Fort Wayne Engineers' Club

Engineers News

October 2014 - Vol. LXXVII No. 2

October Tour
Fleetwood RV
Thursday, October 23rd at 2:00 PM
***Note the afternoon tour start***
1031 US 224 East, Decatur, IN 46733

Fleetwood RV, owned by Allied Recreation Group, ( is a leading manufacturer of Class A and Class C recreational vehicles.  They build some of the industry's most recognized and iconic brand names.  The company is a leader in the development of unique, functional floor plans that meet the needs and desires of its customers.  Fleetwood's history begins more than 60 years ago, in 1950 when John C. Crean formed Coach Specialties Company where he made window blinds for travel trailers.  A turning point came in the company's history when a dealer saw a custom-built travel trailer that Crean was making on the side and liked it so much, he contracted Crean to build trailers for his dealership.  The company was later reincorporated in 1957 as Fleetwood Enterprises, Inc.  Over the years, Fleetwood has earned an enviable reputation as a leading innovator.  In fact, Crean designed the first motorhome with basement storage, which is now an industry standard.  The company currently employs 1,100 at several locations around the country.

2014-2015 Membership Dues

The 2014-2015 membership year is upon us.  All FWEC members should review their mailed newsletters to determine if their membership is current.  Review the address label, FWEC Treasurer Ryan Stark has indicated the year of membership above each member’s name.  A “14” would mean that a member needs to pay their dues for the 2014-2015 membership year.  A “15” would mean that the member is current for the 2014-2015 membership year.  Other designations are “CO” for complementary memberships (the Allen County Public Library, previous tour hosts, etc.) and “HO” as an honorary membership designation.  Further information regarding the honorary membership can be found in the FWEC constitution bylaws (

2014-2015 FWEC Board Candidates and Open Position

The FWEC is still in need of a member to fill the Vice President position.  Vice President becomes the President the following membership year.

Below are the 2014-2015 FWEC board candidates.  Board positions are crucial to the planning of tours and events for the FWEC.  Please consult the FWEC constitution ( or contact us at for information on specific duties on board positions.

Board meetings generally last around an hour and are generally held on the first Tuesday of the month during the membership year (September to August).

Current 2014-2015 Membership Year Board Candidates:
President: Marna Renteria          Vice President: Open
Treasurer: Ryan Stark          Secretary: Elizabeth Garr
1st Year Board Member: Mike Magsam & Jack Phlipot
2nd Year Board Member: John Magsam & Rod Vargo
3rd Year Board Members: Dan Delaney & David Momoh

Advertise in the Engineers’ News

New for the 2014-2015 membership year!  The FWEC will be selling advertising space within the Engineers’ News.  Advertisements are $10 per issue and limited to ½ page of content.  For submissions please contact

Construx Toys

FWEC board member Rod Vargo is looking to the membership for old Construx toy blocks.  Any member possessing toys needing a good home should contact Rod via e-mail,, or by phone (260) 416-0986.

Welcome new FWEC Members

The FWEC would like to welcome new full member Michael Miller and new associate member Cynthia Miller.  Remember, the FWEC is the best deal in town with monthly tours at $10 per membership year.  Please be sure to recommend FWEC membership to your colleagues and friends.

TekVenture’s Fort Wayne Regional Maker Faire
Fort Wayne Regional Maker Faire

The FWEC hosted four Maker Mini-Challenges during the Fort Wayne Regional Maker Faire.  All of the challenges were well attended by individuals and families in attendance.  A special thank you to the FWEC members who volunteered their time for our membership booth and the Maker Mini-Challenges:  Elizabeth Garr, John Magsam, Mike Magsam, Marna Renteria, David Skaggs, Ryan Stark, and Rod Vargo.

September Tour History

Twenty-three people attended the tour of 911 facilities on August 25.  The turnout represented a wide range of ages and interests, including more college students and potential new club members than usual.

The 911 Center moved last year from cramped basement quarters in the Rousseau (former City-County) Building to a completely renovated and purpose-designed floor in the Building's tower.  The design of both physical spaces and electronics allows for ongoing updates, as well as panoramic views across much of Allen County.

The Center's workstations are largely modular and can be readily moved, reconfigured, or consolidated into less space.  Most of the Center is on a false floor for flexible routing of cables or pipes (if needed), and access to conditioned air to cool computers (protected in cabinets within the workstations).  About the only complaint during the tour was the false floor carries too much sound around the facility and will need some sound barriers installed.

Each workstation must serve rotating shifts of staff all day, every day, and adapt to changing work demands and stresses.  The workstations are semi-circular and 10 to 15 feet across.  The desktop is adjustable to allow any height of sitting or standing, and divided into front and rear semi-circles which raise or lower independently of each other.  Metal frames on the rear semi-circle move various groups of flat-screen monitors forwards or backwards.  Stations had as many as 10 monitors and could accommodate many more.

Staff often communicate by voice across the room, partly to confirm they are coordinating actions on the monitors.  Each workstation has various lights which automatically signal other coworkers when the staffer is on the phone, on a radio, or otherwise unavailable.  A fourth light and audible alarm sounds when the workstation receives an emergency transferred from another station, to assure the receiving worker notices the actions on his/her monitor(s) and to notify everyone in the room of the transfer.

In anticipation of very long and tense working hours during extended emergencies, there was discussion of eventually getting a special mini-treadmill and/or a specially designed exercise bike which could substitute for a chair at workstations.  Given the circumstances, it made sense.  Also, our culture is increasingly aware of severe health problems associated with chronically sitting.

The working environment was somewhat tense but much less than expected.  The difference appeared to be proper training, capable staff, appropriate supervision, sufficient equipment, and good morale.

It was easy to see why communications equipment and software has become obsolete every few years in the public safety sector.  Beyond the need for ever better encryption so "bad guys" cannot eavesdrop, there have been ever increasing needs to know exactly where a police officer or fire responder is, in addition to where their vehicle is and what it, and their situations are at any given moment.  Meanwhile, about 70% of incoming 911 calls are erroneous, often accidental calls from cell phones bouncing around a pocket or purse, the owner unaware that 911 is actively trying to figure them out.  BUT, any of those might be serious distress calls, and most cell phones give lousy indications of their location.  Now, an ability to text 911 is being introduced, which our tour guide (a supervisor) demonstrated muddles location and communication even further.

Landline phones are dying out of use, but vastly superior for speed of response, clarity, and determining location.  They also outlast other systems during power failures and many other circumstances.  Some pay phones still exist and 911 knows each location because they are usually prank calls.

About a third of the 911 Center's floor space is vacant for expansion because the role of 911 facilities nationwide has rapidly and steadily expanded in response to natural disasters, major acts of violence, public expectations, and legal demands.

About a quarter of the floor is one of several emergency coordination (or "command") centers in Allen County.  Command centers are basically a long conference table with twelve seats, each equipped with a computer and multi-function phones, with open space along the walls and windows for support staff and their gear.

Another quarter of the space provides a very basic locker room, a sparse break/lunch room, and a few offices.  It was adequate for everyday needs but clearly low budget and not intended for extended emergencies.

The limitations of our response systems also become apparent for mass emergencies.  There are some efforts underway to encourage individual and neighborhood preparedness.  Current goals are to have every household prepared to shelter in place for three days without water, power, or heat.  It is also advisable to keep fuel tanks at least half full.

Particularly distressing and often hopelessly overwhelming is the number of citizens who must have electrical power for medical reasons, but are completely unprepared for failures.

This new 911 Center has consumed about $41 million to date and its costs continue to mount for keeping up with rapidly changing technology, Federal mandates, and legal demands.  This is understandably controversial.  Our tour seemed to instill a widespread understanding of why those costs are so high and yet still worth supporting.

Northeast Indiana Discover-E Committee

Northeast Indiana Discover-E Committee (formerly Northeast Indiana Engineers’ Week) is now a standing committee within the FWEC.  The committee’s mission is to sustain and grow a dynamic engineering profession through outreach, education, celebration, and volunteerism.  The Discover-E Committee shall support the Northeast Indiana region by connecting area engineering companies with engineers and students to encourage retention of local talent within the profession.

The incorporation of the Northeast Indiana Discover-E Committee as a standing committee within the FWEC was a result of a 2013-2014 board member vote and corresponding update to the FWEC bylaws (

The Northeast Indiana Discover Committee will be working to upgrade their website with more information to follow.

FWEC Board Meetings

Fort Wayne Engineers’ Club board meetings are open to all FWEC members.  The next FWEC board meeting will be Tuesday November 4th at 7:00 PM.  Board meetings are held on the Indiana Tech campus in the Zollner Engineering Center in room Z-203 (

Engineers’ News Past

The FWEC has a significant history; Treasurer Ryan Stark and his wife were able to find past Engineers News documents dating back to 1938!  Here is an excerpt of the past newsletter (a scanned copy of the entire newsletter is available through the FWEC website):

Engineers’ News from October 21st. 1943:

“Lou” Gossman (who introduced Mr. Hawgood as Mr. Kilgore) favors possible admission of women to membership in FWEC on the basis of physical charm rather than mental or professional attainments.

In an interview, which Mr. Gossman indicated was not for publication, he said that he always has been intrigued by the idea of FWEC meetings attended by beautiful, buxom, blond “bits of fluff” but that he feels the average age of the council is too advanced to allow such a thing.

With beautiful female engineers clamoring for admission, the council should meet (with more than three members present) to set down a policy on women.

Fort Wayne Engineers’ Club

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