Some Constants Remain Amid The Changing Face of APEGGA


By Dan Motyka, P.Eng.

April has been a satisfying start to what I anticipate will be an exciting year. It was with great personal pleasure and immense professional pride that I took part in a series of events, including Ideas ’98, the professional development conference held mid-month as a prelude to another highly successful APEGGA Summit Awards® celebration and a business-like Annual General Meeting.

The AGM provided the occasion to announce the names of four new Councillors elected for three-year terms, namely: Elaine Honsberger, P.Geoph.; Mike Smyth, P.Eng.; Gordon Stewart, P.Eng., and Linda Van Gastel, P.Eng. I am also pleased to know that over the next year I will have the able backing of Darrel Danyluk, P.Eng., and Connie Parenteau, P.Eng., respectively in the positions of 1st and 2nd Vice Presidents of the Association. Naturally, I look forward to drawing upon the discerning advice of my predecessor, Dennis Lingberg, P.Eng. His continued devotion to duty during a period of extreme personal trial has set an example of dedication worthy of duplication not only inside APEGGA but within our wider lives. In addition to congratulating those who are joining Council, let me also thank, and, indeed congratulate, all those who let their names stand for election to Council.

More Than History

I note that this was our Association’s 78th AGM. We are part of a long and proud tradition. But history alone isn’t sufficient reason for APEGGA’s continued existence. This Association was formed and is justified today on the basis of a public trust. The people of Alberta, via their government, have entrusted us through a statute with the right to self-governance. This, in order to ensure that those who carry out professional engineering and geoscience activities in this province do so in accordance with high technical and ethical standards that ensure the safety, protection and well-being of the very public which bestowed that trust upon us in the first place. That was why this Association was relevant almost 80 years ago; it is the reason it remains vital nearly four decades later.

During the coming year, you will hear me reiterate this basic point about the role we play in regulating our professions in the public interest. This is the grounding of our existence. Everything else we do, be it the presence and activities of our branches, or our involvement in heightening public awareness about science and technology, flows from the trust placed in us as self-governing professions.

That does not mean we are stuck in the past and that we cannot take new initiatives, move in new directions and seek improvements. However, I firmly believe that to know your destination, you must be aware of your starting point.

Some Priorities

Like most office holders, I am assuming the presidency of APEGGA with the hope that I can effect some change and possibly help move our Association and our professions in new directions. Allow me to mention just a few areas in which I hope to see added or renewed activity:

Relations with Geoscientists. I hope to build further on efforts already made to make geologists and geophysicists feel at home in APEGGA. That will mean endeavoring to strengthen ties between APEGGA and the Canadian Society for Petroleum Geologists and the Canadian Society of Exploration Geophysicists. APEGGA will continue efforts to actively support the newly formed Canadian Council of Professional Geoscientists.

Links with Technologists — Based on my own professional life, I am a firm believer in the concept of the engineering team, and I know that it works on a day-to-day level in the work environment. I am committed to seeking comparable harmony at the organization level.

The Role of Branches. I contend there is a place for our branches to play a creative role within our Association. Incidentally, I am particularly encouraged by new signs of vitality within the Vermilion River Branch, which until lately had faced an uphill struggle in forming a branch executive.

There are other exiting challenges and prospects facing our professions. They include:

I would remiss, if in this my first President’s Notebook, I did not take the opportunity to express the honor I feel in being able to serve as your President. The task and challenges ahead are many but as I already have noted, I am a firm believer in team work. With the active support of an informed membership, aware of how this Association is rooted in principles of trust and public safety, I believe we can meet that responsibility while branching out in new directions.