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Re: The failings ... I second the motion!

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On Dec 17, 2004, at 8:21 AM, Gary Hodgson & Associates wrote:

A lot of employee engineers do not participate in their organizations
as they feel completely detached from them.
That's my story with the ASME. I've been a member since 1963. I've taken part in some local section activities and Boiler Code work and a few Internet-related odds and ends. The Code was was very interesting and useful. I've said a hundred times on the list--The ASME Boiler Code is arguably the best example of a working engineering standard in the world; if the building codes were half as well-done as the Boiler Code they'd be twice as good as they are.

But the ASME itself has really become an old boys club, shuffling off toward irrelevance. it hasn't made the transition from the corporate mentality of the 60's; it has a hazy notion of its core business and it's been hurt by a 'not invented here' attitude towards innovation and change. At best it's a technical society, not a professional society. Participation by senior level engineers is dropping off and the reins being picked up by academics.

Amazing how clear things became after I started solo practice. Professional is not what you know but how you act--what you do with what you know. For 40 years in this business I've heard the term kicked around until it's lost its meaning. In corporate practice (probably an oxymoron) professional refers to deference to authority to the willingness to work without pay. Young engineers usually think of professional behavior as something between skilled and businesslike, the way James Bond is a professional killer. Until engineers learn that autonomy is necessary to professional conduct, engineering societies will be either faculty clubs or trade associations.

Christopher Wright P.E. |"They couldn't hit an elephant at
chrisw(--nospam--at)skypoint.com    | this distance" (last words of Gen.
...................................| John Sedgwick, Spotsylvania 1864)
http://www.skypoint.com/~chrisw/


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