Terri-Jane Yuzda


Strategic Retreat Helps
Update Business Plan

APEGGA President

I am writing this issue en route to the AGM of the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers, our national body. The meetings serve to allow association/ordre presidents, executive directors and the appointed directors to the CCPE Board to discuss the relevance of the professions in Canada and actions required to ensure the value of self-governance. The meetings will be very timely considering APEGGA Council completed its annual strategic planning retreat two weeks ago and the priorities for the 2003 Business Plan are to be confirmed at the mid-June Council meeting.

Are you aware of APEGGA's strategic priorities? Adjustments to the following list are being considered to prioritize attention to working with emerging disciplines of technology practitioners and the expressed desire of our membership to increase enforcement and compliance with "right to title" and permit holder statutes.

1. Support and guide the work of CCPE and CCPG, our national associations
2. Remain self-governing professions
3. Enhance the value of APEGGA membership
4. Advance science and technology
5. Foster positive relationships with governments
6. Increase mobility of professionals
7. Facilitate differentiation of members and permit holders from other technology practitioners
8. Enhance an advocacy role for the professions

Discussions at the retreat indicated raising the priority of initiatives numbers two, three, seven and eight but maintaining current levels of activity and success for remaining initiatives. The specific actions will be further discussed at Council meetings as the Business Plan and budget process evolves over the next few months.

It is important to note that while the same needs are embodied in the CCPE Strategic Plan, there is a varying level of priority at the national level and within many of the provincial associations/ ordre, government and the public.

Surveys Will Help Us

APEGGA has two activities under way which should improve our effectiveness in carrying out these fundamental strategies. A communications survey is nearing completion and will allow Council and staff to assess how we communicate to members, permit holders and public audiences.

Communications expenditures comprise nearly one-third of our budget and to reach these audiences we need to adjust the mechanisms as technology and audience values change. I expect there will be more to report in this regard by early fall. As a footnote, the Council retreat included input by two communications specialists who achieved giving new members of Council tools and insight into providing immediate contributions in their new role.

The APEGGA Advocacy Task Force is also carrying out a survey to better understand members societal values and their desire to speak collectively as a profession on topics of personal and public concern. The outcomes of this activity will certainly shape our communications program but, perhaps more importantly, will consider how such a large voice (37,000 and growing) can provide responsible and meaningful information or vision to audiences who value our knowledge, professional conduct and public welfare focus.

Enlightened Self Interest

In the previous issue, I attempted to instill some increase in your desire to be the facilitators of creating more awareness of the value of our professions as opposed to being somewhat "invisible," as discussed in this space by my predecessor, Dale Miller, P.Eng., now your past president.

How many of you took the initiative to have others read The PEGG? I venture to guess very few, but maybe that was because of the photo of yours truly on the cover. Although I suspect my mother Chris made sure everyone she new saw The PEGG, also a first for her. Try again with this issue!

I think the following excerpts from the April bulletin of the Canadian Prairies Group of Chartered Engineers might accomplish more than my words. Mark Whitby, president of the Institute of Civil Engineers based in the United Kingdom, opened his term of presidency with the goal of creating "a sense of excitement and ownership among members" for the following issues. He cited several examples of situations where the public is directly impacted by the works of engineers and , in exploring solutions to societal needs, how crucial our role is to a positive outcome.

He asks:
1. Is the voice of engineering being heard?
2. Are we central to understanding the risks (of engineering solutions) and communicating them to government and the public (and membership)?
3. Do we demonstrate the wider vision of the roles engineering (and geology / geophysics) can play in society?

He raises the question as to why we exist and what are we trying to achieve as science and technolgy educators and practitioners. "We communicate ideas and promote the true end of public business….but do we really understand how to balance self-interest with sympathy for others (needs or situations). He challenges members not to be silent. Mr. Whitby proposes several crucial changes in actions of the Institute to be effective in the business of visions as well as solutions.

Similar questions are at the core of the APEGGA Advocacy Task Force deliberations. Central to our considerations in Alberta, will be "striving to understand the balance between collective apathy of the professions (do or say nothing that draws attention) and being involved in multi-disciplinary debates which call on our specialist knowledge in order to contribute to a wider vision of the role our professions can play in society".

In the pursuit of enlightened self-interest, I urge you to try two new tasks this month:

1. CCPE and a recent presentation to the federal government on Assisted Human Reproduction which has awakened awareness in the medical profession and government in our role in topics of today's society, and (link to article here)

2. to read Mark Whiby's article at www.ice.org.uk/rtfpdf/Mwhitbyaddress.pdf.

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