I saw the future and forensic engineering is in good hands

I saw the future of forensic work at the Engineers Nova Scotia Christmas social in Halifax a few days ago, and all is good.

I saw lots of younger men and women engineers – and chatted with a few – some older guys, and a good mix of ethnic groups. There was a big crowd, I’m sure close to the 325 who planned to attend. (Ref. 1)

I liked learning that some women are getting into electrical and mechanical engineering, also project management, and getting their hands dirty and mud on their boots on construction sites. This kind of site experience bolds well for those who will go into forensic engineering.

Then there was the engineering student who got in touch with me last year wanting to know about forensic engineering – prompting the blog What is Forensic Engineering? (Refs 2 and 3)

And there was the clerk at Staples, who is studying forensic anthropology. She has a basic bachelor of science degree from Mount Allison University and a master of science in forensic anthropology from the University of Edinburgh. I liked learning this having done a masters in engineering in the UK.

I also liked learning more this year about the field of forensic archeology that is reflective of forensic geotechnical engineering – my field of study and practice for years – and uses similar techniques. (Ref. 4)

Also learning about the daughter of a friend of mine who has studied forensic DNA and works with the Halifax Regional Police.

And the sister of another friend who has an ancestry DNA lab in Ontario.

(The latter two friends are hot-tub friends at Cole Harbour Place where I go swimming – a good place to meet interesting people from all walks of life)

We’re in good hands, if these folk can hang onto their passion for forensic work in their respective fields while remembering that forensic investigation serves the judicial and dispute resolution processes with thorough, objective investigation. If they can do this, then the future for forensic investigation in all fields looks good.

But, all the while, being alert to vested interests. They’re out there too. (Refs 5 and 6)

Seasons Greetings and a Happy New Year to all my blog site visitors.


  1. Talk with Christine Larocque (She/Her), Director, Communications and IT, Engineers Nova Scotia, December, 2022
  2. What is forensic engineering? Posted September 28, 2021
  3. What is forensic engineering? Posted November 20, 2012 (An earlier post on this field of practice)
  4. Catling, Christopher and Bahn, Paul, The Complete Practical Encyclopedia of Archaeology, pp 512. Anness Publishing Ltd. 2013. Particularly page 226, Forensic Archaeology
  5. Is bias alive and well in police investigation? Posted September 20, 2022
  6. The ethics of contingency shopping. Posted December 30, 2021

(Posted by Eric E. Jorden, M.Sc., P.Eng. Consulting Professional Engineer, Forensic Engineer, Geotechnology Ltd., Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada December 30, 2022 ejorden@eastlink.ca)   

Confusion reigned, due in no small part to me

I was surprised at how my inquiry about a slip and fall accident turned out, and liked what I learned about setting up Zoom and Teams’ meetings.

I came out of the incident determined to prevent similar hiccups in the future with other people and groups I meet virtually. For sure during Zoom and Teams’ meetings about forensic engineering investigation. It was a small hiccup but troublesome. And all this in the run up to the Christmas season, a joyous time of the year.

I was referred to a lawyer and her firm by colleagues who had been approached about investigating the cause of a slip and fall accident. They recognized it was outside their area of expertise and suggested I get in touch with the firm.

I called and we chatted. I learned that the firm may have found an expert. This was fine. I recommended peer review of the expert’s investigation because there are many elements in slip and fall accidents and different approaches to investigating cause.

She suggested a Microsoft Teams meeting to discuss this. We looked at some dates and I suggested one that fit my schedule a couple of days later. She got back to me later in the day to confirm this time was good after conferring with her colleague, a partner in the firm. I noted the time in my journal.

I sat at my desk at the appointed time a couple of days later and waited for an email with the Teams link … and waited and waited. Sometime after the agreed time I went onto other work.

The next day I called and left a voice mail as to whether I had misunderstood the time of our Teams’ meeting. Three days later I sent an email inquiring. The telephone number and email address worked in setting up the Teams meeting, why not now? Hmmm?

(I learned later – see below – that my contact had called when I didn’t link in, and I missed the call)

A good month passed during which I was troubled by what had happened. I also wondered how the young lawyer and her colleague had processed this.

I decided to check the emails again in setting up the Teams meeting. Maybe I checked more thoroughly this time. The penny dropped as I scrolled well down the email page to near my contact’s signature, and somewhat below the text about the meeting time two days hence. I saw a Teams link in the earlier exchange of emails. I remembered seeing at the time what looked like a link but, if I might be allowed some slack, in a quick read no indication it was for a Teams meeting two days later.

It didn’t help that three organizations that I Zoom with weekly and monthly send out a link one or two days early. Then send out a reminder on the meeting day. New meeting technology, new protocols.

This was the first time a misunderstanding like this happened in my years of consulting practice. I wondered, would I still be a bit troubled months from now about the mistake if one side or the other in this matter called me about a peer review? I wouldn’t, seeing as I carried some of the burden, also because I’m too interested in just doing my work – engineers are like that, to a fault.

(A little aside but a little related. I was at an Engineers Nova Scotia Christmas social in Halifax in all that rain last Thursday evening. Much of the talk was the engineering projects we worked on in the past and what we’re doing now that has some engineering in it. Engineers are like that, talking shop all the time. Santa Claus was no where to be seen or heard. This was the case for young and older engineers alike, male and female, and all ethnic groups – we’re a nice mixed bag of engineers Down East)

What about the young lawyer? How did she process this? Fortunately we were in touch early last week and chatted and know a mistake was made. I also learned that they telephoned when I didn’t show up for the Teams’ meeting. I didn’t answer as I tend to shy away when I don’t recognize the number – too much spam out there. I do look at all email – it glares at you from the Inbox.

Think we shared the cause of the mistake but with me carrying the greater burden by not scrolling all the way to the bottom of the e-page and paying closer attention to what was there.

At the end of the day, I’m okay with the effect of this on me – a learning experience.

The take-away? Draw attention to the link on the day the meeting is set up, and follow up with a reminder near the top of the e-page on the day of the Teams or Zoom meeting.

(Posted by Eric E. Jorden, M.Sc., P.Eng. Consulting Professional Engineer, Forensic Engineer, Geotechnology Ltd., Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. December 15, 2022 ejorden@eastlink.ca)