Is every B-student that got a bachelor's just to get an engineering job an academic in your view? Engineers don't communicate much with people that are actually employed by academia, unless there's public dollars involved (grants, etc) or if it's something with serious potential for public impact (e.g. a massive bridge, a freeway, etc). In the real world outside of academia, problems are dealt with as they come up. A professor may study and publish findings on road wear or whatever which may be read by private researchers, but they aren't directly involved in the process at all. An engineer builds the road, has plenty of experience and knowledge on said road wear from previous implementations, and chooses his materials around the demands of the person buying the road. Academics may promote laws which are enacted by politicians, but it isn't through conversation between engineer and academic that said laws are adhered to. That's up to dialogue between enforcement officers and private surveyors/QA people. Outside of fundamental R&D/theory, academics are pretty useless in STEM (and the only reason that is an exception is because the government effectively killed all large private R&D labs during WW2).