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Re: Future Generations of Engineers

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Jason,

I agree.  BUT, before a lay person can even come close to knowing that
they NEED us, they have to know what it is that we do.  If you don't
understand the function of something, then how can you know whether or not
you need them.

A lay person KNOWS that a doctor does surgery or diagnoises and treats
illinesses.  Thus, when that person gets sick or needs surgery, they know
that a doctor is the person that they NEED.  A lay person KNOWS that a
lawyer handles civil lawsuits, creates contracts, or defends people
accused of a criminal crime.  Thus, when that person needs a contract
written up, needs to sue someone (or is sued), or is accused of a crime,
they know that a lawyer is what they NEED.  A lay person does not always
KNOW that a structural engineer is the person who designs the load
carrying "skelton" of their house or building...some "KNOW" that an
architect does this.  Thus, many times since the lay person does not know
that the structural engineer is the person who really deals with the load
carrying skelton of the structure, they think that the NEED an architect
for this aspect (as well as other aspects of designing their
house/building).  It becomes very similar when you talk about areas of
engineering.

There is also the problem of frequency.  It is much easier for a lay
person to see the day to day "interaction" with a lawyer or a doctor.  How
many times a year will a lay person have to directly deal with a doctor?
Several times, if not more.  An engineer on the otherhand, they will
likely only deal with directly once in their life in most cases.  But, if
they actually KNEW what we did, they would see that they deal with us
INDIRECTLY on a daily basis.  After all, everytime someone walks into a
building, they are INDIRECTLY dealing with a structural engineer as more
than likely one was involved in the design of the building.  The lay
person just does not KNOW this.

HTH,

Scott
Ypsilanti, MI


On Sat, 26 Jul 2003, Jason Kilgore wrote:

>
> Although I admit most lay people don't know what an engineer does (unless
> they think of "Dilbert" and assume we work with computers), I think the
> reason SE's aren't respected is that the average lay person doesn't know why
> we're NEEDED.
>
> In my opinion, there are four main reasons for people to do something
> voluntarily: Pleasure, Religion, Money, and Health.  I won't enter into any
> debate on religion or pleasure in this forum.
>
> Few lay people would consider performing major surgery on a relative or
> friend.  The risk of serious complications or death is too great.  Everyone
> knows that doctors are NEEDED for these tasks, as they are normally
> healthier and live longer lives if they listen to their doctor.  For the
> average law-abiding citizen, lawyers are NEEDED primarily for financial
> reasons (deciphering tax laws, filing lawsuits, preparing other financial
> documents).  The incarceration of criminals could fall under the money or
> health categories - a thief or murderer behind bars can't steal from or
> murder you.
>
> Why are structural engineers NEEDED?  People have been successfully erecting
> structures for thousands of years without the aid of higher education.
> People start erecting structures from the time they can move two kitchen
> chairs and steal a blanket from the closet (anyone wanna play in my fort?).
> Regular buildings are so simple - everyone knows how they "work", so why are
> an MS degree and multiple 8-hour tests needed to design one?  Why pay
> someone big bucks to sign some papers with undecipherable pictures when the
> contractor is going to build it how he wants anyway?
>
> ----
> Jason Kilgore
> Leigh & O'Kane, L.L.C.
> jkilgore(--nospam--at)leok.com
> 816-444-3144
> 816-444-9655 (FAX)
>
>
>
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