October, 2000

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Vince Heron: Volunteering Widens Understanding of Professions

By Tracy Sopkow

Volunteering time, energy and knowledge is one of the most fundamental contributions members can give back to their professional association. It is the perfect opportunity for members to use their skills within a field they are already familiar with or to try something different, while, at the same time, meeting new people and working to benefit their professional Association.

Vince Heron, P.Eng., has shared his experience, expertise and knowledge as an APEGGA volunteer since 1993. Vince has found the time to commit to a number of volunteer committees over the past seven years, including the Permit to Practice Task Force; Acts, Regulations and Bylaws Committee; and Enforcement Review Committee. He has done so while serving as the Managing Principal of Charterhouse EPCM Services Ltd.

Why do you volunteer with APEGGA?

It is an opportunity to learn and acquire a hands-on knowledge about issues and obligations related to the Engineering, Geological and Geophysical Professions Act. It is surprising to hear how little APEGGA members know about their obligations.

What advice would you give to those considering volunteering?

Clearly seek out what time involvement is expected of you before volunteering. It can be demanding, therefore it should be proportional to the time you can spare safely without impacting the quality of your work and family life.

What skills/lessons have you learned as a volunteer that you apply to other areas of your life?

Issues have arisen which I initially viewed in an ambivalent manner. Working with the various committees on sensitive issues has broadened my outlook, the benefits of which has spun into practice considerations.

What is the greatest challenge you have faced as an APEGGA volunteer?

I have worked on a number of APEGGA committees for years, but I would have to say that the Enforcement Review Committee is perhaps the most challenging APEGGA assignment I have undertaken.

What do you consider to be your greatest professional strength?

I have been fortunate enough to have achieved a diverse array of experience in a number of industries. From this, I believe I have acquired a strong ability to adapt to a variety of work environments. This is a trait I consider important in the high-tech workplace that exists today.

Has anyone been instrumental in your professional development?

Yes. A senior project manager once said to me: "Do not stagnate in a comfortable work environment. Move out of your comfort zone as often as you can, particularly in your early years, and accept the ups and downs of doing so. The ups will always be greater than the downs."

What do you feel is one of the biggest issues facing young engineers and geoscientists today?

Years ago, people could comfortably consider a life career with one or two companies. Conditions of employment and two-way loyalty have eroded over the last 20 years. To keep the professions at a level where it will attract the top high school students demands career security and attractive conditions of service. Effective supervision and control in the early years of engineering is essential for professional development.

Who is your favourite movie character?

I enjoy most of the characters Nicholas Cage portrays. I also enjoyed the performances of Liam Neeson and Tim Roth in the movie "Rob Roy."

What are some of your hobbies and interests?

I enjoy golf and sports in general as well as musical reviews and wine making.


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