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Do you have your P.E. Degree?

Do you have your P.E. Degree?

I recall a time when a P.E. designation following your name stood for Professional Engineer, yet at each of the various companies that I've had the pleasure to work for, the P.E. designation stands for Presentation Engineer.

This doesn't undermine the significance, status, or importance of the person holding the P.E., however. As my experience has grown, I've learned that one of the most important functions within the company is the Presentation Engineer-for it is he alone who is able to communicate with the executive ranks.

I know, everyone thinks that they know what's most important about any specific project and what data needs to be highlighted for the review team, but the truth is that most people are only interested in presenting the data that's most relevant to themselves. And this is where the Presentation Engineering specialist steps in. This person will be able to identify what information the review team will be looking for, and delete all of the worthwhile parts that generate all the income but create all the confusion.

It isn't the technical or program information that needs to be presented, anyway, but the IMAGE of information properly formatted to look pleasing and profitable. To achieve this objective, the P.E. takes a different look at the corporation and places himself into the role of Vice President in charge of dreaming where and how the firm should be headed. This person is no longer concerned with the day-to-day operations of the plant, but is seeking to provide an overall strategic direction for piloting the company. The single most important facet of this task is to assume that engineering, quality, manufacturing, logistics, test, and all the other departments are fully capable of performing their work. It isn't the job of the business strategic planning board to evaluate what work is being done by the company or how well each department's completing its work. Its job is to assess your plan for winning new programs and projects and to determine how it will affect their year-end bonus.

Therefore the technique employed is to make your briefing charts look profitable and achievable, regardless of the amount of work or technical hurdles that are blocking your way forward. The Presentation Engineer knows how to bury technical and relevant information and wordsmith program impossibilities so that any task, no matter how inconceivable, appears incredibly profitable.

Knowing how to manipulate the review charts is an art, yet this is only one part of the P.E.'s function. You see, the data can be molded, mangled, and shredded until it no longer resembles anything remotely similar to the engineering plan, yet this information can still be rejected by the Review Team if it's presented in an alien format. The successful P.E. absolutely needs to possess the correct PowerPoint chart format if he is to achieve acceptance by the review team. While this doesn't seem to be a significant challenge, you need to study history and appreciate the folly of the executive team-I've worked on several multi-year programs where the program review chart format has changed every three months.

The final point is that every self-respecting executive lives to add his input to any project. What this means is that the Presentation Engineer needs to prepare a draft copy of the briefing and solicit input from the executive team. Then, when they see the final copy, they'll be able to recognize their unique and highly valuable contributions and team approval is almost certainly guaranteed!

Head Work
An industrialist has on hand 1,200 linear ft of fence, with which he plans to enclose a rectangular parking lot on a riverfront property. If no fence is to be used on the side along the river, the maximum area that he can enclose (in sq ft) is most nearly:
Source: Adapted from the Fundamentals of Engineering Examination, Eugene L. Boronow, Prentice Hall Press, 1986. The worked out solutions of all Headwork problems can be found on our website at Under "Engineering Resources" on the left hand nav bar click on "Breaktime."
A 100,000
B 120,000
C 160,000
D 180,000
E 230,000
See answer below.

Answer: d

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