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RE: Lack of Drafters

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Lynn
This is the most encouraging words of wisdom that I have heard in a long
time. It is rare, however, to find a competent practitioner in the
industry who is willing to admit that they have more to learn. You found
one and maybe more and I applaud you for being open and creative in
this.
I had a student at the local community college where I taught. She is an
interior designer with a lucrative practice and a PhD from the
University of Minnesota. She is in her 50's and not interested in
changing careers - she only wanted to take a course in structures to
understand more about the important aspects of our profession that would
help her work around the structural elements of a home or office to
preserve the safety and performance, yet to creatively design her work
while preserving mine.
I can't tell you how wonderful it was to find a fellow member of the
design team who was interested in creating a synergy between the
professions rather than simply wanting to find an engineer willing to
design a sky hook.

There are more out there - contractors (specifically framers), designers
and architects who are willing to work with us - each taking
responsibility as a member of the team rather than an independent who
demands that the rest of us bend to unreasonable designs. I only wish
that what Lynn found was the rule rather than the exception - but this
does not mean that we can not work to promote more members willing to
put aside their arrogance and learn something from what we have to teach
them. It has been my experience that most framers are arrogant - they
resent professionals with education who have never lifted a hammer from
telling them how to assemble the systems. Here may be examples of those
who understand the limits on how long they can work with their back and
have the foresight and intelligence to want something more. It may be
our responsibility to do more to promote these individuals and reward
them for their efforts.

I still think that the answer is to promote and reward these individuals
by assuring them that their skills are an integral part of our
profession and that their efforts will pay off of them regardless of
whether they remain framers, turn to designers or aid engineers. One
thing that we should never take for granted is the creative framer. I'm
not sure about most of you, but the best builders I've ever worked with
had framers who thought on the spot and were able to convey to me
alternatives to those details of mine that did not work in practical
application. Once we become arrogant, then there is little hope to
bridge the gap between builder and professional.

I have a friend who is now living in Utah. He is a graduate architect, a
builder and a furniture craftsman. When we worked together, he
understood structural load paths better than most engineers. He knew his
designs and was able to track every load path and explain to me when
something was not clear. Balancing our mutual skills created great
designs - I relied on his experience and knowledge and he on my
creativity.

I applaud Lynn for recognizing the value of good framers and rewarding
them for wanting to advance further. We need a means to promote this
type of collaboration so that it is a rule rather than an exception.

Dennis S. Wish, PE
California Professional Engineer
The Structuralist.Net Information Infrastructure

Website:
http://www.structuralist.net

."The truly educated never graduate"
-----Original Message-----
From: Lynn H [mailto:lhoward(--nospam--at)silcom.com]
Sent: Sunday, February 03, 2002 7:29 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: Re: Lack of Drafters

Okay, I am going to throw my 2 cents in here and
give away all my secrets!!  You guys should pay me
for this information :)

One thing that has worked for us is to find young
construction workers that really don't want to be
construction workers and want to be in the office
designing.  I am in contact with concrete people,
framers, rod busters, steel workers all the time.  I
get the word out at as many job sites as possible
that we are looking for entry level CAD people and
are willing to train.  The ones who contact us are
almost always young, and have worked on a
construction site long enough to know it is not what
they want to do the rest of their lives.

Some of them have already started taking CAD classes
in the evening, keeping their construction jobs
during the day.  Our last new CAD person was a
framer, and had been doing it for 6 years.  He is 25
years old, and was always fascinated by the
structures he was building.  He has set his eyes on
other goals now, and he is continuing to take
evening CAD classes while he is working full time
during the day at our office.  He is doing GREAT, as
have most of the others we have found this way.  He
knows more than some of our engineers about how
buildings are built, and what is buildable and what
is not.

This could work for anyone really.  Just get the
word out at job sites and see who comes around.
These guys know how to read plans (usually), and
completely understand what they are drawing.  It has
worked on  more than one occasion for us.

Lynn

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