Practicing engineering without a license (*Video*)

My friend, Jackie Faye, interviews the Raleigh man accused of “Practicing engineering without a license.”
What makes a government functionary think that this sort of behavior is appropriate? Disagreement in public policy is normal. Different groups have different tolerances for risk and different views on appropriate ways to manage those risks. That’s what politics is all about. Instead of accepting what amounts to a policy paper, and evaluating it, this guy decided to try to intimidate his opposition. He forgot that you can’t silence people in the internet age.
Update: Jackie did another report two days ago about a homeless shelter in Raleigh that is listed as the home of record for 40 registered sex offenders. Check it out and tell me what you think.

17 responses to “Practicing engineering without a license (*Video*)

  1. How dare these citizens engage in informed debate with public officials? Don’t they know that the 1st Amendment, with its “right to petition government for redress of grievances” is just a quaint artifact? Why, that Constitution is over 100 years old. Who could be expected to understand it? Certainly not government employees.

  2. NC DOT Engineer does something stupid. Remember, no man is a complete failure. He can always be used as a bad example.

  3. Legally the State might be right – the registration laws describe a large universe of activities, the practice of which are exclusively made the domain of licensed engineers. That’s for the purpose of public safety.

    Critics of the laws assert that they unfairly defend turf for the mere enrichment of the engineers. There are good arguments both for and against such laws, but the present case is one where rigid enforcement should be waived without a second thought. Kevin Lacey is abusing the laws, by seeking to gain an unfair advantage over the North Raleigh group in the argument. Let him explain, using good engineering methodology, why they’re wrong. But shame on him for crying to the Board of Registration.

    I’d recommend that the North Raleigh group write the members of the Board directly and explain that their activity is an exercise in democratic advocacy, not the practice of engineering for compensation. Their political activities threaten no harm to public safety, and since the MUCTD is public information their citations should be lauded and used for a basis of future discussion.

    Usually, members of such Boards are quite reasonable about such matters.

    Hank Bradley, PLS, PE

  4. I would have been nice if they had gotten the engineer’s side of the story. The narrative on this story just seems to be a bit too fishy. Engineers have to deal daily with clueless laypersons. They get used to it and learn to just shake their heads and move on.

    Filing a complaint to the board would take a lot more effort than it’s worth, if the engineer was just wanting to be spiteful. Who knows though, maybe the guy is just a dick, or maybe the neighborhood association was playing scorched-earth politics with the engineer’s bosses, who would be elected officials that wouldn’t know the difference between sound and unsound engineering practices.

  5. Hank, I’d agree that any documents transmitted to a contractor for construction of roads ought to be reviewed and stamped by a PE. That keeps just any schmoe from handing a contractor some drawings and saying, “build this.”

    But let’s face it, that’s not what this group did. They researched the relevant standards, synthsized what they believed to be a valid alternative design and submitted it to the NCDoT for review by their engineers, including at least one PE. No one in the group suggested their design was PE-approved, that anyone within the group was even an engineer, nor that they tried to get a civil contractor to execute the design.

    Lacy’s complaint is nothing more than an attempt by a petty bureaucrat to shut up a troublesome group of citizens trying to better their neighborhood.

  6. I don’t know…. The guy looks kind of sketchy….first of all there is the sweater-vest (probably hiding a legally licensed CCW hand gun), the thinning hair, the complete lack of slang or vulgarity during the interview. But worst of all, he and his ‘association’ (I’m sure he refers to it as his Posse–off camera of course) are guilty of clubbing a public official—with Logic. And you know how they hate that.

  7. “would have been nice if they had gotten the engineer’s side of the story.”

    I think so too. I just got an email from the reporter that she is working on a follow-up story. To my mind, silence from the Engineer sounds like guilt. I’d like to know what prompted him to take this action. The reason that this is such a big story is that it appears to be a blatant power play.

  8. Turning in something called a traffic study, does tend to imply that you consider yourself qualified to produce such a thing. The guy should probably stop advertizing his services as a surveyor, plumber, lawyer, doctor… while he’s at it.

  9. Did this fellow practise engineering, or did he accurately criticise the malpractise of an engineer?

  10. Can that guy be charged with practicing stupidity without a licence?

  11. A license is government permission to do something that would otherwise be illegal (i.e., a licensed brothel in Nevada).

    When citizen’s get uppity and don’t ask the government for permission before doing something you can be sure that the government hammer will fall.

    The government generally uses the law as an offensive tool to compel the population to comply with its edicts. In most cases the government could care less whether it is acting lawfully, or whether it is even applying the law to the intended persons or property. The government only cares that there is a superficial appearance of legality.

    Here’s a snapshot of the system of law that we have in America today:

    1. Government control of persons and property.
    2. The receipt of revenue, either by lawful action or extortionate conduct.
    3. The protection of the system that provides for points 1 and 2.
    4. The protection of persons who facilitate points 1, 2, and 3.

    In the case above no one applied for a license and generated money for the state. The question of whether they were legally required to do so is moot and the government will punish with intent to intimidate or coerce a civilian population.

    By the way that’s the definition of terrorism. From Funk and Wagnalls New Practical Standard Dictionary (1946) TER-ROR-ISM noun A system of government that seeks to rule by intimidation.

  12. I hope in her next interview Jackie Faye explores the internet rumor I saw that Lacy is an anthropologist (PhD – Duke) and his undergraduate degree isn’t in an engineering field either.

    So who is practicing engineering without a license here?

    And how did he get his job?

    Inquiring minds … .. . .

    (A NC resident asks.)

  13. “I would have been nice if they had gotten the engineer’s side of the story.”

    The engineer probably won’t consent to be interviewed by anyone without a journalism license.

  14. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–neither the Wright Brothers nor George Westinghouse graduated from engineering colleges. They certainly weren’t licensed. This is nothing but political squeeze and intimidation.

    Licensing is for protection of the public from those who would perform engineering services for compensation and who are not qualified to do so. And most particularly, so that unsafe devices or structures do not get built.

    There was no engineering *service* performed here, and the citizen’s group would never have been in a position to either have had something built nor had intent to let a contract. They were thus not a actor in search of an engineering service that would result in actual construction, but a group proffering opinions.

    This investigation needs to be DOA at the Board or it will redound to its everlasting shame–and perhaps a serious look at the need for licensing, since if it can be expanded to cover First Amendment rights of citizens then it is probably already being used to trample on people in the profession in the state of North Carolina.

  15. oh, no…not engineering without a license? Who would do such a thing? He is probably the type of guy that would cut his own hair or design his own interior or unstop his own toilet or, god forbid, fix his own car. He needs to be stopped before he does something even more heinous like give legal advice.

  16. Jack Randall, Dayton Ohio

    Great comments. I am reminded of this passage from the Declaration of Independence, read during the wonderful pre-game show prior to the Super Bowl:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

  17. As a licensed engineer, I can assure you that licensing is about collection license fees and levying fines against anyone who is not licensed. It has absolutely nothing to do with the competency of those being licensed.