The July 2011 issue of CE News was outstanding. Along with the engineering and technical presentations, I found a number of articles addressing the issue of leadership and management which were "right-on."
"Finding your stride as a leader" by Ed Friedrichs is a must-read article for young technicians and professionals. Ed gives some excellent pointers to those who are in or plan to be in leadership roles. His pointers are valid whether applied in an office situation or in a community role.
Having worked my way up the land surveying profession ladder from rodman/chainman to project manager, eventually being registered in seven states as a land surveyor, a great deal of my management experience was "learn-by-burn." It seems that many are in the engineering, architectural, planning, and land surveying field because of their love of their profession and really enjoy the "on-the-board" design, computations, and problem-solving aspects. However, when it comes to leadership roles, they avoid them like the plague, or when assigned a leadership role, fail due to the lack of good mentoring and training.
The second article which caught my attention was "Honesty in project management" by Christine Brack, PMP. Christine described the management experiences shared by her friend "David." If we all had a mentor like David, the profession would be the better for it. Having been present in many project management and scheduling meetings, his stories sound familiar. I remember one particular meeting where the contractor specifically stated, "This is my maximum dollar allowance." The principal of our firm who was chairing the meeting later claimed that didn't happen, even when I reminded him of the meeting discussions. Needless to say, that contractor at a later monthly billing time was a very unhappy camper when he received an invoice for almost twice the amount he stated at the meeting. And after an unpleasant telephone call, told me that he would share his negative experience with our firm amongst fellow contractors in the area.
And last but not least, "Consultant-focused professional development" by John P. Bachner is a must-read for professional firm owners and principals. Not only from the required continuing educational requirements for maintaining professional registration but to avoid financial claims, possible personal injuries, bad PR, and the situation described in Christine's article. Even small consulting firms can benefit from a shared employer-employee professional development program.
After thoroughly reading my issue of CE News, I hand off my copy to our community college for students to peruse – and hopefully apply the worthy advice to their education and future professional activities.
– Hank Berg, PLS (retired)
Professional Development Series
Your magazine routinely publishes articles with the intent of providing PDHs to the reader. At the end of the article the reader is instructed to participate in an online quiz that is immediately graded. If at least 80 percent of the questions are answered correctly, the reader can download a certificate of completion and be awarded 1.0 PDH. Has this procedure been accepted by the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency for receiving PDHs? Is it an article-by-article decision, or is every article approved? It would be extremely helpful for the article to list in which states it is already approved.
– Scott Karst, P.E.
The PDH Series is covered and recognized by the state of Indiana via our American Institute of Architects (AIA) provider status.
– Kevin Carmody, associate publisher/PDH specialist
Just finished reading "Eight testifying tips for civil engineers" in the August edition. It brought thoughts of eight words on the subject [that] I received from a superb attorney a very long time ago, just prior to my first trial: "Listen to the question; answer it; shut up!" More than 50 years and 100 trials later, these words continue to provide good guidance. Perhaps, they can serve the readers as a permanent reminder of the eight tips so well expressed by the authors.
– James Warner, P.E.
From the publisher
I'd say you are succeeding in your goal to make each issue of CE News better each month than the last. [Mark Zweig's] observations ("From the publisher') are what I read first – always on track, stimulating, and fun to read. The "Offices that motivate" (August 2011) one is a keeper.
– Ron Johnson