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Chemical Engineering: Visions of the World R.C. Darton, R.G.H. Prince and D.G. Wood (Editors) 9 2003 Elsevier Science B.V.

All rights reserved Chapter 5 Chemical Engineering" The Practice of the Profession "Pace, Price, Perplexities" Mark Stevens Fluor Australia Pty Ltd., The Gateway, 312 St. Kilda Road, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 3004 1. Chemical engineering commitment In 1997, the Institution of Chemical Engineers issued the London Communiqu6, signed by 18 chemical engineering societies from around the world. The Communiqu6 designed this broader perspective for the chemical engineering profession "The key challenge for our profession in the 21 st century is to use our skills to improve the quality of life; foster employment, advance economic and social development, and protect the environment." While these higher order objectives should be held with conviction, the chemical engineering profession is also challenged to improve the recognition of its value so that it may continue to grow and realize great achievements, as it did in the 20 th c entury. This chapter will address today's chemical engineering profession, the trends an d dynamics affecting it, and look forward to the priorities of the profession to ens ure its viability and value in the future. 2. The new era of possibilities Even in normal times, the future is unpredictable, and now in an era of unpreced ented change and rapid knowledge accumulation, it is absolutely impossible. Not long a go, The Czech President Vaclav Havel said it best "We live in an age where everything is possible, and nothing is certain." This clearly is the best definition of where society is at the onset of a new ce ntury, and in fact, a new age. At the current rate of knowledge acquisition, virtually ever ything may be possible soon. 91

M. Stevens 2.1. The pace of change of technology Ever since the microprocessor was invented in the late 1950s, the pace of knowle dge acquisition and change has increased exponentially. The ability to access, store and calculate ~ what once took thousands of researchers years to accomplish ~ is now executed in nanoseconds. This has radically accelerated the learning curve. Addi tionally, knowledge accumulation and instant search and retrieval characteristic s of ever-advancing cyber technologies are literally putting a world of knowledge at every professional's fingertips. Today, society stands in the eye of a technological whirlwind of its own creatio n. Knowledge is building on itself at exponential rates. The experts predict that a ll human knowledge will double in the next seven to 10 years. But that's only the beginning. Knowledge will double again in less time with each successive iteration . Knowledge builds on knowledge. So the cycle of discovery continues to accelerate and tighten at an exponential pace. With the Internet, and whatever lies beyond it, the nature of knowledge has chan ged from solid to liquid. Knowledge once was a commodity that was hoarded and traded like gold. Now it is more like water, only of value when it is flowing and freel y available to all. Because of this tidal wave of knowledge accumulation, acceleration is unchecked. World-class new product development times were once measured in decades, then years, now they are measured in months, and tomorrow in weeks. Society is witnes sing enabling technologies arriving so fast that by the time a leading-edge techn ology is ordered and installed, it is no longer state-of-the-art. The full implication s of the hyper-pace of the knowledge age are not truly understood. One hundred years ago was the birth of the Industrial Age in the U.S. That year, 1901, the number of industrial workers exceeded the number of farm workers in th e U.S. for the first time. Twenty-five years ago, this year, was the beginning of the Information Age. That is the year, 1976, that more than half of the U.S. labor p ool directly, or indirectly, worked in information processing. Everyone agrees that in the next few years a new era will begin some call it a post-industrial, post-information age. From a hundred-year era, to 25 years, to

the whirlwind tightens with each turn. yoked with . that is acti ng as an overwhelming agent of radical change. Unprecedented competition.less than 15 years. Knowledge breeds competition For businesses. The very technologies that have fostere d this rapid pace of change also break down many of the barriers to entry for new competitors wanting to begin new businesses. 2.2. it is not the pace of knowledge accumulation. but the pressure t o rapidly apply that knowledge in a highly competitive global market.

Countries with virtually no natural resources now can. The new chemical engineering profession In many ways. Globalization also removes barriers that separate cultures. through sheer resourcefulness. which are world powers becau se they have prospered on their ability to take up an idea after its initial develo pment and bring it to market faster and more efficiently than even the original invent ors. The tra ditional essentials for competition. That is ultima tely good for customers. but they also are truly adept at improving existing ideas in ongoing processes. and out-earn. They take a treme ndously complex set of skills. biotech breakthroughs and labor saving innovations to contribute to the quality. . South Korea. This is ultimately good. Japan.Chemical Engineering: The Practice of the Profession ever-increasing knowledge. have o nly limited advantages in the emerging knowledge culture. The global village. Singapore. become global players. There are now companies. The pressure to out-learn. They have created many new technologies. As bio-ch emist and novelist Isaac Asimov said. whether in owner. No wall. Switzerland. orchestrate them in every remote part of the world and create facilities that make it a better place ~ an endeavor that makes people pr oud to be called a chemical engineer. is creating a frenetic competitive situation. like resources and accumulated wealth. productivity and longevity of l ife. design and build the world's largest industrial plants and complexes. Taiwan ~ all are crowded nations wit h highly limited resources that have placed a significant emphasis on rapid applic ation of emerging technologies. but it is engineering that changes the world. for it raises the standard of living and quality of mat erial well being globally. contractor or supplier companies. The global community is caught up in a breathless race for new products. in fact. competitors is astronomical. entire countries. made of iron or ideology. yet it is changing the nature of global industry. conditions that promote the innovative use of knowledge should be ideal for chemical engineers." Chemical engineers. can resist this free flow of information and mat erial awareness. truly link people everywhere together economically and reduce the prospects of global confrontation. has done what all of the ambassadors of history failed to do. 3. in fact. "Science can amuse and fascinate us all.

they make them safer and more durable. They are all-important to a thriving global economy. cost-effective and accessible to greater numbers of peop le. dependable . They invent. In the process. biomedical and chemical technologies. environmental. they nurture and incrementally improve petroleum processing. To say a chemical engineer's skills are important to the world's economic well-b eing is a gross understatement. but more importantly. chemical engineers are the proud parents of today and the escorts to a better future. environmentally benign. to name a few.In a sense. Even .

chemical engineers must recognize five outcomes of the changes that are already apparent and affecting t he profession. Today. a re . More and fewer specialists First. However. Actually. for example. Up until now. decrease as expertise i s more readily accessed over various information Internets and joint-venture brain trus ts. Stevens economists. especi ally in major corporations. 3. great er specialization. are there more as traffic cops to refer pati ents to the appropriate specialist. General practitioners. in fact. The trend toward specialization is logical. where they exist at all. Extended reach Second. est ablishing a knowledge-centric peer culture that crosses all organizational and pol itical boundaries. a good generalist engineer on staff can monitor the work of supplier experts. are in full agree ment that technological innovation is the primary source of growth. the trend toward deeper levels of specialization makes each chemical eng ineer more dependent on knowledge in the global community rather than in his or h er own company. Chemical engineers. and away from. who have predicted 13 of the last four recessions. as knowledge builds and competition increases. That means the individual must reach out as never before. There is a consequential blurring of the distinctions between organi zations that are knowledge suppliers. Executive teams may feel that as accessible as knowledge is. Yet there is an equally significant trend away from on-staff specialists. chemical engineering is going the same route as the medical profession. more than ever before. there are seemingly contradictory movements both to. In this r espect. but in the not-too-distant future. 3. but rather a trend tow ard seeing knowledge-pools not as integral but rather as resources.M. chem ical engineers may have performed as generalists. one simply has to take a thinner slice to digest the same amount. on elasticity pro perties of fiber-reinforced polymers in some highly specific application. As the pie of knowledge grows.2. Some contend here that the total number of experts may.1. this really is not a rejection of specialization. many companies have only one specialist in a narrowly define d area of expertise. they may have to focus their expertise as specialists.

.expected to establish their own distinct lines of communications. 3. Matrix mindsets Third. entirely different kinds of corporations are being created.3. The trend is toward streamlined leadership. and to be mast ers of their own priorities and time. empowering the people who actually know the technology and do the work to make the decisions.

3. Today most organizations fill their knowledge gaps by utilizing cross-functional decision-making teams. Core business focus The fifth. an d marketing. These super chemical companies crossed fields and borde rs with impunity. chemical engineers have to expand their traditional role as team players . with their top-down decision making structures. creating a wide range of products. This has mandated a retreat back to concentrating on core competencies. research. It is. To be an engineer means being involved in customer satisfaction. The pressure of pace ~ to accomp lish so much in so little time ~ has placed inordinate demands on organizations for c apital investment and talent. This is essential to create a robust environme nt where thoughts are transformed into action in real time to achieve. are pr oving to be too cumbersome to provide the necessary agility. In the past decade the pendulum has swung back. For example. process and manufacturing controls. product development. Then.4. Chemical engineering companies were originally small. unprecedented agility. and back to specialization and concentration on a few core competencies. a return to chemical engineering's histori cal origins. in a real sense. integrated chemical companies. is that virtually no company has en ough knowledge or resources to go it entirely alone. The trend is away from allthings-to-all-people mega managements. and sustain. It really does place a great deal of demand on individual c hemical engineers to manage themselves. the trend was consolidation into large. beginning in the 1920s. innovative specialty factories. which could take advantage of strong resources for development and advanced research facilities. a chemical engineer may be a member of the original new concept team and stay with a product throughout the entire development cycle. In the new organizati on. Cross-functional team players Fourth. 3. individual specialists are given the authority and responsibility to make key de cisions on elements within their purview. The conglomerates continued to gro w right up into the 1980s. not just their technologies and projects. many large companies today have gone full circle by segmenting their service or product lines and spinning them off to bet ter . Yet.Chemical Engineering: The Practice of the Profession Traditional corporations. and perhaps most dramatic change.5. throughout its service life and fight through to material recycling.

there are far more com panies focusing their investments into their core business and divesting all seg ments of their businesses that are peripheral. knowledge management. .balance the parent companies' focus and resources. Today. partnerships and alliances to strengthen and leverage their own knowledge and expertise. companies a re using technology. And whether large or small.

and many companies try to "get by just a little longer" u sing . microelectronics. the pro fession must take control and define its own future. Currently. should be unlimited. despite the opportunities that these five outcomes would appear to create f or chemical engineers. Stevens 4. Attracting. Oil and gas. the value of chemical engineers' knowledge and services needs to be addresse d and recognized. petrochemicals. the profession must also recognize the challenges that must be faced if it is to excel in the future. The universal engineer challenged By all logic. environmental clean-up and biomedical implants all offer p ossibilities for chemical engineers. chemical engineers are pursuing career opportunities in a variety of fields. The strong scientific. pharmaceuticals. And worse. design and process tools a re exceedingly expensive. The possibilities for chemical engineers. Chemical engineers can be called "universal engineers" for a good re ason. Leading-edge computer-based analytical. fewer young people are drawn to ca reers in chemical engineering. talent Chemical engineers can achieve what once were thought to be miraculous incremental improvements in productivity and cost reduction through the effective use of technology. and engineering in general. biotechnology.M. As the war for people heats up. and the engineering professi on in general.1. 4. To stay abreast of the latest state-of-the-art tools requires ever incre asing reinvestment. these changes in our technical and business environment should wor k to the chemical engineering profession's benefit. Yet. but to take advantage of this opportunity. food proce ssing. Incomes for chemical engineers in the largest industrial countries are not going up as rapidly as demand should indicate. More than tools. Chemical engineers' skills have never been more in demand by a wider set of industries. The chemical engineers' multidiscipline education and training have made them far more team oriented and cros sfunctional. Yet there are challenges to the pro fession. mathematical and technical background found in chemical e ngineering education has allowed the chemical engineering professional to enter n ew fields that often lie in the white space between disciplines. retaining and investing in the ta lent of chemical engineers is crucial for companies that are pursuing business in these fields.

investing in talent and tr aining can. Short-term price . Talent and training to use the most sophisticated tools are essential.outdated tools. While investing in technology is one hurdle. be significantly greater than outlays for tools. Each practitioner must fully understand the calculations being made by each tool and be able to measure and manipulate the results. and should. it must be realized that the tools themselves are not enough. With the current manic pace of knowledge acquisition. Buying a Stradivarius does not guarantee an Isaac Stern p erformance.

in th e worst case. a company's long-t erm viability erodes as it fails to reinvest in its people. profit margins begin to erode. Cost pressure is. a positive motivating force.2. Major companies are farming out not only manufacturing. and therefore the preeminent. financial viability of a single competitor or the entire industry. the rapid pace and competitive frenzy is placing the very industry in j eopardy." In such an environment. where predatory pri cing takes a toll. once kept in house a nd highly valued. . Keeping costs down is part of the total value equation that chemical engineers need to bring to their clients. now are part of the supplier service package. The challenge to any profession. systems and innovative p ractices because of short-term cost demands. this has an impact on the servic e provider who participates in such a price war. It urges comp anies to stay on the leading edge of enabling technologies. decider. not only in terms of diminished r eturns to its investors. Penny wise.and third-tier suppliers. Price h as become the easiest. In response to competitive pressures. ironically nega ting the advantages that would have resulted in significant cost reductions. but al so developmental and maintenance services to second. Products and services are often conceived of as commodities today. At the very time the public has grown to expect a steady stream of innovative new products and se rvices and companies are demanding greater certainty of cost. engineering services. whether it be d octors. lawyers or engineers. pound foolish Chemical engineering employs a systemic approach that guarantees each step in th e long process. Thes e suppliers are competitive only by keeping overhead down through a combination of constraining compensation and increasing productivity. schedule and functi on. from concept to commercialization. 4. and leverage the productio n. or at least can be. is when price becomes the only determinant of "value. quality and pace improvements possible with the application of ever-advancing el ectronic tools. but also as a negative impact on the pride. Ultimately. However. quality and. the process that delivers them is faltering. and with that.Chemical Engineering: The Practice of the Profession obsession undercuts this critical technology reinvestment cycle. is creative and taken with care .

in addition. Other professional disciplines. overheads and other items that make up the contractor's costs to provi de services. With this visibility by clients into the cost structure of the engineering and c onstruction business.Worse yet is that this problem was created. in part. look for detailed breakdowns of burde ns and benefits. owners have tended to normalize costs and negotiate to the l owest . but. industrial suppliers have provided their clients with far more enhanced visibility into their actual costs of doing business than is the case in many other services. Many clients not only require to see the actual cos ts of items that are procured. such as lawyers. have resisted this break down of costs and competition on margins. Unique to engineering. by the engineering professi onals themselves.

yet it is a disaster in th e making for most products. To the extent owners continue to contract with financially strong suppliers and contractors that properly evaluate the risks they are assuming with the rewards the y may achieve. As a result. That may be acceptable for computer progra ms where the user is expected to be the final inspector. when an engineering contract or assumes risks that it cannot effectively mitigate. which has invested in systems and processes to significantly improve the schedul e. invest in tools and retain chemical engineering talent. environmental an d durability problems for the customer. In many cases. The difference is that the same forces that animate desperate pr oducers during times of recession are now considered the sustaining reality of a hyper economy.M.3. Major companies no w are requiring that suppliers and engineering contractors assume greater developm ental and liability risks. safety and performance outputs. engineering contractors are . There is a potential advantage in mo ving project risk to the party that can best mitigate that risk or. the delicate balance between risk and rewar d becomes out of balance. then the system stays in balance. is in a compromised positio n to grow margins. As lower pay and prestige continue. an engineering provider. from gasoline to polymers and pharmaceuticals. the world will suffer the consequences of this narrow mindedness with lower quality. Devaluing the profession inevitably results in safety. The phenomenon of pricing pressure is not new. quality. Similar periods of predatory pric ing develop temporarily during business down cycles and are certainly not unique to engineering. the party that is willing to put a lower-risk premium on the assumptio n of risk and the cost of risk mitigation. reduce total installed costs or enhance performance. However. Unbalanced chances And there are other disturbing outcomes of predatory pricing. regardless of the ability to mitigate. 4. even in pe riods of high demand for services. or when it undervalues the ri sk premium necessary to address such risk. These risks take on a variety of forms. Stevens common denominator on contractor margins. There is nothing inherently sinister about these genera l approaches by owners to mitigate their risks. from lump-sum price risks to schedule and plant performance guarantees.

is having the courage to say "no. Wellexecuted risk management is a fundamental discipline in the engineering professi on today. risk management must continue throughout the life of a proj ect. . particularly the development of large. One of the first critical steps of risk management. following a comprehensive as sessment of the risks. to be a su ccessful business enterprise." Ultimately.taking on more risks than the rewards they have requested would warrant. fixed-price projects.

In this fast-paced era. and those who operate in it. The social contract One of the greater values of the global community. No long er are chemical engineers just working on a finite task. Academia. head of World Watch Institute. Accounting for creativity Intellectual capital must be recognized as the only viable property in the Knowl edge Age. Meeting the challenge Yet there is much that can be done immediately to redefine these challenges and turn them into value-added opportunities. the only competitive advantage ~ the only source of profitability and productivity any organization has ~ comes from robust. As Lester Brown. There is a new expectation that producers have obligat ions far beyond fiduciary responsibilities. Business leaders must learn to recognize.Chemical Engineering: The Practice of the Profession 4. incremental innovations from individuals." Chemical engineering has been on the forefront of environmental and workenvironment innovations.4. 5. are all definable processes that can yield immense benefits from management systems. "not everything that can be counted counts. and not everything that .1. reduce and control costs. Companies now operate under an implied social contract that says a company's fight to exist and do business is determined not only by its ability to create viable products and shareholder profits. As A lbert Einstein put it. owner and contractor companies and suppliers will be judged not only on the valu e they deliver but also on their ability to protect and improve the world. health and safety. they must broaden their view a nd set the benchmark for global responsibility. the value of an enterprise's most intangible assets ~ intellectual capital. respect and employ in broad measure. a global management system that allows companies to effectively manage environmental responsibi lities. 5. both inside companies and in their partner organizat ions. document commitment to government and promote concern for the public. put it: "The publ ic today realizes that there is something fundamentally wrong with treating the ear th like a business in liquidation. An outstanding example is ISO-14001. today is social responsibility. Business leaders and academia alike mu st address the new realities. with quality. Environmental stewardship. but also by se rving environmental and societal goals in every community and country where that company does business.

counts can be counted. internally by rewarding talented engineer s ." More intuitive measures should be employed. Chemical eng ineers need to accommodate what counts.

Knowled ge management is key to greater productivity and intellectual capital retention. increase quality. is certain to grow a team that has practically no limits. Th e profession must not just keep abreast of the latest tools but also become suffic iently adept at using them. Hard questions have to be asked. and up front accounting has to be looked on in broader te rms. Th ose companies most successful at capturing internal and external knowledge in an eas ily retrievable and reusable form can lower the cost of services or facility operati ons. When that is accomplished. chemical engineers need to communicate these knowledge-age values into their equation for partnership and supplier services. Yes.100 M. The most successful companies have already realized the returns on investment of intellectual capital. Fostering a culture that ties productivity to the hum an spirit. Somehow. the return on investment of chemical engineerin g will become as apparent as the bottom line. The accounting ledger must be rewritten to incorporate the most valuable asset ~ the industry's professiona l assets.2. Stevens with financial rewards and ever more intellectually challenging and stimulating assignments. However. And it must be done as a profession. and the ongoing challenge of inspiring an environment that brings out the individual's best. commodity thin king must be countered. and the pace of change in available engineering tools has never been greater. What are the actual costs of doing business? Th e long-term cost of reduced quality in lost product loyalty and warranty liability ? What are the costs in productivity for knowledge workers when wages are low. business is in the business of beating competitors. to draw the brightest and best i nto the chemical engineering community. so that real competitive advantages can be derived. . while at the same time. and pers onal training and development opportunities non-existent? What are the costs of takin g on much more risk than the rewards warrant? How will it affect the organization to set environmental stewardship aside for short-term profits? 5. Better using our heads Advanced technologies improve schedules and quality across the entire value chai n.

there is no longer independence. joint ventures and alliances have always existed. What is new is that they are now essential components of competitive life. called Knowledge Online. in doing so. only interdependence. knowledge flows freely between employees located in more than 50 offices worldwide. The company's proprietary program. In the knowledge age. The distincti on . creates va lue for clients. At Fluor.As an example.3. Power in numbers Engineering partnerships. 5. is an Intemet collaboration that allows members continuous access to Flu or experts located around the world and also to more than 22. business-driven project automation solutions and. Fluor's Global Automation Team develops or customizes highvalue.000 knowledge objects.

Europ e and the Asia-Pacific market. is still alien. more i nvolved in professional organizations. in which a matrix of relationships is an essential norm. 5. Most professions blow their own horns. corporations.. partnerships and joint ventures to better serve customers in the U. and typically multi-national. The firewalls that once kept companies and institutions of all kinds apart have crumpled. he would rather take it apart to see how to improve it than to attract att ention by blowing it. A chemical engineer's pride too rarely gets translated into positive visibility for the profession. Yet when an engineer takes up a horn.4.S. to take great pride in wh at is accomplished and communicate that pride at every opportunity.. Virtually all successful global engineering-based enterprises today are immersed in complex webs of relationships.. chemical engineers need to do a far better job of managing the ir image. The challenge for future engineers is to be more visible. Ideas flow freely in multi-company. Fluor had no fewer than 47 different major strategic alliances. to displace a li ttle of the dispassionate logic with vocal and visible passion.. its suppliers and contractors is dissipatin g. It is not at all unusual today to see competing comp anies. alumni efforts.. requires an entirely new attitude toward partnership. is difficult for traditional competitors to fully appr eciate. My own company is a case in point. Chemical engineers ne ed to become as adept at interacting with societal and political forces. as they ar . At last count. or not at all. Each must view the other a s internal. Chemical engineering is not a noisy profession. Central and South America. Fluor was once a self-contained family-owned business. Yet an age of specialization. alliances. an integral component of one's own company and perceive the partner's su ccess as tantamount to the parent company's own. The new reality of equ ality. The idea that companies can crea te dynamic products together. The "not-invented-here" mindset should no longer exist in practice.Chemical Engineering: The Practice of the Profession between the engineering corporation. communities and organizations that are important to their customers. and of genuinely shared fate. Improving the chemistry In the media age. universities and government agencies all working together on a common challenge. much like the majority of companies were in the last century.

e with chemical and mechanical forces. companies will need to find the fight balance to stay competitive. therefore. serving multiple markets or specializing in select areas . chemical engine ering companies need to effectively manage and continuously move their resources to th e markets where the opportunities are greatest.5. A company balancing act Whether large or small. likes to put it. As Jack Welch. "We have t o find . The cyclicity of growth and contraction will not change in the 21 st century. the recently retire d CEO of GE who holds a doctorate in chemical engineering. 5.

food additives. As Linus Pauling said. "The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas. chemical engineering faces many challenges in this new century. It is.6. one prominent chemical engineering innovator said. from petrochemical. there was tremendous resistance to a new profession that was neither pure chemistry nor engineering but a hybrid of both. chemical engineers had to define their dualistic vision and demonstrate their value. In large accomplishments and increm ental innovations." Despite opposition. resources and reach of a big company with the hunger . role chemical engineering should play. particularly in North America. and some might say because of opposition. From its inception. as chemical engineers at the turn of the 19 th century received less remuneration t han a master plumber or machinist. chemical engineers have made a contribution to the Industrial Age that was far greater than numbers would indicate. At the same time. Most questioned wha t. As late as 1921.102 M. the adaptabi lity of a field that can successfully straddle both science and engineering. if any. physics and p hysical plumbing. th erapeutic devices. Stevens a way to combine the power. "We [chemical engineers] are not even able to convince other eng ineers that we are engineers. fibers. litt le respect was given to chemical engineers. isotopes to splitting atoms. From day one. Chemical engineers have been the major innovators in industrial age processes. antibiotics. that makes chemical engineering so viable in an age where change is th e only constant. they have continued to s erve as leaders in environmental and safety innovations. Can all of this be accomplished? No question." and chem ical engineers have had a lot more good ideas than virtually any other professional f . the spirit. in fact. The new professional Chemical engineers have improved the quality and quantities of many products tha t enhance the quality of all our lives. and constant improvement the only option. chemical engineers have changed the world for the better." 5. Even less respect was given on payday. yet certainly no more fundamentally insurmountab le than this unique profession has already overcome. and the fire of a small one. polymers. As the profession struggled to prove itself. agility.

Improvements in energy. These include the r ecycling. To meet the energy and development demands of the 21 st century. Additionally. . continued development of chemi cal processes will be required to meet environmental objectives. and a host of others to protect future generations. reuse and disposal of waste materials using physical chemical principles. thermal efficiencies and reductions in emissions will be key areas of future chemical engineering expertise. Further reduction of emissions from combustion processes is a key area requiting chemical technology. process technology in the chemical processing industries must answer the call for new produc ts and new facilities to produce them.ield.

Reductions in the capital costs of facilities of 20 or 30 percent and r eductions in schedule of the same magnitude can be achieved. Through automation tools that c reate faster and more accurate designs. Chemical engineers will need research. Reflecting across the many industries that chemical engineering enhances. We live in an age where everything is pos- . Collect ively. Sustainable developme nt will require new designs. ther e is tremendous potential to bring value to the processing units of the human body. contractors and academia as never before to meet this challenge. How well chemical e ngineers succeed individually will determine the fate of their organizations coop eratively. engineers have an opportunity to make a step change in what the y deliver. Ultimately Vaclav Havel was correct. and the combined cooperation of facility owners. I am personally optimistic that there will be a continuing and growing need for the unique and varied skills that the chemical engineering profession will bring. If there is any real certainty of today. Th e huge number of industrial complexes that will be built as global economies continue t o strengthen will require much from this industry. it is that there is no calming the know ledge whirlwind.Chemical Engineering: The Practice of the Profession Some of the greatest contributions may be in the biomedical field. new thinking and the creativity that only the chemical engineers of the third millennium can provide. and no reversing the integration of companies' and countries' urgent need for collaboration and cooperation. Conclusion In this new age of partnership and interdependence. the de signs of today will not meet the requirements of tomorrow. How well they succeed as a professional community will determine the fat e of their industry. The impact of such changes wi ll be fantastic. logistics tools that create just-in-time deliv ery to remote jobsites. 6. Just as chemi cal engineers have advanced chemical processes in manufacturing facilities. each side in every relations hip must be concerned with the long-term viability of the other. they will need to invest in their industry ~ in their future. and advanced electronic tools that drive efficiencies in every part of the business.

and nothing is certain. then the possibilities for chemical engineers in the new century will be limited only by their ability to work together in mutually beneficial ways. . Yet if we make the effort to eliminate the uncert ainties.sible.