January 2006 ISSUE

President’s Notebook

It is definitely time
for progress


ASET President Scott Turner, RET, and I don’t agree on everything. But one thing we do see eye to eye on is the need for leadership and progress in the issues that affect our two organizations.

APEGGA President

Did you read my last Notebook, in the November PEGG? Apparently lots of members did — I have received more e-mails and letters than I have after any other Notebook — an order of magnitude more!

This topic has struck a responsive chord. A couple of letters expressed strong concerns, but the overwhelming majority of the responses emphasized the value technologists and engineers, geologists and geophysicists have on the team which delivers professional services

ASET President Scott Turner, RET, disagrees with some of my points, which I guess is to be expected. I recommend you read his column in Technology Alberta for yourself, at www.aset.ab.ca /pubs/ tabv22-5.pdf.

Mr. Turner does, however, agree on at least one point: “It is definitely time for progress.” It is my hope that a meaningful dialogue can be opened and meaningful progress be made on behalf of our respective memberships — and for the benefit of the public, which APEGGA and ASET serve.

Approaching this issue as a zero-sum game of lobbying and argumentation has not worked, and it will not work. It is definitely time for some leadership to make some progress on this issue!


Why am I proud to be an APEGGA member? The top 10 list starts now - and I'll keep adding to it over the next nine editions of my column's appearance in The PEGG.


Participation: I have the power to participate in and shape the future of my profession.


The Power of the Ring: When I am introduced as a professional engineer, people assume that I am smart, practical and have an interesting career. (Not a bad starting point, and geologists and geophysicists are in on this one, too.)


Professionalism: The standards for my work (Practice Standards, CPD requirements etc.) are set by my peers, who understand the practicalities of what I face from day to day.


First Principles: I understand how stuff works. (Sure it’s geeky — but it’s interesting, too.)


Building Our Future: Whenever I have a chance to work with young engineers, geologists and geophysicists, I am always very impressed — and very confident about the future of our professions as well as the future of Alberta and Canada.


Bragging Rights: I have bragging rights whenever I drive by a project in which I have played a role!


Effective Stewardship: APEGGA does a good job of weeding out unqualified or unethical practitioners, who could, by association, drag down my reputation and my ability to earn a good living.

Connect the Dots
I hope the Christmas season has brought a slight lull in the frenetic pace set by our booming economy. Here are a couple of ideas you may wish to mull over as you assess the year past and the year to come.

For me, these are two of the more important data points in my connect-the-dots thinking about the future of our professions.

Dot 1
A study was released in mid-November by an international management consulting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, on off-shoring trends related to the 2.4 million knowledge jobs in Canada. As noted in a sidebar appearing with this column, a quote in the Calgary Herald captured the essence of the study in a few words.

With our booming economy here in Alberta, off-shoring of engineering, geological and geophysical work is not futuristic extrapolation — it is a present reality. One of APEGGA’s challenges is to figure out how to effectively regulate professional services being imported into our province.

Designs, processes and products from abroad must serve the Alberta public with the same levels of safety and utility as if they had been made in Alberta. That is “our” (all 43,000 of us) primary mission: protect the public of Alberta.
We also have a couple of related missions: provide leadership to keep our professions in the third group mentioned in the Herald quote, and to uphold each of us in our quest to be world class in our individual practices.

And what exactly does world class look like? It looks a lot like the top-rank, award-winning APEGGA members who are surviving and thriving in the international marketplace. In our individual skill sets it looks like — well, read on.

Dot 2
The U.S. National Academy of Engineering undertook a fascinating project to envision the future technical economy and how professionals will add value. Check it out at www.nae.edu/nae/ engeducom.nsf.

The attributes envisioned for the successful engineer of 2020 are listed in another of my sidebars. (Geologists and geophysicists — interpolate a bit — you know how!)

Does this describe you? If not, perhaps you should be adding a bit of Continuing Professional Development to your New Year’s resolutions! You need to manage your own professional career to ensure that you stay solidly in the third group.

Strategic Plan
You will recall the APEGGA 10-year Strategic Plan, which was developed last winter and adopted by Council in June. This decade-long journey starts with the first steps, so the actions outlined in the 2006 priorities section have been explicitly addressed in the 2006 Business Plan, and have had financial resources allocated in the 2006 budget.

In other words, there is a line of sight from the strategic horizon through to the first steps along the path in 2006.

I believe that Council is doing an outstanding job of strategic planning, plus strategic management, to ensure plans result in action. Council and staff are attending to those issues that will, over the long haul, position APEGGA and our members firmly in the third group of the off-shoring quote mentioned earlier.

Stay tuned! The next edition of the Strategic Plan is already underway. Important decisions are being made about the future of our professions. Watch The PEGG and the website, and be ready to add your information and perspective to the process.

Best Wishes
I add my personal best wishes for the Christmas season to those of Council and staff, going out to all APEGGA members and their families. In this season of goodwill, I am conscious of my good fortune to serve in a profession filled with individuals whom I respect and enjoy, and who share a common vision of service to society.

As always, I invite you to share your ideas and questions with me, via president@apegga.org, or to share them with all of our colleagues via a letter to The PEGG editor.

The U.S. National Academy of Engineering identifies the following attributes for the Engineer of 2020

• strong analytical skills
• practical ingenuity; creativity
• good communication skills — multiple stakeholders
•  management skills; leadership abilities
•  high ethics; strong professionalism
•  dynamic/agile/ resilient/flexible
•  lifelong learner.


The following quote appeared in the Calgary Herald of  Nov. 15, 2005:

“For some occupations, many jobs will move to lower cost economies. For others, wages and productivity will come under increased competitive pressure. A third group of occupations, with unique skills especially suited to Canada’s place in the global knowledge economy, will grow.”