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- To: <seaoc(--nospam--at)seaoc.org>
- Subject: SEAOC
- From: "Rawn Nelson" <rawn1(--nospam--at)gte.net>
- Date: Wed, 25 Feb 1998 11:52:18 -0800
I am currently active in SEAOC efforts but no longer in their leadership. The opinions expressed herein are mine and have not been passed by the current SEAOC leadership. But I have been around enough to have seen a few things and obviously I see some of these things from a different point of view than some of those reading this post. So here is my effort at responding to comments on my earlier post: Web Site Information Not all SEAOC members, and certainly not myself, are proficient in the use of electronic systems, but the SEAOC and member organization boards recognizes the need to put more information on the web. Beneficiaries The public is one of the beneficiaries of SEAOC's efforts but the many technical and practice related issues that come out of SEAOC committees also benefit the engineers. The individual practicing engineer depends on the research and discussion that leads to published information. Just in the areas of seismic design there have been countless advancements that engineers use in design on a regular basis. The principals and techniques in these publications and the commentary on how they were derived are available for the benefit and use of the engineer. Guidelines have been and are continuing to be written by SEAOC and its committees. These documents are not for public use but are used by engineers. State Staff Support Someone acting as a state secretary/executive secretary has always supported SEAOC and its committee structure. Sixty years ago it might have been one of the founder's office staff in the north or the south. I have been a member for over 25 years and do not remember a time when there was not a state staff person at least part time. As early as 1984 SEAOC recognized the need to increase the state staff to a full time person. Odd as it may seem the roadblock at that time was money. The state office continued as an issue for discussion until early in 1993 when the SEAOC board agreed the only way SEAOC could participate and successfully interact with the state legislature, other state organizations trying to erode the structural engineering practice, BORPELS and with the growing national activities was with a full time staff. There are a tremendous amount of issues going on almost on a daily basis that have direct cause and effects on how we and/or our peers practice structural engineering. The need to track and disseminate for action or response to the proper committees or SEAOC representatives is beyond the capacity of part time staff, volunteers or one of the member organizations. The Future Whether you call it the 21st century, the next millennia or two years from now things will be different. The new national code is bringing engineering means and methods from other parts of the country to the code, and there are differences between how engineering and construction are practiced in these areas. The national registration of structural engineers should have a minimal effect on current practicing engineers but it should be a benefit to future generations. Issues regarding continuing education will have a direct effect on current practicing engineers. Efforts to improve the focus in undergraduate structural engineering programs should benefit those firms hiring these new graduates. The small majority (sounds like an oxymoron) who participate do so on behalf of the entire body. I cannot remember any leader of SEAOC activities who has not asked the membership at large for input. The SEAOC leaders who can and have participated do not do so for their own benefit but more for the benefit of the profession and SEAOC members. If you don't believe that, then elect new leaders. The dues increase is not tied to only one activity (i.e. interacting with the IBC). Part of the dues SEAOC members have always paid has gone to support state activities. But as noted previously, the costs to participate on a national level will exceed what had been incurred by local participation. NCSEA Code Advisory Committees We will try to get information regarding the NCSEA Code Advisory Committees on SEAOC website. Please remember this activity is in its creation stage. The beneficiary question continues to puzzle me. While the intent of code is to protect the public, the information embodied in the codes is normally considered the standard of care. All though at times this standard of care may seem minimal when compared to the standard of practice of some it does provide a universal place to start. Where do most engineers look for the minimum standards or design requirements-codes. Who does this benefit ?the engineer. Registration One result of changes that have come about through SEAOC efforts is the examination application changes. The old application allowed more non-qualified applicants to sit for the SE exam. In the early 90's CELSOC supported a bill, in the state senate, the text of which would not allow any public agency to limit the practice of civil engineering (i.e. not being able to require certain levels of experience for a project). SEAOC representatives spoke, at senate hearings, against the bill and helped in getting it defeated. It is not always the changes that are made that should be noted but sometimes the changes that are prevented. The enforcement issue has also been discussed by SEAOC for some time. Do we have civil engineers practicing beyond their area of competency? Do we have structural engineers doing the same thing? BORPELS for years has said they do not get a lot of complaints in these areas. Engineers have said BORPELS doesn't do anything with their complaints. Is there a benefit to our profession derived from some form of punishment for those who violate the registration laws? Do SEAOC members want to do something about it? If there are a preponderance of civil engineers practicing beyond their area of competence, this would provide support for the two tier SE license proposals now being reviewed by SEAOC and national committees. National Involvement Organizations like NCSEA and SEI are currently contributing to the national picture regarding structural engineering both in technical and non-technical areas. The national picture has a large impact on California structural engineers. These areas of impact include codes, standards, registration, education, image, information dissemination, etc. SEAOC needs a presence to have its voice heard. SEAOC members are members of NCSEA and they don't have to join SEI to enjoy benefits derived from these joint efforts Respect The reason for pointing out the respect issue was an effort to show there are those who appreciate the benefits of SEAOC efforts. The enhancement of that respect comes only with the continued benefits from the effort. Sounds more like an invitation to continue the good work not to join a country club.
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