Without Engineers, Youve Had A Bad Day.
Albert H. Miller, P.E.,P.L.S., NSPE
President, National Society ofProfessional Engineers
2001 Chair, National Engineers Week
Albert H. Miller
So it's National Engineers Week. I'll be the first to admit, these special commemorative weeks get listed on some secret calendar nobody except the insiders even know where to find, and then a guy like me pops up and asks you to believe it's important. A tall order!
I sell engineering services, so my first instinct is to make you a client of my firm. But let me turn that on its head. I'll be your genie for a week, and when I wave my hand, everything you use and visit that's been created by an engineer will disappear.
Let's start small. Forget about that light switch by your bed I just took your electricity. Electrical engineers bring the juice to your house and design the equipment that produces it. Brushing your teeth? Chemical engineers had their hands in the plastic for tough bristles. So you're already foul-mouthed to start off the day. You're thirsty and dirty too, because the engineers don't exist to purify your tap water and fill your bathtub.
You try to catch the news. Don't think you can get away with your battery-powered radio. Electronics engineers put those circuits together. Your milk and cereal also went out the window since mechanical and electronics engineers cooked up refrigerators to keep your milk fresh, and agricultural engineers figured out how to process the grains.
So now you're on your way to work, depressed and dirty, and driving on that nice banked curve on your usual highway, but now it's not banked and you're flying off the edge and besides that it's full of cracks because civil engineers weren't around to design something safe and lasting. But time out. You'd be on foot (freezing if you're up north) because the genies taken your car, designed by mechanical and automotive engineers, and when it comes down to it, about every other kind of engineer you might think of.
I might mention, you've got no cell phone to call for help, and you probably don't have a winter coat or shoes or even clothes, because engineers have a hand in a lot of those materials and designed the machines and the fasteners to make it all fit.
So now you arrive at that big, handsome, heated office building where you work, still hungry, dog tired, and about as naked as a dog and you've got no computer to even start your job, because the computer and software engineers have been deep-sixed. Of course, I've strung you along again, because you've got no place to even work. No civil, structural or HVAC engineers so no building.
You're pretty much facing a wasteland! Sure, a few people might like this return to nothing, but if you're like me, you'll probably miss all these comforts and innovations and economic prosperity. I'd say that without engineers, you've had a bad day!
I once heard the story of a young girl who had spotted a National Engineers Week poster on the side of a bus in Washington, D.C. She said something like this, (and I'm not making this up!), "I guess engineers make everything that the Good Lord doesn't." Well, maybe that's putting engineers in too good a company! (And obviously excluding professions that shouldn't be left out.) But this week, I'll take it! We've been celebrating National Engineers Week since it was founded in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers, so it's fiftieth-anniversary time, and we feel pretty golden, without showing the years one bit. We're a broad and varied profession that's just getting stronger and more exciting, and we're raring to make your day-to-day life better than ever.
Now Ill return your things. Engineers made them for you. Have a good day.