Chapters look to disruptive technology

PEO is looking to its 36 chapters and their embracing of disruptive technologies as a new source of ideas and pathways to regulatory enhancement.
As noted at the November 18, 2017 Chapter Leaders Conference (CLC) in Toronto, chapter volunteers can bring more to PEO than just representing the engineering profession in their local region. Instead, chapters are being groomed as an underutilized resource to provide new leaders and fresh ideas in moving the profession forward. As well, chapters are being viewed as potential “branch offices” for PEO in delivering regulatory outreach programs.
The theme for the conference was “PEO 4.0, moving to the future.” The 4.0 refers to the latest wave in industry and lean manufacturing in computers, automation, data collection, decentralized decision making and innovative processes all coming together in a dynamic new way.
In welcoming participants, CLC Organizing Committee Chair and PEO Western Region Councillor Lola Hidalgo, P.Eng., described the CLC as the Regional Councillors Committee’s “flagship event” dedicated entirely to chapter operations.
PEO President Bob Dony, PhD, P.Eng., FEC, later reiterated the view of chapters as the “heart of PEO” and urged individual chapter volunteers to reconsider how they can contribute to the regulatory process.
Keynote speaker Mike Dover, a social media expert and a professor of marketing at Humber College in Toronto, outlined how technology is presenting new marketing and communication opportunities, and how chapters can take advantage not only to implement more effective local programs but also to improve the overall regulatory function.
In fact, several of the conference’s breakout sessions were devoted to the examination of chapters as a resource in promoting awareness of engineering and the value of self-regulation.
Participants later completed a Kaizen exercise to apply lean manufacturing concepts to overcome the persistent problem of engaging newly licensed members in their local chapter. Originating in the Japanese business community, Kaizen refers to continuous incremental improvement in any process or system.
Leading off the conference, PEO Registrar Gerard McDonald, P.Eng., updated chapter volunteers on developments with PEO’s 2018-2020 Strategic Plan, which had been approved at the November 17 Council meeting. McDonald outlined the plan’s nine strategic objectives and how they relate to chapter work. “Like everything else at PEO, the latest strategic plan begins and ends with the chapters,” McDonald said.
The afternoon consisted of eight separate break-out sessions where moderators and chapter volunteers discussed various ways chapters might realize the “branch plant” concept. Among the topics debated were chapter efforts to enhance the PEO brand, use of disruptive technologies to improve engineering regulation, potential modifications to Council elections (and PEO operations in general), how PEO can streamline its overall processes, enhanced use of mobile computing, and what disruptions PEO can leverage to contribute to the association and the profession in general.
Before participants got ready for the evening’s Ontario professional engineers awards gala, PEO president-elect David Brown, P.Eng., BDS, C.E.T., told delegates that council is committed to serving as an advocate for chapter concerns. “let’s make sure the information and ideas raised today are not filed away and forgotten, but are seriously considered in making the chapter system a more valuable resource for regulation,” Brown said.