E-news for the Construction Division January 2009

Get 10% Off Your 2009 PEC Sustaining Firm Listing

Dear PEC Supporter:

Your support is needed for the efforts of the Professional Engineers in Construction as we strive to promote the hard-earned Professional Engineer (PE) designation and enhance the image of the PE in construction. We are asking you to become a 2009 PEC Sustaining Firm.

As a 2009 PEC Sustaining Firm, you will link more business to your future while receiving the following benefits:

  • Company Listing: You’ll be included in a searchable directory that includes a complete description of your firm’s specialties. Let owners and other customers and partners find you! All PEC Sustaining Firms are listed at: www.nspe.org/PEC/Supporters

  • Company Advertisement: Listing in an issue of NSPE’s PE magazine (circulation is over 40,000) and in PEC Reporter, a monthly electronic newsletter sent to more than 5,500 PEC members.

  • Valuable Discounts: 25% discount on ads in PE magazine, NSPE Update, NSPE Web banners, and job board postings.

  • PEC Sustaining Firm Plaque to display in your office.

  • Complimentary Web Seminar. PEC Sustaining Firms will receive one complimentary registration to one of our 2008-09 Web seminars. Please visit www.nspe.org/Education/WebSeminars/online_seminars.html for more details.

Your options to participate include the following (Price reflects 10% discount for payments received by 3/1/09).

$180 (regulary $200) 2009 NSPE PEC Sustaining Firm Contribution
*Reflects 10%  discount rate, valid through 3/1/09

$280 New!  Add PEPP Directory Listing for $100 more  
PEPP Firms are listed at

Please visit www.nspe.org/PEC/Supporters to learn more about becoming a PEC Sustaining Sponsor! Your participation will not only help you reach potential clients and partners, it will also provide valuable support for our industry and profession. Please visit www.nspe.org/PEC for a complete list of PEC programs. 

Thank you for your continuing support of NSPE/PEC.

Donn Zang, P.E., F.NSPE
Project Leader on behalf of the
Membership & Sustaining Firms Project Team



Nominate Fellow Engineers for NSPE Awards

NSPE offers several awards that have upcomming deadlines in 2009. Below are just a few of the award programs NSPE will be conducting this year.

To see the complete list of NSPE awards, please visit the NSPE Awards Web page

NSPE Award (Deadline: January 31)
The NSPE Award is the highest award given to an individual by the Society. It is presented to an engineer who has made outstanding contributions to the engineering profession, the public welfare, and/or humankind.
Nominations should be made in consideration of the high caliber of some of the previous recipients: President Herbert Hoover, Dr. David B. Steinman (founder of NSPE), former Puerto Rico Governor Luis A. Ferre, former NSPE Executive Director Paul H. Robbins, and R. Bruce Taylor, P.E.

Mentor of the Year Award (Deadline: March 31)
The Mentor of the Year Award is given each year to the one member of NSPE who best exemplifies the ideal image of a mentor. The award may be given to an individual who has established a record of consistent outreach toward individuals in the engineering field, including engineering professionals and students, over a number of years. This award can also be received by an individual who has contributed to the support or development of mentoring programs within their company or in the engineering community. The ideal candidate should have a record of achievement in offering guidance to and fostering development among engineering professionals.


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Thriving in an Economic Meltdown

By Wayne Kurzen. 

The current economic conditions have brought a whole new level of “stress” to today’s entrepreneur. Business as usual will probably not work. The following is a list of considerations for surviving and even thriving in a recessionary economy.

1. Cut “Financial Drag." Methodically cut unnecessary expenses.

  • Cut your overhead. Now is a time to look at every item on your profit & loss statement and ask the hard question–"can we cut this without hurting our top line?" During good times, we get pretty sloppy with our expenses. Involve your team in this line-by-line discussion. Some companies assign every line item to an individual on the team. But don’t cut marketing (see below).
  • You cannot manage what you do not measure. If your financials—your profit and loss, balance sheet, and cash flow statements—are not current, accurate and relevant, now is the time to get your books in order.
  • Review your financials often. Review your financials at least once per month, and cash flow statement weekly.

2. Get rid of your “C” players. Top performing companies always have an “A” team. In fact, if you carry “C” players on your team, it is unlikely that you will ever rise to the top. The motto in hiring and firing should be “slow to hire and quick to fire.” However, much of the time business owners do the opposite! If you have been hanging on to your marginal performers, now is the time to free them. The question to ask yourself is this: “Would I enthusiastically hire this person today?” If you cannot answer "yes," you probably do not have an “A” player. There are “A” players available because many have been let go or fear their company won’t be around in the future…they are ready to move. Now is the time to create your “A” team. Leading employee productivity companies, like the Container Store, believe that one “A” player is worth three “C” players. The Container Store pays more per hour than the competition, but their overall payroll expense is less.

3. Expand your Business. Acquire your competitors or expand your product or service. Perhaps you need to expand your reach or change your target customer. If you have been involved in residential construction, you may want to expand your target reach into commercial or add more to your service department...one person’s nightmare is another person’s once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Be on the lookout for struggling businesses that compliment your business…there are some great bargains! And you may not need cash or a loan to get them. NOTE: Buying a distressed business is just like buying distressed property: you can often find a great deal that is a win-win. Perhaps you offer to take over a struggling business and pay nothing but to offer the owner a job. You get a customer list, their equipment, possible licensing, and someone to run that part of the business for you. The seller escapes struggling and possible bankruptcy. It is a win-win.

Look at not only acquiring competitors, but also look at expanding your product line. For example, if you are an electrical contractor, look at adding other complimentary produces like low-voltage or security systems to your total product offering. Also consider acquiring minority-owned businesses, thus increasing your opportunity to bid on government contracts.

4. Expand your “Sandbox”. Consider increasing the size of your geographic boundaries. This may involve going somewhere where your product is still in demand. For example, if you are a contractor in Florida, you may have to go to another state for awhile.

5. Increase Quality of Workmanship. Avoid the temptation to cut quality. As you compete for business with less business available, the last thing you want to cut is quality. Think value, value, value.

6. Measure Employee Productivity. Know your revenue/profit per employee. It is a proven fact, people perform at a higher level when they know their performance is being measured. Establish a “key performance indicator” for every employee. Measure revenue/profit per employee is one of the easiest metrics to monitor. Consider putting Global Positioning System (GPS) in your vehicles. GPS has become a relatively inexpensive tool, and it has proven to increases productivity—both from a scheduling and individual performance standpoint.

7. Know Your "Uncommon Offering." During economic downturns, price does become a bigger factor. But still, do your best to compete on "value," not price. The mastermind behind the initial Southwest Airlines marketing, Bob Bloom, defines “uncommon offering” as the “what” you offer. It represents both the tangible benefit of your product or service and the emotional experience you will deliver to your customer. What is it like doing business with you that makes you better than your competition? Are you more reliable, flexible, responsive, and cutting-edge?

8. Don’t Cut Marketing. Expand it! Six studies conducted by the research firm of Meldrum & Fewsmith showed conclusively that advertising aggressively during recessions not only increases sales but increases profits. This fact has held true for all post-World War II recessions studied by the American Business Press. Marketing does not have to be expensive. Some of the best marketing is free marketing! You will get more business from referrals, publications, and other unconventional methods with a system and a very low budget. It’s also very important during this time to keep a balanced marketing portfolio. Don’t invest in just one or two strategies.

9. Get on the Phone. Get personally involved in calling all of your current customers. Let them know that you are not only still in business, but that you are aggressively seeking their business. Best-selling author and top business guru Tom Peters says, “Work the damn phones...Keep working the damn phones...Show up…Keep showing up.” There is less business out there, so go after it. Build and reinforce your relationships. Talk about your “uncommon offering.” The squeaky wheel gets the oil.

10. Share the Pain. Involve your team, set the example. If everyone needs to take a temporary cut in pay, take one yourself. But do not keep “C” players on the payroll. Remember, you are running a business, not a rehab center.

11. Work on Yourself. Best-selling author, John Maxwell says a business will never outgrow the owner. Educate yourself…learn, learn, learn. It’s not the one who works the hardest, but the one who works the smartest that ultimately wins. Do what you need to do to “get the edge” in your industry.

12. Hire a Coach. Nearly all of the most successful people in any area have a coach or coaches. Whether it is Tiger Woods or a time-proven and experienced CEO, coaching improves performance by providing insights and ideas, serving as a sounding board, helping define goals with clarity, and providing accountability to execute proven ideas.

Wayne Kurzen is a Platinum Master Business Coach with ActionCOACH. He has been selected among 1,000 worldwide Action Coaches as North America Coach of the Year (in his category). He is also one of 70 Gazelles Growth Coaches worldwide, qualified to teach the “best practices ” of the leading mid-sized business in the world. He is an affiliate member of IEC and specializes in helping owners of electrical contractors grow profits and have more personal away from the business.

Wayne Kurzen will be presenting "Thriving in the Economic Meltdown" on January 29, 2009 from 12:30-1:30 Eastern.  To register for this web event, please visit the NSPE Education Web page.
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CMAA Sustainability Seminar

Construction Management Association of America will hold a “CMAA Sustainability Seminar” at Jacobs located in Arlington, Virginia, on January 23, 2009.  Topics will include “Opportunities for CMs in Sustainable Design and Construction,” “Financing Green Projects,” and “Breakthrough Green Building Technologies.” 

NSPE members will receive the CMAA member rate. Registration rate for members is $250.

Click here for additional information or contact Meghan Johnson at 703-677-3375 to register for this workshop. [ return to top ]


Construction Jobs at Risk Without Stimulus

The Associated General Contractors this week said the construction industry could shed 30% of its jobs this year unless there is help from a federal stimulus package. "While the last few months have been difficult for the economy, they've been simply devastating for the construction industry," AGC CEO Steve Sandherr said. He noted that more than 75% of the group's members have experienced a decline in work projects. The group estimates that about 66% of construction firms will lay off workers this year.

For the full story, see
Reuters (1/8/09).

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2008-09 PEC Executive Board

James Goedert, Ph.D., P.E.
University of Nebraska 
Omaha, NE

Immediate Past Chair
Arthur DeWit, P.E., F.NSPE
Baete Forseth HVAC 
Lake Havasu, AZ

David Hunley, P.E.
Connico Inc. 
Burlington, KY

Paul Bakken, P.E.
Utility Engineering Corp. 
Centennial, CO
Northeast Region Vice Chair
Jon Drosendahl, P.E.
Glenshaw, PA
North Central Region Vice Chair
Paul Harmon, P.E.
University of Nebraska 
Lincoln, NE
Southeast Region Vice Chair
James Harper, P.E.
Hillsborough County PWD 
Tampa, FL
Southwest Region Vice Chair
Thomas L. Paxson, P.E., F.NSPE 
Pax-Sun, Inc. 
Lufkin, TX

Central Region Vice Chair
Carl Meglan, P.E.
Meglan Company Inc.
Columbus, OH

Western & Pacific Region Vice Chair
David Shields, Ph.D., P.E.
University of Nebraska 
Henderson, NV

PEC Staff Liaison:
Erin Reyes

PEC Homepage 

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If you would like to sponsor the next edition of PEC Reporter, contact the Professional Engineers in Construction for more information.



PEC would like to thank all of our 2008 PEC Sustaining Firms for supporting our programs and services.  Visit the PEC Web site for a full listing of PEC Sustaining Firms and/or to download a registration form.

Stansell Electric Company Inc

Whitcomb's Construction Company

BEC Engineering Inc

Big M Constructors Inc

Broaddus & Associates

Coastcon Corporation General Contractors

Drury South Inc

Gibson & Associates Inc

Lecon Inc

Lloyd Consulting & Engineering Inc

Mercer Construction Co

SpawGlass Contractors Inc

Zachry Construction Corp

Brown Construction Services

E G Middleton Inc

Pembroke Construction Co Inc

Suberroc Systems SUBSYST

Dalton Olmsted & Fuglevand

Frank Gurney Inc

Edward E Gillen Co

Marshall Erdman & Assoc

PFS Corporation

Terra Engineering and Construction Corp

March-Westin Co Inc

Riverso Associates, Inc

Opus Corporation


For more information or to contact us directly, please visit www.nspe.org.
please reply to this e-mail (pec@nspe.org) with your full name and nine-digit NSPE member number
(or full address, if you don't have your member number handy), putting 'E-mail Change' in the subject line .
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