Thursday, April 09, 2015

Why is the APEGA so Pathetic and Phony?

I've written about APEGA a few times and a sane and understanding person, only after dealing with them a few times, realizes that it’s only a business. To Be or Not To Be is the title of an old movie from 1942 which I watched it once years ago, probably 20 years ago and don’t remember anything about it. But when it comes to APEGA and we want to see whether it should be or it should not be, I strongly believe that it should not be unless they change the way the manage engineering business in the province completely and fundamentally.
One fact we should not close our eyes to be that APEGA has become a bit more restrict in the past 2 years or so. You didn't have much trouble to become a Professional Engineer just a few years ago. All you needed to do was providing the organization with the list of the courses you had passed during your engineering degree years and then right an exam called National Professional Practice Examination which was about Canadian laws and basics of ethics at work. It is not a very hard examination but people fail. I failed that examination once. The next time I even had 10 minutes extra at the end. Canadian law is complicated and if they want to have a tough exam, they could make it so tough that barely anyone could pass. Ethics is not hard. It is the basics of what is bad and what is good and is mostly common sense. The thing is people mostly read it and forgets it. They do the same to the law part. People, particularly foreigners, study and pass the exam just to be eligible for the title. Fire and forget it a sort of nickname that has been selected for a LASER guided air to ground missile. All that the pilot has to is just to fire the missile after he acquires the target. The system does the rest. The system emits a LASER beam to the target and the missile simply follows the route and hits the target. I don’t think there will ever be a miss. For the majority of the people who apply for the title of Professional Engineer, the scenario is the same: Fire and Forget. They mostly are sure that they hit the target and after that they forget everything about the book and material they studied because they simply don’t care. For the foreigners of Third World countries being an engineer is simply a way to get out of poverty, hunger and starvation, mostly, especially the foreigners from Indian sub-continent. I was talking once with Cheapskate about ASQ’s Certified Quality Engineer examination, a tough examination that I wrote it last time in 2006, failed and never tried after that, and referred to part of the examination that you barely deal with them at work. His answer simply was: Just read them for the sake of the examination and after you pass, forget them all!
Examples of fools who barely know their right hands from the left and have been given the title of Professional Engineer is plenty and as I indicated at the beginning, a few of them are provided already in the past. I list a few other ones I personally have witnessed:
1-      I talked to a colleague once about the visit he had made to a supplier’s workshop. I asked him what he had seen and what he had done. He simply said that they had spent about 10 minutes in the office of his host and then went for beer and pizza in a local joint! Very professional way of handling an order. The individual is now a Professional Engineer working for on a major project and his salary is way higher than mine. Not to mention that he left this company for the one that he works for now because they offered him a better remuneration package.  
2-      This one is a very good example. There was this woman working for the company who believed she was the most knowledgeable individual in the entire company. A holder of a Master’s Degree from a recognized university in Canada, she was a tough one to deal with, a real butch (Yes butch, if you know what it means). She had made this impression that she was the best and unfortunately the management had a blind trust in her. The more I dealt with her, the more of her nasty habits and tricks as well as ignorance were appeared to me. She was working on a purchase order which after months of fabrication, inspection and documentation they finally were shipped to the site. While they were stored at site facility and waiting for installation and commissioning, I once checked the general arrangement drawings and a few other detailed drawings of the equipment and machinery and realized they had not been approved yet by the woman. You imagine this: Months of work by the supplier and the engineering company as well as different sub-contractors on items that are now only a few days from installation and the responsible engineer has not yet approved their basic design drawings! What a responsible engineer who is stuck to morals and ethics. She, for sure, must be nominated for these APEGA awards they generously distribute every year! One person that I’ve already named him in one of my work related posts and I avoid naming him here again in order not to give any clue that whom I’m talking about, told me that she does not usually approve design drawings until she makes sure that the equipment is installed and has not shown any issue during commissioning! Way to go Professional Engineer!
In another interaction I had with her once, I referred to material test certificates provided by one of the suppliers after fabrication and assembly of the items was finished. I asked her what the purpose of those documents, MTRs, would be at that point. If we find any issue with the material not being in accordance with client’s specification or an applicable standard, for example, would they disassemble the machinery, replace that piece, re-assemble, retest and announce its readiness?, I asked. Her answer solely was: We hope that it does not come to that point!! This is a very intellectual answer by a Professional Engineer of APEGA!
Examples of such are countless and it’s only me working in a small company in this city. Imagine how many companies are established and how many people work for them. If we can only see a few members similar to the two, there will be a good percentage of Professional Engineers who do not deserve the title but APEGA provides them with that because they simply care about the money they receive!
Just to show how pathetic APEGA is, it is only enough to refer to the recent election: The last council election of APEGA took place between Mar. 02 and Apr. 04. of this year. According to the organization’s announcement on its website, only 21.45% of the eligible voters participated!! Those probably are comprised of the direct beneficiaries of the election results, colleagues of the candidate who thought by voting for the person and letting him or her know later, would secure their jobs or relationship with the individual, low-capacity, shallow individuals who think APEGA is a big deal and they are now a big deal that are part of a phony organizations and they also though their vote matters! The rest seem they didn't simply give a shit!  
The funny thing is these guys of APEGA are shameless and somehow impudent, if I can put it that way (it must be an obsolete term!). Regardless of all this shit that is going on they still send their silly magazine with glossy paper out, they keep two expensive offices in two major cities of the country open and keep going with their fake business, stressing that this is a self-governing organization! Of course it is self-governing but those selves are special people. Nevertheless I don’t think it would have been much different from what it is now, had it not been a self-governing organization. Their volunteering system is really funny. I, at times, receive e-mails from them indicating they need volunteer for this event or that event and it is specifies in what filed of engineering the volunteer individual should be active in. I’ve never received an e-mail which has been sent to me correctly. If an organization cannot handle something as simple as this, how do you expect them to work on more complicated issues!?
I give you another example to show that these guys are completely inadequate and disorganized. APEGA Publishes a, I think, by-weekly magazine called PEG (not pig although what they mainly do resembles what a pig does!). This is a glossy and shiny magazine which basically has nothing but a few pages of news (that nobody cares about!), pictures of CEO, president, president-elect and other members of the organization including councilors and board of directors, few pages of advertisement, interviews and introduction of available courses which someone might be interested in taking them. That is all! I don’t think anyone even turns the pages when they receive it and it’s of course free because nobody would pay for it otherwise. This magazine used to come in a format of newspaper years ago and this truly shows that APEGA’s revenue has been significantly increased in a way that instead of a publishing a black and white charity-shaped paper, they are publishing a shiny and bright magazine which similar qualities (in terms appearance, not content) are sold for $8 to $12 in magazine stands. This magazine, as I stated earlier, is sent to the members free of charge. Last year I realized that I had not received a certain issue and contacted them. What they did was they immediately send another copy, claiming that my name had been probably removed from their distribution list. I received the original copy just a week after that! This means that they have no clue what they are doing, they have no control over the number of magazines published and they have no cost restriction for this nonsense but this actually is my money which is turned to that magazine and coming back to me. I certainly do not need money spent on such a useless thing and distributed carelessly but hey…what can I do? It’s self-governing but do I have a voice here? Can I ask them to discontinue the magazine and spend the money on something that actually has a benefit for the members, especially that the magazine is available online and you do not even have to be a member to access it?! I’d rather the association had more continuing education courses, presented directly by them or through well-known organizations, with reasonable prices instead of the magazine.
Here are a few of the offered courses or seminars by the association:

* Personal and professional mastery: achieving superior performance and resilience. $299 + GST, a one day seminar!

* Networking; Building a strong business relationship. Same price, a one day seminar again. 

I have nothing against the instructors but we all now that building strong relationship or master your personal or professional life would not accur by attending a one-day seminar! 
Things about APEGA is so much to discuss that I can write a book about it. I don't have the time neither the publisher to publish the book. I'm restricting myself to what is written here. 

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