Spread the Word

September 2014 » Columns » FIRM THOUGHTS
David Evans, P.E.
Engineers are the ones who make the day-to-day what it is.
— Rafael Ortega, P.E., Lockwood, Andrews & Newman Inc.
I hope that young people realize how much cool stuff you get to work on as an engineer.
— Heather Murdock, Hatch Mott MacDonald

When the young and the not-so-young can tell you of their personal feelings of success, importance, and contributing to society that is inherent in this business, it warms my heart.

Is this a great magazine or what? Yeah, I wrote a book — well, a short one — about the joys, enjoyment, and sense of accomplishment that a civil and structural consulting engineering career provides. But this issue of Civil + Structural Engineer has the firm thoughts of an engineer with more than 33 years of consulting experience with one firm, and an engineer who has just completed two years of consulting work. Rafael Ortega, P.E., graduated with a civil engineering degree in 1981. Heather Murdock was born when Ortega was eight years into his consulting career. I know you will enjoy reading their profiles in this month’s issue (see “Rafael Ortega: Going deeper” and “Worldwide View”).

The profiles also show how important it is that we spread the word about this “engineering” — Ortega just stumbled into it; Murdock was from a family of engineers. Without a family connection, would she have stumbled into some other profession?

Both of these engineers are making an effort to reach out to the next generation. If we don’t take on this task, and get our “firm thoughts” out to our schools, who will?

Creative Procrastination

If you read my column in the August issue, you can appreciate how well I can predict the future. Congress did act to keep “Thousands of jobs at stake here,” so said Senator Orrin Hatch, and put off doing anything to solve the funding problem until… later. Maybe, just maybe, before May 2015.

This action is probably better than my “no solution” prediction, but not a whole lot. Budget experts (there are such people?) dubbed the bill “a budget gimmick” as there is no revenue generation in the bill, just “pension smoothing,” whatever that is. But it creates almost $11 billion. Who says Congress is not creative?

So, as our courageous legislators return from their August recess, we can look forward to even more creative things in September, now that they are back in inaction.

David Evans, P.E., PLS, F.ASCE, is the founder (1976) and a member of the board of David Evans Enterprises, Inc., the holding company for David Evans and Associates (www.deainc.com), and the author of “Achieving Zero,” a book on the life of the firm. He can be contacted at david.evans@zweigwhite.com.


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