Return to Index



ENGINEER

Engineering is a great profession. There is the fascination of watching a figment of the imagination emerge through the aid of science to a plan on paper. Then it moves to realization in stone or metal or energy. Then it brings jobs and homes to men. Then it elevates the standards of living and adds to the comfort of life. That is the engineer’s high privilege.

The great liability of the engineer compared to men of other professions is that his works are out in the open where all can see them. His acts, step by step, are in hard substance. He cannot, like the architect, cover his failures with trees and vines. He cannot, like the politician, screen his shortcomings by blaming his opponents and hope the people will forget. The engineer simply cannot deny he did it. If his works do not work he is dammed.

On the other hand, unlike the doctor, his is not a life among the weak. Unlike the soldier, destruction is not his purpose. Unlike the lawyer, quarrels are not his daily bread. To the engineer falls the job of clothing the bare bones of science with life, comfort and hope. No doubt as years go by the people forget which engineer did it, even if they ever knew. Or some politician put his name on it. Or they credit it to some promoter who used other people’s money....

But the engineer himself looks back at the unending stream of goodness which flows from his success with satisfaction that few professions may know. And the verdict of his fellow professionals is all the accolade he wants.

My contribution was the retention area and the resulting clean waters around the southeast. It was suggested in jest that I put a sign up by the thousands of small retention areas saying "Herrick's Pond", but I see them, and am satisfied.