Terri-Jane Yuzda

APEGGA's Value Reinforced
in AGM Luncheon Speech

APEGGA President

My year as your president has now begun. In the few days since our Annual General Meeting, I have already come to realize what my predecessors meant by increased demand on time and attention to the needs of our profession. But what a great start.

The Hon. Mark Norris, minister of Alberta Economic Development, was the guest speaker at our AGM luncheon. He reinforced the value of APEGGA members to the Alberta Advantage. Now, if we could just promote ourselves with the enthusiasm and gusto Mr. Norris displayed.

First, I want to express my personal and your collective thanks to those APEGGA members and their employers who form the army of volunteers, representing us and our interests so ably on committees, in Outreach programs, on Council and at special events. The AGM is a bittersweet moment, as we say goodbye to committee and Council members who have completed their term.

Certainly at Council, Dr. Ken Porteus, P. Eng.; Dr. Bill Roggensack, P.Eng.; Brenda Wright, P.Geol.; and Ian Williamson, P.Eng., served you so very well. And a special thanks to Sue Evison, P.Eng., past president, and Noel Cleland, P.Eng., CCPE director, for their multi-task services over extended terms. What a team we have, along with an enthusiastic group of new recruits beginning their contribution to APEGGA.

AGC Highlights
Once again the APEGGA Annual General Conference did us proud. You only had to be at the Summit AwardsÒ gala and any of the Continuing Professional Development sessions to see that.

The awards attracted 850 people to the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton, for a night of entertainment and awards presentations. Congratulations to the 11 deserving award winners. An added feature this year was a show of 52 art pieces, created by 15 of our members, members of their families or representatives of permit-holding companies.

Our continuing professional development sessions attracted 355 members per day, with topics ranging from soft skills, such as mental toughness, to more functional skills, such as project management.

About 160 people attended the Annual General Meeting luncheon and heard MLA Mark Norris praise the value of our professions.

My heartfelt thanks goes out to the staff and the various APEGGA committees who once again organized an excellent conference, which celebrated our achievements, helped us build our professionalism and provided us with some great entertainment. Special thanks to an exceptional group of corporate sponsors.

AGM Highlights
Our Annual General Meeting included comments by representatives of sister associations/ordre from across Canada, giving members who attended a good overview of the challenges facing our colleagues in other provinces. It also featured the announcement of election results and my oath of office, plus the selection of a nominating committee for next year's Council.

Other equally important business was also handled at our AGM, specifically revisions to the Engineering, Geological and Geophysical Professions Act, Regulations and By-Laws. This year, two changes were passed.

One bylaw gives the Board of Examiners the discretion to register, in advance, transfer applicants who are registered as professional members in good standing with other Canadian professional engineering or geoscience associations, or U.S. boards, and whose qualifications have been deemed acceptable by the registration director. This change in the general regulation, now recommended to the Province of Alberta for passage, will assist in improving mobility of professionals.

The other bylaw change changes the title of first vice-president to president-elect, which means the president-elect is the sole nominee for candidate in the succeeding year. And it makes the second vice-president the first vice-president. What this will do is ensure planning and continuity at the executive level.

There was also discussion of the challenges the public faces with the emergence of new technologies, practitioner groups and mechanisms to ensure the safety and welfare of the public who are impacted by these disciplines. Of interest, there was discussion in Alberta of the relationship with technologists and ASET. In 2001, following approval of an EGGP Act change, ASET and APEGGA have introduced R.P.T.(Eng) or Registered Professional Technologist (Engineer), which provides for independent accountability in a limited scope of practice.

To date 64 technologies have become R.P.T.(Eng) and we are very pleased with employer and individual response on increasing the awareness of the strength of the engineering team. There are a similar number of applications pending and we hope to increase the visibility of this group and the cooperation between ASET and APEGGA in this area.
Also of note, discussions are at an advanced stage in British Columbia to have the technologists move into the B.C. Engineers and Geoscientists Act. APEGGA has yet to study this action but it does appear to add clarity to the public on the relative roles and accountability of engineers and technologists. Stay tuned!

The Canadian Council of Professional Engineers (our national body) is seeing some very positive advances in our profile, particularly with the federal government. Of some concern is the recent cancellation of the Initial Assessment Program (IAP) by the Department of Immigration, wherein the CCPE provided screening of immigrant applications in the technology sectors.
This program contributed a very substantial portion of CCPE revenues, so its loss is resulting in a CCPE review of its strategic plan, programs and budgets. I expect the outcome will be an increase in assessment fees on each member in 2003, which have been subsidized by the IAP to date. Again, stay tuned!

Enlightened Self Interest
Does the public value the professions of engineering, geology and geophysics? I include our customer groups, employers and other professional organizations in the definition of public. It has always been my experience that most people seek out an EGG professional in time of need because of our problem solving abilities and adherence to highly ethical codes of conduct.

Yet we often hear or experience situations where it would appear the answer is no, our professions aren't receiving the value they deserve. Telltale signs of this situation are salaries, commodity pricing of services rendered and proposal processes that are not solely qualifications based. I should add this malady is widespread in North America and beyond, to a large degree because our profession has few failures or tragedies associated with provisions of services.

I was recently at a business leaders function where branding or image of a company or profession was cited as the central factor to determining one's value. With the recent Enron situation, it is evident how sensitive a brand name (company or profession) is to conduct and performance. To me that means we must continue actions to ensure services rendered are of the highest quality but also go the extra step to communicate our presence.

Firstly, we need to do some introspection to see if we value ourselves and then determine how to communicate our value to our various audiences. An APEGGA task force is conducting a survey to assess this question and I hope you take the opportunity to give a considered response. In the interim, why don't you begin the process of letting others get a glimpse of your profession by taking the PEGG to at least five persons who would not normally have access: parents, neighbours, employer, client or just a friend. Through this column, I hope to encourage each member to take a little extra pride in his or her profession and be visible.

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