Vice Presidential Candidate

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L.B. (Larry) Spence, P.Eng. | Trail, BC

 

 

I am honoured to be nominated for the position of Engineers and Geoscientists BC Vice President, and ask for your continued support.

Council’s primary role is stewardship: overseeing senior staff and ensuring Association affairs are being conducted in a way that achieves its strategic plan and objectives.

My past three years on Council have been both enlightening and rewarding. We have numerous challenges ahead of us as an Association, and most involve complex issues that take time to fully comprehend.

We require continuity of experience on Council, as well as continued strong leadership in order to avoid / minimize unintended consequences while Government implements the Professional Governance Act. I am confident in my ability to contribute positively to this need.

A key challenge as always is realizing timely and effective consultation of impacted Engineers and Geoscientists. During last summer’s government review of pending legislation, EGBC was under a non-disclosure agreement and could not publicize the discussions. This past spring, focus groups were utilized to develop our response to the Government Intentions Paper in a timely manner. Our ability to consult with those impacted is related to the amount of time Government allows for review and response. My commitment is to consult with you to the best of our ability at all times.

I have practiced as a Professional Engineer for almost 30 years in BC (almost 35 years in total); on the Island, up north, in the Lower Mainland and most recently in the West Kootenay’s. My career spans working for a forest company, international original equipment manufacturers and a consultant. I have a son practicing as a Structural EIT, and a high school aged daughter who currently plans a career in Engineering. All of which provides me with a unique and broad based Association stakeholder perspective.

I have been, and fully intend to continue utilizing that perspective while assessing and influencing proposed regulatory changes, as well as ongoing Association operations.

I am known on Council for being well prepared, and not shy about voicing my opinions in a thoughtful manner. My interactions with Association staff have always been positive, and staff have always been appreciative of my efforts to assist. I hope to continue these efforts from a more senior position where I am able to make a further positive impact. Based on my time on Council, as well as my experience on Executive, Governance, Professional Practice and Registration committees, I am always impressed by the hard work of staff and the many volunteers that ensure our Association functions effectively. I can assure you that our collective focus is on maintaining the privilege of self-regulation. I believe this privilege benefits all Association members in maintaining the ability to proactively provide input to the regulations impacting their careers.

My plan is to continue working on key initiatives such as;

  • Following up on external and Government audits of the Association
  • Establishing Corporate regulation
  • Continuing to improve transparency of Council and Association activities
  • Continuing review and update of the risk register for Association operations
  • Ensuring appropriate staff support increases are deliberated and budgeted
  • Improving gender and ethnic diversity
  • Continued improvement in Professional Development access for all areas of the province
  • Increasing Association rights for MIT’s
  • Maintaining strong governance of the Association

If elected I will continue to stay connected and listen to my local branches and beyond. I will also continue to be well prepared and ask challenging questions at the Council table when needed, always with the best interests of our stakeholders and registrants in mind.

Our Association and Council needs to continue working diligently on improving delivery of our mandate, particularly focusing on Government interaction and public trust as they relate to Professional Engineering and Geoscience regulation.

I urge you to stay informed, hold Council accountable and help us ensure our professions stay respected and valued. I thank you again for the continued opportunity to serve on Council.

Education

B.A.Sc. (Mechanical Engineering), University of British Columbia, 1983

Professional History

Senior Project Manager, Wood Canada Ltd., 2000–present
Customer Service Representative, Ahlstrom Services, 1998–2000
Sales Manager, Kvaerner Pulping, 1994–1998
Engineering Superintendent, Fletcher Challenge Canada, 1989–1994
Project Engineer, BC Forest Products, 1984–1989

Engineers and Geoscientists BC Activities

Member, Executive Committee, 2018–present
Member of Council, 2016–present
Member, Governance Committee, 2017–2018
Member, Professional Practice Committee, 2016–2018
Member, Registration Committee, 2016–2017

Related Professional Activities

Member, Selkirk College Engineering Program Advisory Committee, 2018–present
PMP, Project Management Institute (PMI), 2014–present
Corporate Representative, ACEC-BC, 2011–present
Responsible Member, APEGA, 2002–2019
Member, CIM, 2006–2012 and Paptac, 1986–2001

Community Involvement

Billet Family, Trail Smoke Eaters Hockey Club, 2007–2016
Youth Soccer Coach, Trail and Hinton, 2002–2013
Member, Mackenzie Volunteer Fire Department, 1988–1994

Q&A with Candidates

Engineers and Geoscientists BC is the regulatory authority charged with protecting the public interest with respect to the practice of engineering and geoscience in the province of BC. What is the key challenge facing the association?

Transitioning under the Professional Governance Act with minimal unintended consequences, while maintaining the privilege of self-regulation.

I regularly advise Engineers and Geoscientists that this new Act is the most impactful thing to happen to our professions in a century, and too few know enough about it.

The introduction and implementation of this new governing Act has been at top of mind for Council, staff and numerous committees for the past year. I anticipate it remaining there for the foreseeable future while individual regulations are introduced, and ultimately the existing Engineer’s and Geoscientist’s Act is phased out.

The public, and therefore Government expect more from their regulators not only in British Columbia, but throughout Canada.

The newly established Office of the Superintendent of Professional Governance has already identified that “On December 1st, 2019 will repeal advocacy clauses in … the Engineers and Geoscientists Act.” While we do not expect a separation of regulatory and advocacy bodies (similar to the Ontario model of the past 20 years), our previous government did infer this to be an appropriate path forward in BC.

Our current understanding is that advocacy for diversity and inclusion is considered acceptable for a regulatory body. Council’s opinion is that this is worth maintaining.

We must continue to demonstrate a primary focus on regulation in the public interest, and continue to consider the principles of “Right-Touch Regulation”. The next few years will require a measured approach to minimize negative impacts on current and future generations of engineers and geoscientists.

What are the key issues facing the engineering and/or geoscience professions?

Continuing to promote the benefits and value of being an Engineers and Geoscientists BC registrant for our professions to the public. We all must recognize that our primary mandate as individual professionals is to uphold and protect the public interest. Our regulatory mandate as an Association is no different.

As an Association, we also generate numerous professional practice guidelines to assist with standards of care. As disciplines of practice continue to evolve, so must these practice guidelines.

Our Association has undertaken some significant initiatives with respect to diversity and inclusion, such as 30 by 30 and indigenous reconciliation. We have also started to assess climate change and sustainability on standards of practice. These are important initiatives that will help evolve our professions and will require ongoing support.

We need to be aware of public opinion, and its ability to influence Government who ultimately control how our Association operates. With the passing of the new Professional Governance Act, our Association will be subject of a different level of scrutiny and will need to respond in an appropriate and continued professional manner.

All members must be advocates for our professions and Association if the privilege of self-regulation is to continue.

Please continue to support the Association as we help demonstrate to the public and Government that our professions are every bit as trustworthy and valuable as any other.

Looking five years ahead, what is your vision for Engineers and Geoscientists BC as a professional regulatory body in BC?

In five years’ time I hope for:

  • Continued privilege of self-regulation through a reasonably seamless implementation of the Professional Governance Act.
  • Further improvement in public perception of engineers and geoscientists as professional contributors to society.
  • Established value added processes for regulation of corporate practice, along with inclusion of Technician practice rights.
  • Increased trust in our Council and Association staff.
  • Increased engagement of our registrants.
  • Improved diversity and inclusion within our Association.
  • Continued improvement in efficiency of Association operations.

We also need to recognize that MIT’s working toward their professional designations, and students currently in engineering schools and geoscience programs will be applying for their Professional status in 3 to 5 years. How do we ensure that they know what will be expected of them during this challenging landscape of regulatory change?

For Council to achieve its goals and meet its fiduciary responsibilities, Council has identified the need for diverse voices on Council, with a blend of the following skills and competences: leadership, financial literacy, risk management, human resources, strategy, regulatory understanding, governance and technical proficiency. Please highlight the areas of strength you bring to the role.

I take great pride in being considered a strong contributor to Council by other councilors and senior staff. I firmly believe that actions speak louder than words, and always endeavour to lead by example.

I have contributed to the review of the Association’s operating budget for the past 3 years. As a member of the Executive committee, I assisted in the process of providing guidance for next year’s Association budget.

Risk management is about assessing both the likelihood and impact of an identified risk. This allows appropriate ranking of risks to be mitigated, as well as those to simply be monitored. As Council members, we monitor identified Association risks as well as provide input to risk mitigation strategies.

While a member of the Governance committee, our focus was on fair and consistent process of Association matters. I also keep a personal focus on appropriate governance practices while preparing for, and during Council meetings.

In my time on Professional Practice, I assisted in demonstrating the need for additional resources to meet the increasing staff workload.

I have been a practicing engineer for nearly 35 years, and have been supervising others for the majority of that time. I am a past member of Wood Canada’s corporate engineering leadership and quality leadership teams. As such, I was part of the group revising all engineering discipline practice procedures and generic project engineering management plans. I been overseeing multi-discipline engineering teams, including 3rd party consultants, technology suppliers and contractors for the majority of my career.

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