Kenneth Arnold, founder of Paragon Engineering Services, gave a lecture on being a professional engineer 4 p.m. on Monday in the Texas Tech Civil Engineering building,
“Anyone who acts in a professional manner, is by definition a professional because they're behaving like a professional,” Arnold said.
He said the first aspect of being a professional is to always look out for the best interest for clients including employers and the public as a whole by spending their money like it was one’s money.
Brandon Psencik, environmental engineering graduate student, said it was important to realize an engineer’s clients go beyond just the person who hired them.
“Your clients are more than just your boss, they are the public too,” he said.
Arnold said the next principle is that engineers owe their clients one argument to improve the project and make it better.
“We are hired for our brain abilities,” he said. “If you knew there was a better way, you will hone a strong argument. You can't say ‘I knew that they wouldn't listen. That's their problem.’ If they don't listen, it's not your problem. They hired you for your brain power. Tell them what you think.”
However, Arnold said if the client disagrees with the argument, then engineers should do what the client says to do except if there is technical issues or safety concerns.
Chris Eckerman, a graduate environmental engineering student, said it was important to know the risks of being an engineer.
“This talk made me realize how important it was to consider the implications and ramifications of what we make,” he said.
With those safety concerns and technical errors, Arnold said it is important to be right about those errors and concerns and to correct and learn from mistakes.
“You have to keep questioning what you did based on the new information, so that you can learn how you can do it better,” he said. “And realize that you can, if you don't question yourself on whether you could have done it better, then you're not a professional, you not correcting errors.”
Arnold said being ethical and considering clients’ best interests help one’s credibility and the credibility of the company.
“By being professional, you gain respect for your work within your community. If people know, people work with you see from the industry, come across, and you'll get eventually more interesting and challenging opportunities, which again, will make your work more rewarding,” Arnold said. “You'll have better relations with coworkers, most people want to work in an organization that is truly professional, the way I would find professionals."