Apr. 23, 2008 SVEC Telegram

SVEC logo.jpg

Serving on a board has its funnier moments. Last night the Silicon Valley Engineering Council proposed, debated and voted on whether or not to accept telegrams anymore. Text from DJCline.com.

It made me wonder. The SVEC was founded in 1989 so its bylaws are some twenty years old. Were people still sending telegrams while listening to Duran Duran on their boomboxes? There wasn’t much heated debate and the change was approved with giggles all around.

A bigger issue was changing the qualifications for membership. The original bylaws will accept a “local engineering society”. The proposed change wants to include a broader term “technical organization”.

There is opposition on the board to including organizations that are not strictly “engineering”. They feel there is a reason why they have “engineering” in the title of SVEC.

As president of STC’s Silicon Valley chapter, I worked hard to gain acceptance of my organization into SVEC. Our chapter was founded in 1958, some thirty years before SVEC existed. Many of our members are engineers or work closely with them to tell the world about their wonderful innovations. Over the years I have given to SVEC, I have worked tirelessly to promote it around Silicon Valley and the world. The images and articles I have written are often the only glimpse that most people have of the great work we do.

After a long debate, the board voted to present it to the larger council. It was a tie that had to be broken by the immediate past president. The issue will be debated and voted on by the council in June.

I’d like to point out that like the telegram issue, sometimes the world changes beyond the original vision of an organization. Companies like National Cash Register (NCR) eventually made more than cash registers. Charities like the March Of Dimes raised money to fight more than polio. Times change and organizations need to change with them if they are to survive. Broadening the membership is one way to bring in new ideas.

I hope the SVEC Council broadens its definition. I believe that rules and regulations should help people, not keep them from doing the right thing. If they don’t we have the right to change them. Otherwise anything built by engineers can be destroyed by lawyers. When that happens innovation has a habit of going someplace else.

Copyright 2008 DJ Cline Al rights reserved.