President’s Message – November 2022

By Michael Pearsall, P.Eng., CVS, FEC – President, SAVE International

Thankful for Beauty in the Value Methodology

Where I live, it is currently mid-Fall and being in a temperate zone, the leaves of the deciduous trees are changing to their bright Fall colours. Over the past month, various events have necessitated some long drives for me across southern Ontario, New York State and Pennsylvania.  I will openly admit that Fall is not my favourite season; however, there are days that you must appreciate the natural beauty when driving through places like the Catskills and Adirondacks.

I am not a fan of the car radio either; instead, I like to use long drives as an opportunity for thought and reflection. While I enjoyed the natural beauty of the Fall trees, I couldn’t help but think about the beauty of the Value Methodology (VM).  I think this is something we often take for granted and don’t fully appreciate.

The Fall also brings us celebrations of Thanksgiving and harvest in many parts of the world.  In Canada, this is celebrated in mid-October and in the United States it is in late-November.  There are also many other Fall harvest and festival celebrations around the world. The dates and names are not as important as the concept.  The basic premise being a celebration and thankfulness. There are some famous paintings we often see at this time of year in North America, depicting the first Thanksgiving between some colonists and indigenous peoples in North America.  In many of these paintings, there is a man standing and giving a blessing.  As it turns out, the man most often depicted was my fourteenth-great grandfather, so I guess it explains why I have always felt a connection to giving thanks this time of year.

A couple of Value World issues ago I shared that my main reason for using the VM was to solve problems. Think about the fact that we have learned a way to look at any problem and routinely find solutions with the best value. Do you rush along taking this for granted? Or do you slow down at times to enjoy the beauty in it? Are you thankful for this?

Recently, I was preparing for a presentation on the methodology and took some time to read through the very first Value Engineering report completed by the agency I work for. Since this was the first use of the methodology, they also included minutes of the meetings leading up to the study.  Most of these meetings pre-dated my introduction to the methodology by a few months; however, all of the participants were people I either worked with at the time or got to know through SAVE International. Interestingly, they are all retired now. However, more importantly they were all people that I admired and continue to respect to this day for certain aspects of their personalities or achievements.

Yet, it wasn’t my attraction to these people or their careers that brought me into the VM world.  For me, the VM itself held a charismatic attraction. The day that the methodology was first explained to me, it was like an epiphany in my brain.  My world was forever changed that day.

There are many things that happen to us in life that change our lives forever from that point on. Some are good, some are bad.  Some our voluntary and many are not. For me, I can almost equate my introduction to the VM with the “love at first sight” feeling I had when I met my wife. I saw an inner beauty in the methodology that I couldn’t resist.

This is why, more than a quarter of a century later, I am still involved with the VM.  Through this entire time, I have never had a job that paid me exclusively to just do value studies. Using the VM has always been something that I have done on top of my regular job, often an add-on or volunteer activity.  Just like I continue to volunteer with SAVE. Why do I continue? Because I can’t resist the beauty of the methodology.  For me, it is like looking at the rolling hills of brightly coloured trees in the Fall.

I am thankful for this, as I feel that as a result, I have helped many people through either my use of the VM or by teaching them about VM.  Take some time and reflect on this while you enjoy the Fall colours.  I assume many of you see the beauty in the VM and are thankful you discovered it too.

Of course, it is not always easy and not every workshop or volunteer activity goes as planned.  The last couple of months we have been struggling to find the right venue and approach to a hybrid 2023 Value Summit.  Through this, I have been thankful for all of the suggestions and advice from various SAVE members.  I keep hoping for a way to satisfy everyone’s needs yet deliver the best value in parallel. Take a look at John Corcoran’s article for more on this front as the work continues.