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RE: Recommended Reading, Part 2 of 2

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Perhaps I was a like unclear.  I did not necessarily mean that the PhD
was more qualified, or "smarter", but that lawyers and courts prefer to
see lots of sheepskin.  Often the "more educated" haven't a clue on
practicality, common sense, or how things are really built or work.

When I worked in Orlando, there was a concrete frame building with
precast skin that had a lot of cracking in the precast.  We were asked
to give a proposal to design repairs and oversee/observe the repair
work.  The original analysis by a big name forensic/special structures
firm out of New York City. They stated that the frame was inadequately
designed, and that the cracking was due to too much drift under 100 mph
design wind loads.  They had reams and reams of computer print-outs to
back it up.

Now I watched them build the building in question (it being a couple
blocks from my office), and lived and worked near the building for the
four or so years that it existed.  The building was lucky if it ever saw
a 60 mph gust in a thunderstorm, let alone a 100 mph wind.  Obviously
the 100 mph wind had not caused the problem.  The big name firm did not
have a clue.  We told our prospective clients this (in a more tactful
way).  Needless to say we did not get the job.

Charles F. Espenlaub, III, P.E.
Martin-Espenlaub Engineering

-----Original Message-----
From: r nester [mailto:rnester(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Wednesday, June 21, 2000 1:06 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: Recommended Reading, Part 2 of 2

Having performed a good deal of forensic work, I am not so sure that the
PhD has the advantage you suppose.  Knowing how things get designed,
built, inspected, and tested is often much more important than the
ability to perform pure research.  It does not take a PhD to know first
principles, and first principles are quite often sufficient in forensic
engineering. Further, the PhD may not have a handle on issues such as
codes, past and present. 

Perhaps if the PhD has a specialty and if the firm were sufficiently
large.........otherwise, just hire him/her as a consultant when the
occasion arises.

Just my $0.02.

Russ Nester
On Tue, 20 Jun 2000 10:34:09 -0400 Charles Espenlaub
<Cespenlaub(--nospam--at)> writes:
> I agree wholeheartedly.  The only exception would be if you were a
> forensic engineering firm, then the higher degree would be better.  
> It
> also depends on how applicable their thesis work was to your every 
> day
> work.
> Charles F. Espenlaub, III, P.E.
> Martin-Espenlaub Engineering
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Roger Turk [mailto:73527.1356(--nospam--at)]
> Sent: Tuesday, June 20, 2000 9:45 AM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)
> Subject: Re: Recommended Reading, Part 2 of 2
> No question about it!  The BS with 4 years of experience and a P.E.
> When I was doing teaching, I would tell my students that 5 years 
> after
> they 
> graduate it makes no difference if they have an MS or Ph.D. or even 
> a
> BS.  
> They looked at me in amazement as they had been brainwashed into
> believing 
> that they needed an MS to get a structural engineering position.  Of
> course, 
> they were always told this by Ph.D.'s whose only experience was 
> teaching
> students to be Ph.D.'s instead of P.E.'s.
> The Ph.D. with no experience would think that he/she was worth more 
> than
> he/she deserved and would have to be taught *practical* engineering
> before 
> they could do anything.  
> A. Roger Turk, P.E.(Structural)
> Tucson, Arizona
> Jake Watson wrote:
> >>        I have posed this question to a number of people in the 
> past,
> and I
> always get different answers.  Lets say you are hiring an engineer 
> and
> you have three candidates:
> 1. B.S. Degree with 4 years office experience and a P.E., maybe an 
> S.E.
> 2. M.S. Degree with 2 years office experience, maybe an P.E.
> 3. Ph.D. No office experience
> Which one do you hire? - I would put salaries on them if I thought I
> would be even close, but I have no idea about CA salaries.<<