[The photo above and the two others in this posting we taken today in Santiago. They are all of decorated benches in public places.]
Today I received this from Venmyn, a South African company that is the leader in mine valuation and NI 43-101s as applicable.
There are considerable debates as to which credentials should be included on business cards and on websites – and this debate has extended into the mineral asset estimation and valuation domain.
The debate seems fiercest in the US where, in general discussions on business card etiquette, some have suggested that only PhDs and terminal degrees, such as medical degrees, or professional certifications should be noted, while others believe that Masters Degrees should also be recognised, since they represent a more focused degree than a Bachelors Degree and represent a terminal degree for many.
In other continents, such as Europe, the tendency appears towards the inclusion of more degrees and diplomas, etc, because of the importance associated with all learning, while in other locations, such as Japan, academic credentials as well as industry memberships appear to be important in the culturally-significant introductions that accompany the sharing of business cards.
Venmyn’s position has always been to include all staff credentials on its website and its business cards in line with the global nature of its business and in line with the information that it wants to convey about its staff.
Various Venmyn staff are members, fellows or associate members of the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, Geological Society of South Africa, Engineering Council of South Africa, Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, South African Institute of Directors, American Institute of Mineral Appraisers, Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, Natural Scientist Institute of South Africa, Society of Petroleum Engineers and the Project Management Institute, among other professional bodies.
Venmyn believes that, for those involved in mineral estimation and valuation, credentials:-
- indicate a commitment to mining or geology as a profession;
- imply that the holder has met the standards necessary for a particular academic certification that may be necessary for the carrying out of a particular task;
- convey that the holder of a membership in a professional body is bound by the disciplinary codes of that institution and is required to abide by that institution’s codes of practice;
- stress the person’s ability to complete an assignment in a particular jurisdiction through their alignment with the values of the Australian, US, South African or Canadian professional institutes;
- convey that the holder is in compliance with various statutory regulations, such as registering as a professional natural scientist and including the title Pr Sci Nat after the person’s name in South Africa;
- describe the particular roles, in project management, mining or geology, that the person would be most appropriately be assigned to; and
- describe whether a particular person has worked exclusively in the mineral sector or whether they have experience in the petroleum industry in addition.
While some charge that the credentials following a person’s name on a business card are becoming somewhat of an alphabet soup, Venmyn believes that credentials offer important information for clients in the minerals and oil and gas sectors, conveying academic expertise and compliance with industry norms.
I am sensitive to this debate. Let me tell you why.
I came of age in South African engineering when there was no such thing as a professional engineer. We put the degree after our name: B.Sc.(Eng.) or M.Sc.(Eng.) and that was it.
Later I got an LLB degree, but most engineers and clients do not even know what that is, or care. (It is a post-graduate degree in law, if you wish to know.)
Then Professor Jennings got the professional stuff going. He was Pr. Eng. number one. I was not far after him. Then I paid my dues and became a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, a British thing of long history and great venerability. I accumulated titles and letters after my name and grew great.
Then I came to the USA. Damn me if none of this counted for a whit. The engineers here counted only ability, not letters after your name. In fact, they laughed at me for caring about the letters after my name. One fellow said: “The British would be speaking German, if it were not for the US. Why bother to boast about their societies that would be Hitler if not for us?” Brutal but true.
Now. I simply put P.E. after my name on my business card; along with M.Sc. (Eng.) OK I add LLB, but nobody knows or cares about that. My ex is the only one for obvious reasons. I screwed her in the divorce: the law studies paid for themselves in that one.
I discussed this issue of titles and letters after one’s name with a PhD who got his first degree in France (his home country) and his doctorate in California. He confirmed that the French and Germans put everything they can on the business cards after their name. But he noted too that in North America the practice is very different.
I spoke with a native-born American who has a doctorate. He confirmed that he does not even introduce himself as Dr. He prefers to say “Hi. I’m Bob,” and get on with it. He says that in his experience his clients get intimidated by degreed fellows—or at least those that advertise the degree. He does very well in consulting in Georgia, USA.
Maybe here we have identified an interesting cultural trend. Maybe we best just leave it to sociologists to sort out and do locally what the locals do.