Tag: ethics

May Paper: Engineering Ethics Clashes and Crashes


Presenter: Hendrik "Rik" van Hemmen, President of Martin & Ottaway, Inc.


Both licensed engineers and SNAME members function under a code of ethics. While it may not occur often, just about every engineer will occasionally encounter ethics challenges and proper conduct under those challenges can mean the difference between professional respect and career suicide. This presentation discusses the various applicable codes and provides examples of situations where the use and application of the code can assist engineers in doing the right thing.



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I remember standing at the Newport News Shipyard gate in the 90’s next to Dorothy the tugboat and reading the shipyard’s motto:


“We will build good ships here — at a profit if we can, at a loss if we must, but always good ships”


This motto was apparently coined by Collis Huntington, founder of Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock, which is now Huntington Ingalls Newport News.


I liked this motto, especially since, at that time, TQM was in its revival in the United States. More remarkably, I did not know until later that Newport News’ motto had actually been used as an example of a proper TQM mission statement in Japan right after World War II.


Whether it is the truth, or whether the motto makes it appear so, there is a general industry impression that Newport News always built better ships.


Undoubtedly, I have always found that Newport News would insist on doing the right thing rather than deliver slip shod work. There is other evidence too; for example the Newport News built ship, Medina, was in ocean service from 1914 to 2009!


Nevertheless, over time, I feel the mission statement can stand some updating.

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