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RE: Eagle Engineer

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This is true, but you’re being naïve here.


If it weren’t for more than two generations of “rewarding” someone because of accident of birth, which is codified in law and in practice in almost every aspect of our economy, that’d be one thing, but a shadow is effectively cast on everyone who succeeds with such a “leg up,” whether it’s warranted or no.


I have a real problem with “affirmative action” as it has come to be PRACTICED (as distinct from the way it was originally CONCEIVED to work).


Here in Houston, I see engineering firms owned, wholly or in part, by people who are “non-white,” or have a surname that marks them as of a certain ethnic origin. These include people from South Asia, Latin America, China, Taiwan and the Phillipines.


Many of these people came to this country, not as “tired, poor and yearning to breathe free,” necessarily, but simply as an entrepreneurial venture. Many of them were “moneyed” in their countries of origin. They had college degrees when they came, sometimes even advanced degrees.

In fact, some of them were “better off” than I am, having come from dirt-poor Southern roots. But they had the “right” background, the “right” surname, etc., and so they are instantly entitled to special consideration by government at every level.


Examples of this include a man from Argentina, from a wealthy Italian family there, who came here as a student and married an American woman who is herself from a well-to-do family. He proceeds to leverage his assets and buys a nearly-defunct consulting firm here in town, sticks his name in front of the hyphen before the original name of the firm, and becomes a “HUB” (Texas-speak for “historically underutilized business,” our equivalent to the M/W/BE) and an MBE, and begins collecting FAA, city, county and state contracts under the set-aside programs.


Or a man from India, who came here with an advanced degree, got a doctorate, and is also involved in obtaining lucrative consulting contracts in the public sector.


Things are what they are. We can seek to change them, realizing that there will be powerful forces working against us when we do, and in the meantime we can learn to live with unfairness in the name of fairness.

But you cannot fault someone for having in their mind, the suspicion that someone with a “foreign” background or a darker skin color may owe their success in part to this idiotic spoils system that seeks to “redress” wrongs done to people who are now dead by helping their descendants who never suffered themselves.


It might be wrong in a given instance, but it is understandable.


From: Andrew Kester [mailto:akester(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Sunday, September 12, 2004 1:14 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Eagle Engineer

 allows = his firm to satisfy any DBE or MBE requirements for projects that in = turn puts the other guy in the picture to work."

However, this comment I find to be a bit presumptuous and insulting, as if to say this guy is only listed as an owner for a minority handout. If it was a white guy doing the same thing everyone would comment on his entrepeneurialship. A better point may be that he uses his fame, status, and million dollar paychecks to invest and promote a healthy business. Seems pretty smart to me whether he is there every day or not, he is carving out a nice career for himself when his body gives out and he has 30 more years to fill up with something besides golf and frozen drinks next to the pool.....

Andrew Kester, PE

Longwood, FL