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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

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

  • Engineering survival & success
  • Depends on many skills
  • In addition to technology
gordian knot
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
  • 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
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
  • Engr one of best backgrounds for mgt skills
  • Engr quick learner & analytical
  • 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
universal symbol
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



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


people skills
EngrPeople 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.

dale carnegie
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

real objective
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
so what is the program
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.








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

  • 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.

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
first inaugural
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
  • 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
  • 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
does it work
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.”
  • 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