CHAIR’S REPORT: Are you feeling better yet?
At every consulting engineering conference the mantra is the same: consulting engineers have a poor image, we do not make enough money and we have little influence in government. So what are WE doing ...
At every consulting engineering conference the mantra is the same: consulting engineers have a poor image, we do not make enough money and we have little influence in government. So what are WE doing about this situation?
The answer is that we have done a lot and are about to do a lot more. More importantly, we are doing it right with a planned campaign which is using resources effectively and efficiently.
What we have done
Over the last five years, the Board and staff of ACEC and our member associations (MO’s) have prepared the path for a major campaign on behalf of our industry. Through a series of planning sessions we have:
redefined our membership criteria to include all companies providing technical services in the “built and natural environment”;
developed a strategic plan that focuses on Image, Remuneration and Lobbying, as well as Business Practices and Emerging Trends;
together ACEC and MO’s have reorganized and integrated our committees to increase efficiency and to learn from good ideas across Canada.
What we are doing
The results of the preparation are becoming more apparent every day. Here are examples:
Image — As demonstrated in Calgary the Canadian Consulting Engineering Awards gala has become a major, first-class event which has raised the image of our industry with clients and the media. First-class venues, high caliber entertainment (Second City Comedy Troupe, Cirque Fantastique, Michelle Wright) and excellent coverage by co-sponsor Canadian Consulting Engineer magazine has made the awards into a must-attend event.
Image/Remuneration — Our National Convention and Annual General Meeting has become a valuable source of business information and training. The Industry Roundtables, introduced last year, provide valuable information on profits, HR practices and business trends.
Lobbying — Last month ACEC participated in a very successful reception on Parliament Hill. Co-sponsored with the architects (RAIC), contractors (CCA) and building owners (BOMA), the event was well attended and will serve as a model for years to come.
Business practices — Our Contracts, Communications, International and Member Services Committees are busy producing new and better documents (for example, with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities), pushing CIDA for more infrastructure investment and enhancing continuing education. Many great ideas are coming from the MO’s and are benefiting us all. Examples include Quebec’s Image campaign, Saskatchewan’s annual breakfast with the Provincial Cabinet and New Brunswick’s salary survey. These are ideas that can help all of us run our businesses better.
What we will be doing
Our Strategic Plan is clear.
Image — We will become leaders in our communities.
Remuneration — We will educate our clients and our member firms: half the price means half the job.
Lobbying — Our advice will be sought and provided on key decisions. If not sought, our advice will be provided anyway.
Business practices — This is not charity work. We cannot attract the best and brightest unless our businesses are the best and brightest.
Future trends — The world has many problems. Engineers are problem solvers. ACEC will help match the engineer to the problem.
ANDREW STEEVES, P.ENG., CHAIR
ASSOCIATION OF CONSULTING ENGINEERS OF CANADA