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RE: More "Responsible Charge" Stuff

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From: Jim Wilson [mailto:wilsonengineers(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Friday, August 27, 2004 2:36 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: RE: More "Responsible Charge" Stuff




As a sole practitioner starting my own engineering gig, I feel your frustration!  To think, isn't it bad enough to worry about bringing in the right work in sufficient volume to keep food on the plate; now we have to worry about which state we can and can't work in because of legal technicalities?


Well, and here’s the problem I’M facing now: After a few weeks of “Famine,” the “feast” began and I have too MUCH work. Hard to refuse any at all, and when you get the call you want to respond.


I can only do so much—particularly when I have been recovering from surgery and the illness that brought it about. So I need help. I have someone available to help, a young man who is finishing grad school, and in turn would very much like to have the opportunity to learn the same way all of us did: Guidance from “one who knows,” and hands-on experience.


How it matters whether he comes to my bricks-and-mortar office every day and punches the clock (during which time I’m probably under the same roof supervising him perhaps 10% of the time if that much), or sits in his official university-grad-school-type office working between times he’s answering undergrad students’ questions, and converses with me via telephone and email as we look together on our respective computer screens at the work in progress—accounting for about 20% of the total time on the job—should not make one bit of difference to anyone watching.

This should be my choice, how I want to conduct my business. It is not the province of some upjumped “Big Brother” organization, which the P.E. Board (which once had two full-time employees—an “executive director” and her secretary—but now boasts ten or more, all of which additions are “compliance officers” investigating all these nefarious engineering schemes going on around us—I mean, who knew engineers could be so devious?) has ultimately become.


This is NOT serving the public good; in fact, to the extent that decent engineers may be hampered from serving the public, and constrained from providing MORE services to the public eager to purchase the same, they are becoming a DETRIMENT.


I have not only responsibilities; as a professional engineer, citizen, husband, father, grandfather, and (at this time) sole breadwinner in my home, I also have the RIGHT to “pursue happiness” in this way.


And I can’t help but suspect that there is a money trail here, both directly (in the form of punitive fines) and indirectly (by helping the political contributors to those office-holders who do the appointing to boards of this type, nearly all of whom are “fat cats” in the traditional sense of the word—at least they’re far more likely to be the corporate engineering entities that constitute the typical member of Consulting Engineers Counsel of Texas and other such organizations).


Hey, it ain’t “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington,” but I do believe sometimes the “little guy” has to stand up and prove the system still works. Maybe I’m trying to paint myself far too heroically, but that’s how I’m seeing things right now: I might have to get out of my comfort zone and fight this thing before it gets further out of control.