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Interaction with SEA - when will it start

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Regardless of our concerns, I have noticed a marked discontinuity between 
subscribers to the Listservice and those members of SEA committees. The 
majority of responses to technical questions originates from the 
representatives of material orgainizations such as APA, AISC etc. It seems a 
pity to me that with all of the discussion and confusion over the UBC issues, 
that we are left work out the problems within the Listservice community and 
receive very little, if any, support from the representatives of those 
related committees of SEA . The few exceptions are the responses that we have 
received from active List subscribers such as Ali Sadre, and Ron Hamburger 
(and others I am remiss to remember).

I would hope as the torch is passed from the current SEAOC president John 
Shipp to Ron Hamburger that there is an increased effort to bridge this 
discontinuity. I have placed faith in Ron Hamburger to educate committee 
members as to the importance of two way discussion between Listservice 
members and representatives of all committees.

I was told in confidence that discussions where held in the state seismology 
committee that are directly related to the number of discussions held on this 
List. Rather than open the discussion to those interested and who have 
particpated on the list, the seismology committee has decided to keep their 
discussions private until which time they are ready to release a statement or 
conclusion to the engineering community.

I tend to be offended by this practice because the members of this list have 
been chastised in the past for not participating in committee work and 
therefore not having the right to complain when codes do not reflect the 
concerns of those outside the committee. This is counterproductive to the 
opinons of active committee members who believe that any member interested in 
helping institute change should do so by participating. However, it appears 
that these committees are closed to all except those who can participate in 
person.

As the SEA International Network increases in both popularity and 
participation it becomes the "Hub" of the professional community. The goal of 
this Virtual community is to share information. In the next five years, the 
Computer Applications Committee for SEAOSC will take additional steps to 
institute both education and promotion of other professional organizations to 
participate on the SEA International Network. It is my hope that more 
organizations will participate and interact with the virtual community as 
APA, AITC, LGSEA, AISC and WTCA has done. Answers and opinions related to 
material preformance questions should come from the material associations. 
Unfortunately, only a few of these organizations are, at this time, activly 
participating on our List or in some fashion on our server. 

SEAINT has done a great deal of work to provide separate listservices to 
chapters, board of directors, committees etc. Unfortunately, these are close 
List's and are not open to the general engineering community. Other than the 
board of directions, I believe this to be a grave mistake that is, as I have 
stated, counterproductive to the ideology that created the SEA International 
Network. The purpose was to draw from the strengths and experience of those 
who specialize in the materials that SEA is activly involved in. Ignoring 
these individuals who may not be accessible to physical participation in 
committee work is not in keeping with the goals of this virtual organization.

Many within the SEA organization realize the importance of the tools but are 
still behind in instituting a policy of free exchange of information. As one 
peruses the website, it is sorely evident that there is little participation 
by committees to post information or to share up-to-date information with the 
professional commuity. I don't believe we can evolve without this 
information. I know that we can not expect participation from those 
professional organizations outside of SEA's of California if we are not 
willing to set an example as to how this Virtual Community can be used 
productivly. 

It is certainly counterproductive to the basic principles established in the 
SEA International Network which promote the sharing of information to 
professional engineers around the world.

One of the greatest problems associated with committee work are the lack of 
volunteers. This is a problem that has plauged the Computer Applications 
Committee for years. Seismology is fortunate to be the mainstay for SEA and 
probably does not lack from those wishing to participate. However, how many 
of those who participate provide adequate representation for the residential 
wood market, or the light gauge steel market. Inasmuch as these represent 
specialty work of smaller engineering offices, I doubt that there are 
sufficient volunteers to the seismology committee representing the knowledge 
and experience in residential construction.

This is where those who are passionately involved in these specialty areas 
within the virtual community can be of the greatest assistance. However, for 
the most part, we are "lurked upon" but rarely included in active 
participation in committee work. I am told that our discussions are browsed 
through and that our discussions have raised a number of concerns that 
seismology is discussing yet, this is as far as it seems to go. I was told 
recently that our concerns over the liability issue of engineers who did not 
comply with past codes is being addressed in the next publication of the Blue 
Book, but yet, we were never specifically asked to participate in the working 
of thise addition.

My point is that the work is one sided. The committees are bouncing the 
information off of us but are not allowing us to be involved in the moulding 
of the code. Therefore, we can only expect that some information obtained 
from the virtual community will occur in the code, but may be taken in the 
wrong context.

I would hope that those who agree with these comments would take the time to 
let the SEA chapters and boards know of their support for open discussions 
between the Virtual professional community and those representatives of the 
committees and boards which are supported by our professional dues. You can 
find the email addresses of each chapters representatives on the seaint 
website at www.seaint.org. I urge you to voice your opinons.

Sincerely,
Dennis S. Wish PE