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RE: A Voice For The Rest Of Us [WAS: The failings ... I second the motion!]

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Welcome back into the fold, Bill, you have summarized my feeling with
accuracy. I joined SEAOSC in 1982 or 83 (I think it was 82) and felt at the
time and became disillusioned with their lack of member representation after
the codification of the 97 UBC and the work other chapters are doing with
BSSC on the ICC. I resigned from SEAOC in 2000 and have not desire to return
until their basic ideology to represent rather than lead their members and
to open their conscientiousness to those who practice but are not
necessarily members of an SEA chapter.
I've been told that I would be more effective if I was less verbose
(actually I have been told this for years). And, yes I do have strong
opinions on these matters. I also have suggestions for solutions that I will
post on the Structuralist.Net Professional Blog!. If you are interested in
these opinions, follow the link to the professional website from
http://www.structuralist.net - the Blogs are easy to manipulate.
Regards,
Dennis S. Wish, PE
California Professional Engineer
Join our Free Topic Specific e-Mail Discussions at: 
http://www.structuralist.net
 

-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Polhemus [mailto:bill(--nospam--at)polhemus.cc] 
Sent: Friday, December 17, 2004 8:07 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: A Voice For The Rest Of Us [WAS: The failings ... I second the
motion!]

Gary Hodgson & Associates wrote:

>I'm self-employed but I think that the professional organizations, e.g.,
>PEO, do little for their members and are loaded with employees who are
>not accountable to anybody.  A lot of employee engineers do not
>participate in their organizations as they feel completely detached
>from them.
>
I wanted to comment separately on this statement of Gary's.

For some time I have been thinking that we need "yet another 
organization." The seeds of that thought came originally from my good 
friend Dennis Wish, who I understand gave a good deal of time and effort 
in building up SEAOSC only to watch it spin out of his reach so to 
speak, as it was commandeered by officers and employees of larger firms 
and he became more and more alienated from the direction that 
organization took.

[N.B. I'm not telling tales out of school here; Dennis has published 
several accounts of this experience here on the list before, and they 
can be found in the archives. Also, this is MY take, or my personal 
interpretation of what I have read from Dennis. If I misrepresent his 
views here, I apologize in advance and accept the responsibility for 
giving this analysis].

In my own experience with the local SEA, I found it also quite lacking 
in fulfilling "what I need" as a small practitioner. It is very 
difficult for people who work for, or even are part-owners in, larger 
firms. Their emphasis is quite different; they tend to have more 
disposable time to spend pursuing things that I personally feel are not 
relevant to what I'm about.

Again, this is NOT TO KNOCK THOSE who participate in such organizations 
under these circumstances. They have every right to "pursue happiness," 
I'm simply saying, as I did with regard to "corporate engineering 
firms", that I have a much different emphasis. I am after "news I can 
use," for example. I never attend a lecture or seminar or what-have-you 
on the subject of strutcural engineering unless I fele confident I will 
come away better able to serve my clients, save myself some time and 
make a little more money. It's not a mercenary as it sounds; just 
understand that I'm looking at this like Maslow's Pyramid: I've got to 
take care of the basic needs before I can go on to things that aren't so 
critical.

And sad (or happy) to say, my time spent on "non-critical" things is NOT 
focused on structural engineering. I spend a LOT of time working--easily 
as much if not more than I spent when I was otherwise employed. When I 
allow the whistle to blow, I want to be listening or playing music, 
reading, attending plays and concerts and in all things spending time 
with those I love. We all have twenty-four hours in the day; the 
difference lies solely in how we spend them.

Obviously I spend time "ranting" here on SEAINT. I consider this list to 
be among the most valuable resources at my disposal, and to the extent 
that I contribute anything at all to these discussions I'm trying to 
"give back" with no hope of ever coming out "even." (Only a few do that, 
I suspect, such as Mr. Sprague).

But in the end, I long for a "new" organization geared to what I do, and 
with similar interests to my own, a sort of "Society of Really Small 
Structural Engineering Firms With Little Time To Attend Meetings" (I 
leave the acronym to others). The only such organization that comes 
close is our local Foundation Performance Association, which as the name 
implies is solely for foundation design, notably in the Houston area 
where we have daily fun with expansive clays. This isn't so much because 
I simply love foundation design--it's actually not my most favorite 
pastime--but because it just HAPPENS to be made up of many people like 
me. The organizers of the association are sort of "out of the 
mainstream" such that larger firms and especially geotechnical firms 
(which are nearly all large corporations by now, e.g. PSI) are not 
interested in participating and few large structural firms have interest 
in lightly-loaded foundations.

I simply find that I get more "bang for the buck" from that outfit than 
any other, but they are, as I say, focused only on one narrow topic.

I don't know if anyone else has had these thoughts--or if Mr. Wish has 
any desire to resurrect his excellent organizational skills to try his 
hand at something new--but if they did I'd be interested in hearing from 
them.

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