January, 2000

President's Notebook

Take Pride in Yourself
Your Profession & Your Association

By Darrel Danyluk, P.Eng.

With the approach of a new century and a new millennium, the media have flooded us with reports about events and inventions of the last 100 years, and even the last 1,000 years. Allow me also to engage in some time travel, reflecting on how your Association -- although over a shorter span than a century or millennium -- supports and encourages our Members throughout their professional lives.

It is now more than six months since I had the honour of becoming APEGGA President. Over that time, I have had opportunity to strengthen my contacts with APEGGA, other associations, CCPG and CCPE, and, most importantly with you, our Members. While it may be stretching it to say that I have gained a "cradle-to-grave" understanding, I certainly have met Professional Members and future Members who find themselves at very different stages along their career path.

Student Initiatives

For instance, at university-related events I have a chance to dialogue with students readying themselves for careers as engineers and geoscientists. While I arrived at these sessions prepared to provide these would-be professionals with an upbeat message about their chosen careers and what lies ahead, I admit I received more than I gave. These young people voice an effervescent excitement and demonstrate an inspiring commitment. Obviously, they are proud to be enrolled in engineering, geology or geophysics. Through events such as "mixers" where students have a chance to meet practicing professionals; though our workshops for graduating students; and through the recently launched APEGGA Student Advantage Program, the Association seeks to contribute to the early stages of students' professional development.

Member Inductions

I have also had the opportunity to meet those who are at the next stage of their career -- as they participate in the Member Induction Ceremonies. APEGGA introduced these events several years ago to recognize those who recently have obtained professional standing in our Association. Some are professionals who have practiced engineering, geology or geophysics in other jurisdictions and who have transferred to Alberta. A significant proportion of inductees recently have completed their period as Members-in-Training and have successfully written their Professional Practice Exam. It means they are beginning their career as a "professional" and are entitled to place the P.Eng., P.Geol. or P.Geoph. designation beside their name. The Member Induction is a rite of passage and it is apparent that the ceremony provides a proud and meaningful experience for the inductees and for their families and friends. The variety of high-quality work experience expressed at these events provides a snapshot of the immense base of talent in our Association.

Almost without exception, the students and the new inductees are happy to share stories about their training, their teachers and their mentors. Not only that, they relish the opportunity to explain what they themselves are doing and how they foresee contributing toward quality products and services of benefit to society. I leave these encounters confident that with the kind of ingenuity, creativity and enthusiasm we are able to attract to our professions, we are well positioned to meet economic, technological and environmental challenges that lie ahead.

The young people's hopes and aspirations are not misplaced. Among established professionals I meet at corporate luncheons and through meetings with technical societies and industry associations, I notice the more seasoned satisfaction that comes with providing the technical competence and leadership needed to build projects and run enterprises across Alberta and around the world.

Life Members

To its credit, APEGGA takes an ongoing interest in its Members as they move to non-practicing or retirement status. Recently, I have occasion to attend two Life Members' Dinners which provided a token of the professions' appreciation for those who have given many years of dedicated professional service. The Life Members' Dinners offer excellent opportunities to reflect on lengthy and satisfying careers. That satisfaction has come in large measure from knowing that what these Life Members did was relevant and that the profession to which they belonged remains relevant to our society and its quality of life.

I am reminded of the comment of a colleague from a sister association, who recently observed: "If your profession is not relevant, then, it also follows, you are not relevant."

Engineering touches every aspect of modern society. High quality standards are necessary to ensure the public is protected. We are more than relevant to society; we are vital to society.

As I talk to the Life Members, a common sentiment that repeatedly surfaces is pride -- pride in what they have accomplished and pride in being associated with a profession which sets high standards and high expectations. The pride is apparent in their eyes as they reminisce.

While students, new inductees, established professionals and Life Members rightly deserve credit for their own success, their relevance to society also is the product of an effective self-governing professional association. Through APEGGA and related bodies, there is assurance that those who gain the right to title meet high standards of education, internship, skill, and ethics. So while the pride we feel as professionals partly is the product of our individual achievement, it also has been achieved by collective efforts made through organizations such as APEGGA, CCPG and CCPE.

That shouldn't change as we leave one century behind and move into another.

In crossing the threshold into the next millennium, I extend to our Members and their families, and others associated with APEGGA, my personal best wishes for the holiday season and the new century.

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