Executive Director Reviews a Challenging Year in APEGGA's History

Editor’s Note: Following is a report on the most recent APEGGA Council meeting, held April 23 in APEGGA’s D.A. Lindberg Conference Centre in Edmonton.

A year that saw Council and staff grapple with tough challenges and new directions clicked across the screen at the last meeting of Council before its 2004-2005 incarnation takes charge. Executive Director & Registrar Neil Windsor, P.Eng., presented a PowerPoint on APEGGA’s calendar year 2003, to show councillors what the Association accomplished under their watch.

Among the main storylines in the presentation are:

Registration Milestones. 40,000th member licensed, 3,000th permit to practice issued.
Financial Performance. Association meets 2003 budget, passes good news 2004 budget with no dues increase.
Inclusivity. Concept born and developed.
ASET Negotiations. One act, one association model proposed, government relations strengthened.
PEGGasus. The online professional development marketplace is launched and developed.
Insurance. Task force looks at how liability insurance is sold and other insurance issues.
Restructuring Completed.
Privacy Policies Developed.
Examinations Role Increased.
Professional Development Changes. Association gets tough with members not complying with Continuing Professional Development, expands Association offerings.
New Responsible Member Permit to Practice Seminars, Professional Practice Plans.


View Executive Director’s PowerPoint:
Annual Report Summary II
Centrespread of this PEGG

Tire Talk

Is that extra $4 a tire you pay doing any good? Yes, proponents of the Alberta Tire Recycling Management Association told Council.

After a bumpy start 11 years ago, the program is finding practical uses for waste tires and keeping them out of landfills, Council heard from board member Al Schultz, P.Eng., and Doug Wright, the executive director. One idea that didn’t work out was using the tires as fuel for cement plants.

Then the emphasis shifted to true recycling. Among the growing list of uses for tire shred and crumb are:

• Paving with asphalt-rubber on streets and highways
• Rubber surfaces for track-and-field tracks
• Cushioning under Astroturf
• Replacement of pea-gravel or sand in playgrounds with rubber crumb
• Leachate collection systems
• Bank stabilization

APEGGA members can take much of the credit for the research and recycling system that has now created a demand for waste tires. About half the tires shredded go to leachate collection systems for drainage and insulation – a practice permit holder EBA Engineering took a leading role in introducing to North America.

So far, because of the process used to create tires, it isn’t possible to melt them. The Alberta Research Council may have found a way, however, although the method is still far from reality. If it turns out to be possible and practical, melting tires opens up a whole new array of uses, Council heard.

Another challenge facing the program is what to do with huge industrial and agricultural tires. Right now, equipment for shredding and crumbing is too small for them.

On average, every Albertan sends one tire to the recyclers, each year. If the tires go to landfills, they take up space and create instability by “floating” to the surface. Left in stockpiles, they’re a health and environment nightmare – toxic fires waiting to happen.

Also, tires hold water, which stagnates and provides a breeding ground for mosquitoes. That’s of particular concern now that the West Nile Virus has reached Alberta.

So far, the Alberta Tire Recycling Management Association has kept 30 million tires out of landfills. That’s an estimated $150 million of savings in landfill lifecycle costs alone.

Are You Professional?

A document that helps keep professionalism thriving is getting a facelift. Council received Concepts of Professionalism – A Position Paper, with the intent that it come forward at the June 24 meeting for publication approval.

Says a Practice Standards Committee report on the paper: “The privilege of being a self-regulated profession is not without responsibility and associated accountability. To protect the public welfare, professionals must continually conduct themselves to the highest ethical and professional standards.

“The professionalism ideal is discussed by answering the following questions: What is professionalism? What are the implications for APEGGA members and their actions? What are the challenges to professionalism? How can professionalism be encouraged?”

The 10-page paper recognizes changes in the professionalism model since its predecessor, The Concepts of Professionalism – An APEGGA Statement, was issued in 1988. The new paper also updates reference citations and the language it uses.

The People Who Find Nominees

Who comes up with that list of names to run for Council, each year? The job falls on the APEGGA Nominating Committee, which is made up of at least 11 professional members of the Association, including the immediate past president, who is the chair.

The current president attends the meeting, but only as an observer.

At the last meeting of the term, Council selected about half of the committee for two-year terms from a list of proposed members. If they accept, they’ll join those selected before and about to serve their second year.

The list was then taken to the Annual General Meeting for approval and one name was added from the floor.

The committee’s job is to come up with a list of willing nominees for the next election. However, a member doesn’t have to be on the list to run. Any professional member in good standing can run, with a nomination in writing signed by 10 professional members.

The PEGG will publish names of those on the Nominating Committee, once they’ve accepted the volunteer job.

Pension Plan Examined

APEGGA employees are best retained and served by a pension plan that clearly defines their benefits, a committee told Council. The Staff Benefits Committee said its analysis shows that a defined benefits plan costs more in contributions and administration, but its assets are generally higher than those in a defined contribution plan, which has employees controlling their own pension portfolios.
Council agreed – to a point. Council’s motion instructs the Staff Benefits Committee to “investigate the possibility” of giving staff the option to choose a defined contribution plan.

Council prompted the committee’s investigation because it was concerned about the costs of APEGGA’s existing defined benefits plan. The employer and employees have had to increase contributions in the past several years to finance unfunded liabilities, thanks to poor market performance.

An industry shift to plans managed by employees isn’t “as significant as many perceive,” said the committee report. “The shift to defined contribution plans was driven by corporations wishing to shed some costs or liabilities, and by employees thinking they could generate better returns by managing their own portfolios at a time when the stock market was hot,” said the report. “At APEGGA, none of these drivers were present.”

That shift hasn’t necessarily been a good news story. “Some APEGGA managers have seen first hand how badly employees in other corporations have been burned by accepting the responsibility of managing their own portfolios. And corporations, too, which thought they were avoiding liability in going to a defined contribution plan, have been burnt when employees have taken them to court, and won, for not providing the necessary information to enable employees to manage their portfolios.”

Governance Manual Updated
In a housekeeping matter, Council approved an update to the Council Governance Manual to reflect current practices. The manual came into being in 1995, replacing the Polices and Procedures Manual for Council.

The manual is:

• a guide to Council governance style
• a reference for APEGGA’s organizational structure, and relevant roles and responsibilities
• a collection of governance policies and procedures developed by Council

One of the changes in the new version has to do with how Council candidates are presented in election pamphlets. For a number of years, candidates have answered a list of specific questions to give voters a sampling of their views, but the manual didn’t make mention of the practice.

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