PE vs PM

Evolution of the Professional Engineer As Project Manager

An ambitious and business savvy Professional Engineer (PE) finds himself suffocating in a large, sedentary firm. Convinced he can do better on his own he hangs out his shingle and opens his own firm. Operating as a professional service firm he has to ensure at least one half to two thirds of his service providers must be PEs. As his business begins to grow modestly he takes on an employee. Naturally enough this first hire is another PE. As a matter of economic, and regulatory necessity the PEs are their own CAD Technicians and project managers (PMs).

The PEs are successful and the business grows. The projects grow in technical complexity and are generally profitable. A receptionist is added to the staff, then CAD technicians and finally some accounting help. Flush with success the founders are justifiably confident in their own managerial skills and grateful for their PE Licenses, which enabled them to achieve financial independence.

The firm continues to grow to the point where the founding partners need to train the first generation of project managers, for they are entirely occupied with the running of the firm and drumming up business. They draw on their own body of experience to provide guidance to their proteges. In keeping with their hard won experience, and with an eye on regulatory requirements, the proteges are all PEs. Based on their personal experience, they believe a PE is the ideal team member to aspire to project management.