passports.  

RE: Do Working Engineers Run Engineering Associations?

Hey moltenmetal,

That bit about being a guarantor for passports was recently expanded.  I believe as of 01 October 2007, any Joe Schmo with a Canadian passport can act as guarantor.

http://www.pptc.gc.ca/newsroom/news.aspx?lang=e&page=/newsroom/20071001.aspx

The one cool thing I had going for me, the one thing that allowed me to strut around feeling important, and they took it away.  winky smile

Cheers,
CanuckMiner

RE: Do Working Engineers Run Engineering Associations?

Quote:

So for most engineers, the license represents little more than some useless letters behind your name and yearly fees to receive a particularly bad magazine- and of course the right to act as a guarantor, free of charge, for all your friends and family when they apply for their passports.

See also CEng, MIMechE in the UK.  Apart from the passports.

RE: Do Working Engineers Run Engineering Associations?

The Canadian associations define the management of the engineering function as being the practice of professional engineering.

The question is moot; a management engineer is a professional engineer and is a practicing engineer by definition.

If you want journeyman level engineers involved in the running of the associations and you fall into this category then volunteer.

It is a great networking vehicle as well as a chance to put something back into the profession.


Rick Kitson MBA P.Eng

Construction Project Management
From conception to completion
www.kitsonengineering.com

RE: Do Working Engineers Run Engineering Associations?

RDK:  that's a lovely theory, but in reality most engineers in senior management positions do precious little engineering, and haven't done for many years, whether the associations judge their "practice" as professional engineering or not.  Many have completely lost touch with what an engineer actually does for a living.  And many of the ones I've met when volunteering with my own professional associations have an extremely low opinion of the engineers who work for them. The primary interest of the ones I met was to get the professional associations to do more of their "human resources" work for them.  There are exceptions to this generalization, who shone out like rare gems amongst the lumps of coal I've sat with around committee tables with.

The problem is the volunteer nature of the positions.  Only folks who can afford the time away from work, and whose organizations will pay them while they're doing this "volunteer" work, can participate in a meaningful way.  A little after-hours committee work, sure.  A meeting once a month, perhaps.  But that's the limit.  

I was fortunate due to geography and family circumstances, and foolish enough to think that I could make a lasting difference- but I was often the only working non-VP-level engineer around the table.  I doubt I'll be significantly involved again until I'm near retirement myself.

RE: Do Working Engineers Run Engineering Associations?

one major difference... the actors that make up the actors union would be called "Unemployed" if they were engineers.

in Civil Engineering in USA, the two engineering associations i am the most familiar with are ACEC and NSPE (i don't know much about ASCE). in the companies i've worked at the engineering mgmt and owners have been involved. (my basis of their involvement is that i see their names in junk mail brochures/newsletters) they do it for networking, and i would not be surprised if some of them were "encouraged" without compensation by the owners.  i haven't met any engineering managers or project managers that aren't heavily involved (if not the only one involved) with the engineering work (w/ the exception of marketing/accounting/HR staff, but they were never engineers so let's not count them). i believe the Gospel of Dilbert, and that this is not true in other industries.

as far as "licensing bodies", i guess we're talking about the PE boards that regulate the engineering licenses for the states (or provinces).  it seems to me that there is no need for resident engineering expertise on staff. mostly admin work, but it is good to have people with careers in public safety and law enforcement administer abuse issues.

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