BY LARRY STAPLES, P.ENG.
As you know, I enjoy history — not so much the intricacies of dates and battlefield names, but rather the sweep of human progress and how apparently individual events form a mosaic.
The Alberta Centennial celebration gives us an opportunity to look back over the path we have travelled, as well as to look ahead. We have been blessed in Alberta with a bounty of natural resources — cropland, forests, oil, coal, and the list goes on and on. We have also been adventurous, industrious and visionary as we built the society we enjoy today.
LARRY'S TOP TEN
Why am I proud to be an APEGGA member? The top 10 list starts now - and I'll keep adding to it over the next nine editions of my column's appearance in The PEGG.
Participation: I have the power to participate in and shape the future of my profession.
The Power of the Ring: When I am introduced as a professional engineer, people assume that I am smart, practical and have an interesting career. (Not a bad starting point, and geologists and geophysicists are in on this one, too.)
Professionalism: The standards for my work (Practice Standards, CPD requirements etc.) are set by my peers, who understand the practicalities of what I face from day to day.
First Principles: I understand how stuff works. (Sure it’s geeky — but
it’s interesting, too.)
APEGGA members, past and present, have been front and centre for every stage of progress in Alberta history. For a terrific overview of the many ways that “we” have impacted everyday life over the past century, see the article by Mike Brathwaite, which The PEGG ran a year ago. Visit www.apega.ca, and read it in the September 2004 PEGG Online.
Roads were built, water and utilities were provided, entire industries were created. For the average Albertan, life became much easier as infrastructure was put in place. On the business front, many job opportunities and much wealth were created as oil and gas was discovered and brought on to production.
What a wonderful century to be an engineer or a geoscientist!
There were opportunities aplenty and APEGGA members have risen to the challenge — and more. Just look at the superlatives which appear in the Brathwaite article.
An Alberta Trend
Beyond the impressive list of projects and accomplishments lies a remarkable trend. When my dad drove across a muddy field towards Leduc #1 to start his engineering career, there was about one APEGGA member per 1,000 Alberta population. By the time I started in the mid-1970s, there were about five per 1,000 — and when my son graduates from engineering in the next few years there will be around 15 per 1,000.
This is three times the national average, and a much higher multiple than our U.S. neighbours enjoy, who do not require universal registration. APEGGA members are woven integrally into the fabric of Alberta society. This bodes very well for Alberta’s second century.
My dad played a part in transforming Alberta from an agricultural economy to an industrial economy. With luck my son will play a part in transforming Alberta from an industrial to a knowledge economy!
Our Centennial Celebration
To mark the centennial, we have invested in a gift which is both retrospective and proactive. A series of vignettes are being prepared for TV, radio and possibly other media: eminent APEGGA members, past and present, will be featured.
Two vignettes feature the late Dr. Karl Clark, P.Eng., oil sands innovator, and Dr. Dave Irvine-Halliday, P.Eng., developer of low-cost LED lighting for developing countries. The stories both celebrate remarkable achievements, and should help inspire young people to pursue engineering and geology careers — which so often affect our quality of life in positive, powerful ways.
In August, through the kind auspices of Western Canada Group of Chartered Engineers Chairman Bill Meadowcroft, I had the opportunity to meet with the president of the Institute of Structural Engineers, Dr. Michael Fordyce.
Mike is an Australian, the first president of the institute to reside outside
of the United Kingdom. As we compared notes on issues of common interest, I was
struck by how our two organizations — geographically a world apart — identified
and addressed very similar issues in a similar fashion.
As APEGGA conducts our “business” in Alberta, it is important that we stay abreast of trends and best practices around the world.