BY MIKE SMYTH, P.ENG.
Spring is always a time of renewal, and in Alberta it is
also a time to dig out from the snowstorm. As always, the
Annual Conference in Calgary was a huge success, in spite
of the weather, and will be forever memorable because of it.
It is a great honour to serve as your president this year.
You have my promise that I will work hard to maintain the
high standard set by the presidents before me, and in particular
by immediate Past President Ron Tenove, P.Eng.
Ron has done an outstanding job this past year, overseeing
the move into the new Calgary office and a reorganization
of the entire Association. He also helped to define this fuzzy
thing called advocacy, and worked tirelessly to address concerns
of the geoscience community during his tenure. His greatest
contribution is the cooperative team spirit he has fostered
among our executive, Council and staff. I will certainly work
to maintain and build upon that tradition in the coming year.
Congratulations to our very first President-Elect, Linda
VanGastel, P.Eng. It was my pleasure to serve with Linda on
Council for three years. She will make a valuable contribution
this year on our executive and a fine president next year.
Congratulations also to newly elected Council members Darcie
Greggs, P.Geol., Kim Farwell, P.Eng., Dave Chalcroft, P.Eng.,
and Barbara Howes, P.Eng., each of whom bring dedication and
commitment to a demanding job. Vice-President Andy Gilliland
and all other continuing members of council will welcome their
Personally, I am looking forward to a very busy year that
will be both challenging and rewarding. It is a genuine pleasure
to work with Executive Director Neil Windsor, P.Eng., and
his staff, who serve us all so very well.
Challenges Come With Growth
Growth continues to be strong in APEGGA, as it is across the
entire province, and this presents some challenges. This spring
we will break the 40,000 membership mark at APEGGA as our
provincial economy continues to be the very best in Canada.
According to a report published recently by the TD Bank, the
Calgary-Edmonton corridor is in a unique position in Canada.
This area has a per-capita GDP 40 per cent higher than our
Canadian colleagues, and has experienced "sizzling growth"
of a knowledge-based economy, which is expected to continue.
The challenges that such growth brings include things such
as labour shortages, strain on existing infrastructure and
limited access to post secondary education. APEGGA members
will be concerned or involved with each of these, either helping
to solve the province's infrastructure problems, or trying
to find the expert help needed to manage expanding business
In addition to our members, the APEGGA organization itself
will have a role to play. One of the solutions proposed in
the TD Report is that the Alberta Government remove barriers
to entering the job market for immigrant professionals.
One of these barriers is professional registration, and professional
registration is one of the key things APEGGA does. APEGGA
administers the EGGP Act on behalf of the Alberta Government,
and part of that role includes proposing revisions and updates
to the act to adapt to changing needs and circumstances.
It is a role we take seriously. For example, four years ago
APEGGA added the new membership category of Registered Professional
Technologist (R.P.T.) to address similar types of issues.
The rites of spring include the annual APEGGA retreat to re-examine
the strategic direction in which we are heading. This year
we will focus on the question, "Do we need to be more
inclusive to effectively fulfill our mandate to protect public
safety and well-being?"
The question is important as we face registration issues with
foreign-trained people, as well as those practicing in emerging
disciplines and in related applied science professions.
We are also watching with interest the recent developments
in British Columbia where APEGBC is considering a merger with
ASTTBC, the body that represents the engineering technologists
in that province. Check the June President's Notebook for
an update on these discussions, and to see if Council were
able to reach consensus on how to remove some of the barriers
With a team like the one we have this year at APEGGA, everything
is possible. I have full confidence that we will find solutions
to these challenges, just as engineers and geoscientists do
every day in every industry right across this province. The
cooperative team environment that many of us experience every
day in our jobs is the one factor that will keep this province
moving forward and growing faster than any region in Canada.
Drop me a note or give me a call with your concerns, comments
and ideas. I look forward to hearing from you. Together, we
can make a difference.