This page changes frequently and offers information and describes events that may help enhance your personal and professional development. Examples are new concepts and ideas, emerging issues, upcoming conferences, press releases, recently published books and articles, notable speeches, technical developments, and national and global trends.
In 2021, after two years of research, I published Engineering’s Public-Protection Predicament: Reform Education and Licensure for a Safer Society. It provides many examples of U.S. engineering excellence and engineer exemplars. In contrast, and as suggested by the subtitle, the book critiques these two aspects of American engineering – suggests remedies:
- Massive engineering licensure-exemption laws that put the public and environment at unnecessary risk.
- Inadequate education for licensure where education breadth and depth are based on a static nine-decade old Model Law.
I spoke about “Using Brain Basics to Work Smarter” at the November 2020 meeting of the SunCoast Branch of ASCE in Sarasota, Florida. The meeting was held in a park pavilion. My podium was a park bench and I used props, including a cauliflower to represent the brain and a “snowflake” to suggest the uniqueness of each brain. The combination of the outdoor setting and the props was well received – a welcome diversion from PowerPoint.
Eighteen months of research led me to examples of U.S. engineering excellence and engineer exemplars – and serious liabilities. I welcome opportunities to share, via speaking and writing, what I have learned. All of this will be included in my in-process book Engineering in America: Celebrate Achievements, Reform Education, Reduce Harm to be published in early 2020. Want to be advised when it is available? Let me know at email@example.com. You will receive an overview of the book and information about how to obtain it.
My research over the past 18 months led me to examples of U.S. engineering excellence and engineer exemplars. I welcome opportunities to share, via speaking and writing, some of what I have learned. All of this will be included in my in-process book Engineering in America: A Celebration and Critique. As suggested by the book’s title, it is critical of two aspects of American engineering. The first is engineering licensure-exemption laws that put the public and environment at unnecessary risk. The second liability is inadequate education for licensure which is based on a static nine-decade old Model Law. Again, I am open to sharing what I am learning.
Want to be advised when Engineering in America: A Celebration and Critique is published? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will receive an overview of the book and, if needed, information on how to obtain it.
In June 2020, I presented “Engineering Exemptions and Education: Diminish the First and Enhance the Second” as part of the Indiana Society of Professional Engineers (ISPE) annual conference, which was successfully held virtually. In May, I gave a similar presentation as part of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) PE Institute webinar series. I welcome opportunities to speak on this subject – to share what I have learned about the strengths and weaknesses of engineering in America.
My article “Design Fixation: Avoid It and Innovate More” appeared in the May-June 2020 issue of Precast Inc. Magazine, a publication of the National Precast Concrete Association (NPCA). The article is available here.
In May 2019, I spoke at the 21st Annual International TRIZ Conference held at Purdue University in May. My paper titled “Can Doing Art Make You Even More Communicative and Creative?” was well-received. Many engineers, scientists, and other technical professionals are artists or inclined to experiment with doing some form of art.
According to the Altshuller Institute for TRIZ Studies, the conference sponsor: “We are the only organization officially authorized by Genrich Altshuller [a famous Russian inventor], the founder of TRIZ, to use his name. TRIZ (pronounced treez) is the Russian acronym for the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving. TRIZ is a powerful systematic methodology, based on empirical data (study of patents) that can provide solution concepts for a wide range of technical and non-technical problems.”
In April 2019, I spoke about “Neuroscience 101: Might Your Teaching and Their Learning Benefit?” to faculty of the Porter County (Indiana) Career and Technical Education program. Topics included overcoming negativity bias, changing bad to good habits, the costs of multi-tasking, why diverse teams are more productive, why the brain is like a muscle, and how to use whole-brain tools.
ASCE invited me, as a volunteer, to present the webinar “Mentoring: Guidance for Mentors and Mentees” in January 2018. It was part of the Society’s kick-off of its new virtual mentoring effort which invited ASCE members to become mentors and mentees. I drew on my mentoring studies, my speaking and writing about it, and my consulting experiences in helping to start two different and successful mentoring programs.
My article “Our Conscious and Subconscious Minds: A Powerful Duo” was published in September 2018 on the website of the Altshuller Institute for TRIZ Studies.
In September 2018, I presented “Our Brain: Are We Practicing Good Stewardship With It?” at Christ Lutheran Church, Valparaiso, IN as part of their year-long stewardship program.
I presented “Avoid Being Stung by Einstellung: Then Innovate” in July 2018 at the annual conference of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) in Las Vegas, NV. The Einstellung Effect, also called design fixation or reproductive thinking, inhibits creativity and innovation.
In July 2018, I presented “How to Innovate More by Avoiding the Design Fixation Trap” as part of EMI’s webinar series.
I presented “Design Fixation: Fix It and Innovate More” at the June 2018 Indiana Society of Professional Engineers (ISPE) Conference in Indianapolis, IN. The presentation was well received as indicated by the large audience. This may reflect the desire of some engineers to do more creative/innovative work.
Pearson Education published the Global Edition of my book Introduction to Creativity and Innovation for Engineers part way into 2017. This followed the earlier publication of the North American edition. Most of the initial sales of the Global Edition occurred in Singapore, Malaysia, and Poland with scattered sales elsewhere.
In December 2017, ENR published my Guest Viewpoint “STEM is Good, but STEAM is Better.” I suggest that we “build a head of STEAM” at the individual and organizational levels by developing a more open, exploratory mindset. For example, when forming a team, select individuals who will bring interest and expertise in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. Research shows that heterogeneous teams produce more creative/innovative results.
In November 2017, as part of ASCE’s continuing education program, I presented the webinar “Ethical Behavior: The Key to Earning Trust.” I offered 6 tools for making ethical decisions and presented 2 very different and instructive ethics case studies (General Motors ignition switch disaster and Citicorp Center design error). Obtain information about how to purchase this, and any other of my 21 archived webinars, and to earn CEUs.
During November 2017, I was interviewed by Anthony Faszano, PE, as part of his The Engineer Coach podcast series. Our topic was making mistakes and learning from them. We concluded that, when viewed positively, mistakes are “potholes on the road to success.” Listen to the 30-minute podcast.
In response to invitations, I made the following presentations in September and October 2017. The common element of my comments to highly varied audiences was if you learn brain basics, you will be able to live and work smarter -- more effective, innovative, and creative -- while making fewer errors and reducing stress.
- Indiana Society of Professional Land Surveyors -- Northwest Branch, “Use Neuroscience 101 to Live and Work Smarter,” September 14.
- Valparaiso University engineering students and faculty, “Use Brain Basics to be More Productive and Innovative,” September 15.
- National Precast Concrete Association, Carmel, IN, “Innovation: It’s in the Brain!” October 5. (A webinar co-presented with Claude Goguen, PE, Director of Sustainability and Technical Education of NPCA to 99 sites in the U.S. and Canada, India, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Uruguay.
- Blue Sky Financial Partners, “You, Your Brain, and the Rest of Your Life,” October 6.
To my great satisfaction, these diverse audiences -- surveyors, small business owners, engineering students and faculty, designers of concrete structures, and financial advisors and their clients -- responded positively to my message and expressed appreciation for it.
In July 2017, I presented “Use Neuroscience 101 to be More Innovative, Productive Engineers” to members of the City of San Jose’s Public Works, Environmental, and Transportation Departments. Shortly after the event, Barry Ng, PE, Director of Public Works wrote that I am “a thought-provoking and engaging speaker” who combines a “wealth of professional experience and self-directed research on the human brain to arrive at excellent suggestions toward creative and innovative problem-solving skill development for engineers.”
Blue Sky Financial Partners of Valparaiso, IN invited me to speak at their October 2017 Morning Brew Workshop for clients. My topic: “You, Your Brain, and the Rest of Your Life.”
The NPCA chose me to work with them and co-present the webinar “Innovation: It’s in the Brain” on October 5, 2017. Founded in 1965, the NPCA is an organization of 1400 U.S. and Canadian manufacturers of precast concrete products. I am pleased to know that this organization values the innovative power of knowing how our brains work.
In June 2017, I spoke about “Would Doing Art Make You an Even Better Engineer?” at the annual conference of the Indiana Society of Professional Engineers.” A lively Q&A and several post-session comments indicate that the presentation was well received.
Consultant Larry Galler, who presides over the President’s Round Table program on radio station WVLP in Valparaiso, IN, interviewed me for an hour on May 25, 2017. We enjoyed an energetic and wide-ranging discussion that included the role of unexpected opportunities in careers, the benefits of acquiring brain literacy, and the purpose and content of my book Introduction to Creativity and Innovation for Engineers.
I was selected by the UNH to prepare an eLearning module titled “Resolving Difficult Ethical Issues.” It will be available to faculty at the 26 engineering colleges comprising the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN), a consortium committed to developing entrepreneurially minded engineers. I previously created the module “Thinking Creatively to Drive Innovation.”
My most recent YouTube video is “How to Use a Whole-Brain Approach to Live and Work Smarter.” It stresses intentional use of our left and right brains and our conscious and subconscious minds.
Pearson recently published the Global Edition of my 2016 book Introduction to Creativity and Innovation for Engineers. The Global Edition program provides education resources to learners world-wide and does so with modest changes in content and with attractive pricing. It is available outside of North America with the highest sales in in the United Kingdom, across Asia, and Australia.
In December 2016, I began an experimental series of YouTube videos for various reasons, one of which is to share potentially useful personal and professional growth ideas and methods. Videos posted to date are:
Critiques of these YouTube videos and suggestions for topics of future videos are appreciated. Contact me at email@example.com or 219-242-1704.
Are you striving to keep up? Working to fulfill continuing education requirements? As part of the continuing education program of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), I have presented webinars since 2002. Over 20 of my leadership, management, marketing, ethics, and communication webinars are archived and available for purchase at individual, group, ASCE member, and non-ASCE member rates.
By taking and passing a post-test, users receive CEUs based on the course length. Any of the webinar topics can be presented in-house at your organization in which case they would be tailored to your challenging issues, problems, and opportunities. Contact Stu Walesh at firstname.lastname@example.org or 219-242-1704 for more information.
Pearson, publisher of my 2016 book Introduction to Creativity and Innovation for Engineers, invited me to present a webinar in Pearson’s continuing education series for faculty across the U. S. My topic: “Art as Part of Science and Engineering Education?” If you are interested in having this topic presented at your next special event, let’s communicate.
I spoke about “Using Neuroscience to Study and Work Smarter” to civil engineering students and some of their faculty at Valparaiso University. I urged them to acquire basic brain literacy -- Neuroscience 101 -- because it would enable them to study smarter now and work smarter later.
In August 2016, I made somewhat similar working smarter (how to be more effective, creative, innovative) presentations to two very different groups and was pleasantly surprised with the results. The two audiences enthusiastically responded to my assertion that knowing more about our brain enables us to work and live better. The presentations:
- “You, Your Brain, and the Rest of Your Life” presented at the Indiana Fraternal Alliance Annual Meeting, Michigan City, IN, August 5, 2016.
- “Using Neuroscience to Work Smarter: More Effective, Creative, Innovative,” presented at the Third U.S. – Japan Geoenvironmental Engineering Workshop, Chicago, IL, August 13-14, 2016.
I presented “Art as Part of an Engineer’s Education?” at the Reunion Conference on Environmental Engineering held at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Then, at the ASEE Annual Conference in New Orleans, I presented “Possible Influences of the NSPE EBOK and the AAES Engineering Competency Model on the CEBOK3” and “Neuroscience 101: Might Your Teaching and Their Learning Benefit?” While at that conference, I received the Glen L. Martin Practitioner Service Award from the Civil Engineering Division of the American Society for Engineering Education. This honor is “awarded to an engineering practitioner for distinguished service to or support of civil engineering education.”
In April 2016 I was invited to make several presentations at the University of Wisconsin - Platteville. I spoke about the following topics to the indicated audiences:
- “Neuroscience 101: Might Your Teaching and Their Learning Benefit?” to faculty of the College of Engineering, Mathematics, and Science.
- “10 + 10: Writing and Speaking Tips” to students in the senior project class.
- “Ethical Behavior: Earning Trust” to engineering practitioners and students.
Stu Walesh was invited to serve on a panel at the February 2016 NAE “Forum on Proposed Revisions to ABET Engineering Accreditation Commission General Criteria on Student Outcomes and Curriculum (Criteria 3 and 5).” His paper, “Proposed Revisions to ABET General Criteria 3 and 5: A Practitioner’s Perspective” is available here.
Stu Walesh's latest book begins by providing engineering students and practitioners with neuroscience-based knowledge. Building on brain basics, the book describes and illustrates 20 tools that stimulate whole-brain creative and innovative thinking by individuals and groups as they take on technical and nontechnical challenges. The text identifies the innate, often under-utilized characteristics of creative-innovative individuals. It also offers ways to overcome the resistance to change typically encountered when bold new ideas are offered. Readers will learn how to work smarter (more effective, efficient, creative, and innovative), strengthen their organizations, provide more effective products and services, advance their careers, and experience the thrill of doing what has never been done. Click here for additional information.
In the fall of 2015, I had opportunities to share what I have learned about how to use basic brain knowledge to help us live and work smarter. I made the following presentations:
* "You, Your Brain and the Rest of Your Life," September 24, Christ Lutheran Church, Valparaiso, IN.
* "Working Smarter: More Effective, Efficient, and Innovative," half-day workshop on October 15 for the Leadership Team at the Valparaiso City Utilities, Valparaiso, IN
* "Working Smarter: Using Brain Basics to Enhance Individual and Organizational Behavior," a national webinar on October 21 sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
* "Working Smarter: More Effective, Efficient, and Innovative," October 28, Morning Business Hour at First Financial Bank, Crown Point, IN.
These presentations to highly varied audiences were well received. They drew on the results of my research which is presented in detail in my book Introduction to Creativity and Innovation for Engineers published by Pearson Prentice Hall in 2016.
In 2015, I was selected by the University of New Haven to prepare an asynchronous online learning module titled "Thinking Creatively to Drive Innovation." The University is one of about 20 comprising the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network in which members are committed to fostering an entrepreneurial mindset in engineering students. While the principal audience for the module is be first-year engineering students at the member institutions, the concepts, information, and tools/techniques are readily applicable throughout any student's undergraduate and graduate education and then during professional practice.
At the request of ASCE's Task Committee on Educational Requirements for Licensure, I prepared the white paper "Comparison of Today's EAC/ABET Engineering Degree Criteria to Future Capabilities Recommended in NSPE's Engineering Body of Knowledge." Some key conclusions are: "Current engineering students in accredited programs, based on the minimum requirements for those programs, are not being exposed to one half of the EBOK’s 30 capabilities ... Many of the capabilities in the “gap” need course work ... Going forward, the formal educational requirements for licensure must be expanded and coordinated with a strengthened Engineer Intern experience." For a copy of the white paper, contact me at email@example.com.
I spoke on "The Human Brain: An Engineer's Pragmatic View" in Indianapolis at the Annual Conference of the Indiana Society of Professional Engineers. Then, in Seattle, I presented "Creativity and Innovation as Part of the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge." at the Annual Conference of the American Society for Engineering Education. If one or both of these topics interest you, I would be pleased to share the paper(s). Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a result of having been invited to contribute to The Leadership Imperative Blog of the American Society of Civil Engineers, I have posted these two items: "Why the Push-Back on Creativity and Innovation?" and "Turning the Power of Habits to Your Advantage?" These posts, which drew a variety of responses, are available here. According to ASCE, the blog provides a forum for exploring how engineers can more successfully serve society as leaders in the coming decades.
As a consultant to the water-wastewater-stormwater utility in Valparaiso, IN, I served as facilitator of the ad hoc Fluoride Commission. It was charged with studying whether or not the utility should continue to fluoridate the public water supply. After four months of sometimes spirited input and discussion conducted in a transparent and inclusive manner, the Commission recommended continuing the current practice and revisiting the issue in five years. Once again I saw how a diverse group of open-minded citizens will make an informed decision that is in the best interest of the community.
In July 2014, spoke to the local PMI chapter on the well-received topic "Working Smarter: Using Brain Basics to Improve Project Management." This is part of my effort to help professionals be even more effective and innovative by learning more about recent brain discoveries and their very practical applications. Just as you don't have to be a certified auto mechanic to get better gas mileage, you don't have to be a brain surgeon to get better performance out of your brain.
As a representative of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), I am serving as a content expert helping the American Association of Engineering Societies (AAES) and the U.S. Department of Labor develop a competency model for engineers. The model, which will describe engineering knowledge, skills, and abilities, is intended to serve as a resource for practitioners and academics across all engineering disciplines. This project builds on the body of knowledge efforts of various engineering societies including ASCE, the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), and the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AAEES).
In June 2014, I presented "Engineering Body of Knowledge: Tomorrow's Engineer" to about 60 practicing engineers at the Annual Conference of the Indiana Society of Professional Engineers and then spoke on "NSPE's Pan-Engineering Body of Knowledge" to approximately 35 engineering educators at the national American Society of Engineering Education Annual Conference. I and other members of the Engineering Body of Knowledge (EBOK) Committee of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) welcome opportunities to speak about the EBOK. For additional information contact me at email@example.com and/or for a complimentary copy of the NSPE report Engineering Body of Knowledge, click here.
I conducted interactive presentations at the annual senior manager's meeting of a multi-office consulting firm. My three topics were: 1) "The Leader Within: The Seven Qualities of Leaders," 2) "Strategic Planning: The Good and Bad (Look Before You Leap)," and 3) "12 Marketing Tips: Is Marketing Everyone's Business?" Each topic was well received based in audience participation and anonymous reviews. For a summary of who I have served and how, click here.
In March, 2014 I spoke in Sarasota, FL to ASCE's SunCoast Branch. My topic, "Using
Brain Basics to Work Smarter," offered practical tips on how to be more effective, efficient, and innovative. The attendees seemed intrigued by the brain basics I shared and, based on the Q&A, welcomed the working smarter tips.
In early 2014, I began serving on ASCE's Continuing Education Blue Sky Task Committee. The charge to this team includes enhancing the recognition and value of ASCE's Continuing Education Program throughout the U.S. and around the globe.
Stu Walesh's book Engineering Your Future: The Professional Practice of Engineering, which was published by Wiley in 2012, has been adopted by 30 universities. Click here for a list of the universities and some related information. EYF provides professional practice (non-technical or "soft-side") guidance to students and practitioners in all engineering disciplines and supports current education reform efforts, including those embracing a body of knowledge (BOK). The book is also designed as a reference book for younger engineers and other technical professionals. EYF includes, but goes beyond, the usual content of non-technical books for engineers by devoting entire chapters to additional important topics such as developing relationships, business and personal accounting, achieving quality, role and selection of consultants, marketing, and leading change.
In late 2013, the National Society of Professional Engineers released the aspirational Engineering Body of Knowledge (EBOK). This first ever U.S. pan-engineering body of knowledge is defined as the depth and breadth of knowledge, skills, and attitudes appropriate to enter practice as a professional engineer, that is, licensed.The essence of the EBOK is a set of 30 capabilities. They are organized into three categories, namely, Basic or Foundational, Technical, and Professional Practice. The forward-looking EBOK is intended to serve engineers and engineering stakeholders who want to thrive in a rapidly changing world. Intended users of the EBOK include prospective and current engineering students, Engineer Interns, Professional Engineers, engineering mentors and supervisors, employers, engineering and other faculty, accreditation leaders, and licensing and certification boards. I was pleased to serve on the committee that worked for two years to prepare the EBOK by collaborating with many professionals within and outside of NSPE and I welcome opportunities to speak about it. A complimentary copy of the report is available here.
I led the workshop "Improve Your Effectiveness in Utility Management" in Indianapolis at the October 31, 2013 Joint Utility Management Seminar sponsored by the Indiana Section American Water Works Association and the Indiana Water Environment Association. This session supported the day's theme which was the 10 attributes of an effectively managed water-sector utility. The workshop began with presentation of tools that enable creative-innovative thinking. Then the 60-person audience broke into small groups and used the tools to address challenges such as: assessing unexpected flooding risks at a wastewater treatment plant, use of shipping containers in public works, attracting citizens to public meetings, and management of disaster waste and debris. The enthusiasm and results apparent during the breakouts coupled with the evaluations by participants indicated that the workshop was successful. A similar workshop, tailored to your technical and non-technical challenges, can be conducted within your organization. Interested in more information? Contact me at 219-242-1704 or firstname.lastname@example.org or view an example description of such a workshop, click here.
I recently led a half-day creativity/innovation workshop at Valparaiso University. Faculty and students from the engineering, business, and arts and sciences colleges participated. Their post-workshop reviews spoke positively about my presentation and their active participation in a series of breakouts. Those breakouts, which provided opportunities to apply creativity/innovation fundamentals and tools, proved to be very productive in terms of the number and variety of ideas generated. Might you want to explore hosting a similar workshop within your business, government, academic, or other organization? If so, please contact me at 219-242-1704 or email@example.com. Your workshop could productively address your organization's issues, problems, and opportunities.
I led an innovation workshop at the American Society of Engineers Iowa Section Annual Conference in Ames on September 12, 2013. Practitioners were open my ideas and many actively participated in the hands-on breakout where we applied the innovation principles and tools that I offered. You could hold a similar event in your organization. If you would like more information, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: 219-242-1704.
On July 13, 2013 I conducted a workshop on the topic "Adopt a Whole-Brain Approach to Increase Your Engineering and Leadership Effectiveness" at the American Society of Engineers Florida Section Annual Conference. Engineering students and practitioners seemed to be fully engaged in understanding and applying the innovation principles and tools that I offered. This topic can be an eye-opening, one-day on-site workshop held within your business, government, academic, or other organization. Content and terminology would be tailored to your needs. Interested? Contact me at email@example.com or Tel: 219-242-1704.
I spoke recently about "Marketing: Sleazy Activity or Mutually-Beneficial Process" at the Annual Conference of the Indiana Society of Professional Engineers in Indianapolis. The audience of over 50 private and government sector engineers and other technical personnel was engaged and we enjoyed a productive Q&A session. This topic can be combined with another of my "road-tested" topics, "The 5 Habits of Highly-Effective Marketers," to create a half-day on-site workshop, with breakouts, or a two-part organization-wide webinar. Of course, content and terminology would be tailored to your needs. Specific marketing problems and/or opportunities could be addressed. Interested? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: 219-242-1704.
Traditional face-to-face classroom style education and training may be desired, however, it is costly, especially relative to webinars. Based on my experience of offering over 300 webinars for engineering firms and professional societies, this approach to professional growth is a cost-effective means of providing education and training within multi-office business and government organizations and for professional societies. To illustrate the range of webinars I've presented in categories such as communication, personal development, professional practice, and project management, see this list of archived webinars.
My presentation in Sarasota, Florida titled "Engineers and Marketing: Sleazy Activity or Mutually-Beneficial Process?" seemed to be well received by members of the Suncoast Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Engineers increasingly realize that, regardless of their job title, they have marketing responsibilities. Negative views of marketing, such as the idea that it requires dishonesty and high pressure, can be replaced with the realization that marketing is the win-win process through which individuals/organizations with needs connect in a trustful manner with individuals/organizations that can meet those needs. My book, Engineering Your Future: The Professional Practice of Engineering provides, in Chapter 14, a proven marketing model and detailed advice for engineers and other technical professionals who want to proactively contribute to their organization's marketing program.
I was pleased to be invited to the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (SDSMT) where I spoke on "Innovation in Engineering: A Whole-Brain Approach" to students in the class "Civil Engineering Profession" and then made the presentation "Ethics: The Key to Earning Trust" to the student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers, with the latter session attended also by local practitioners. I was impressed by the number and variety of projects undertaken by the civil engineering students, many providing value to the Rapid City community. Experiences like this indicate that the engineering profession will be in good hands.
Stu Walesh's book Engineering Your Future: The Professional Practice of Engineering, which was published by Wiley in 2012, has been adopted by ten universities. Click here for a list of the universities and some related information. EYF provides professional practice (non-technical or "soft-side") guidance to students and practitioners in all engineering disciplines and supports current education reform efforts, including those embracing a body of knowledge (BOK). The book is also designed as a reference book for younger engineers and other technical professionals. EYF includes, but goes beyond, the usual content of non-technical books for engineers by devoting entire chapters to additional important topics such as developing relationships, business and personal accounting, achieving quality, role and selection of consultants, marketing, and leading change.
We all experience milestones and one of mine is having presented over 300 webinars to about 100,000 participants since helping ASCE begin its webinar program in 2002. The 300 webinars include 280 with ASCE and the remainder with engineering firms, Midwest Geosciences Group, the University of Wisconsin, and the American Council of Engineering Companies. Webinars are a cost-effective way to conduct continuing education in multi-office business, government, educational, volunteer, and other organizations. For examples of the kinds of management-leadership-communication-project management topics that I have presented click here. Please contact me if you would like to learn more about webinars and how they could be conducted for your multi-office organization.
Several years ago, I began to study creativity and innovation, with emphasis on enabling engineers and other professionals to be even more creative and innovative. This research naturally led to opportunities, which I welcomed, to write and speak about what I was learning and to conduct workshops. I am most appreciative of these interaction activities because of what I could learn further in preparing for them and in receiving feedback from them. Click here for a summary of my creativity-innovation presentations, workshops, and publications. If any of these interest you, please contact me at email@example.com to discuss them or to request a copy or summary which I would be pleased to share with you. Perhaps you would like to explore conducting a creativity/innovation presentation/workshop within your organization (e.g., business, government entity, university). If so, let me know.
I partnered with the University of Wisconsin at Madison to present the two-day workshop "Innovation for Civil and Environmental Professionals: A Whole-Brain Approach" in October 2012. Examples of innovation benefits illustrated in the workshop were: reduced cost of public works, improved productivity, enhanced health and welfare, increased profitability, more effective marketing, less public impact during construction, repeated cost savings during subsequent similar construction, and personal and team satisfaction. This two-day, hands-on event enabled participants to be aware of and deal with innovation obstacles, obtain fundamentals about how we think (and could think), and acquire tools that facilitate innovation. The sixteen-person class, with half representing the government sector and half the consulting sector, was receptive to the ideas and tools presented and enthusiastically applied them during many breakouts. One individual said something like this: "I now realize that I have two brains and intend to use both of them." Want to explore bringing this workshop into your government agency, business, volunteer or other organization? Want to enable your personnel to use their whole brains? If so, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 219-464-1704.
While at the University of Alabama in October of 2012, I spoke to faculty, students, and administrators about "Creativity in Engineering Education and Research" and then met individually with each of the three groups to share ideas. My impression: Most of the participants welcomed the opportunity to spend quality time learning more about creativity, sharing their knowledge about it, and contemplating being even more creative in their student, faculty, and leadership roles. I am committed to helping engineers be even more creative and innovative and this effort must begin during their student days. Accordingly, I welcome speaking, research, workshop, consulting, and other collaboration opportunities within the creativity/innovation area. If you share these interests, please contact me at 219-464-1704 or at email@example.com.
Are you one of those rare individuals who has one foot in the present and one foot in the future? Are you dissatisfied with the way things are and have visions of how they could be? Do you want to lead change? If you answer "yes-yes-yes," you will benefit from the nine change lessons described in one of my recent papers. These lessons are credible because they are drawn from a major change effort. Contact me at 219-242-1704 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to discuss any aspect of making new things happen.
In partnership with the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), I presented the webinar "Developing An Innovative Culture In Your Firm: Benefits and How To." Engineering firm executives learned about obstacles to innovation, the need for innovation, brain basics, tools to facilitate innovation, ways to build an innovative culture, and examples of innovation and the resulting benefits. A longer in-house version of this education event, tailored to your private or government organization, is available. To learn more, please contact me at 219-242-1704 or at email@example.com.
While at the June 2012 conference of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), I presented the paper "A Half Brain is Good: A Whole Much Better." After offering a brief brain primer, the paper introduces tools which recognize that, while creative and innovative ideas lie within most of us, we need mechanisms to release them from individuals and from members of teams. Many methods are identified and some are illustrated. The presentation concludes with ideas on how creativity and innovation knowledge, skills, and attitudes (KSA) might be introduced to engineering students within the context of an already full curriculum. Click here for the paper. Your comments are most welcome -- Call me at 219-242-1704 or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To stress the importance of focusing on the potential client, consider this scenario: On a Saturday morning, you finally decide to fix that leaking faucet in the kitchen. You take it apart, find what appear to be worn parts, and head for the hardware store. When you walk in, do you want a clerk to tell you about and show you everything in the place -- or ask you some very pointed questions about the parts in your hands and the leaky faucet? Then why would you, in seeking a relationship with a new client or stakeholder, want to tell him or her or show him or her everything your organization has to offer? A wiser approach is to ask about the current concerns in his or her hands. Click here for some ideas on how to focus on them, not you.
I presented this topic during a plenary session at the Spring 2012 Meeting of ASFE: The Geoprofessional Business Association in Orlando, FL. Attendees received practical advice, enhanced with a breakout session, on how to take a more creative-innovative approach to addressing issues, solving problems, and pursuing opportunities. The 90-minute session included a 20 minute break out during which small groups of participants applied, in a preliminary fashion, some of the creativity-innovation tools that I described. Breakout results were very encouraging, in that many and varied imaginative solutions were suggested to hypothetical engineering and marketing problems. Given that these results were obtained during brief introductory experiences by applying creativity-innovation fundamentals and tools to hypothetical situations, I can only begin to imagine what could be accomplished with in-depth applications of those methods to your issues, problems, and opportunities. Click here if you are interested in learning more about an intensive, in-house version of this presentation.
My book was reviewed in the April 2012 issue of Civil Engineering, the flagship publication of the American Society of Civil engineers. Some excerpts: "Engineering Your Future is an essential guide for students and young practitioners on the nontechnical aspects that can advance or derail an engineering career...While part of part of the book's strength is that much of advice and wisdom applies to any vocation, its conception and execution as a work tailored to the needs of engineers make it far more valuable than most of the titles populating the "getting ahead" shelves at the bookstore."
Click here for a description of the book; its table of contents; and ordering as a soft cover, an e-Book, or one or more chapters. ASCE members: Click here to purchase Engineering Your Future.
I presented this topic during a plenary session at the Spring Meeting of ASFE: The Geoprofessional Business Association in Orlando, FL. Attendees received practical advice, enhanced with a breakout session, on how to take a more creative-innovative approach to addressing issues, solving problems, and pursuing opportunities. Each break out group addressed one of over a dozen hypothetical engineering or marketing challenges using tools that I presented. Even though time was limited, the groups generated many ideas.
Imagine what these engineers could come up with if they systematically applied creativity-innovation tools to their real issues, problems, and opportunities that they face. Click here if you are interested in learning more about a more intensive, in-house version of this presentation.
Engineering Your Future: The Professional Practice of Engineering -Third Edition, has been published by Wiley and ASCE Press. This book may be of interests to you and others in your organization because it provides professional practice (non-technical or "soft-side") guidance to students in all engineering disciplines and supports current education reform efforts. Engineering Your Future also offers guidance to young practitioners in all engineering disciplines. It will also be useful to mid-career engineers who are taking a fresh look at their situations given the economy, globalization, increased expectations, etc.
Click here for a description of the book; its table of contents; and ordering as a soft cover, an e-Book, or one or more chapters. ASCE members: Click here to purchase Engineering Your Future.
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) archives management and leadership webinars which I originally presented live to many sites. One or more of these 60 or 90 minute webinars may be purchased by using your ASCE email and password. By taking and passing a post-test, users receive CEUs based on the course length.
- Practitioners: Use to strengthen your non-technical knowledge and skills and earn CEUs.
- Faculty: Use to supplement the non-technical, professional practice part of your curriculum.
These education and training materials are “road tested.” That is, they have evolved over a decade or two during which I have had many opportunities to study and experience the topics, present workshops, conduct seminars and webinars for practicing professionals, and write and speak about the subjects.
Click here for more information including how to purchase.
“When creativity is killed, an organization loses a potential competitive weapon: new ideas,” according to Professor Teresa Amabile. Given the down economy and the competitive nature of the engineering consulting business and the ever-increasing demands being placed on public servants, who would kill creativity? After all, “In a world of forces that push toward the commodization of everything,” according to journalist Geoff Colvin, "creating something new and different is the only way to survive.” Very few would intentionally kill creativity but many, acting individually or collectively, unintentionally do so. Whether intentional or unintentional, the result is the same. Creativity and all the good it represents, is dead or dying. Click here for a complimentary article that discusses various aspects of killing or cultivating creativity including benefits of creativity, the three organizational components of creativity, and why some organizations will not embrace creativity.
Stu Walesh traveled to Spain in September 2011 where he spent four days working with 26 civil engineering graduate students in that country’s Master of Leadership in Civil Engineering Program. His charge was to present ideas and information on aspects of project management (PM) such as personal characteristics, project planning, quality, communication, and marketing. He did this and reinforced his lectures by asking student teams, during breakouts and as part of homework, to apply some of the more than a dozen whole-brain tools and techniques included in his presentation. The results were very satisfying. Not only did the students grasp PM fundamentals as a result of the stimulation provided by the whole-brain tools and techniques, they also enthusiastically collaborated and displayed creativity and innovation in addressing the actual and hypothetical projects presented to them. Examples of collaboration methods described and used included Mind Mapping, Fishbone Diagramming, Medici Effect, Ohno Circle, Borrowing Brilliance, and Multivoting. Imagine the potential benefits to your business, government, or volunteer organization (e.g., profitability, technical advances, reputation, marketing, recruitment and retention, and/or liability minimization) as a result of knowing how to draw more on your employee's intellectual assets. Are you fully utilizing the collaborative potential of your personnel to benefit your organization and, in turn, those you serve? If no, and this interests you, please contact me at 219-464-1704 or email@example.com or click here.
The Indiana State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers approved 18 of Stu Walesh's short courses for your use in earning PDHs applicable to Indiana PE licenses. These 60 and 90 minute courses are arranged in five categories: Communication, Ethics and Law, Marketing Professional Services, Personal Development, and Project Management.One or more courses can be provided on-site or presented live, via webinars, to a large number of locations. The short courses can be mixed and matched to form a “curriculum” to meet your organization’s needs.
Each individual completing a course will be provided with a certificate of course completion that can be used in Indiana, and possibly in other licensing jurisdictions, to earn CEUs or PDHs. If you are interested in discussing the possibility of my offering one or more courses with the goal of furthering the personal and professional development of your staff and to help them earn CEUs/PDHs, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 219-464-1704.
For about a decade, I have prepared, delivered, and continuously improved webinars as part of ASCE's continuing education program. My focus has been on managing, leading, communication, personal and professional development, marketing, ethics, liability, and project management. My most recent webinars have been recorded and archived by ASCE and are available on-line for purchase. As explained by ASCE: "Recorded from ASCE's very popular live webinars, archived webinars are perfect for you or your firm. Purchasing options include Organization or Individual usage. By taking and passing a post-test, you will receive CEUs based on the course length." Click here and go to "Management and Leadership" for a list that includes my 60 and 90 minute archived webinars. Or contact me (email@example.com or 219-242-1704) to discuss an in-house continuing education program that could be presented in a face-to-face or webinar format to further develop your personnel while earning CEUs.
I presented "Enhancing the Creativity and Innovation of Project Managers: Why and How?" to the local chapter of the Project Management Institute. My presentation stressed the need for a more whole brain approach to project management, identified 18 tools for stimulating creativity and innovation, and described six of them. Can you envision the benefits of encouraging more creativity and innovation within your project management and in other functional areas such as marketing, research and development, finance, IT, and HR? If so, consider sponsoring this in-house workshop.
Click here for a complimentary article that encourages engineering educators to experiment with instruction in freehand drawing and other visual arts to see if the experience enables students to supplement already powerful left-mode thinking with even more complementary creative and innovative right-mode thinking. This article was written for publication in the American Society of Civil Engineers Journal of Leadership and Management in Engineering.
Boats offer transportation, relaxation, contemplation, and adventure. They also teach by providing useful metaphors applicable to personal and organizational development in the private, public, academic, and volunteer sectors. Looking for some personal or organizational "navigation" advice? Then click here for the complimentary essay "Boats Offer Lessons for Us and Our Organizations."
I am pleased to continue as a member of the teaching staff of Midwest Geosciences Group (MGG), an organization the offers practical technical and non-technical continuing education to help individuals and organizations find meaningful solutions ot problems faced during environmental and engineering projects. Click here to learn more about MGG and their webinars and on-site offerings.
I recently presented a webinar titled "The 7 Qualities of Effective Leaders." Some of the webinar's ideas are included in my article "The Leader Within You: Let It Come Out!" Click here for the complimentary article.
While the primary purpose of your organization’s education and training (E&T) events is the personal and professional development of your personnel, these gatherings can also earn continuing education units (CEUs) or professional development hours (PDHs) for participants. I recently spoke, within two organizations, about ethics, project communication, and surviving in the down economy. Participants will receive CEUs as a result of my presentations. This is due, in part, to the following features of the approach I use: 1) clearly stated purpose, 2) detailed handout that duplicates and goes beyond the material actually presented, 3) list of resources (articles, books, websites, e-newsletters), 4) one-hour duration, 5) biographical sketch that presents my relevant credentials, and 6) an interactive approach. Your organization makes major investments in internal E&T. I suggest you maximize the return on your investment by helping your personnel grow while enabling them to earn CEUs or PDHs. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information or click here for advice on how to plan and conduct internal education and training.
If you are open to advice on how to improve the “bottom line” on your projects, regardless of your discipline, click here to learn about my recently published book, Project Plans: Doing Projects Twice the Smart Way. This book describes 20 elements for possible inclusion in your next project plan. It also discusses the "dumb" and "smart" ways to do a project twice, offers advice on how to use project plans throughout a project's life, and suggests ways to embed project planning in a private, public, academic, or other organization. Allow me share a personal experience that suggests the bottom-line benefits of project planning. I assisted a firm in creating a project planning policy and process. A few years later, an executive of the firm assessed the benefits of the project planning policy and process as follows: " We believe we have seen improved profitability since using project plans. Some areas of improvement include 1) a more uniform project management approach across multiple departments and offices, 2) uniform nomenclature and approach enhances collaboration, 3) better communication within the project team, [and] 4) better scope definition (creep control) and communication with the owner." The book was written, published, and is offered for sale using the POD model. Compared to traditional publishing, POD is more efficient and the resulting cost savings are passed on to you, the buyer. This is the first in a series of POD books that I plan to publish. Each will be a short, but in-depth, practical treatment of a specific personal development, communication, managing, or leading topic.
I recently helped a public utility develop its strategic plan (SP) for the next five years. We defined strategic planning as determining where the utility will go in the next five years, how it will get there, and how it will know it got there. While facilitating and attending meetings with utility personnel over the five-month SP period, I was gratified to see most personnel who were involved in the SP process realistically assess the present, think creatively about the future, and contribute to the "road map" for the future. That process and that "road map" are the essence of strategic planning. If you would like to discuss any aspect of strategic planning for your business, government agency, university, or other organization, please contact me at email@example.com or at 219-464-1704.
You may be interested in my responses to the challenging career advancement questions posed to me by Anthony J. Fasano, CEO of Powerful Purpose Associates. Click here for the interview. Issues addressed by the questions include career challenges for engineers, whether or not engineers need to be highly-technical to be effective managers, and finding employment in the down economy.
Your firm's technical competence is the foundation of your success. However, technical competence is not enough. It must be supplemented with communication -- listening, writing, and speaking -- knowledge and skills. Let's face it, the best idea or the most innovative design is wasted if it is not effectively communicated to others. Consider retaining me to conduct a one-day, hands-on writing and speaking workshop within your organization. Your personnel will leave the workshop with improved writing and speaking products. Why? Because each participant will work on one of their current writing and/or speaking projects during the workshop.
We can more fully utilize our speaking opportunities through creative use of props and, as a result, communicate more effectively especially with the visual and kinesthetic learners in our audience. The term “prop” comes from the theatrical world and is a shortened form of “property,” which means any object handled by an actor during a performance. When you or I give a presentation, we are like actors giving a performance during which we strive to communicate with our audiences. Let’s be creative and use whatever works, including props. Click here for a complimentary discussion of props including examples.
You worked long and hard, earned a degree, and pursued employment during your last year in college, but were unsuccessful and are unemployed. You may have moved back home. Now what? I began thinking about approaches that could be used by potential employees as a result of preparing a presentation for employers who are seeking to retain and recruit top personnel. Potential employees are the other side of the same coin.
I presented the co-authored paper, "Spain's Master of Leadership in Civil Engineering: Case Study," at the 2010 conference of the American Society for Engineering Education. The unique master's program described in the paper is based on the premise that leadership knowledge, skills, and attitudes can be taught and learned. It refutes the idea that leaders are born, not made. You and others in your organization can fruitfully view leadership as an area of study that, if pursued, will enhance personal and organizational success. Click here for leadership books.
Having recently used this method, which was developed by Edward de Bono, to help me facilitate the meeting of a group faced with a complex issue, I view the method as having potential to reduce the length of meetings while improving the quality of the resulting decisions and action items. Briefly stated, the 6TCM helps a group deal with the emotions, information, logic, hope, creativity, and desire for control that often arise simultaneously and clash during meetings. Interested in learning more about the method and possible applying it? If so, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 219-464-1704.
I marvel why we, across all professions and organizations, continue to tolerate the high cost -- monetary, missed opportunities, and stress -- associated with lousy meetings. This problem can be easily solved by viewing a meeting as consisting of three parts -- planning, conducting, and following up -- and orchestrating them. If you do this with the meetings you arrange, you and your participants will be very grateful. Looking for ways to help you and others reduce meeting time and cost while stimulating creative thinking and subsequent action? Then click here and obtain my book Managing and Leading. Study Lessons 39-41, “An Unhidden Agenda,” “Agenda Item: Good News,” and “Minutes: Earning a Return on the Hours Invested in Meetings.” Or contact me (219-242-1704 or email@example.com) to discuss a meetings workshop.
Would you like your group or team to step back and synergistically look forward say five or more years? Then consider using the time-line process that I developed and have applied four times, serving as a facilitator, with encouraging results. Actual applications include helping a group of professional service firm clients share their views of future service needs. This effort was conducted over an extended breakfast gathering and there were some pleasant surprises for the sponsoring professional services firm. Another application was assisting members of a utility's strategic planning team get started by thinking about possible customer and stakeholder needs, technology, mandates, and other changes over the next five plus years. Please contact me (219-242-1704 or firstname.lastname@example.org) if this facilitated process interests you.
Mind mapping, whether used individually or by a group, improves the thinking process by further engaging the brain's right hemisphere. Imagine how mind mapping could improve your performance and that of other engineers and technical professionals who tend to be strongly "left-brained." A half brain is good; a whole brain is much better! Click here for a description of a workshop during which mind mapping would be applied to your problems, opportunities, or issues.
The Dumbest Generation -- How the Digital Age Stupifies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future by Mark Bauerlein and published by Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, New York, 2008, ISBN 978-158542-639-3. Mark Bauerlein argues that U.S. young people, those under about 30 years of age, are under-using or misusing the IT and related electronic gadgetry available to them. He claims that today’s youth employ IT to extend and deepen adolescence and to connect even more with their homogeneous peer groups rather than using it to reach out and learn about the world and its inhabitants. This use of IT shifts the young even more into pop culture while taking them away from world cultures and global developments.
When thinking about or beginning strategic planning, organizational leaders need to distinguish between strategic planning and day-to-day operations. Although very different, operations and strategic planning are interdependent -- one cannot successfully exist without the other. The continuous improvement aspect of progressive operations interacts with the creativity inherent in strategic planning. For 8 comparisons of strategic planning and operations, click here.
The Power of Place - Geography, Destiny, and Globalization's Rough Landscape by Harm de Blij and published by Oxford University Press, Oxford, England, 2009, ISBN 978-0-19-536770-6. This book is likely to interest you as a leader or manager, especially if you’ve read Thomas L. Friedman’s 2005 The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twentieth Century. I say that because Harm de Blij’s The Power of Place is somewhat at odds with Friedman’s book.
I recently contracted with John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and ASCE Press to write the third edition of my book Engineering Your Future: The Non-Technical Side of Professional Practice in Engineering and Other Technical Fields. Do you have ideas about or views on crucial non-technical topics? If so, share them with me at email@example.com. I will acknowledge, in the book, all contributions that are used.
Published in 1995 and 2000, the first and second editions of Engineering Your Future have served as both a college textbook (the second edition was adopted by over 20 colleges and universities) and as a reference book for primarily young professionals. The third edition will reach even more readers in that Wiley will focus on the academic market and ASCE Press will concentrate on the practitioner market. Again, your input is most welcome. Text and reference books provide a wonderful opportunity to influence those who will carry on into the future.
A half brain is good, a whole brain is much better. Engineers and other technical professionals typically rely on left-brain thinking which is verbal, analytic, symbolic, abstract, temporal, and linear. This hands-on workshop, facilitated by me at your organization, will give participants tools to engage in more right-brain thinking which is nonverbal, synthetic, actual, analogic, non-temporal, and holistic. Participants will supplement valuable left-brain abilities with equally valuable right-brain abilities. As a result, the individuals and your organization will be better equipped to make take more creative, innovative approaches to identifying and solving problems, seeing and pursuing opportunities, and creating their futures. You will be able to "mine" the knowledge and skill "gold" that lies within your organization. I would be pleased to work with business, government, academic, and other organizations. Click here for workshop details.
For the fifth time, I recently completed teaching one week of the four-month Leadership in Civil Engineering graduate degree program hosted by Castilla La-Mancha University in Spain. My topic was "Project Management and Related Communication." The 20 students were recent top graduates of the 10 Spanish universities offering five-year undergraduate degrees in civil engineering. During this intense program, students attend class, intern, and complete a project. Spending time with these bright, ambitious, English-speaking Spanish young people reminded me of the competition to be increasingly faced by U.S. young people who seek to practice engineering and other professions in a globalizing economy. At minimum, each should spend part of their college years overseas, earn a graduate degree, and learn another language.
I recently presented, for the third time, a webinar titled “The 5 Habits of Highly Successful Marketers.” Based on research which indicates that up to 95% of our behavior is habitual, this webinar advocates developing five habits that can greatly enhance our marketing effectiveness. The webinar also describes a process for converting conscious new marketing behaviors into habits so that your conscious mind can focus on higher level aspects of marketing. If the “5 Habits” topic and/or the related topic “Marketing 101: Sleazy Activity or Mutually-Beneficial Process” interest you, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 219-242-1704. I have also presented this subject as an interactive face-to-face workshop.
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