Staying On Target

By Dan Motyka, P.Eng.

Staying on target is not always easy. It’s even harder if that target happens to be moving.

If you will, the bull’s-eye of APEGGA’s target is our Mission Statement, namely: "To serve society by regulating, enhancing and providing leadership in the practice of the professions of engineering, geology and geophysics."

Closely aligned with the Mission Statement is APEGGA’s Vision: "To be the focal organization which is the recognized leader of the engineering, geology and geophysics professions involved in the application of science and technology for the benefit of society within Alberta."

Our Strategic Initiatives

Forming the additional outer circles of the APEGGA target are our strategic initiatives, which are:

* APEGGA will hold paramount the protection of the public;

* APEGGA supports the work of the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers and other national organizations that support the practice of engineering and geoscience on a national and international basis;

* The professions of engineering, geology and geophysics will be self-governing professions with rights to title and exclusive scopes of practice;

* APEGGA will enhance the value and relevance of professional membership;

* APEGGA will provide leadership and encourage the advancing of science and technology; and

* APEGGA will foster positive relationships with the Alberta Government based on mutual respect and trust.

It has been our practice to revisit these objectives on a yearly basis to determine whether they remain relevant. It lets Council determine whether these objectives should be amended, dropped entirely or whether further strategic initiatives should be added.

Over a two-day period last month, members of APEGGA Council and senior staff held a strategic planning session to review our existing guiding principle. The session also doubled as an orientation for newly elected members of Council.

With able guidance (and sometimes prodding) from our facilitator, Bill Page, P.Eng., we collectively delved into a number of issues facing us as an Association, as professionals and as a society as a whole.

Position Papers

In addition to the leadership provided by Bill, we were greatly assisted by position papers — prepared by four teams of Council members — which helped channel our discussions.

* Neil O’Donnell , P.Eng., P.Geol., and John Boyd, P.Geoph., led a discussion on "Proactivity" by APEGGA — examining how and when the Association might contribute to debate of public issues;

* Dale Miller, P.Eng, and Mark Lasby, P.Eng., made a presentation on Market Demand for APEGGA Professionals,
outlining some of the disciplines where members’ services are likely to be in high demand, and how demand and supply swings might be smoothed out;

* Bonnie Stowkowy, P.Eng., and Elizabeth Cannon, P.Eng., PhD, examined what APEGGA and our professions, based on current trends and demographic changes, might look like a decade hence.

* 1st Vice President Darrel Danyluk, P.Eng., and Dr. Stan Souch, one of the three Public Members of Council, tackled the impact of globalization on practitioners and our Association.

Wide Discussion

These presentations provided the springboard to launch some animated and wide-ranging discussion on what APEGGA can or should do. But, with one exception, it was determined that the topics touched on (some 50 in total and ranging from APEGGA’s support of education and Members-in-Training, to improved professional mobility among jurisdictions) all fall within one of the existing strategic initiatives.

I take the fact that there was no perceived need for wholesale revision of our strategic initiatives as a sign of the sound work of previous strategic planning sessions. However, we are considering adding one more "ring" on our target, with wording along the following lines: "APEGGA will support and will promote diversity and equity in the workplace."

Whether this formally becomes a seventh strategic initiative will depend on some additional input, from Councillor Linda Van Gastel, P.Eng., and others, at the June APEGGA Council meeting.

The initiative to support workplace diversity and equity arises, in part, from APEGGA’s guideline on Human Rights Issues in Professional Practice (published last year) and the changing nature of the professional work environment.

More Work Needed

Being satisfied that our strategic initiatives remain relevant does not mean that work isn’t needed to meet those objectives. Therefore, I am happy to report that the discussions led us to form five task forces to examine and to gather data on some issues that directly impact our strategic initiatives. The task forces will look at (where task force members already have been named, they are listed):

* APEGGA’s relations with geoscientists (Neil O’Donnell, John Boyd, Alice Payne, P.Geol., and Elaine Honsberger, P.Geoph.);

* Emerging Technologies — and how they might affect the practice and regulation of our professions (Elizabeth Cannon will lead the task force and recruit additional contributors);

* Climate Change
(Bonnie Stowkowy);

* Diversity — to examine how, whether and when APEGGA can proceed with an additional new strategic initiative
(Linda Van Gastel, and Elizabeth Cannon); and

* Enforcement Practice.

Over several months, these task forces will be reporting to Council. I urge you to keep your eye on The PEGG for information on their progress and recommendations.

While Council is tasked with providing strategic leadership for the Association, we cannot claim to know all the answers. Along with the task force members, as President, I welcome your input. The insight you provide will let us keep our "sight" trained and assist your Association in hitting the mark. ?