April, 2000

Some Parting Thoughts


By Darrel Danyluk, P.Eng.

This is my last opportunity in The PEGG to share some thoughts with you as President of your Association -- a last kick at the cat, if you will.

I leave the presidency with mixed feelings. In theory, completing my term should mean I have more time and energy to devote to other aspects of my life, including to my family and my firm. At the same time, I realize that I will be leaving behind the excitement and sense of being "part of the action" of a multifaceted and vibrant professional organization. It has been gratifying to join so many of you in seeking constructive solutions for current issues impacting our professions and in helping prepare our organization for the challenges that lie ahead.

I invite you to look elsewhere in this PEGG for an article I prepared for inclusion in our Annual Report. That article reviews many the issues that faced the professions and our Association in the past year.

Patience and Persistence

My "regular readers" will recognize some of the issues I have discussed over the last year are of the kind that don't lend themselves to instant solutions. In fact, in many cases, it takes the efforts of several presidents and Councils, backed by supportive staff, to get the job done. I believe that patience and persistence will let us:

* meet the challenge posed by those who intentionally or through ignorance undermine our right to title;

* find improved means for professionals to transfer between national and international jurisdictions without getting tangled in red tape;

* ensure more geologists and geophysicists value participation in APEGGA; and

* maintain the relevancy of the Association in the eyes of its members, those who employ them, the public and other stakeholders.

As I met with many members of this Association and with those impacted by their work -- as employers, clients or citizens -- I have been impressed by how well most of our members adapt and change, and in many cases, are agents of change. I believe that as professionals whose focus is on finding solutions, we have the skills and intellectual wherewithal to manage and benefit from change.

Constructive Criticism

In my first President's Notebook, I invited members to provide me with feedback. I cannot say I've been disappointed by the quantity of responses. I regularly return to my office to discover a "traffic-jam" of APEGGA-related e-mail and voice messages. Though you might say I asked for it, I sometimes have been troubled by the quality of some of these messages. Certainly, many contain constructive criticism. Nevertheless, I am bothered by the negativism and even the vindictiveness sometimes expressed. Some comments are downright nasty and some of them are grounded in ignorance and/or an absence of facts. In the interest of professionalism and plain decency, I trust that that all comments directed to my successor are more tempered and more carefully considered.

The APEGGA presidency has required that I travel within Canada and, in some cases, to regional gatherings in the United States. These trips came on top of the considerable travel I do in the normal course of representing my firm. Inevitably, I return home strengthened in my belief that as Canadians and Albertans we have a great thing going. Other engineering and geoscience associations consider us as a model and example. Residents of other countries look enviously toward Canada -- at our physical and technological infrastructure; our educational and health-care systems; and our reliable regime of laws and regulations -- including those governing our professions.

Avoid Complacency

I came into the APEGGA presidency believing that apathy imperils much that we as professionals and Canadians have achieved A year as APEGGA President has me still convinced of a continuing need to guard against complacency.

The fact that APEGGA members and elected officials have important responsibilities does not mean that we cannot reap personal satisfaction though efforts put into the Association. Serving as APEGGA's president has been a fulfilling experience -- one made easier and more enjoyable through the hard work, support and many contributions made by members of Council and the Executive Committee.

Thank you.

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