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Making a difference ??

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I am not surprised that 50 % of the individuals involved in SEA or any other organization are either sole proprietors or small business owners.  It is good for networking as well as a good way to acquire and maintain skills.  I personally would recommend being involved in at least one organization, in case anyone is interested in my recommendations.
On the other hand, most of the other 50% are involved as a way to market their company's products. For example, the concrete material suppliers are all heavily involved in ACI.  They come early, stay late, and are on lots of committees.  Some make very useful contributions.  Others, including some of the most active individuals (the "higher achievers"), don't. 
One of my favorite quotes in concrete literature is from a paper by Charles Nmai,  who is chief scientist or something for Masterbuilders.  He is also chairman of ACI Committee 222.  The first paragraph of the paper states:
"According to the Federal Highway Administration, 42 percent of the estimated 575,600 bridges in the U.S. are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.  In other words, these bridges are unsafe."
The second sentence in the quote is Mr. Nmai's.  Presumably, the world, or at least the US, would be a safer place if someone had had the foresight to use Masterbuilder admixtures to prevent corrosion.  (The paper is titled "Recent Developments in the Design of Reinforced Concrete Structures for Long Service Lives from a Corrosion Perspective.)
FHWA literature, on the other hand, explicitly states that the fact a bridge is structurally deficient does not necessarily mean that it is unsafe.  And functional obsolescence has nothing to do with safety. These facts seem to have escaped Mr. Nmai's attention.
I don't care how many boards, committees, or panels someone is on.  This is not "giving back."  It is blatant b.s.
Gail Kelley