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RE: McStructural? [Not Political]

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First, thank you for keeping politics out of your post.  I promise to do likewise.  My comments are inserted below, in Dallas Cowboy Blue:

In general, Stan, I tend to ignore your posts, because I find them condescending.  However, this one I read, and I happen to be the one of the bemoaners.  Although I didn't realize I was bemoaning,  I thought I was providing opinions and observations.  
I regret that you find my posts to be condescending.  That certainly is not my intent.  I will admit, however, that I have little patience with those who repeatedly complain about their situation, make no constructive efforts to improve it, and instead try to blame their problems on others (the profession, the government, etc.).  I also admit to being addicted to optimism and humor, two attributes that serve me well every day.  For better or worse, I also share your propensity for sarcasm and your enthusiasm for proper English. 

For example, this is an observation.  There is a company here in DC, Legion Design Campbell and Associates, that is a minority business.  Their work is almost exclusively  MBE contracts.  (We know you are an active supporter of  minority businesses.  Could that be because unless you can satisfy the minority requirements for the contracts you go after, you don't get the contract? )  
I don't know where you got that idea!  I personally believe in a level playing field and there is nothing fair about firms getting work based upon the ethnicity of the owners, especially when those owners are first-generation immigrants.  My company does a lot (perhaps 50%) of work in the public sector.  In Texas, virtually all public agencies require substantial (20-40%) minority participation.  Consequently, my company teams with MBE subcontractors on almost all public projects.  So do our many competitors.  Unfortunately for me, it is often the structural scope that is given away to the MBE firms, because it is convenient to do so (the percentage of work that is structural often coincides with the required MBE percentages).

In the fall of 2000,  (September and October) they had seventeen H1-B hires. The wage was 18 dollars a hour.  This was an office in DC,  where rent for a studio apartment would have been $1000/month.  I have been in that office,  in fact it might have been around that time.  What I remember most is that all of the chairs had plastics seats with rips in them and some kind of tag - they looked like they had come from a government refuse sale.  And everything was dirty.  
It certainly appears that you have uncovered a bunch of McStructurals in the DC area.  Their wages are lousy ... but the plastic chairs are inexcusable!  Maybe there ought to a be a law against dirty plastic chairs!   

Am I whining?  No,  because I don't have to sit in one of those chairs.  And I don't ever want to. But other companies trying to compete with them might want to whine.  It's hard to compete with a company that can get away with paying a low wage and never cleaning their office.   Most people would also consider it an abuse of the system for a company to get an MBE contract and then turn around and fill it with H-1B hires.  
I agree!   

I  wouldn't  be surprised if Legion Design also "encourages, but does not require" employees to contribute to their PACs.  They are the kind of company that would sink that low. 
I know that I will never convince you of this, but PACs are completely legal and ethical.  Your implication that PAC contributions and fund-raising events amount to some sort of corruption are unfounded.  I have never asked for a project in return for my political activities, and I have never been promised one.  However, since MBE firms have been guaranteed a piece of the pie, I think it only fair that they actively contribute in the political arena along with everyone else. 

Gail S. Kelley, P.E. 
Stan R. Caldwell, P.E.
Big Tuna, Texas
[Coach Bill, not Engineer Bill]