With reference to Jackie Whitelaw's Comment (NCE last week), civil engineers hold a special position in an age where many professionals do little else but thump away at a keyboard in front of a computer screen all day.
The work of a professional engineer includes a multitude of additional skills and talents working with the full cross section of society to help to increase prosperity and reduce hardship and disease, and to express society's views in the development of our world.
I reckon we are up there at the top of the professions, but I know I am speaking to the converted.
After recent events, if we turned off the power, closed the water taps, blocked the sewers, roads, railways and airports and stopped constructing hospitals and schools, society and accountants would certainly understand the value and job of a civil engineer.
In these days of declining university applications for civil engineering, we will see supply and demand economics kicking in and I think I can see more than a glimmer of hope in the level of our status and pay.
However, beware: the change has to be handled with great care for it to be successful.
Richard Coackley (F) Coackleyrj@yahoo.com