Pecks Wisdom on Developing Engineering Judgment
Cathy Bazan-Arias, Ph.D., P.E., will return next month with a new Insider’s View column. In the meantime, you can follow the link below to read one of her more well-known and well-received columns. The introduction to that column is below.
After reading the recently published Geo-Strata article, "Advice to a Young Engineer" by Ralph B. Peck, Ph.D., P.E., Hon. M.ASCE, I thought that the points that he directed toward young engineers in developing engineering judgment apply to all engineers in all disciplines. Let me explain why.
Project contracts and conflicts
Those of us that have been in the workforce for at least a few years likely have become familiar with various methods of conflict identification and resolution. Most of us are fortunate enough to rarely, if ever, have encountered significant conflict during a project. Those who have, whether with a co-worker or client, can attest that it is a very unpleasant experience. I have not yet had to resolve a dispute with attorneys or legal proceedings, but with decades left in my career, I would bet that such a situation awaits. I will do everything I can up until that point to avoid such circumstances.
Ownership Transition: Smoothing out potential bumps
Ownership transition can be a stressful ordeal among staff, but employing simple techniques like communication can make the process smoother, says Duane Roggow, vice president of human resources at 1,800-person construction consulting firm Faithful+Gould (New York).
Business Briefs: Firms in the news
Omaha, Neb.-based A/E/C firm HDR has purchased the assets of the Boston-based architectural firm Warner + Associates, Inc., to enhance its own architectural practice in New England. The new operation, HDR|Warner + Associates, Inc., will specialize in the design of healthcare facilities.
Otak, Inc., Portland, Ore., recently celebrated its 25th anniversary and announced that the firm still is expanding, having hired 45 employees in the second quarter of this year to handle the firm’s expanding portfolio in the western United States and in the Middle East.
The American Council of Engineering Companies recently honored Shannon & Wilson (Seattle) and HKM Engineering (Billings, Mont.) for their combined geotechnical and hydraulic engineering design solutions for the Beartooth Highway in Yellowstone National Park. The firms received an Honor Award at the 2006 Engineering Excellence Awards for their part in an emergency repairs project following a landslide that swept away 13 sections of the highway-the principal northern gateway to the park.
Selling the value of sustainable service
> A/E firms need to do more than get their employees LEED-accredited to capitalize on the sustainable design trend.
Clients and design firms tend to take a different view of sustainability as a chargeable service. Clients are beginning to see sustainability as an integral part of design. They believe that if they’re going to build something, it may as well be sustainable. "Sustainability is losing its power as a differentiator between firms as clients begin to demand it more," says Giles Jacknain, principal, consulting, at ZweigWhite. In the coming years, he adds, it will get harder for firms to charge higher fees for the sustainable design services they provide.