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Of course civil engineers can run a large business

Asking whether civil engineers can manage big civil engineering companies (NCE last week) is audacious, arrogant and absurd and pre-supposes that civil engineers are not businessmen! It is like asking whether the Pope has to be Catholic.
From time immemorial, civil engineers have managed their businesses successfully, providing solid engineering expertise and sound advice to clients which secured repeat and new business increasing growth and profit.

The smarter groups, contractors or consultants alike, have in-house financial, legal and cost consultants, business developers and non-executive directors from other disciplines and draw on their expertise and knowledge to keep the business on track.

All but a few consulting groups have chairmen and CEOs who are civil engineers. These groups are just as successful and oftentimes better than their plc counterparts who are run by outsiders of the profession.

The public sector clients need to look carefully at their appointed heads. Failure of major projects are a direct result of the client not having an engineering understanding of what is required to produce the desired end product.

Contractors, because of their size have reverted to using outsiders to manage their business. However there is no proof that these have fared any better than when they had a civil engineering head.

MARIO DONNETTI (F), mario_donnetti@yahoo.com

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