Thank God for civil and structural engineers! That’s been said a lot around dinner tables here in Northwest Arkansas recently, thanks to two recent events.
The first event was the completion and opening of the new “Fayetteville Flyover” — a ramp that allows northbound travelers on the old Highway 71 Business to get onto Interstate 49. What a difference that makes, especially for the many commuters who used to head north to go south and had to make a U-turn to get on the interstate. The $6 million cost of this new elevated ramp seemed ridiculously low. Thank you, engineers, for making this possible!
The second noteworthy event was the closing of the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville when a structural defect was discovered during the course of planning an addition to the facility. Turns out, the original structural system has inadequacies that could have led to a catastrophe that could kill hundreds of people. I have watched many shows there with my family — from the comedian Sinbad (surprisingly funny) to Loretta Lynn (she’s getting tired) to Bob the Builder (way too loud) to Blue Man Group (freaky but compelling). I’m just thankful this problem was caught in time, before anyone got hurt. Thank you, engineers, for being thorough and discovering this!
It is your work that makes a better, safer life possible for all of us. I’m proud to be associated with that, even if only in a minor way. Which brings me to my last point: Are we doing a good job selling the worthiness of the work itself to the people in our organizations?
I saw recently in the local paper that the City of Fayetteville is seeking a new head for its Engineering Department. The last guy who filled the post was making $110,000, and he moved on. They were having problems identifying candidates based on that pay scale. On the one hand, one could say that, with all the experience, training, and responsibilities required for this position, $110,000 would never be enough. But on the other hand, I would hope the work itself is so gratifying that the pay would take somewhat of a backseat to it.
We have another great issue here for you in August, put together by Editor Bob Drake with a lot of assistance from other writers and editors both inside and outside of the company. I hope you enjoy it and pass it around!
Thanks for reading, and happy engineering!
Mark C. Zweig