Apegga1c.gif (2007 bytes) The PEGG
July, 1999
Page 3

Ensuring Relevancy

By Darrel Danyluk, P.Eng.

My participation in this and other organizations reminds me how the life of an association such aspresid4.jpg (21388 bytes) APEGGA evolves in an organic rather than a mechanical fashion.

What we are and what we can do today depend very much on our growth patterns in the past. As with a tree, we can "train" or encourage our organization to grow in certain directions. But just as there are outside forces — weather, animal life and other vegetation — which influence how a tree grows, so there are external factors which will impact the pattern and direction of an organization’s growth. A prudent forester or gardener tries to anticipate some of these factors and, where appropriate, makes adjustments.

Strategic Planning

I don’t want to carry the analogy too far, but in some ways that was the process at work when APEGGA Council and senior staff met in mid-May for a strategic planning session. For the past few years, such a meeting has been held each spring. The gathering provides a means for newly-elected Council members to learn more about APEGGA’s roots and its evolution. But more than that, it offers a means of looking ahead. I believe several initiatives which emerged from this year’s strategic planning session will help us in that regard.

Relevancy Task Force

Key among them was the formation of a Task Force on Relevancy of APEGGA. This task force is chaired by Councillor Linda Van Gastel, P.Eng., and also includes Councillors Ron Tenove, P.Eng., and Dale Miller, P.Eng., as well as APEGGA Deputy Registrar Al Schuld, P.Eng.

Whatever its eventual findings and recommendations, I believe that the very question implied by the task force’s title is important. It suggests that as an Association we are not taking ourselves for granted.

I expect and hope that the task force will probe some not-always-comfortable areas, as it pursues its aim of "developing an understanding of what APEGGA’s role will be in 2010, and how the role will change over the intervening years".

From that understanding, we hope to develop an approach enabling APEGGA to remain relevant in its service to society and its members.

Demographic Picture

Specifically, the task force’s work will give us a better understanding of the demographics picture over the next decade as it relates to:

  • APEGGA practicing and non-practicing members in each of the three professions now represented within the Association;
  • Permit holders — practicing, operating and sole practitioners;
  • practicing non-members; and
  • emerging "fringe" professions.

I expect the task force might be asking questions such as:

  • "What will make APEGGA relevant to practicing non-members, Permit holders and government?"
  • "How do we as an Association demonstrate to government that we are leading and embracing others such as those working emerging technologies?";
  • "Where will our membership come from in the future as new institutions evolve along with new disciplines?" (The latter may encompass and combine aspects of traditional engineering and geoscience, with specialized expertise in fields such as chemistry, soils, computing or biology and environmental sciences.)

A Familiar Ring

If there is a ring of familiarity to some of the issues raised, that’s no coincidence. It’s not the first time that APEGGA has looked into the relevancy of our Association vis--vis geoscientists and those employed in new fields such as software engineering. In fact, the Relevancy Task Force is expected to build upon the valuable work already done by two task forces set up as a result of the strategic planning session held in May 1998.

One of these, the Geoscience Task Force, already has compiled a useful report which has told us a great deal regarding what geoscientists think about APEGGA and their affinity to the Association.

A year-old Task Force on Emerging Disciplines is gathering steam in its investigation and I expect it will provide important data and insight to fuel the deliberations of the Relevancy Task Force.

Ready for Dialogue

I began this column by suggesting that an organization is shaped by many forces, including, in our case, the ideas, attitudes and expectations of its members and others. Your opinions about APEGGA’s current and future relevancy are important, as indeed are those of other stakeholders —- including government; the users of the services provided by APEGGA members; the employers of APEGGA members and the general public.

Stakeholder groups and individuals within those groups will vary in their ideas and passion when it comes to APEGGA’s relevance. I suppose we have crossed an important divide with members when they see the professional standing offered through APEGGA not merely as satisfying a regulatory requirement but as providing a valued and valuable designation.

Two months ago, in my initial column, I emphasized the need for communication. I make no apologies in reiterating that point. I consider every APEGGA activity or event — be it task force surveys, branch visit, corporate reception or issue forum attended by myself or other APEGGA representatives — as a means of sharing ideas on how we can make APEGGA relevant now and in the future.

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