Update from the NACE Northeastern Region

Leadership is a critical part, arguably the most critical part, of any organization. As County Engineers, all of us exercise some form of leadership in our communities. NACE is an organization comprised of leaders, and it has been my great pleasure working with the other members of the NACE Executive Committee during my time as the NE Region VP. I rarely, if ever, get to work with such a well-qualified and good-natured group of individuals. It‘s easy to get discouraged with the goings on of the world today, but it has been invigorating to me through my participation in NACE to see the caliber of people working as County Engineers around the Country, each one doing their part to make their community a better place to call home. I’ve worked with various types of leaders in my 20 years of employment in Harrison County, Indiana. Some leaders were leaders in position only, and essentially only along for the ride. Some leaders were passionate about their position, but were motivated by too many things other than the greater good of the community. In a few circumstances, I have been blessed to work with leaders who had a vision for our community, and were focused on how to achieve that vision while avoiding the familiar pitfalls of local politics, egos, personal grudges, and other distracting issues that often prevent the wheels of a community from turning as effectively as they should. It’s amazing what can be accomplished when you are fortunate enough to work with that type of leadership! On the other hand, it can be exhausting trying to survive bad leadership. As County Engineers, we are well positioned within our communities to make the good times great, and to dampen the consequences of ineffective or bad leadership during the "down" times. I’ve developed a belief in the phrase, “Good things happen when those who can, do”. In most communities, the County Engineer is one of those people in the community who “can.” We have to be mindful not to sit back and be bystanders, but to follow through with the rest of that phrase and “do”. I’m fond of a poem entitled “The Wreckers.”

The Wreckers

By Charles Benvegar

I watched them tearing a building down,
A gang of men in a busy town;
With a ho-heave-ho and a lusty yell
They swung a beam and a side wall fell.
I asked the foreman, “Are these men skilled,
As the men you’d hire if you had to build?”
He gave a laugh and said, “No, indeed!
Just common labor is all I need;
I can easily wreck in a day or two
What builders have taken a year to do!”
I thought to myself as I went my way,
Which of these roles have I tried to play?
Am I a builder who works with care
Measuring life by the rule and square?
Am I shaping my deeds by a well-made plan,
Patiently doing the best I can?
Or am I a wrecker who walks the town
Content with the labor of tearing down?


It’s unfortunate, but all of us labor against the type of mentality of the “wreckers”.  Sometimes it’s a noise in the background, and sometimes it’s loud and center-stage. It’s a fight that must be fought, though, and as County Engineers, we are well qualified and well positioned to fight that fight. Keep fighting the good fight!

“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?  Then said I, Here am I; send me.”   Isaiah 6:8

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