As we ramp up activities across the state, let’s keep the vision of what we are doing in the forefront of our minds. With every decision we make at the state and local chapter we need to be asking ourselves, “does this decision promote licensure?” and “does this decision elevate the public awareness of the work that our fellow PE’s and members are doing?”
As most members know, the journey to achieve our vision is not an easy one. Fernando Arze-Peredo, PE, used to tell me, “if you are doing this job because you want a pat on the back, you are in the wrong profession.” This was a sobering statement for a new engineer and although that was many years ago, these words are ever more apparent to me now. We continue on our journey knowing that it is a difficult one and yet with each year of passing our successors take up this mantle.
Last month, I sorted through the many historical documents in Lansing and was astounded by the number and magnitude of our organizations’ past accomplishments to achieve this vision. Our organization has been protecting licensure and educating the citizens of Michigan on the importance of licensure for many years. Our predecessors labored hard to make sure that we could continue to live in a safe and prosperous state.
In the past, our predecessors enjoyed a much friendlier landscape to grow an organization such as MSPE and were able to harness a large membership to achieve many great things. At present, our organization is much smaller which requires our leadership to make tough decisions that will impact the future. The future of the MSPE building in Lansing is just one of the hurdles that stands before us. We have discussed this topic at numerous board meetings for the past year. Our immediate past president, Mike Schwartz, PE, put a significant amount of effort into analyzing the potential impact on our financials. We also solicited feedback on a membership survey. I have spent hours meeting with our members to discuss these impacts. Still, the choice remains unclear as either option, selling or retaining the building, is feasible and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. I want to challenge all members of this organization to look past any quick judgement and reservations on this decision. This decision requires a comprehensive review by our leadership to make the best choice for our organization. The Board of Directors has committed itself to completing this task. If you feel that your voice has not been heard, please reach out to your chapter leadership or the any member of the state leadership.
What is clear, is that our organization is facing many challenges including the building issue. How will we keep our path in the ever changing world of social media and impersonal communications? How will we continue to pursue our vision when politicians and the public don’t want to listen to our message? How will our organization change as even our fellow PE’s are disengaging with organizations similar to ours? Though the answers to these questions are not clear, we know that our membership will move forward with courage, determination and an introspective attitude, not because it is easy, but because it is our pledge.
Robert T. Wheeler, PE