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
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
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
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
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
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.