Professional practice and societal organizations
Cole R. McClure, Gail L. Sorrough, Richard E. Gray, Richard W. Galster, David J. Varnes, George A. Kiersch, 1991. "Professional practice and societal organizations", The Heritage of Engineering Geology; The First Hundred Years, George A. Kiersch
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Today, engineering geologists in private industry occupy key positions in the planning, design, and construction of many different kinds of engineering works. Since the beginning of this century, it typically has been the practice of engineering-construction companies to rely on outside consultants for projects requiring geological expertise. However, with the end of World War II and the rapid development of the early 1950s, engineering-construction companies in North America began to hire geologists as staff members.
A recent survey of the older major engineering-construction companies by Bechtel (1986) established that about half of the firms support engineering geology staffs in-house, while half rely solely on consultants, either individuals or specialty groups. Furthermore, many of the companies that retain engineering geologists in-house occasionally supplement their staff input with the services of outside consultants for a variety of reasons, including fulfilling contractual obligations, enhancing the work capabilities in a specific geographic area, or reinforcing expert opinions in controversial situations.
Today, some of the major engineering-construction companies that support their own in-house geoscience experts include Bechtel Civil, Inc.; EBASCO Services, Inc.; Fluor Engineers, Inc.; Harza Engineering Company; Morrison-Knudsen Engineering Company; United Engineers and Constructors; and Stone and Webster Engineering Corporation.
Bechtel was one of the first engineering companies to hire staff geologists. In the early 1950s, they hired Ben Warner, Victor L. Wright, Robert J. Farina, and Charles P. Benziger to work on a project-by-product basis. However, lack of permanent job status and associated benefits, as well as the inability in those days to advance professionally within the company ranks, was not encouraging to the geologists or beneficial to the company, and consequently, many of these geologists moved on to other professional situations.