By Mike Buehner, SEAU Past President
Necessity is the mother of invention, so the old saying goes. And we’ve all had to invent new ways of getting work done over the past 9 months not only in our own offices but also maintaining good working relationships with our clients. I was a vocal proponent of the idea that people must be in the office to constructively and efficiently collaborate on projects. I have been proven wrong in a big way. Collaboration software applications we were toying with, and started testing out their usefulness before this pandemic started, now dominate our work lives. Bluebeam sessions, A360, Zoom, Teams, etc., now make the world go around. (Although it’s interesting that GoTo Meeting has lost favor with most.) People can use them rather efficiently to pass information back and forth from wherever they are that is not in the office. Think of the time saved by not having to travel to design meetings at client’s and owner’s offices! However, I do believe there is a psychological downside of not being able to get out and about…
SEAU has had to do some major reinventing of its major event as well. The worst part was that we had to cancel the Fall Social. There was no getting around that. In-person monthly meetings are postponed for the time being as well. However, our Spring Education Conference will still happen, even if it is in a way we’ve never had to do before. The Education Conference is arguably the biggest benefit SEAU provides to the structural engineering community and it has grown year after year and is considered one of the best and most successful conferences in the country by NCSEA and vendor sponsors. The SEAU Programs Committee has been making a Herculean effort to still provide the same quality and quantity of seminars except virtually instead of in-person. Yes, we will miss seeing old friends and eating too many cookies, but it is still going to happen. Please watch for more information soon.
After all is said and done, it probably will be more than a year of disruption we all will have dealt with. My wish is everyone will be able to avoid contracting this virus, be able to get vaccinated sooner than later, and use what we’ve learned to our advantage.