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Engineering Management A Course for Survival. Rosemary Durham THEWAY Corp Tulsa, OK. Marcus O Durham, PhD, PE University of Tulsa Tulsa, OK. Robert A Durham, PE D 2 Tech Solutions, Inc. Tulsa, OK. Abstract. Engineering survival & success Depends on many skills

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Engineering management a course for survival l.jpg

Engineering ManagementA Course for Survival

Rosemary Durham


Tulsa, OK

Marcus O Durham, PhD, PE

University of Tulsa

Tulsa, OK

Robert A Durham, PE

D2 Tech Solutions, Inc.

Tulsa, OK

Abstract l.jpg

  • Engineering survival & success

  • Depends on many skills

  • In addition to technology

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Gordian Knot

  • Class looks at topics

    • Professionalism to ethics

    • Presentation to people skills

    • Project management to international cultures

  • More impot than ever

    • Engineering environment very dynamic

    • Frequent transitions between employer

    • & job function

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  • Numerous personality styles

  • Needs & motivation

  • Changing int’l face of upper level

    • Cultural nuances

    • Remote management

  • Industrial interaction

    • Quality

    • Legal

      Not one text available

Engineering management l.jpg
Engineering Management

  • Almost an oxymoron

    • Engr train to deal w/ things & how work

    • Mgt train to deal w/ people & how to work

  • First engr semesters: pre-business

  • Engr well-adapted to business?

  • Engr perceived as difficult

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  • Engr one of best backgrounds for mgt skills

  • Engr quick learner & analytical

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  • Carnegie Foundation

    • >30 years of surveys

    • 60% of engr degree become

      • Mgr or businessmen

      • w/in 15 yrs

  • Cleland & Kogaolu

    • 40% of industrial execs

    • 34% of all top corporate managers in US

    • Have engr education

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Universal Symbol

  • Unfortunately many engrs lower value of mgt

  • Find reality of universal engr symbol


  • All engr units convert to it

  • If project cannot be converted to money

  • It is unlikely to develop


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1. Dichotomy between engr & mgt

2. Very difficult to find truly cross-sectional book

  • Business type writes

focus on cash, money, financial risk mgt

4. Tech type writes

focus on technology & not people

5. Very few text books of any persuasion

focus on people

6. Joint venture - online

university professor

vice-president international engr firm

image consultant


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People Skills

  • Where most engr have greatest shortcomings

  • Simply not been part of process or education

  • Naïve engr disdain need

    • Soft science & unimportant

    • Doomed to stagnation

      People do business with people they like.

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Dale Carnegie

  • Guru of modern people skills

  • How to Win Friends & Influence People

  • 1939 & still going

  • 3rd mantra

    Find out what people want

    & help them to get it

    In the process, you will get what you want

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Real Objective

  • Move from engr & mgt to leadership

  • Leader know why, mgr know what, engr know how

  • Mgr does things right, leader does right things

  • Hire people that know how,

    Takes a vision or dream to know why

  • Mgr works for someone,

    Leader is working toward something

  • Mgr is a leader without the vision

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So What is the Program

  • Chapter headings identify topics

  • Each area designed for one-hour discussion

  • Seven broad sections

  • Not technical – get that elsewhere

  • Assumed people have technical qualifications

    • Now working on functioning with people.

Topics l.jpg








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Tasks People








  • How you are wired

  • As inherent as color of eyes

  • Not one is better or worse

  • Two questions?

    • Are you more task or people oriented?

    • Are you more outgoing or reserved?

      Differences are source of much conflict

      & Lack of performance

      With training anyone can compensate

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  • Presenting your idea in most effective way

  • & getting feedback

  • More about listening than speaking

  • Perhaps weakest link for tech professionals

  • If can’t communicate, do not have knowledge

  • Numerous vehicles

    Books, papers, articles, reports, memos, emails, letters, lectures, presentations, phone calls, audio recordings, video, handshake, backslap, touch.

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  • Life cycle of technology

  • Theory of technology growth

  • Impact on theory of economics

    W = P Tn

  • Shift in technology cost opens new options

  • Shifts affect people, education, organizations

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  • Involves all outside structural constraints

  • Risk mgt: safety, environmental, quality

  • Force technical solution

    • Not most cost effective

    • Not highest performance

  • Present litigious environment

    • Every product suspect

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  • Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626), philosopher

  • TheAdvancement of Learning

    “For the end of logic is to teach a form of argument to secure reason and not entrap it; the end of morality is to procure the affections to obey reason, and not invade it…”

  • Bacon asserted it is reasonable & logical to pursue morality.

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First Inaugural

  • President George Washington

    “There is not truth more thoroughly established than that there exists in the economy and course of nature an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness”

  • Can ethics & morality be taught?

  • Begs the question, everything is learned

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  • Projects are unique in an organization

  • Exist for a set time & purpose

  • Definable cost, schedule, & task

  • PM skill w/ people, dollars, technology

  • PM trade-off time, money, quality

  • Tech training – how things work

  • So, first responders in forensics

    • By training assume right

    • Other side also assumes right

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  • Dr. Benjamin Franklin

  • 1 of most influential leaders of early republic

  • Businessman, architect of government, diplomat, scientist, philosopher

  • Retired from business at 40

  • Early technologist experimenter

  • Developed support societies, Junto, to investigate ideas

  • Must continue professional development

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Does it work?

  • Evaluations of participants are best guage

  • Uniformly positive

    • “An excellent course for engineering and science students”

    • “We should have more such courses to improve professional skills helpful in the real world.

    • “I thoroughly enjoyed this course. It enhanced my communications skills.”

Conclusions l.jpg

  • Engineering is more than technology

  • People skills necessary to survive

  • Engineers are interested in learning these skills

  • With training, engineers are most effective managers

    Success requires skill with people, dollars, & technology

    Engineering management is the course for survival