oa Civil Engineering = Siviele Ingenieurswese - Gaining real respect

Volume 4, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1021-2000



At an American Society of Civil Engineers' (ASCE) Conference on Managing in Competitive Environments held in Chicago last April, members were counselled on how to respond to a single question: 'How can civil engineers gain more respect in comparison with other engineers who are engaged in producing the dramatic new products of Silicon Valley?' The answer was shocking: 'Tell them when you turn on the faucet for a glass of water, civil engineers made sure it is safe and potable ... when you flush the toilet civil engineers ensured the waste is properly treated ... when you drive to work, civil engineers designed the roadway you travel.' Really? Is that the message we want to tell the world, particularly new civil engineering students? I think not. In addition to being powerless, it also has the fundamental, almost elemental, sales pitch flaw: It is 'me'-oriented rather than customer-oriented.

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