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Volunteer Balances Personal and Professional Development
-- And He's A Pretty Good Ballroom Dancer, Too
BY TRACY SOPKOW
Tibor Kaldor, P.Eng., poses after the Calgary Open Dance Competition. Dancesport (it used to be called ballroom dancing) is his passion, Mr. Kaldor says.
Why do you volunteer with APEGGA?
I have a personal and professional interest in the community where I live and work. To keep in touch with my colleagues and abreast of professional issues, I make time to volunteer to stay informed. Through volunteering I return the benefit of my experience and opinion to my organization and peers. I also enjoy the variety of activities available to a volunteer such as chairing meetings, handing out awards and networking.
What value do you get from being a volunteer
Value comes from the quality of participation. I am a media junkie and like to keep informed about current events, business and politics. Volunteers can get involved in the grit of Alberta and national engineering and earth science progress, steering issues like closer communication with members, or deepening and brightening the public image of APEGGA. Volunteering a couple of hours per month keeps me up-to-date and gives me the opportunity to contribute some direct decision-making to my profession and society.
What about engineering holds allure for you?
Engineers understand the physical world. I find this practical and fascinating. For someone who has global interests, an engineering education provides a wonderful foundation, with plenty of opportunity for details.
What I find exciting is how resourceful man is, constantly rediscovering and reinventing the physical world. At extreme scales, devices are continuously miniaturized, and micro machines the size of molecules are built. At the other extreme are satellites, factories and dams. It used to be that engineers were motivated primarily by building. Now economy and the environment are primary motivators, to the extent that ethical issues regarding emissions, safety and remuneration are part of the equation which engineers must simultaneously solve.
What do you consider your greatest strength?
The combination of engineering and business, economics and finance is a powerful knowledge base for the workplace. I have the analytical tools for understanding, estimating, judging and making decisions for both business and personal purposes.
I also believe that balance is required in personal and professional development, both in investment and emotion. We are best prepared for the future by adopting a flexible and modern attitude and brandishing a balanced set of physical and spiritual tools.
What are your hobbies?
My passion is dancesport, or what used to be referred to as ballroom dance. It requires technique, agility, stamina, elegance and social graces. I joined the University of Calgary Ballroom Dance Club when I arrived in Calgary in 1981, and started learning the waltz, foxtrot, tango, cha-cha-cha, rumba and two-step. I am now teaching and competing. The club has grown to 1,400 members, and there are many engineers involved.
What's surprising is that engineers seem to gravitate to dancing like iron to magnet. Dancing requires skills which engineers possess: spatial and pattern awareness, precision, and counting. Other attributes such as style and expression are characteristics everyone seeks to acquire. Also noteworthy - social dancing is great fun all over the world.