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Re: Is anyone interested? You Bet!

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Thank you, Frank, for your kind comments.

I lack the polish of an research engineer who can create a theoretical model 
to track responses. I am afraid that I don't have the intuition necessary 
(and have been out of school too long) to allocate the time and effort to 
follow the theory.
I do consider myself a very practical engineer with a fundamental "feel" for 
how materials will perform - based upon a moderately long history of 
designing and comparing my designs (and others) to actual performance. I 
realize that this is not the scientific way but I seem to be batting close to 
a 1000.
This is not based upon my designs, but upon following past codes and some 
basic common sense, the performance of code designed structures built to the 
details seems to have done fairly well.
I am concerned about the methods of testing that CUREe-Caltech is planning to 
do. I understand the need to diversify the testing so as to include as many 
models as possible, but I fear that the "real world" variables will remain 
unaccounted for. 

Frank, are we moving ahead to create a brand new methodology for the design 
of wood structures or are we, at some point where the past code provisions 
are proven to be adequate, aiming at resurrecting past codes and aiming at 
repairing the discontinuity that exists between the construction industry and 
the engineer?

My fear is that we become bogged down in theory and forget to breath a little 
reality into the model.

As per the exchange of information - I am admittedly frustrated by this. I 
think we, as a profession, are dropping the ball and using our "busy 
agenda's" as excuses for non-compliance or stagnating technology. Sure, I'm 
behind the ball like the majority but I still feel obligated to move this 
thing ahead. Maybe what is lacking is better leadership - implying my own 
failure to properly develope the virtual committee.  Surely, there are some 
out there who feel committed enough to take the lead and get it back on 
track. If this is truley a problem and volunteer time is simply not 
sufficiently available to accomodate our goals, then I believe that every 
professional group out there has a responsiblity to allocate a larger (if 
any) budget to be used to hire individuals on a part time basis to work on 
these goals.
One think is for sure - we can not afford to stagnate the virtual tools as 
the need to work on an International Building Code becomes more prevalent. 
Look at the reality - SEAOC and most of the chapters complained in the past 
that they simply did not have the buget to allocate more funding to various 
committees and anticipated the cost to participate in the developement of an 
International Code would increase our expenses. This can only sap the 
financial strength from other committees and, in my opinion, create a great 
waste that could have been resolved with some education, new virtual tools 
and a new way of thinking when dealing on a global level. As long as the 
money is not appropriately allocated to develope these tools we are stuck at 
spending needlessly while ignoring the evolution of our profession.
I am specifically concerned with the lack of an increased budget to suppor 
the SEAOC Computer Applications Committee. Mark Deardorff, who is the present 
chairman, was allocated the same budget ($3,000) that was given to the 
committee year after year. He was denied an additional $2,000 that would have 
been used to accomplish goals that are aimed at the education and development 
of our tech skills. Yet there is little thought about allocating some $80,000 
to Seismology for travel, meetings, food and lodging etc - needed to attend 
state committees. 
I apologize if I have the numbers wrong - these are my understanding from 
past conversations. The point is not so much the numbers as the disparagie 
between the two commitees.
What, for example,  if the work of the CAC could save 10% off the expenses of 
the Seismology commitee through a change in the way committees work? What if 
these changes are proved to be adequate and the only stronghold on the change 
comes from those who are not comfortable adopting change. 
I think that, in the long run, the Virtual Community (SEAINT) and the 
combined efforts of the CAC at each chapter level (nationally) can help to 
cut the organizations expenses and make better use of the funding. The 10% 
savings in each committees budget could help hire part time people who are 
capable of converting information on to our dedicated server and to create 
searchable links to both the Listservice information (better than what we 
have) and to other sites that support our industry.
Finally, if organizations placed less emphasize on using virtual tools to 
increase the flow of funds and more on using those funds more effectively, we 
would have sufficient resourses to keep our evolution moving for the benifit 
of the engineer rather than the code language.

Thanks again for your thoughtful comments - I do appreciate them.

Regards,
Dennis