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RE: Future Generations of Engineers

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I never said we weren't busy - my lead times are six to eight weeks. What I said is that our gross annual income rarely exceeds $50,000.00 a year. The reason for this is that we are generally small offices and few of us do public works projects. Of the ten engineers I mentioned, only one may be earning more, but I doubt it as his overhead is much higher than the rest since he employs some five or more persons and pays his only licensed engineer (fresh out of apprenticeship) around $35,000.00 a year.
There are reasons why productivity is low:
1) We don't have skilled structural drafting people in the area and rely upon our own skills at the cost of productivity,
2) Competition does bring our price down while "games" are played to avoid engineering fees. Mexican labor is wet-sealed by at least one local architect and the California Architectural Board returned my call to explain that they are allowed so long as a permit is obtained. Action is only taken if failure ore damage is reported in a complaint.
3) Since 9 of the 10 of us are Small One-person offices our responsibilities reduce our productivity - we have to balance phone calls for new business, complete existing work on our plate, market (when needed) for new work, respond to plan review questions if any, and be accessible to builders in the field for any difficulties and /or construction questions. We have no staff to help take some of the pressure off so we can be productive.
4) There is a ton of small projects that we feel obligated to respond to. Many of these are necessities and we work on a sliding scale to accommodate the clients financial condition. These cases are generally were a client has been bilked into doing work without a permit and without his knowledge and has been tagged by the local municipality.
Neil - I want to be clear that I am not complaining about this as I am privileged enough to be old enough to have only my granddaughter living with us and very low overhead. My largest expense which exceeds my income is my medical costs due to an existing condition (Crohn's disease). The Remicade (for Crohn's and Rheumatoid Arthritis) treatments without insurance are $5,000.00 ea and I need three to start and once every 8-weeks for a year. The annual cost of the infusion therapy is over $40,000 a year. Again, I've been blessed as my wife is a nurse and has gone back to work working two 12-hour shifts a week in order to pay for a Blue Cross PPO plan for the both of us (she is also denied health insurance outside of her job due to an existing condition with her back).  I can't give her age away but lets say that I am 12-years away from full Medicare coverage and unless I file for welfare (Medi-Cal in California, I would have no chance with this disease). While I don't discuss this very often - I am not shy about discussing it in public as I found that many of you suffer from problems that prevent you from operating at your optimum - I think it is important to understand that Crohn's Disease is one of the reasons why I need the Internet access to accommodate Stan Caldwell's suggestion that I "GET INVOLVED', as I am unable to travel 150 miles to attend a committee meeting and tried to design the goals of the SEAINT List when Shafat and I first started it in order to create access for those who had similar or other reasons why they could not physically attend a meeting.
I hope that explains my comments to you Neil and I would be happy to discuss them further with you if this did not answer your reply.
BTW - I don't really have the time to spend tweaking out my posts and while I know they get long, but they are written so that I can be as clear a possible. I admit they are verbose at times - so feel free to scan them for what might stand out as something of interest to you. I admit that I don't read every post in its entirety and I guess I feel guilty about it consider my lengthy diatribes but I try and accommodate others who are as vocal as I am.
-----Original Message-----
From: Neil Moore [mailto:nmoore(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Monday, July 28, 2003 9:46 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: Future Generations of Engineers


That is pretty hard to believe.  In our northern California county of El Dorado, there is so much work that some engineers have phone messages telling people not to call them for six weeks or so.  Must be that there is part of California that can be considered "third world".

I also skip a lot of your long (but probably pretty good) posts.

Neil Moore, S.E.
neil moore and associates
shingle springs, california

"Caldwell, Stan" wrote:

 Dennis:Sometimes, when reading excessively long posts, I skip over something which merits a response.  Your comment (below) is truly sad.  For at least the past three years, the starting compensation packages for entry level structural engineers with MSCE degrees in Dallas has been at or above $50K.  This applies not only to the larger employers, but also to many of the smaller consulting firms.  In addition, Dallas offers affordable housing (<$150K) and Texans still have no income tax.  We also don't have any need for recall elections <grin>. Truly, we live in two very different worlds!Stan CaldwellStan,In fact, I doubt that the 10-engineers who work in this valley servicing over 100,000 people has a net annual income exceeding $50,000.00 and the average cost of a modest home has just hit $260,000.00. Dennis S. Wish, PE