Spring 2019 PEG

President’s Notebook

APEGA

My Final Call to Action as APEGA’s 99th President BY NIMA DORJEE, P.ENG., FEC, FGC (HON.) APEGA President

It’s easy to be blasé about our professional roles. We act ethically, we perform our duties within our areas of training—and voila, the public is properly protected. Society, for the most part, moves forward. When we do this properly, there’s no such thing as choosing to ignore codes, standards, and legislation. There are no shortcuts to success. My bias is showing here, but by my reckoning, engineers and geoscientists play a disproportionate role in our march of progress. Bridges stay up, the bounty beneath our feet is discovered and put to good use, our shareholders smile. We hold our heads high, turn off our computers at the end of the day, and head home to be with our families and sleep the sleep of the just. There’s nothing wrong with all that. In fact, it encapsulates the beauty and power of self-regulation. Because we act professionally in our everyday lives, APEGA is well equipped to continue to serve the people of Alberta for another storied century. Member self-interest is channelled into the greater good. Kudos all round. But is there more we should be doing? I think so. And that’s the challenge I present to you, as my term as your President winds down. This is my last column in The PEG . Soon, I’ll shift into Past-President mode, as the 2020 centennial of this wonderful organization draws near. I have viewed my role as one of encouragement and leadership, rather than one of heavy-handed direction, especially when it comes to my relationship with members and permit holders. In every interaction we’ve had during my term, I have listened to you and also done my best to inspire you. I have shared information and ideas that dare us to stretch our imaginations beyond

what, on cursory examination, we think can achieve. I’m talking about the big picture and the moves we make now, as we bring an even better world into focus. If you’ve been reading my words in this space, you’ll recognize some common threads. In short, my column has been about our people: who we are, what we have, and how we can work together. I’ve written about how none of us succeed on our own, using as an example my own journey from refugee in India to professional engineer in Alberta. I’ve written about the need to develop our own engineering and geoscience communities, to develop new opportunities and connections, and to support each other. And I’ve implored you to think of Alberta’s surplus of senior engineers and geoscientists, along with the regulatory excellence that buttresses them, as a provincial resource we should share with each other and the world. Now, let’s look at leveraging all this into the arena of universal responsibility. Let’s start thinking of our duty to the public as something bigger than doing our jobs properly—and, dare I say it, bigger than our actual professions. I am not suggesting that you aren’t already giving back or serving the greater good in other ways. Some of you have earned enormous wealth, within and beyond engineering and geoscience, and I would never, ever minimize the impact that the labs, buildings, cultural enterprises, health facilities, schools, and other deserving projects you’ve supported have had. It’s impossible to give you each individual recognition—I would miss many of you, which in itself reflects how prolific we are, when it comes to donating to good causes.

4 | PEG SPRING 2019

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