Posts tagged ‘civil engineering blog’
A candidate of mine was given a 60 day notice that he will be laid off from his employer, due to financial conditions of the engineering consulting firm. This engineer is well-respected in his community and known as an expert in the city and county he resides. His employer asked him to not tell the firm’s clients or employees in other offices that he is leaving. He leads a small office of this national consulting firm. Assuming this engineer has no employment agreement, does he have an obligation to his firm? Does he have a professional responsibility to inform his clients?
Whether you are laid off or choose to leave your current employer, how and should you tell your clients?
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Code Of Ethics should be understood and always in the mind of its members. Engineers face situations that often put them in ethical dilemmas with their employers. Let’s look at our situations above while referencing ASCE canons.
*ASCE canon (professional responsibility) #4 states in part that one acknowledges that “clients should have the autonomy to seek professional services from the engineer of their choice. To do so, however, they must have knowledge of circumstances that might affect their selection, and they must be apprised of the options available to them.” If you are the client manager, project manager or technical leader on a project with client interaction, canon #4 suggests that you let the client know you are leaving. If you are the proposed lead of a proposed project and the client is reviewing other firms as well as yours, you are obligated under this canon to inform them.
*But, one must keep in mind canon #3. Canon #3 tells us that engineers must “issue true statements.” In upholding this responsibility, the engineer must keep in mind that he/she “will avoid any act tending to promote their own interests at the expense of the integrity, honor and dignity of the profession.” One must be careful to not speak badly of their current employer to intentionally cause them to be knocked out of contract consideration. The engineer must speak truthfully while not disparaging another engineer unfairly.
*As canon #5 informs “Engineers shall not maliciously or falsely, directly or indirectly, injure the professional reputation, prospects, practice or employment of another engineer or indiscriminately criticize another’s work.” An exiting employee/engineer must be honest in their assessment of the firm’s ability to continue the client’s work without him/her. What does one say if the engineer assigned to take over the project is incapable of the role? Canon #5 could be viewed as walking a fine line.
Why is it important for your client to know you are leaving your firm? APQC asked executives to “prioritize what they value when hiring a consultant.” Of top and equal importance to these leaders, they place “firm’s experience” and “project team’s experience” with the client’s issue as top reasons to hire a specific consulting firm. Engineers and their employers have a responsibility to their clients to tell them what has happened or will happen with their project and the team. Clients understand business decisions, they make them everyday. They may not agree with the decisions, but they understand them. If they hired the engineering firm for a specific person’s political connection, the engineering firm has now directly impacted their client’s ability to perform.
Informing your clients of your departure is an ethical as well as professional responsibility. Here’s how to make that transition smoother:
- Work with your supervisor to inform your client. You employer will want to minimize the client’s concerns.
- Don’t wait until the last minute or your final day of employment to tell clients.
- Inform client’s in person or by phone if an in person meeting is not possible. Follow up with an email.
- It is also good practice to introduce your project successor and offer to help with a project transition plan.
Keep in mind that while these are your employer’s clients- as described above, the client may be there because of YOU! Always be professional!
Let us know what you think!
View Carol’s profile & connect with her on LinkedIn
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has initiated a “Grand Challenge.” The Grand Challenge asks for a commitment from civil engineers to be innovative in all phases of project planning, design, and implementation. The Grand Challenge’s goal is to reduce infrastructure lifespan costs by 50% by 2025 and to encourage innovation and design for infrastructure sustainability. The ASCE Grand Challenge asks civil engineers from all backgrounds and at every career stage to “implement performance-based standards, resilience, innovation, and life cycle cost analysis in all projects.”
The ASCE Report Card for America’s Infrastructure estimates the investment needed for our infrastructure by 2020 is $3.6 trillion, of which $1.6 trillion is unfunded. With each passing year our bridges decay, water mains leak and our foundations crumble. Band-aids are applied and wounds stitched until the next disaster. The new administration assures us that America’s infrastructure- airports, transit/rail, etc- will lead the world. Where will that $1.6 trillion come from if we are not selling our infrastructure to other countries? ASCE summons its members to become leaders in creating solutions to, at the least, reduce the insufficiency.
What do you think? Can this work? Why not at least try?
Download your “Outreach Toolkit” here: https://ascegrandchallenge.com/toolkit/
Let’s us know what you think!
View Carol’s profile & connect with her on LinkedIn
As I have been enjoying the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi on TV I began to consider the unique engineering and construction of infrastructure necessary to pull off such an amazing feat. The infrastructure must not only be able to satisfy the expectations of the 2014 Winter Olympics, but it must be able to satisfy future needs for post-Olympic plans and activities. The costs entailed in developing effective and efficient transportation systems, in building quality housing for Olympic athletes and coaches, in designing surrounding facilities to accommodate and satisfy the thousands and thousands of tourists and spectators, and creating state of the art and sustainable sporting venues are enormous. After doing a little bit of digging around I came across the following infographic below that was produced by the New Jersey Institute of Technology. It is entitled, “Engineering the Sochi Winter Olympics.” Enjoy!
THE BEST LOGOS ARE WORTH MILLIONS OF DOLLARS…OR RECOGNITION FROM CIVILENGINEERINGCENTRAL.COM!
WE ARE EXCITED TO BRING TO YOU THE 5th ANNUAL
- All nominated logos (tag lines should be included if you have one) must be from civil engineering firms who operate within the United States.
- If the logo has a story behind it, we would like to know about it.
- Logo nominations can be submitted via:
DIRECT TWEET: @civilengineers
LINKEDIN: By responding directly to our announcements you see on any LinkedIn groups
Logos will be judged on a sliding scale based on the following criteria:
- Does the logo make an immediate impact by grabbing one’s attention right off the bat?
- Is the logo memorable? Is it uniquely applicable to what the firm does – enough so that it will positively embed itself in the memory of clients, employees, peers, etc?
- Is the logo appealing to the eye?
- Does the logo accurately represent the company and its services?
- Does the nominated logo accurately represent the firm’s corporate and employment branding initiatives?
- How well is your logo represented in your social media campaign?
- Ron Worth
Chief Executive Officer
Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS)
- Matt Barcus
Managing Partner, A/E/P Central, LLC home of CivilEngineeringCentral.com
- Carol Metzner
Managing Partner, A/E/P Central, LLC home of CivilEngineeringCentral.com
Contest winner will be notified by CivilEngineeringCentral.com during January 2014. Winner will receive:
- Corporate logo prominently displayed on CivilEngineeringCentral.com‘s website for 3 months.
- One month as sponsor on ourLinkedIn Groupe-update, “The LinkedIngineer.” This e-update goes out twice a month to all 10,000 (and growing!) members of the Civil Engineering Central Group on LinkedIn.
- 10 free job postings on CivilEngineeringCentral.com + Featured Employer upgrade.
- Bragging rights until next year 🙂
All entries must be received by March 7th, 2014
Gist, Criteria, Judges, Prizes & Deadline are subject to change without notice as determined by A/E/P Central, LLC, home of CivilEngineeringCentral.com
More A/E firms are adding behavioral and personality assessments to their interview process. These tests or inventories “show” tendencies or ways that you are most likely to respond to your surroundings. Proponents say results from the assessments when used with a face to face interview will help predict a good “fit” between you and the job for which you are applying. These evaluations are standardized and carry statistical analysis to add to more commonly used conversational interviews. It has been reported that, unlike a normal interview, it is impossible to “cheat” on an assessment; impossible to answer questions that you think will give you a profile that an employer is seeking. And, you should not try to cheat. Eventually, your true personality will show itself. Firms believe the more they can discover about a persons strengths in personality as well as technical knowledge, the better the chance for a long term employment fit.
Recently I heard a story that shocked me! An executive shared with me one of his behavioral and personality assessment stories. After multiple interviews for a key leadership role in a mid-sized firm, the CEO asked him to meet with a psychologist for an assessment. As he entered the psychologist’s office, the CEO entered also and sat down. The psychologist began with his very in-depth assessment and the CEO remained. This is unethical and highly unusual. I asked the executive why he didn’t ask the CEO to leave or just stand up and walk out! Easy to think what we all would do but tougher when actually in the situation. Afterwards the executive candidate did tell the CEO it was inappropriate for him to have been in the assessment and he withdrew as a candidate.
Back in my graduate school days (many years ago) I recall writing a paper on the worst personality assessment tool I had come across. The test results were based upon which color you liked the best. The test had the validity of a newspaper horoscope. So as I was contemplating this blog, I took one of the common assessments utilized in our industry: The DISC assessment. Without going into too much detail, I will summarize: It was accurate. My chosen profession as an executive recruiter working with architects, engineers and scientists is a good fit!
In my experience, I have seen that when used accurately, various assessments can be helpful. However, often I have witnessed these tools to be used to knock out otherwise good candidates. Readers of the results often “see what they want to see.” They turn a positive attribute into a negative one. It is important that interpreters and users of the collected data be EDUCATED on how to use the information correctly and to weigh the results accurately!
Have you taken any assessments as part of an interview process? Which ones have you taken? Do you think it is invasive, helpful or neither? Do you think you were not offered a job because of testing?
It is that time of year again and the political landscape is heating up! A Google search shows that past/current Mayors of Omaha, NE, City of East Orange, NJ and Norton, OH were/are civil engineers. Current Portland, OR Mayoral candidate, Steve Sung, spent 32 years as a civil engineer for the city of Portland. With two candidates for California and Indiana congress, civil engineers are “taking to the streets” to lead policy formation.
Recently I asked civil engineer and past Mayor of Frederick, Maryland, Jeff Holtzinger, for his thoughts on civil engineers and local politics. Here is his comment:
“Civil Engineers are a good fit to solve the problems many cities are facing with aging infrastructure and infrastructure that has been outpaced by growth. I also think the analytical thinking which is part of an engineering background gives engineers an advantage in problem solving.”
As our cities’ infrastructure decays, having a background in civil engineering seems to bring an added benefit to the political table. It would be interesting to see if cities with civil engineering trained Mayors have better infrastructure at the end of their term than similar cities.
What do you think?