NSPE Gateway to Government Summer 2013
In This Issue of PEG e-News...

Engineer at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Wins PEG Fellowship

Siva Pilli, Ph.D., is a senior scientist/engineer at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy laboratory located in Richland, Washington. Siva earned his doctorate in mechanical engineering from Washington State University. His research interests are in the areas of advanced materials and energy systems in general, and mechanics, modeling, and applications to manufacturing and industrial processes in particular. 

He is a principal investigator, technical lead, key technical contributor to a wide range of DOE and other industrial projects. In 2011, he won an R&D 100 Award (widely recognized as the "Oscars of innovation") for codeveloping a high production manufacturing process that improves the life of components by an average of five times while reducing the long-term cost per part. Siva volunteers at technical societies like American Society of Mechanical Engineers and NSPE on issues relating to science, technology, and public education.

Siva is currently pursuing a master's in business administration at the University of Washington's Foster School of Business. He anticipates that this degree will provide him the opportunities and expertise to bring the best practices of high-tech manufacturing to all corners of the world. He believes that this will help develop a sustainable world without compromising the ability of our future generational resource needs.

For information on the PEG Fellowship, please visit the PEG Web site.


NICET Partners With SAME

In cooperation with the Society of American Military Engineers' (SAME) Warrior Transition Task Force, staff from the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET), a division of NSPE, has presented initial certification briefings to Soldiers of the 249th Engineer Battalion (Prime Power) at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia, and senior airmen of the Air Combat Command at Joint Base Langley-Eustis,Virginia. Staff is working with these NCOs on a test to demonstrate how they and other enlisted engineer troops can attain NICET certification while still on active dutyto better serve now, and to provide recognition of their technical competencies when they transition into the private sector after serving our country. 

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NSPE Legislative Affairs News

NSPE Urges House Committee to
Support Two-Step Design-Build Selection Process

On July 9, NSPE urged the House Appropriations Committee to revise House Report 113-90 on the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2014 (HR 2216) to unequivocally identify that the two-phase, qualifications-based selection process be followed on all military construction projects. In a letter to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) and Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY), NSPE President Dan Wittliff, P.E., F.NSPE writes: "NSPE believes the two-step/two-phase selection process ensures that competent and qualified design professionals are initially involved in the procurement process so that quality-based design considerations are incorporated into the drawings, plans, and specifications consistent with the interests of the public health and safety."  Read President Wittliff's letter.

NSPE-PAC Participates in Event for Speaker of the
House John Boehner

NSPE's Government Relations Manager Arielle Eiser attended a political action committee event for Speaker of the House John Boehner. Other U.S. representatives present were David Valadao (CA-21), David Joyce (OH-14), Mike Coffman (CO-6), Scott Tipton (CO-3), Jeff Denham (CA-10), and Rodney Davis (IL-13). NSPE's top legislative issues were discussed, including professional liability and tort reform, energy policy, infrastructure, and the need to strengthen the American engineering workforce. This was an excellent opportunity to cultivate and strengthen relationships with important members of Congress.

Educating Tomorrow's Engineers Act Introduced

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY-20), and Congressman Joe Kennedy (D-MA-4) introduced the Educating Tomorrow's Engineers Act (S. 1178/H.R. 2426). This bill would integrate engineering education into the K
12 curriculum, provide instructors with tools and support to effectively teach engineering education, and promote research in engineering education. NSPE has sent a letter of support and is working closely with the sponsors to promote the bill and add new sponsors to this vital piece of legislation. NSPE has posted an Action Alert. Take action today!

NSPE Attends Congressional Briefing
On the Role of Engineering in K
12 STEM Education

NSPE attended a congressional briefing cohosted by the National Science Foundation, ASME, and DISCOVER Magazine entitled "Harnessing the Power of Engineering to Improve STEM Education in K
12 Schools." Speakers from the NSF, the Museum of Science, and the University of Maryland School of Engineering all spoke about the critical importance of emphasizing engineering in education as early as elementary school. Studies clearly show that earlier engineering education improves student achievement, problem-solving skills, and increases the number of students interested in pursuing careers in engineering.

For a complete list of NSPE legislative activities, visit
NSPE's Issues and Advocacy page
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2013 PEGASUS Winner Announced

Tracy Davis, P.E., serving as the director of the Division of Energy, Mineral, and Land Resources for the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, has a strong and ongoing commitment to the environmental engineering profession, from both a technical and leadership perspective. 

In his work with the same environmental department for over 25 years, he has proactively been engaged in improving engineering practices and processes in several state regulatory programs, while reaching consensus with boards and commissions, legislators, and various state, federal, and local stakeholders. He has also worked tirelessly to promote the practice of engineering, both in recruitment and retention of engineering positions within his agency and department and in working with the North Carolina Office of State Personnel to more appropriately classify and compensate engineers, engineering supervisors, and engineering managers across all state government. 

Davis has been involved with his local and state chapters of the Professional Engineers of North Carolina to promote state government engineer membership as well as spearheading professional development through online webinars for the membership statewide.

For more information on the PEGASUS Award, visit the PEG Web site

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Honing a Public Workforce Requires an Awareness of Diversity

Steve Storts

One of the ongoing challenges for engineering managers and supervisors in the public workplace is maintaining productivity among both technical and nontechnical personnel and stimulating interest in new projects. While there is no magical silver bullet that can target work objectives with 100% accuracy, management consultants and behaviorists continually advocate a keen awareness of the motivational interests and basic perspectives of the four generational workforces: the Silent Generation (also called Traditionalists), Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Next (also known as Millennials, Generation Y, and the Net Generation).

Today, most government agencies staff few Traditionalists. More than 90% of them are retired or of retirement age in their 60s, 70s, and 80s. However, for those currently serving the public in a supervisory, management, or high-ranking support capacity, they continue to display a strong work ethic and devotion toward high ambition and achievement. The Silent Generation is touted as the one that helped create American prosperity—starting with nothing.

Predominantly in their 50s and 60s approaching retirement, with some in their late 40s, Baby Boomers account for more than 75 million people in the United States, with some estimates at nearly 80 million. Lauded as a generation representing optimism and exploration, Boomers were the first to break ground for personal mobility in the home and workplace. They are characterized as work-centric, independent, goal-oriented, and competitive.

Accustomed to long work weeks, and in many cases thriving on extended hours or project duration, Boomers are motivated by accomplishment, financial rewards, public recognition, job positions, and responsibility. Their competitive nature is often directly linked to their self-esteem, which is driven by their careers and workplace environments. They are generally accepting of new management or public sector policies, especially if they have an individualistic or independent slant allowing greater creativity and greater rewards for achievement.

Generation X, the smallest of the generational groups, comprises about 46 million Americans in their 30s and 40s. As a whole, this workforce generation is more ethnically diverse, more formally educated, and more technically proficient than the Baby Boomers, with greater than 60% having attended institutions of higher learning. Sometimes described as culturally reactive, alienated, disenfranchised, or having a lack of identity, Gen-Xers are not considered as intensely competitive or overachieving as their Baby Boomer counterparts in the workplace.

Often viewed as prolific entrepreneurs in an era of emerging technologies, Gen-Xers embody a “work-smarter-not-harder” mindset. They also have a different vision of their preferred workplace environment. Proclaimed as independent, resourceful, and self-sufficient, they value freedom and responsibility but not structured work hours. They also shy away from organizations with micromanagement philosophies and want as little hands-on, over-the-shoulder supervision as possible.

Composed primarily of children of Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers, Generation Next embodies a workforce now in their teens, 20s, and some entering their 30s. They currently represent one-third of the U.S. population, with numbers estimated from 75 million to more than 80 million. More importantly, they are the most racially and ethnically diverse of any generational categories, comprising significant numbers of Asians, Hispanics, African-Americans, and Native Americans. Middle Eastern, Indian, Pakistani, and cultures from developing African nations are also represented.

Having watched their parents or older siblings face potential downsizing and restructuring among their employers in both the public and private sectors, Gen Nexters often view work from a prism of uncertainty. They appear to be less committed to employers because they perceive employers as being less focused on long-term loyalty to their staff. Although they exhibit some workplace skepticism, Gen Nexters are also quite opportunistic on demand and extremely tech-savvy and tuned-in to the digital age, more so than any preceding generation.

Many Gen Nexters are still emerging into adulthood; they are not yet fully independent or self-sufficient; their set of life experiences is somewhat limited; and they can seem impatient at times. For some public agencies, however, this characterization can translate into a distinct advantage because these younger employees will, hopefully, embrace an organizational structure that supports personally tailored career guidance and mentoring programs. The end result could be a higher retention rate—not an early exit to look for more satisfying work environments.

While Gen-Xers and Gen Nexters will exert a significant influence in the public workforce in the foreseeable future, the still-productive value of Baby Boomers and Traditionalists should not be overlooked. Their motivation can be spurred by appreciating their resourcefulness, sense of loyalty, and civic-minded nature. Key management strategies should be a blend of traditional brick-and-mortar-style training, such as hands-on forums and lectures, and some newer online tutorials or Web-based learning exercises. A good motivational approach specifically for Boomers is that of providing guidance on how they may retire into more leisurely pursuits or perhaps another career—something less stressful.

An effective motivational strategy for Generation X that public agencies can employ is the expansion of telecommuting opportunities, if feasible. This generation is technologically adept and quite comfortable using PDAs, cell phones, laptops, notebooks, smartphones, e-mail, instant messaging, and other forms of digital communication to work from home or other remote locations.

Gen-Xers also value long-term career opportunities and often seek out employment that will build upon and improve their individual talents and skills. A useful approach for courting these employees is to embed more personal mobility and portability into their job roles. Gen-Xers may be less inclined to move on to another employer if they feel more secure with their job assignments, can accomplish organizational goals on their own terms, and can fuse some fun or humor into their workplace activities.

A simple tool for motivating Gen Nexters to exceed expectations is to utilize the team concept whenever possible. This generational group seeks input and affirmation from others, and it values teamwork, actually preferring to work on teams rather than individually. Engineering managers and supervisors should also note that Gen Nexters crave feedback and attention and seek constant praise and reassurance. Still, these young employees are confident, highly creative, ambitious, and have a thirst for tasks that challenge their skills and talents. [ return to top ]

201213 PEG Executive Board Contact Information

Chair
Kirankumar Topudurti, Ph.D., P.E.

Chair-Elect
Scott Wolf, P.E., PLS

Secretary
VACANT

Immediate Past-Chair
David Alan Janover, P.E.

Northeastern Region Vice Chair
David N. Rackmales, P.E.

Southeastern Region Vice Chair
Bill Bowie, P.E.

Central Region Vice Chair
Dr. Scott Haraburda, P.E., Ph.D.

Southwest Region Vice Chair
Mark Dubbin, P.E.

Western & Pacific Region Vice Chair
Patrick M. Coullahan, P.E., PMP, CFM

North Central Region Vice Chair
Donald Neumann, P.E.

Young Engineer Representative
Josh Aldred, P.E.

HOD Representative
Sandra Knight, P.E., F.NSPE, F.ASCE

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