June 2001

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Sharing the Joy of his Profession
This P.Eng. Says Giving Back is What It's All About

Public Relations Officer

Anyone out there who sometimes forgets why they enjoy and appreciate their profession should talk to Bob Rose, P.Eng. Both in his career as an electrical engineer and as a dedicated APEGGA Ooutreach volunteer, Bob calls himself privileged to enjoy the lifestyle and experiences that being an engineer have afforded him.

Not one to rest on his laurels, the Edmonton-area resident believes firmly in giving back to his industry and his community by communicating with others about the positives of the professions. A 27-year veteran of ATCO Electric, Bob is now the supervising engineer of the company's transmission facility management group.

What inspired you to become an engineer?
At an early age I was fascinated with science. My father is an engineer and he made me aware of career opportunities in the engineering field. By Grade 8 I had made the decision to become an engineer and I have never regretted it.

What do you find most rewarding about your profession?
I love the variety in the work. Many people in the world have very boring, repetitive work. I work with every kind of electrical equipment from electronics and telecommunications equipment up to high voltage transformers and transmission lines. Although an electrical engineer by training, I have worked with others on a wide variety of problems such as civil engineering foundation problems, mechanical engineering compressor and gasket problems, and chemical engineering problems of oil analysis and gas mixtures.
My job also takes me all over the province. I have worked from Medicine Hat and Jasper to High Level and Fort McMurray.

Why did you choose to become involved with Outreach?
Over the last few years, I have gradually become aware that engineering has given me a wonderful lifestyle, both at work and at home. My work has been very rewarding and working for a utility I feel I have personally contributed to the economy of Alberta and improved the lives of people we serve. I feel very fortunate to have had these opportunities because of my career in engineering and feel it is now time to give something back to the community.

When I discovered the Outreach program a few years ago I realized that it was an opportunity to spend some time with young people to share some of my knowledge and experience. It was also important to make young people aware of the excellent career opportunities that engineering provides so they might experience the life style I enjoy.

What particular aspects of OUTREACH do you enjoy?
The aspect that I enjoy the most is giving the classroom presentations to school children. The kids are tremendously responsive to you. The positive feedback you receive is almost astonishing at times. The kids are like sponges as they soak up everything you talk about. Sometimes I go back to a school two years later and give a higher grade presentation to the same class and everyone remembers me. It's amazing how well they remember what you did.

Do you have any funny or weird OUTREACH stories?
You never know what questions the kids may ask. The toughest question I had last year from a grade fiver during an electricity presentation was: " Who is your favourite rock group? "

Last week during a Grade 2 class presentation I asked the kids to tell me what a scientist does. One little girl stated that scientists mix up potions. I suspected she had read too much Harry Potter.

One of the biggest surprises I have found in the Outreach presentations that most of the elementary teachers have taken no formal science training since high school! When I show up they are delighted that someone can speak to the children with current knowledge and authority on the subject. On a great many occasions during a presentation, I have witnessed the teacher taking her own notes at the back of the class.

What are your hobbies?
I sail in the summer and ski in the winter. But my wife and I raise two boys all year round.

What is your personal motto?
I don't have a personal motto but what I do not accept is the common excuse many of my fellow engineers give for not getting involved: " I'm too busy." Outreach is asking for about four hours per year to make two presentations. That is about the same time as watching a hockey game on television of which I know many of us watch a few more than one per season. Or four hours is the time it takes for one boring monthly status meeting at work.

The Outreach classroom presentations are such uplifting experiences that you remember each one for weeks or even years afterwards. That four-hour meeting you probably forget in about a week. If the boss won't give you time off, take a half day of holidays, the experience is incredibly rewarding.



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