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Funding and Service

 
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alpa_sheth
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Joined: 26 Jan 2003
Posts: 259
Location: Mumbai

PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 2:56 am    Post subject: Funding and Service Reply with quote

Dear Rajiv and All,

Good, we are expanding the discussion from the narrow focus of funding to the
"mission" of SEFI.

I am still not convinced about how many people are ready to pay for SEFI. I hear only
the usual voices of Rajiv, Arvind  and Mishra alongwith a few others who are quite
emphatic about the payment of fees for SEFI. Some on the other hand have  been very
clear that they would rather have divine intervention pay for SEFI

In the case of mandatory fees,  there may be many who will unsubscribe and the wealth
of knowledge/ information accessible to them presently will be lost to them. In a
developing country like ours, some  have to take the responsibility of the spread of
knowledge/info - however those few  have limited means too and a completely
professional environment will demand a lot of resources which may be a burden on them.

I speak here for myself- I think we should grow incrementally - remember ACI is a
hundred year old organisation and was not built in a day. Thus we need to start in a
modest way and ramp up as we progress. ACI has several  activities such as writing
codes, specifications, technical documents, certification, conducting courses etc.  We
at SEFI, on the other hand, are finding it difficult to engage people in even
discussing codes in e-conferences; where is the question of writing them??!!!

I quote here from ACI:
<<The American Concrete Institute, reaffirming its core purpose of providing knowledge
and information for the best use of concrete.... The defining core values of the
Institute, which ACI believes are essential to its continued success, are:

Benefit to Society
Credibility
Personal and Professional Growth
Consensus
Camaraderie
ACI envisions a worldwide community of individuals and organizations that will
develop, share, and disseminate all the knowledge needed to utilize concrete to its
fullest potential. To foster the realization of this envisioned future, ACI has set
strategic goals in five principal categories:

Knowledge Generation
Knowledge Promulgation
Knowledge Community
Competent Workforce
Member Value

I suppose SEFI  essentially has similar aims and objectives - The difference is: Do
ALL of us at SEFI value these aims and objectives enough to work for them? ACI -USA
has very stiff  fees- $840 for organisations and $192 for individuals. (ACI has 30,000
members worldwide.) It can command such fees as it has proved itself over the years
and since  it can command such fees, it can afford  a very professional set-up.

So first we need to "prove" ourselves if we have to be command fees. But how can we
raise the bar if we do not have the resources?  It is a chicken -and-egg situation. I
really have no answers.

My humble suggestion is: For the time being, let the few who are ready to pay, do so.
Let us expand slowly and we will know within ourselves when the "Coming of Age" will
take place. There is still some time for that.
.
Cheers,
Alpa

rsmengr@eth.net wrote:

Alpa:

What is wrong if we demand a service from SEFI? All professional bodies like
ACI, ASCE are service oriented. Members pay their dues and have certain
privileges. What is wrong if SEFI does the same?  If SEFI can generate
enough funds by membership or by advertisements or donations or e-courses
then we can think of many new things. I feel that SEFI should be service
oriented.

Just see Malay's last message he also wants to have "Expert Opinion" on the
issue of expansion joints. Same thing which I had suggested in one of my
earlier messages. (Hope Mr. Mishra is reading this.) I feel that within SEFI
this type of service is possible. Question is are we ready for that or we
want this forum to remain a bulletin board?

Truly

Rajiv Sharma

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Jayant Lakhlani
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Joined: 26 Jan 2003
Posts: 191
Location: Rajkot, Gujarat, India

PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 4:51 am    Post subject: Funding and Service Reply with quote

Dear SEFIans,

I was reading all the discussion on funding of SEFI for past few days. If we want SEFI to grow like ACI or any other established institution, as Alpa said, goals and mission of SEFI are clearly required to be established.

Frankly speaking, I was not much interested in funding debate, though I had decided to pay my share if SEFI sets some fixed fees.

But MISSION and GOAL has interested me. Without those, no individual or institution can grow. And it is also a reality that to achieve those goals and complete the mission, one needs money.

I agree with Alpa that in a developing country like ours knowledge should be shared generously, but I do not agree with her in that the cost of that knowledge sharing shall be put on shoulders of few generous SEFIans only, by expecting them to pay willingly.

In my view, in first priority, mission and goals of SEFI should be clearly defined. Then, SEFI can adopt a two fold system. The discussion forum can be kept open for all without any fees. But specialized activities like e-conference, e-seminar, software and document downloading etc. should be free for paying members and if any non-paying member  wishes to participate in any of such activity, he will have to pay for that.

I think, beyond certain limit, nothing should be free otherwise it will loose its importance.

-JAYANT LAKHLANI

alpa_sheth@vakilmehtasheth.com wrote:


Dear Rajiv and All,

Good, we are expanding the discussion from the narrow focus of funding to the
"mission" of SEFI.

I am still not convinced about how many people are ready to pay for SEFI. I hear only
the usual voices of Rajiv, Arvind  and Mishra alongwith a few others who are quite
emphatic about the payment of fees for SEFI. Some on the other hand have  been very
clear that they would rather have divine intervention pay for SEFI

In the case of mandatory fees,  there may be many who will unsubscribe and the wealth
of knowledge/ information accessible to them presently will be lost to them. In a
developing country like ours, some  have to take the responsibility of the spread of
knowledge/info - however those few  have limited means too and a completely
professional environment will demand a lot of resources which may be a burden on them.

I speak here for myself- I think we should grow incrementally - remember ACI is a
hundred year old organisation and was not built in a day. Thus we need to start in a
modest way and ramp up as we progress. ACI has several  activities such as writing
codes, specifications, technical documents, certification, conducting courses etc.  We
at SEFI, on the other hand, are finding it difficult to engage people in even
discussing codes in e-conferences; where is the question of writing them??!!!

I quote here from ACI:
<<The American Concrete Institute, reaffirming its core purpose of providing knowledge
and information for the best use of concrete.... The defining core values of the
Institute, which ACI believes are essential to its continued success, are:

Benefit to Society
Credibility
Personal and Professional Growth
Consensus
Camaraderie
ACI envisions a worldwide community of individuals and organizations that will
develop, share, and disseminate all the knowledge needed to utilize concrete to its
fullest potential. To foster the realization of this envisioned future, ACI has set
strategic goals in five principal categories:

Knowledge Generation
Knowledge Promulgation
Knowledge Community
Competent Workforce
Member Value >>

I suppose SEFI  essentially has similar aims and objectives - The difference is: Do
ALL of us at SEFI value these aims and objectives enough to work for them? ACI -USA
has very stiff  fees- $840 for organisations and $192 for individuals. (ACI has 30,000
members worldwide.) It can command such fees as it has proved itself over the years
and since  it can command such fees, it can afford  a very professional set-up.

So first we need to "prove" ourselves if we have to be command fees. But how can we
raise the bar if we do not have the resources?  It is a chicken -and-egg situation. I
really have no answers.

My humble suggestion is: For the time being, let the few who are ready to pay, do so.
Let us expand slowly and we will know within ourselves when the "Coming of Age" will
take place. There is still some time for that.
.
Cheers,
Alpa



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Posts: 13

PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 5:29 pm    Post subject: Funding and Service Reply with quote

Dear All,

I think we have lost focus of the dicussion. The original intent of Dr.
Jain's post, was of seeking opinions on ways to make SEFI more useful. The
question of funding is secondary and will need to be addressed only, if we
need to do more that what we are currently doing at SEFI.

The resource requirement has 2 components

a) monetory funding, which at the present level of operations can be easily
aquired thru voluntary donations, or a couple of sponsored e-conferences per
year.
b) more critical is the manhour-volunteering at the present level of
activity. Although a few have volunteered, we still have not been able to
formulate & formalize the modus-operandi on how to utilize the volunteers in
a streamlined manner, as most (who have volunteered) are not familiar with
expert internet usage & web page editing, which is a must (to say the least)
in addition to basic understanding of what is relevant & useful information
pertaining to structural engineering in order to relay the same.

So if we are to stay at the present level of activity, nothing much needs to
be done in terms of funding, however some streamlining needs to be done in
terms of volunteer input of man-hours.

Now to address the possibility of increasing the level of activity (as a few
have suggested). My opinion on this issue matches with Alpa, which is, that
we do not want to increase incrementaly in small steps, as that puts a lot
of demand on the man-hour requirements on the current volunteers (which they
cannot afford). So the only way to acheive that is to have a professional
setup, for which we need major monetory funding in terms of office space,
computers & communication infrastructure and employing a couple of full time
people (who can then relieve the volunteeers from the man-hours, and do
dedicated & comited work only for SEFI activities).

So the basic issue here is that we will need major funding only if we need
to increase the activity level at SEFI.

I hope I have been able to portray the current situation. So lets have
suggestions, keeping the above in mind. And please no "Saas Bahu", as we
have enough of that in our daily lives Smile

Regards

Pankaj

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aswinpe
SEFI Regulars
SEFI Regulars


Joined: 26 Jan 2003
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 2:07 am    Post subject: Funding and Service Reply with quote

Hello:

It is quite interesting to see the discussion on the funding for this
wonderful forum of structural engineers.  I am highly involved in the
website
activities of a "major professional body" in the US similar to the ACI and
ASCE.  It is the SEAOSC which stands for Structural Engineering Association
of Southern California which maintains the site called = www.seaint.org

I was about to write more about the cost but Pankaj has already said quite a
few things on this subject.

In order for the maintenance of the website, I would suggest that
advertisement should be obtained from suppliers/software vendors etc.

A normal fee for a professional group is a few dollars less than $200 which
is a normal in the US.  These organizations strive for their members.  The
amount of work that is done by these groups is tremendous:
-  It becomes a networking ground for people to meet, to discuss and grow
- Development of the codes
- Lobby the government for their cause
- representing the profession in several ways - to government, to schools
and to the public
- sub-committees are formed and each focus on a different issue.

SEFI is a wonderful opportunity for the structural engineers in India to
come together. A five year plan needs to be developed so that this forum
could grow so that local chapters can be born in different cities.  I am
unaware if this group exists only in the internet or if there is an other
presence.  It would be good to start such a presence.  A good idea would be
involve the universities into it - students would be our future members.

Like Pankaj was mentioning it is the man power that is required.  In all the
organizations here, people volunteer the time - when some of it is provided
by the companies that they work for.

Why don't we have a e-conference to develop a plan for SEFI to grow.  Rates
can be discussed at this point.

-  Aswin
_________________________________
Aswin Rangaswamy, P.E.
Structural Engineer
Jacobs Facilities Inc. (www.jacobs.com )
Cypress, California

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