Sebsibe Asfaw, P.Geol., at left, receives congratulations
from APEGGA President Mike Smyth, P.Eng., for becoming
the Association's 40,000th member.
Milestone acknowledged as Association
strive to become more inclusive
BY GEORGE LEE
About six years ago, he arrived in Canada from Ethiopia to
build himself a better life. Sebsibe Asfaw, P.Geol., has done
that and something else entirely: he's lifted his Association
to new heights by becoming APEGGA's 40,000th member.
"It's great to have my credentials recognized and to
be accepted as a professional geologist," the Calgary
resident said. "And I'm really thrilled to be recognized
as APEGGA's 40,000th member."
This is a personal milestone for Mr. Asfaw, and it's also
an APEGGA milestone - one that arrives as the Association
faces perhaps the biggest challenge of its 84-year-history.
APEGGA is striving to become a more inclusive regulatory body
by adopting the Kananaskis Model, which would have the Association
welcome a broadened range of engineering and geoscience practitioners.
The model would create more rungs and ladders of membership,
which would be based on types of training and experience,
as well as specific, defined scopes of practice.
As The PEGG went to press, plans were being made to honour
Mr. Asfaw in Edmonton.
The 41-year-old geologist with GeoLOGIC Systems Ltd. of Calgary
has met all the academic, experiential and other requirements
necessary to be a professional member in Alberta. He has a
master of science degree in exploration geophysics from the
Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur, India, as well
as a bachelor of science degree in geology from Addis Ababa
University in Ethiopia.
In addition to extensive experience in Ethiopia, Mr. Asfaw
has worked in the geoscience field in Calgary for nearly six
years. At GeoLOGIC, his responsibilities include picking formation
tops from suites of logs for individual wells in the Western
Canadian Sedimentary Basin, and preparing geological cross-sections
and various types of maps.
APEGGA President Mike Smyth welcomed him aboard. "I'd
like to congratulate Mr. Asfaw on being our 40,000th member
and also for receiving the P.Geol. designation," said
Mr. Smyth. "On behalf of Council and APEGGA, it gives
me great pleasure to welcome him to the ranks of Alberta's
largest professional association. We wish Mr. Asfaw a successful
and fruitful career as a licensed Alberta geoscientist."
Mr. Smyth also spoke of APEGGA's place in Alberta, now and
down the road. "This milestone speaks volumes about the
growth of our professions in Alberta and the important roles
we play. Engineering and geoscience teams are major components
of the province's economic engine.
"Our most vital job, however, as professional members
and as a professional association, is protecting the public
well-being," Mr. Smyth said. "We will continue to
be vigilant in that area, no matter what milestone we reach."
Executive Director and Registrar Neil Windsor, P.Eng., concurred.
"This is a major milestone, there's no doubt about it.
We celebrated 30,000 members in 1998, and here we are again
just five years later, celebrating 40,000. We are by far the
largest professional association in the province, licensing
and regulating 40,000 members in the interests of public safety."
As impressive as the number may be, this is no time to sit
back, Mr. Windsor said. In fact the Association faces a major
challenge in creating new categories of licensure to ensure
an even higher level of public protection in Alberta.
"APEGGA is looking to the future with a vision that will
address licensure problems that have been around for a long
time. We have people who want to be licensed by APEGGA, but
they don't qualify for any of our designations. Right now,
many of these individuals are performing engineering and geoscience.
These are highly skilled individuals, but they're not licensed
or regulated by anybody," said Mr. Windsor.
"It's our responsibility to the people of Alberta, on
behalf of their government, to find a way to license and regulate
the practice of engineering and geoscience, wherever and however
it's happening in this province."
This emphasis on what APEGGA has dubbed "inclusivity"
will not detract from current professional designations in
any way, Mr. Windsor emphasized. In fact, inclusivity will
offer a greater level of public protection, because more practitioners
will be in the APEGGA fold.
The process has already begun. Right now, APEGGA is devising
a provisional license for engineers and geoscientists who
have immigrated here and qualify for licensure in every way
but one: they don't have enough North American experience.
The provisional license will give them a level of professional
status while they gain the experience they need.
Also, over the past several years APEGGA instigated the registered
professional technologist designations in engineering, geology
and geophysics. Currently, about 100 APEGGA members use the
R.P.T.(Eng.) designation, the more established of the three
designations. Experience and education allow those with the
R.P.T.(Eng.) designation to work without the supervision of
an engineer, but only in appropriate, specifically defined
scopes of practice.
"We'd like to create more opportunities for more technologists
at various levels, and let them be a part of this new scheme
of things as well," said Mr. Windsor.