Suppose PEC rented out a nearby infield, invited every kind of engineer to come there—to network, to share knowledge about their work, and to tell their stories about involvement in construction projects—and they came? What kind of conversations would that spark and how much value would so many professionals create for each other and their customers? The PEC welcome mat invites every kind of engineer, such as industrial, mechanical, civil, electrical, environmental, and geological.
All with a hand in construction are invited into the dialogue, plus participation in PEC Knowledge Initiative surveys, live on the PEC Web site. So far more than 900 have come forward and completed the survey on Characteristics of Engineers in Construction, more than 200 have provided valuable information on Interests in Engineering and Construction and more than 60 have taken time to tell their career stories and share best practices.
The biggest value of all of this is that engineers have the same opportunity and good fortune to be in a position to make PEC exactly what they need it, so it serves their interests. Nobody needs to stand outside and shout into the group that they are not included. This is the biggest welcome mat in engineering. Can you imagine the look on everyone’s face when a fellow engineer, identifying himself as mechanical, raised his voice and asked, "Why is everything for the civil engineer?"
Charles McDuff, one of the leaders on the team who created the PEC Knowledge Initiative sent a message that enriches us all and tells us what the PEC Community of Practice is all about.
"As a Civil Engineer I thought I might be able to address your point about NSPE being focused on civil engineering issues and needs. I am relatively new to this organization having joined about three years ago. I joined the organization primarily because, after 35 years as a member of ASCE, I felt about ASCE like you feel about NSPE. I wanted and I have received some unique input from the many talented engineering folks from numerous fields of practice, which are members of NSPE.
"It delights me that these real hands-on practitioners represent the best of what NSPE is all about, regardless of their personal enterprise. Mostly I enjoy working with people engaged in vertical construction. They dig the foundations, build the parking lots, pour the concrete, place the rebar, wire the buildings and parking lot lighting, plan for and install the plumbing, design and build the mechanical systems, and know all there is to know about fire protection, wind loads, seismic protection and roofing. They select and put in place the systems that make buildings, chemical plants, hangars, bomb proof shelters, and ships function well.
"When we come together, whether by e-mail, on the phone, or in meetings, we can't help but notice that we each have a deep respect for each other and for the technical skills, experience and personal friendship that we bring to the table. One of the fine things that I enjoy about the Professional Engineers in Construction (PEC), NSPE Practice area, is the fact that we actually or spiritually have rough hands from the hard work that we have shared in delivering many projects. In addition to our various skills in the assorted disciplines we also bring to the table local construction and engineering design requirements that span the globe.
"I believe that you should get active with us in the PEC. You too can be an "electmechcivstrucplumb" engineer. You can join us in our efforts to better understand and to give positive direction to the many issues we encounter daily, including
- Where are we going with design/build?
- How do we best help young professionals (of any engineering discipline) to become professional engineers and to share a sense of personal ethical conduct?
- How can we deploy effectively the new technologies that call for cross-discipline coordination?
"These and many other issues shape our mutual quest. Would you join us in this endeavor? We would welcome you and be glad to accept the commission to make sure that you are thoroughly enriched by your participation in this organization. Please feel free to give me a call should you have any questions. I have copied a host of friends in PEC so that you and they can get to know each other."
Charles R. McDuff, P.E., CVS, CCE