Meet John Philip Bachner
A Harvard English major with more than 250 published books and 2500 published articles and columns, John’s first involvement with technical professionals came in 1968, as a consultant to the Consulting Engineers Council of Metropolitan Washington (CEC/MW). When his employer ceased operations in 1971, John established his own firm; CEC/MW became his first association-management client. Later, in 1973, the Associated Soil and Foundation Engineers (ASFE), since renamed the Geoprofessional Business Association (GBA), retained Bachner Communications to manage the group and, soon thereafter, to provide professional-liability loss-prevention guidance. John collected case histories and reviewed them in depth, coming to realize that inadequate “soft skills” were involved in every loss. John prepared books, guides, monographs, case histories, seminars, webinars, computer games, and much more to help professionals improve. John created the Fundamentals of Professional Practice Program in 1988 and has updated it every year since, to create an unparalleled, up-to-date experience for all who participate.
John is passionate about FOPP. He personally reviews and critiques everything FOPP participants write as part of the course, to help them express themselves more as society expects professionals to, and to help them reduce their negligence-liability exposures.
“The best evidence is always what’s in writing,” he explains.
John writes his comments in blood-red ink, using the voice of client-representative Mr. Hyde, the role he plays during FOPP’s distance-learning phase, with the supportive professor, Dr. Jekyll, always being available on request. The effectiveness of John’s approach can be gauged by reading what past participants have had to say.
How much time should I expect to spend on FOPP activity?
Based on what participants tell me, it will take about 100 hours, BUT that includes about 25 hours at the course-concluding seminar, outside of Denver, in Littleton, CO. What can make a difference in the time is the research project you select. We have 88 “canned” topics; you are free to select one, or modify one, or ignore them all and create one of your own. Whichever you choose, those 90 should help spur thought of what would be ideal for you and your firm.
What is the seminar in the spring all about?
The course-concluding, 2½-day seminar wraps up the program. There, you will meet peers from around the nation, and join with them in realizing that you are the future of your profession; what you do with it is up to you. It’s actually a heady responsibility; all my efforts are designed to help you deal with it well. You will also do some public speaking, engage in loss-prevention analysis, and identify some of the biggest challenges that face your profession and what you and your peers can do about them. You will also hear some great speakers addressing a variety of topics.
I see from the survey that FOPP's weakest element is the mentoring I get from someone in my own firm. What do I do if I am not getting the support I need from my mentor?
You will work throughout FOPP with a mentor inside your firm. We give guidance to the mentor, and you need to ensure that guidance is followed. If it is not, you’ll need a new mentor.
How does project management factor into the course?
This is not a course that will teach you how to manage projects. What I’ve tried to do is develop something that integrates professionalism and business. You will learn about the history of professions and how things have changed; you will learn about contracts and insurance; we’ll address marketing and sales; and much more: the fundamentals, as advertised.