Engineering: Answers for the 1980s

by Dan H. Pletta, (Hon.M.ASCE), Univ. Distingished Prof. Emeritus; Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ., Blacksburg, Va. 24061,

Serial Information: Issues in Engineering: Journal of Professional Activities, 1981, Vol. 107, Issue 3, Pg. 193-204

Document Type: Journal Paper


The innovation and productivity of professional engineers is constrained by politics, corporate policies and professional disunity as well (like OSHA, EPA and CPSC) answered for public safety. The society in which the engineer serves grows more complex as populations increase and as technology improves. These conditions pose technological challenges for the 1980s which are of ever increasing magnitude and which affect our free enterprise system and political freedoms. These challenges are addressed and solutions are suggested, listing goals the profession might consider if it chooses to engage in the societal leadership only it is capable of supplying. A discussion of professional accountability versus corporate responsibility and patent protection is included. Additionally, whether the growth of regulatory agencies like OSHA, EPA and CPSC were answers to the challenges of the 1970s is explored.

Subject Headings: Political factors | Occupational safety | Environmental Protection Agency | Innovation | Public policy | Social factors | Leadership

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