Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The end of the in-house engineer

There just isn't going to be the government (utility) in-house engineer anymore. Even Quebec, the most Soviet of governments is turning to outside companies for bridge inspections (as if that is going to work!).

OPG is extremely proud that they only had 3 people working on the new tunnel in Niagara, but they forgot about the 20 years of design and studies of in-house experts on that project. The engineer unions don't help, because they are rather militant, and totally focussed on keeping useless people. They don't focus on the advantages of having tenured in-house experts.

The big trouble is the total instability of the situation. As soon as you say that all engineering will go out, then you destroy all talent on the inside, since there is a 'critical mass' situation here. Ideally, you want to contract on the outside, and have some good talent on the inside doing the purchasing, but this never happens. The primary reason is that 'project engineers' become totally immersed in the corrupt politics of dealing with 'idiot cousin' outside firms, and true talent will run for the hills!

So, what always happens is that political types (Dilbert-boss) deal with the outside companies, who greatly enjoy this, and make the most of it.

The solution is to open things up, and be less political, but that is never going to happen, again, until something bad happens.

ps, I just found out that the engineer union of the big company is currently ripping itself apart, with nasty accusations amongst the elected officials.

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