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-----Original Message-----
From:	tgstring(--nospam--at) [SMTP:tgstring(--nospam--at)]
Sent:	Wednesday, April 16, 1997 2:40 PM
To:	Dennis S. Wish PE
Subject:	RE: American Engineers have it good?

Dear Dennis,

Don't confuse PEPP with the entire NSPE membership. Their surveys are mailed
to some 52,000 members. PEPP is simply a subgroup of NSPE. Their salary
survey was compiled from over 9,000 responses, almost 4,000 were
civil/structural disciplines. The structurals (736) have a median income of

As you may know, ASCE also publishes a salary survey each year which
represents about 20,000 employees and around 1,000 firms in both public and
private sectors. The median salaries for these civil engineers at Grade VI
(typical of your engineering status) easily top $60,000. This number does
not include any other discipline outside of the civil / structural as you
unjustly accused. I happen to know the readership of CE News quite well,
including the overlap of the societies. 

No, these survey results are not based on EVERYBODY but as a publisher, I
have conducted many surveys in this industry and I can safely say that civil
engineers are a homogenous group of professionals. It doesn't take 100
percent response to draw accurate conclusions. The 90 plus page surveys from
ASCE and NSPE are each very comprehensive in discipline and regional
categories and are certainly better than the few wanted ads in the
Classified section of CE News.

Dennis, rather than get into a pissing contest with you, why don't we put
away our flame-throwers and get to the root of the problem. Remember, I'm a
civil engineer. I'm on your side. It is not my intention to offend anyone by
my "Comment" column, but sometimes I need to rattle the cage a little to get
things going. I realize that life has gotten tougher for sole practitioner
engineers, relative to what it was several years ago.

It disturbs me that  you believe I don't know the amount of pressure applied
to the "average" working household today. I started out with less than
nothing several years ago -- a high school drop-out in the midwest. I earned
my BSCE from the University of Illinois while working for a consulting
engineering firm as a survey rodman. My father was an engineer and tried to
talk me out of the profession. He said engineers don't make enough money.
I'm not some rich kid. Most rich kids stay away from technical professions. 

Today, I'm at the helm of two engineering related businesses. I started both
from nothing. CE News began in my basement in 1989. As for competition, I
had Goliath for a competitor. A $10 million company who has been in business
since the late 1800's. They could have waved their arm and put me out
tomorrow if they wanted to. This Goliath is the so-called non-profit ASCE.
Yes, I've seen hard times. I've also worked for architects. Nothing has come
easy for me and it won't for you or any other engineer either. It's a
difficult profession but I believe anyone can make $60,000 / year in it. We
just need to put away our stress-strain curves for awhile and focus on the
supply and demand curve. It's a free-market system and we have to adapt to
it from time to time.

Dennis, have you ever tried to make $60,000 / year? If you did, would you be
happy? Use this formula: Learn your industry the best that you can. Identify
any unmet needs. Fulfill those needs.
It's as simple as that. Just be a little open-minded.

I take it that you're working mostly for architects. They're worse than
attorneys! You get paid, maybe, while they treat you like some second class
citizen. Honestly ask yourself, "is there really an unmet need of structural
engineers in the residential building market?" Don't take offense, but
you're nothing more than a hired gun to come in and smoke your calculator
for several hours for little pay. Why so little pay? Because calculator
smokers are a dime a dozen. A need that has been over met, driving the price
of your services down, down, down. You're right, there's plenty more
overseas making the supply even worse.

I don't know the structural engineering world very well or I would make some
suggestions. I have my own set of problems. But I truly feel that if you
spend some time on my idea, you'll come up with something. And yes, this
concept has worked for me -- twice. And if you were to take it all away from
me today, I'd rise back to the same place. I guarantee it.

And Dennis, why should any creditor in this country would write off your
mortgage or help you back on your feet once forced into bankruptcy. If they
(mortgage co.) were to run into financial straits would you give THEM
thousands of dollars? The world doesn't owe you a living. America needs to
get off it's butt and do something with itself or those foreign
number-crunchers are going to take more than our nickel-ninety-five
calculator jobs. 

It's not surprising that my comment struck a nerve with you. You are just
the type of person it was directed to. If you recall, I wrote, "We act as if
we are entitled to prosperity and that job satisfaction, including fat
salaries, should (or ought to) be guaranteed to us. If we don't get that, we
want to hold someone else accountable for our disappointments." YOU, Dennis,
are holding someone else accountable for your problems and YOU are typical
of the many Americans that have adopted the philosophy of victimology.
Indeed, the engineering market is oversupplied and you can complain about it
and know in your heart that your right. But your'e going to be unemployed

So Dennis, I have revealed my sources for my average yearly income of
$60,000 and have suggested a way for my fellow engineers to better their
existence. I hope this puts you at ease. But even more, I hope you will
share with me and your seaoc list, your ideas for future markets for SE's.
Something good must evolve from all of this bickering. I'll be more than
happy to help. In fact, the wheels are already turning. I'm inclined to
survey our readers (very representative of the profession) to find the REAL
answer. Perhaps then CE News will have enough amunition to improve things.

Best Regards,

Terry G Stringer PE
CE News, Inc.

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From: "Dennis S. Wish PE" <wish(--nospam--at)>
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Subject: FW: American Engineers have it good?
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Richard Lewis, P.E.
Missionary TECH Team

The service mission like-minded Christian organizations
may turn to for technical assistance and know-how.