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RE: How do we unite professional organizations

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Paul, you misinterpreted my post. I was not criticizing the SEI effort, however, I did indicate that the ASCE's AEI effort may be a duplication of effort. On 10/1/98 ASCE announced their intent:  " Indeed, AEI is intended to become the preferred professional "home" organization for all parties involved in the building industry. It is being established through the merger of two successful organizations, ASCE's Architectural Engineering Division (AED) and the National Society of  architectural Engineers (NSAE)." This is exactly what NAHB's REACH intends to accomplish - albeit with differences. Still, there will be a great deal of overlapping work by each. I doubt, without the tools that SEAint can offer, either group will know what the other is working on. From the position statements issued by ASCE and NAHB Research, both organizations wish to become the "preferred professional home organization."  I believe this is called political posturing.
Your post regarding SEI was simply a catalyst that got me thinking as to how SEAint can unify professional organizations, such as these two, who are, in fact, working along similar goals but independently.
I believe our goals are the same as you indiated when you stated  "And if related or overlapping work is identified, the respective committee chairs and participants could become aware of their common interest and efforts and contact each other directly to create a greater number of smaller joint efforts and limited associations." How, except through an open network where the progress of each is monitored publically, can the committee chairs and participants know if there is a common interest. Rarely does a committee member of ASCE sit upon a similar committee of SEA or CASE.
This was my intention in suggesting a common network that would avoid duplication of effort and create a "number of smaller joint effort and limited associations". Publically monitoring the work done by each organizations is a benifit of the network - it keeps engineers in the loop rather than waiting in the shadows for a design recommendations to be made without allowing the independent engineer the right to voice an opinion or review the work.
Paul, I've promoted SEAint as the tool necessary to accomplish this. I've suggested to Bill Nelson that the SEAoSC board of directors recognize the potential need and take appropriate measures to prepare a manual of standards needed to use the tools that SEAint will offer; such as teleconferencing, Dedicated Listservices, professional chat rooms, Web training and presentations and more.
What I feared, was that the proposal would be misconstrued as a move by a professional organization to impose controls or to maintain power. This can't be farther from the truth. Clearly, SEAint needs to maintain a neutral position on these issues in order to promote continued use of the tools for the advancement of the profession.
Unfortunately, I don't feel that this will be a simple task to accomplish. I do believe that there are political barriers that need to be overcome and the only ones who can accomplish this are the board members of these organizations acting under the (gentle) persuasion of their members. ASCE's announcment is a very strong political statement of intent. I expect that in a time where global unity is important, a statement such as this will be considered "agressive". 
So far, SEAoSC is paving their way into new territory in an effort to help. They understand the power of the tools and realize that we have already established a growing network of professionals. My post, as I stated, was to alert the members of the list and the SEAoSC board of the need to prepare for the inevitable.
I hope I cleared up the perception that I was attacking the work being done by SEI - I was not. I would like to see all professional groups lay their cards on the table and work out a plan where individuals like those of us on the List can help make a difference. Admittedly, I am turned off by any organization that disregards or negates the potential of their peer organizations in the effort to jointly move the structural engineering community forward. Possibly, at this point in time, ASCE's desire to be the "preferred professional "home" organization" seems a bit inappropriate and pretensious in a time when professionals are concerned with equality.  
Your post asking for the help of List members to solve problems is of great value and does exactly what I proposed SEAint would do - act as a neutral network that other organizations can use to work through problems rather than create them.
Dennis S. Wish PE
-----Original Message-----
From: Paul Feather [mailto:pfeather(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Sunday, November 01, 1998 11:26 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: How do we unite professional organizations

I do not agree with the concept of unnecessary duplication of effort. As a current member of the San Diego review committee, I don't see alot of difference between one assigned individual preparing a sample solution and several independent people thoroughly reviewing, discussing, and commenting on the methods and interpretations presented; and having several people independently prepare a solution based on their own interpretations and methodology for comparison, discussion, and comment.
Interpretation is a part of the ICBO/SEAOC procedural manual, inherently implied in our review and agreement (or not) with the presented solution methodology and proper application of the code. The whole purpose of the procedural manual, IMHO, is to demonstrate application of code requirements to provide for more consistent interpretation within the design community.
In many ways I think the SEI approach will be beneficial, differences of opinion and interpretation will be potentially clearer in the initial round by solving the problems independently, resulting in some very constructive discussion.
I do not know which codes and guidelines the SEI problems are based on (though I certainly intend to explore this). As you know the ICBO/SEAOC manual is based on the 1997 UBC Seismic provisions. It is very possible that the SEI problems are not seismic issues at all, but wind or even vertical systems requirements. The ASCE wind provisions have long been the primary guide outside of the simplified UBC applications.
As a west coast organization SEAOC expends the greatest amount of energy investigating west coast design issues. I did not interpret the SEI invitation to represent a competitive situation motivated by politics or income, and as a member of both SEAOC and ASCE I do not feel that the existence and efforts of these two organizations creates a segregated community.
People are most likely to volunteer their time and effort to those aspects of our profession that are of particular interest to that individual. One of the strengths of the SEAint list is that the members are from all over, with a tremendous variety of interests and experience.
The best way to promote a united effort is to offer participation to all interested individuals regardless of professional society affiliation, as exemplified in the SEI post to this list. An added section on the SEAint web page providing a directory of available opportunities for involvement in committee or related work organized by any of the professional societies would benefit all. And if related or overlapping work is identified, the respective committee chairs and participants could become aware of their common interest and efforts and contact each other directly to create a greater number of smaller joint efforts and limited associations.
Paul Feather PE