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RE: GOOD PROFESSION

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Gosh, this was my exact phrase and Bill took it from me :>)  Grunt work
is more than 60% of most of my contract. My projects aren't large so
even if I spend a few hours "plan reviewing" the work I outsourced, I
would tend to profit heavily but eliminate most jobs of apprentices who
need to work up the ladder.

Stan, I know your background and I can see how you might arrive at this
conclusion, but most of the larger firms are not what I think will be
the ultimate threat to Civil/Structural engineering. I think that
problems are multiple with the trunk of the tree rooted in profits. We
are a capitalistic society and I won't argue this, but there is a
problem when the ratio between "grunt worker" and management is 500:1.
There was an article in one of the magazines or newspapers that I read
that stated a reasonable ratio between the bottom and the top should be
closer to 20:1. Now, before I get flamed, I am not suggesting (as the
article had) that we cap salaries. I won't be so bold as to suggest this
when the problem is the disinterest of companies to protect their fellow
citizens in this country by creatively attending to work at the cost of
some profits. 
It's easy to send a project to India and indicate where you want the
details taken. It is easier to receive the work and use local
professionals to "tweak" out the work and fine tuning it to meet code or
correcting mistakes. At $0.10 on the dollar we can afford mistakes
because the time it takes to correct them is still much less than
starting from scratch and doing the work locally. 
I met with an engineer who was the chairman of a committee for ASCE and
his office was located in Virginia. When I met him, he made a trip to
the Palm Springs area as he planned to be in Phoenix and wanted to meet
with me. At the time the 1997 UBC was codified and we released the first
version of Multi-Lat to the public domain. 
I found out that he had a business (actually multiple businesses)
developing tract homes in Arizona and he wanted to do so in our area.
His intent was to hire managers locally who were professional Architects
and Engineers, but all of the "grunt" work would be done using their
software by engineers and draftspersons in India. The work would filter
through Virginia and the locals would be paid a fee to insure code
compliance and coordination with builders and city personnel.
He pointed out that the labor cost was so low in India that there was
plenty of profit room for anyone who was willing to take advantage of
the outsourcing possibilities. As he was of Indian decent, the language
barrier and the fact that he was an engineer helped to make the problem
of starting such a business a potential reality.
This was the last time we met - I wasn't interested. Ultimately, the
time would come when I would eliminate my own need. One has to look into
the future to see that if we cut off the root (our young engineers who
need apprenticeship training and will do so for competitive wages), we
will kill off the rest of the tree.
We need to look into the future today and not wait until the tree is
dying to revive it - by then its too late.

Dennis

-----Original Message-----
From: Scott, William N. [mailto:William.Scott(--nospam--at)veco.com] 
Sent: Tuesday, November 11, 2003 8:48 AM
To: 'seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org'
Subject: RE: GOOD PROFESSION

Stanley,

Did you start out with the grunt work. It seems that we all started out
doing the grunt work to get the experience required to work at the
client
service level.

Bill

-----Original Message-----
From: Stanley E Scholl [mailto:sscholl2(--nospam--at)juno.com]
Sent: Tuesday, November 11, 2003 7:05 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: Re: GOOD PROFESSION



I was interviewed last year for Civil Engineering magazine about
outsourcing and related matters. I said then and still believe that for
many of us this is not a problem and will unlikely never be a  problem
since a majority of the work in most projects is marketing, discussion
of
most cost efficient systems, meeting with or talking to vendors of
systems, submitting plans and calcs. for approval, getting approval
from
related agencies/ departments, meeting with plan checkers to gain
approval, making changes which contractors desire or owners desire and
making structural observations.

None of the above can be outsourced. Someone from India (or anywhere
outside of Calif.) could submit plans and resubmit them 15 times and
never get approval in the jurisdictions in which I work. It requires a
great deal of local professional effort.

The grunt work that can and is being outsourced is for many of us a
minor
part of the work and not the favorite part.

Stan Scholl, P.E.
Laguna Beach, CA

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