Civil Engineers Do Great Things, Whether People Realize it or Not!
May 18, 2010 at 8:41 pm aepcentral
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We as engineers absolutely do great things! I’ll speak specifically about civil engineers in this post because that is my background. Wikipedia defines civil engineering as a professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including works such as bridges, roads, canals, dams and buildings.
So basically, what they are saying is civil engineers design, or at least contribute to the design, of just about everything and anything you see when you walk outdoors, right? Buildings, roadways, dams, traffic signals, traffic signs, storm water ponds and catch basins, dams, utilities, curbs, sidewalks….stop me at anytime….
I think you get the picture. How many objects that we come in contact with each day are designed by civil engineers? A lot! What we do is so important to everyday society; however people rarely recognize it because they take all of these things for granted.
This post was spurred on by a seminar I saw recently on the destruction caused in Haiti by the recent earthquake. So many buildings, roadways, utility systems and other structures were destroyed. In fact every single one of the government buildings were damaged or destroyed. Of course, I am placing no blame on the civil engineers in Haiti, these structures were built so long ago that the Haitians just constructed these items with whatever materials they had available.
Occurrences like what happened in Haiti really show you how important our work is. If we fail, people can die and we can lose our license and even go to jail. If we succeed, everything is normal……
I salute all of you engineers out there who work long hours to meet stressful project deadlines and in doing so greatly improve the lives of people all over the world.
I leave you with the following excerpt from a speech made by Herbert C. Hoover, Engineer and 31st President of the United States:
Engineering is a great profession. There is the fascination of watching a figment of the imagination emerge through the aid of science to a plan on paper. Then it moves to realization in stone or metal or energy. Then it brings jobs and homes to men. Then it elevates the standards of living and ads to the comforts of life. That is the engineer’s high privilege.
The great liability of the engineer compared to men of other professions is that his works are out in the open where all can see them. His acts, step by step, are in hard substance. He cannot bury his mistakes in the grave like the doctors. He cannot argue them into thin air or blame the judge like the lawyers. He cannot, like the architects, cover his failures with trees and vines. He cannot, like the politicians, screen his shortcomings by blaming his opponents and hope that the people will forget.
On the other hand, unlike the doctor, his is not a life among the weak. Unlike the soldier, destruction is not his purpose. Unlike the lawyer, quarrels are not his daily bread. To the engineer falls the job of clothing the bare bones of science with life, comfort, and hope. No doubt as years go by people forget which engineer did it, even if they ever knew. Or some politician puts his name on it. Or they credit it to some promoter who used other people’s money with which to finance it. But the engineer himself looks back at the unending stream of goodness which flows from his successes with satisfactions that few professions may know.
I know this may be a biased crowd, but are we as engineers under-appreciated for what we do?
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Entry filed under: Civil Engineering, civil engineering blog, Civil Engineering Issues, Fun Stuff, Uncategorized.