State Fined Company Named In FBI Search Warrants

SMU Engineering Professor Mitchell Thornton talks to CBS 11 News of Dallas about the requirement for a licensed engineer on a Dallas Area Rapid Transit project.

By Jack Fink 

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – When DART set out to replace their radios back in 2006, Engineer Ray Trott thought his company could do the work. But Trott’s firm, Trott Communications Group, didn’t get the job. “This thing kind of upset me.”

Instead, DART’s general contractor selected Wai-Wize, a company Trott says he knew nothing about. “This is an industry I’ve been in for 34 years. we knew all our competitors, and I never heard of Wai-Wize. Never.”

Trott says records showed Wai-Wize wasn’t licensed, as required by state law. So on August 1, 2006, he fired off a complaint to the Texas Board of Professional Engineers and questioned why Wai-Wize got the job. . .

Mitch Thornton is a professor at SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering. He works with state engineering boards across the country, and says this is a matter of public safety. “Requiring licensure is a means for the public to have some confidence that the firm or people they’re hiring areq qualified to do the work. therefore, the work product will be safe.”

If Wai-Wize didn’t have a licensed engineer on staff, and wasn’t licensed by the state at the time it applied for the work, in May 2006, why was it judged to be most qualified?

Thornton says, “By law, they’re not. They need to be licensed.” The Board of Professional Engineers says many firms don’t know the state law.

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