Elected Officialsby Dennis Randolph, (M.ASCE), Managing Director; Calhoun County Road Commission, Calhoun County, MI,
Schools and organizations train engineers to use facts. But, engineers are often content to base decisions on their opinions. While engineering judgment is an important part of the professional skills of an engineer, the truly professional engineer is the engineer who knows the difference between engineering judgment and opinion. This is especially true when they deal with elected officials. Some engineers play a game, I have seen it! They claim that politicians are to blame for failures in the infrastructure, when the cause may just as well have been due to poor or sloppy engineering. Yet, I have seen such an argument put forth even when the facts clearly point to the contrary. The most disconcerting thing about such blind arguments is that they completely ignore the fact that there really can be poor engineering as well as careless engineering. But despite who is to blame, the engineer should be the first to want to collect and study the data to find the truth.
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