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Tire Engineers
3

Tire Engineers

Tire Engineers

(OP)
I thought this was a laugh but a tire shop here, "Tire Engineers", in Houston,TX got fined $5,000 by the Texas Board of Engineers.

Tire Engineers; Case Number B–35363
Violation: From on or about June 17, 2014, and continuing to the present day, Tire Engineers operated stores located at 3801 FM 1092, Missouri City, Texas, 77459 and 12807 FM 1960 Road West, Houston, Texas 77065, that displayed signage that included the phrase "Tire Engineers." Tire Engineers offered to perform engineering services and represented to the public it was capable of engaging in the practice of engineering.
Act/Rule Violated: Tex. Occ. Code §1001.405(e) and 22 TAC §137.71(1).
Resolution: Cease & Desist Order & Administrative Penalty of $5,000.00

RE: Tire Engineers

I'm usually in agreement with decisions like this when you have people holding themselves out as computer engineers or broadcast engineers where they have a technical job but don't have formal licensing requirements and such. While it's probably a little pedantic I can easily see it being taken too far where a plumber calls themselves a wastewater engineer or an electrician calling themselves an electrical engineer (or having similarly titled companies) and I agree with drawing a conservative line.

However, this seems too extreme. While the name is a little annoying to the engineering profession I doubt anyone in their right mind would confuse them for a business providing professional engineering services. I think this is no worse than "Rug Doctor" where it's clearly distinguished from the licensed profession.

Professional and Structural Engineer (ME, NH, MA)
American Concrete Industries
www.americanconcrete.com

RE: Tire Engineers

(OP)
Your Rug Doctor comment reminds me of a Mitch Hedberg joke:

Dr. Scholl is a doctor, which means he spent nine years in med school. That man wasted his time. It took him nine years to learn that cushions make shoes comfortable. I would have bought that shit from a Mr. Scholl. Maybe even a Senor Scholl.

RE: Tire Engineers

I can easily see a tire sales associate using the engineering angle to explain why an old lady needs the more expensive tires. Might have even looked up the vehicle weight and sketched out some diagrams and "calculations" right then and there.

RE: Tire Engineers

2
Sorry guys, but this is something that seriously degrades the practice of engineering. For someone who uses the term "engineer" it implies they have an expertise that the general public does not possess. That puts them above others who might hold themselves out as "mechanics" or other tradesmen. I don't mean that to take anything away from the "mechanics" or "technicians" of the world, just that the term "engineer" is supposed to mean something more.

The public perceives that engineers are smarter than the average bear. That's great for those who suffered through engineering school and EARNED a degree in engineering. Not so for the guy who calls himself an engineer just because it sounds cool and implies he's "purty smart".

Such laws are in place for a reason. It is purely to protect the practice of engineering as it applies to the protection of the health, safety and welfare of the public. It should serve this purpose. When someone uses the term "Weather Engineers", "Air Engineers" or similar, it is in an effort to fool the public into thinking they have more expertise than they actually have.

Don't let it happen. It is the one thing that promotes a degradation of the profession and lowers the pay of every legitimate engineer.

The Texas Board was exactly right and I applaud their protection of our profession.

RE: Tire Engineers

Like Dan, I wonder about the authority of the Texas Board of Engineers to fine a business which is not an engineering business, and doesn't claim to be. It just uses the word "engineer", similar to the use to describe a train driver. Maybe it is just the part of my life spent in Australia, where "XYZ Engineering" is likely to be a welding shop.

RE: Tire Engineers

Originally from Australia, with the past 25 years spent in the US I share hokie66 perspective, especially the steel fab/welding shop name comment.

I have witnessed US state Attorneys General office issue "cease and desist" letters to said companies outlining their naming infringements and indicating that failure to comply will result in fines and legal actions.

IMO, North Americans get pretty hung up on titles and status. I recall first seeing a parking space in the US saying "Reserved for Employee of the Month" and laughed out loud in disbelief. But, I also refer to doctors and dentists by first name, when introduced to me as Dr., so this stuff to me is just amusing smile

RE: Tire Engineers

hokie66, if you read the cited regulations, the PE board has the authority to sanction anyone who even uses "engineer" or "engineering" in the business name. Other states, like CA, are not as strict, by only limiting the usage of "[discipline] engineer" and its applicability specifically to stamping of plans.

TTFN
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert!
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers

RE: Tire Engineers

hokie: It may vary by state. I called a state board about a much more egregious company which was actually holding themselves out as providing engineering. The state board told me that since nobody was licensed at the company I should contact the attorney general's office.

Professional and Structural Engineer (ME, NH, MA)
American Concrete Industries
www.americanconcrete.com

RE: Tire Engineers

Would this be the same as false advertising? Are there any reasons that the state can't bring this to court? They should feel lucky there were no additional charges brought.

Would anyone actually believe a 'Rug Doctor' machine could do anything besides clean your rug?

Or even 'Dr Pepper' would be anything except a sugary drink.

RE: Tire Engineers

What about manufacturers who use the word "engineering" in their company name, and have no engineers employed, nor do they contract for any engineering services in the design and verification/validation of their products? Wouldn't this be the same scenario? I can cite multiple examples of companies that I personally know of that have "engineering" in their legally registered corporate name and neither have engineers employed nor use any outside services.

It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.

RE: Tire Engineers

The whole "Rug Doctor" vs using "engineer" when you're not is apples to oranges. First, rugs aren't alive, so clearly they don't actually need doctors. Same with Dr. Pepper. I would sure hope that nobody would be stupid enough to think that they are ACTUALLY doctors. Companies or people labeling themselves as "engineers" when they aren't don't have a stupidly-obvious differentiation like that, and can then easily take people in, either maliciously or not.

Please remember: we're not all guys!

RE: Tire Engineers

Quote (IRstuff)

hokie66, if you read the cited regulations, the PE board has the authority to sanction anyone who even uses "engineer" or "engineering" in the business name.

But sanction how? The board itself isn't going to collect the fee. If you were an actual P.E. I can see the threat being more realistic as you'd be afraid of losing your license, and therefore your ability to practice engineering. But for someone who isn't an engineer in the first place and is spending all day installing tires? I imagine they couldn't give a flip. I need someone to tell (and prove to) me the board gets a REAL legal authority in the mix and the action is enforced (like a lien on the business, or jail time for an individual). Otherwise, it's fluff.

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Tire Engineers

The Tire Engineers in the great states of Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia should have a bone to pick with the neerdowells in Texas, since they have "rights" to the name "Tire Engineers".
http://www.tireengineers.com/

RE: Tire Engineers

In view of the numerous examples discussed on this site of buildings falling down all over Texas in recent times, I think the Texas Board should involve itself in more important issues than this. What next...will a baker be fined for labelling itself "Cupcake Engineers"? Maybe the Architecture Board is less precious, and the baker could be a "Cupcake Architect".

RE: Tire Engineers

I think the key here might be public safety. I don't see how a "Cupcake Engineer" would involve safety. Unless the Cupcakes were intended to be thrown and not eaten.

RE: Tire Engineers

The Alabama BELS actually weighed in on this in 2014. They allowed the company to continue to use the name "Tire Engineers".

"The Board discussed the status of two firms who have "Engineering" in their titles. It was confirmed
that the original exemption for Tire Engineers would continue even though they have been bought out
by Express Oil Change. It was also agreed that the title Express Oil Change/Tire Engineers does not
tend to convey the impression that the firm or individuals are professional engineers or that the firm is offering engineering. The Board disapproved the request from Life Safety Engineers to be allowed to
practice in Alabama without an engineering Certificate of Authorization. The title "Life Safety
Engineers" could give the impression that the firm was offering and performing engineering."
-Alabama BELS Meeting Minutes October 29, 2014

RE: Tire Engineers

Per the Texas Occupations Code cited in the OP. It's possible that the court won't sustain the judgement, but, otherwise...

Quote (http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/OC/htm/...)

SUBCHAPTER K. ADMINISTRATIVE PENALTY

Sec. 1001.501. IMPOSITION OF ADMINISTRATIVE PENALTY. The board may impose an administrative penalty on a person who violates this chapter or a rule adopted or order issued under this chapter.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1421, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2003.


Sec. 1001.502. AMOUNT OF ADMINISTRATIVE PENALTY. (a) The amount of an administrative penalty may not exceed $5,000 for each violation. Each day a violation continues or occurs is a separate violation for purposes of imposing a penalty.
(b) The amount of the penalty shall be based on:
(1) the seriousness of the violation, including:
(A) the nature, circumstances, extent, and gravity of the prohibited act; and
(B) the hazard or potential hazard created to the health, safety, or economic welfare of the public;
(2) the economic harm to property or the environment caused by the violation;
(3) the history of previous violations;
(4) the amount necessary to deter a future violation;
(5) efforts or resistance to efforts to correct the violation; and
(6) any other matter that justice may require.
(c) The board may include in the amount of the penalty the actual costs of investigating and prosecuting the violation.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1421, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2003.
Amended by:
Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 402 (S.B. 204), Sec. 8, eff. September 1, 2013.


Sec. 1001.503. OPTIONS FOLLOWING DECISION: PAY OR APPEAL. (a) Not later than the 30th day after the date the board's order becomes final, the person shall:
(1) pay the administrative penalty;
(2) pay the penalty and file a petition for judicial review contesting the occurrence of the violation, the amount of the penalty, or both; or
(3) without paying the penalty, file a petition for judicial review contesting the occurrence of the violation, the amount of the penalty, or both.
(b) Within the 30-day period, a person who acts under Subsection (a)(3) may:
(1) stay enforcement of the penalty by:
(A) paying the penalty to the court for placement in an escrow account; or
(B) giving to the court a supersedeas bond that is approved by the court and that is:
(i) for the amount of the penalty; and
(ii) effective until judicial review of the board's order is final; or
(2) request the court to stay enforcement of the penalty by:
(A) filing with the court an affidavit of the person stating that the person is financially unable to pay the penalty and is financially unable to give the supersedeas bond; and
(B) giving a copy of the affidavit to the executive director by certified mail.
(c) If the executive director receives a copy of an affidavit under Subsection (b)(2), the executive director may file with the court a contest to the affidavit not later than the fifth day after the date the copy is received.
(d) The court shall hold a hearing on the facts alleged in the affidavit as soon as practicable and shall stay enforcement of the penalty on finding that the alleged facts are true. The person who files an affidavit has the burden of proving that the person is financially unable to pay the penalty or give a supersedeas bond.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1421, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2003.


Sec. 1001.504. COLLECTION OF PENALTY. If the person does not pay the administrative penalty and the enforcement of the penalty is not stayed, the executive director may refer the matter to the attorney general for collection.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1421, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2003.


Sec. 1001.505. DETERMINATION BY COURT. (a) If a court sustains the determination that a violation occurred, the court may uphold or reduce the amount of the administrative penalty and order the person to pay the full or reduced penalty.
(b) If a court does not sustain the determination that a violation occurred, the court shall order that an administrative penalty is not owed.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1421, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2003.

TTFN
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert!
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers

RE: Tire Engineers

I e-mailed them about engineering some tires for my race car. They haven't responded yet.

RE: Tire Engineers

(OP)
What would stop them from just registering as a firm and taking on a PE for an extremely small fee or some tires so that they don't have to change their signs and documentation?

RE: Tire Engineers

Some states (not sure about Texas) require that the PE in question be in be in some level of decision making for that business (stockholder, management, etc).

RE: Tire Engineers

Texas seems to be extra vigilant in policing the use of "Engineer". I'm not passing judgement on "Tire Engineers" or "Rug Doctor" or "Building Engineer." I think "Tire Engineers" is on the edge, but they do snag some violators who do deserve to be snagged.
But it did make me think. Somewhere, there must be engineers who design tires. Maybe they're automotive engineers or chemical engineers or electrical engineers who went astray. And I bet there's a carload of engineering that goes into tires.

RE: Tire Engineers

"What about manufacturers who use the word "engineering" in their company name"
As far as I know, they would be required to comply with the engineering laws in Texas also, provided they are in Texas.

"similar to the use to describe a train driver"- There is a specific exemption for that kind of usage, that is, an operating engineer that actually runs an engine; and I think that is true in most states.

"Dr Pepper"- I recall reading in the past that as part of the deal to use that name, they also omitted the period after Dr... so yes, that issue has arisen.

RE: Tire Engineers

Quote (JStephen)

"Dr Pepper"- I recall reading in the past that as part of the deal to use that name, they also omitted the period after Dr... so yes, that issue has arisen.

Not saying you're wrong, but according to a quick google search the period was dropped for stylistic reasons.

Professional and Structural Engineer (ME, NH, MA)
American Concrete Industries
www.americanconcrete.com

RE: Tire Engineers

At 60 hours per week, I think we need to rename this string "Tired Engineers".

Mike McCann, PE, SE (WA)


RE: Tire Engineers

Feel free to say I'm wrong, too!
Actually, googling around some, I find the statement on Wikipedia about stylistic reasons, I find statements elsewhere about "not a real doctor so there's no period" but don't see anything really authoritative to support that either. I do remember reading it in that past, but not an issue I cared to research to confirm, either.

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