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Serving and protecting the profession In our column for 19 October, Hugh Woodrow, Chief Executive of the Association of Consulting Engineers, drew attention to the services provided by the ACE to chartered engineers, including structurul engineers, in private practice. This was in response to the need which had been expressed in a letter by Ken Burr (l7 August) for ‘a trading organisation representing the chartered structurul engineer in business’. Mr Burr responds as follows: It is interesting that Hugh Woodrow should respond to my recent letters under this heading. I took the opportunity to telephone ACE to discover whether it provides the type of service I feel is needed by me in particular and to members in private practice in general. The answer is a clear NO. The prime reason is that, to join ACE, applicants need to be either Fellows of the Institution or agree to seek election to Fellowship within 5 years. This could start another debate, but I for one cannot see the advantages of seeking Fellowship of the Institution. Also the interests of ACE are too diverse. It invites membership from about 14 Institutions and appears to be expanding this to include non-chartered engineers, yet has a membership of only about 700 firms. Mr Halstead is clearly a member of ACE and seems to think that so are we all. Verulam