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RE: Engineers using NAFTA Labor

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My impression when I read the original thread was that it related to exporting
work to offices out of the country.

Many companies such as banks have been setting up operations in India or similar
places where English is conversant so that they are able to conduct operations
on a 24-hour basis, "passing the baton" so-to-speak around the world.  Some
engineering companies have also set up design offices in such countries where
the services are available cheaply.

The problem of course is that you are giving up a lot of control over your work
when you send it out of your office.  Also, the engineers in those countries
know that they are getting paid pennies relative to US wages and sometimes
reflect this in both their quality and productivity (on the other hand they can
also do good work).  So you really have to stay involved with the design to make
sure that your quality standards and schedules are maintained.

I have considered sending some computer work to New Zealand, where hourly rates
are 2/3 of US rates and engineering skills are high, but haven't done it yet.  I
have a problem with giving up control of my projects.

Regarding the future of engineering, yes, I have a lot of misgivings.  The
relative quality of engineering graduates is down, and the design profession is
becoming more a cookbook process of applying the "recipe" instructions of the
building code to the architects design.  It is only a matter of time until they
build computers that are able to automate much of what we do.