NSPE Gateway to Industry April 2009
In This Issue of PEI e-News...

Michigan Teaches New Skills to Out-of-Work Engineers

To counteract the recent layoffs in the auto industry and prevent engineers from leaving the state, Michigan educators and companies are teaming up to help retrain engineers in new fields. Michigan Technological University in Detroit is offering a free class in hybrid and electrical vehicle development for out-of-work engineers. The school teamed up with the Engineering Society of Detroit and General Motors to create the class.

Many laid-off automotive engineers specialized in a specific system, such as brakes or engines. But hybrid and electric vehicles are too complex to create as separate systems and must be developed as a whole from the start. Engineers who specified in single systems are being retrained to understand all aspects of automotive engineering.

The Michigan Tech program may become a model for the rest of the country during the current financial crisis. Other Michigan schools are already developing similar classes in other engineering fields, including chemical and civil.

For the full article, read the April 2009 issue of PE magazine.

Get Your Company Listed in the NSPE/PEI Online Directory

Dear Engineer Executive: 

There has never been a better time to get exposure, and more business, for your company than now. By becoming a 2009 PEI Sustaining Sponsor, you will help to support the efforts of Professional Engineers in Industry (PEI) as we strive to promote the hard-earned professional engineer (PE) designation and enhance the image of the PE in Industry. 
As a 2009 PEI Sustaining Sponsor, your company will receive the following promotional privileges:

  • Company listing: Your company will be included in a searchable directory that includes a complete description of your company and link to your Web site. NSPE’s Web site receives more than 75,000 user sessions per month. All PEI Sustaining Sponsors are listed at: www.nspe.org/InterestGroups/PEI/Supporters/sustaining_sponsors.html

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

  • Recognition: Listing in an issue of NSPE’s PE magazine (circulation is over 50,000) and in PEI E-News, a monthly electronic newsletter sent to more than 5,500 PEI members.

Your options to participate include the following:

SILVER  $150Company Listing. Includes company listing and link to company Web site. NSPE’s Web site receives more than 75,000 user sessions per month. ($500 value)

GOLD  $250—Includes “Silver” package plus company logo advertisement in PEI E-News, a monthly newsletter delivered to more than 5,500 PEI members by e-mail. ($1,000 value)

PLATINUM $300—Includes “Gold” package plus company logo advertisement in PE magazine, NSPE’s premier magazine with a circulation over 50,000. ($1,550 value)

Please visit the PEI Sustaining Sponsor Web page to download a contribution form and/or to see a list of current sponsors. We appreciate your support and hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to help your business endeavors and fellow engineers in industry.  


John Wall, P.E.
2008-09 PEI Chairman

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Top 12 Steps Your Company Should Take After Staff Reductions

Herbert M. Cannon, President of AEC Management Solutions Inc.

1. Reassure the Staff
The remaining staff is understandably upset and angry that their coworkers have been let go. Of course, they are also relieved that it didn't happen to them. What they need right now is some reassurance that the reductions were not made with malice, but with an eye toward preserving jobs and the company for the long-term. Younger staff who have experienced nothing but good times will need special attention.

2. Ask Employees for Cost-Saving Ideas
When business is good overhead expenses tend to grow and fly under the radar of accountability. Your staff knows where the money is being wasted, so ask for their help. You might be surprised at their ideas and the sacrifices they are willing to make.

3. Change the Voice Mail
Make sure to immediately change the voice mail password of all terminated employees. On more than one occasion I have connected to voice mails that said something along the lines of "I can't take your call because I have been laid-off." Sometimes the voice mail was not that polite. Don't let this happen to you.

4. Cancel the Cell Phone
If your employees have company cell phones, be sure to get them returned and cancel the plan. Even if there is a termination fee, you will generally save money in the long run by canceling.

5. Sell/Donate or Recycle
I am not sure if there is a market for used smart phones, but if there is, you can try to sell them. In the alternative, they can be donated to a worthy cause or at least recycled. Don't let them sit there gathering dust.

6. Handle the Paperwork
Be sure to handle all of the paperwork immediately. Whether it is responding to an unemployment insurance claim or coordinating COBRA insurance, do it quickly and accurately. The departing employees have enough stress dealing with being out of work. Do your best to make the transition as easy as possible.

7. Sell the Computers
Now that you have less staff, you are left with the question of what to do with all of the unused computer equipment. All too often, the computers stay where they are gathering dust or are relegated to the storage area only to be discarded several years later when they have no useful value. If there is no market to sell them, donate them to a worthy cause and take a tax deduction. Whether you sell or donate them, don't forget to reformat the hard drive and remove all of the software applications.

8. Change the Passwords
It seems obvious that employee computer passwords need to be changed, but it is too important not too state it here. I know of several firms who did not handle this promptly and paid the price of missing files and other problems.

9. Reduce your Telephone Landlines
If your 50-person firm had 25 landlines and your staff has been reduced to 35, do you really need 25 landlines? Probably not—but it can be one of those hidden costs that is easily overlooked. Some firms can go on for years paying for lines that are not needed and never used.

10. Change the Locks and Alarm Codes
Once again, it seems obvious, but make sure your get it done. In the age of electronic locks, codes can be changed every day of need be. Key cards can be activated and deactivated at will.

11. Reduce your Software Subscriptions
Are your paying an annual subscription fee based in the number of licenses or employees? Many software firms have switched to this model in recent years. Now that you have fewer employees, you may be entitled to a reduced rate or need fewer licenses.

12. Reconfigure your Office and Sublease Space
During the boom years, many firms tried to squeeze 10 pounds of talent into five pounds of space. This overcrowding led to less a less than optimum working environment for many employees. Now that the layoffs have taken place, this is a great opportunity to reconfigure your seating assignments and provide a more pleasant and productive working environment for your remaining employees. You can also make desk space available for rental to freelancers and aspiring entrepreneurs.

Herbert M. Cannon, president of AEC Management Solutions Inc. and publisher of AEC Managing Partner newsletter, is a management consultant, seminar provider and speaker exclusive to the A/E industry. He is available to speak at company meetings and conferences. For more information, contact Herb via e-mail or visit his Web site. [ return to top ]

New NSPE Spring Web Seminar Series

New in 2009!
NSPE has put together an impressive series of Web seminars that will assist you as a professional engineer searching for PDHs to help you meet state registration board requirements for PE license renewal. Pricing is per site—the more individuals at a site, the lower your per person cost.

Individual session pricing is available for all Web seminars; series pricing is available for
Ethics Forum and Green Issues/Sustainability. Contact education@nspe.org for special series pricing for the Career Development, Business Management, or Licensure series or for multiple locations.

Upcomming Web seminars:

Tips and Strategies to Pass the FE/PE Exam
April 21
Noon – 1:00 p.m. EDT
Dennis Dahlquist, P.E.
Description: Whether you're preparing for the FE exam or the PE exam, you'll need a game plan for success. Participants will discover strategies that many people have found useful in preparing for and taking these exams.

Recruitment and Selection During Uncertain Times—Developing a Successful Strategy as an Employer (1.0 PDH)
May 20, Noon – 1:00 p.m. EDT
Barbara Irwin, Principal, HR Advisors Group LLC
Description: Participants attending this Web seminar will understand how to develop a successful strategy in determining the need to hire. Sourcing and screening, as well as the interviewing and selection process, will be discussed during this lively session.



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Contact the 2008-09 PEI Executive Board Officers

John Wall, P.E., F.NSPE

Immediate Past Chairman
Andy Russo, P.E., F.NSPE

Second Past Chairman
Kevin Cooper, P.E.

Richard Buchanan, P.E., F.NSPE

Jonn Nebbe, P.E.

Northeastern Region
Cullen Flanders, P.E.

Southeastern Region
Jorge Pardo, P.E.

Central Region
Michael J. Vinarcik, P.E.

North Central Region
Stephen Hutti, P.E. 

Southwestern Region
James Mathis, P.E. 

Western and Pacific Region
Curtis Beck, P.E.

YEAC Chair
Richard Willoughby, P.E. 

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The ITT Water & Wastewater, Flygt Products group is the World's leading manufacturer of heavy duty submersible pumps and mixers.

HEMCO Laboratory Planning Solutions serve the life sciences, pharmaceutical, R&D, academics, medical, chemical, and industrial markets. Products include laboratory fume hoods, lab casework, robotic enclosures, and modular cleanrooms.

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