NSPE Gateway to Industry Summer 2010
In This Issue of PEI e-News...

PEI Member Survey

NSPE-PEI is always looking for ways to improve programs to benefit our members. Input from a wide cross-section of PEI members would be most helpful to determine what service(s) PEI members could use. We'd like to hear from you! Please click on the link below to participate in the survey.



NSPE Annual Meeting

1. State and national leaders will participate in a two-day NSPE State Leader Conference. The conference focuses on building strong leadership teams. Day one will facilitate a session on "Roles, Rules, and Responsibilities” for associations. Leaders learn life-enhancing skills that will help them be a better leader. Day two will begin with a face-to-face session with NSPE leaders. A discussion on PE topics of importance, a best practice exchange, and an interactive session (elevator pitch) with Ira Koretsky, the chief storyteller, will round out the two-day session.

2.  The most prestigious awards granted by the National Society of Professional Engineers will be presented during the NSPE Awards of Excellence Luncheon. The NSPE Distinguished Service Award and the NSPE Young Engineer of the Year Award will be conferred. In addition, the NSPE-PEI New Product Awards and the NSPE-PEE Engineering Excellence Award will be presented.

3. "NSPE Education Workshop: A Day of Engineering Substance" (ethics and licensure)...participants will earn 7 PDHs for only $99. All-day session includes lunch with "speaker of note.”

4. During the educational workshop lunch, NSPE’s partnership with EPA Energy Star will be introduced by EPA speaker, National Program Manager Bob Sauchelli. Bob will explain the EPA Energy Star building program and highlight how PEs are crucial to its success.

5. NSPE Educational Foundation Golf Tournament. This tournament benefits the NSPE Educational Foundation, state educational foundations, and interest group scholarships. [ return to top ]

Get Free Online Company Listing

Become a 2010 PEI Sustaining Sponsor and receive more exposure and business for your company. By becoming a PEI Sustaining Sponsor, you will help to support the efforts of Professional Engineers in Industry as we strive to promote the hard-earned professional engineer designation and enhance the image of the PE in Industry.

As a 2010 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 a 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/PEI/Supporters.
  • 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.

For more information and to see a list of current sponsors, please visit the NSPE/PEI Web site at: www.nspe.org/PEI/Supporters.

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Development of Software Engineering Exam Underway

NCEES is embarking on the development of a Software Engineering Principles and Practice Exam. Along with the leadership of IEEE-USA, NSPE, PEI, and others, this is an effort that relies heavily on volunteers. A big piece of this is writing exam questions and here is where volunteers that are practitioners of software engineering are urgently needed. The criterion is that you be a professional engineer.

If you are interested, please complete the online form on the NCEES Web site. By volunteering to help, you may be elligible to acquire PDH/CEU hours toward continuing education requirements in your state.  Please check with your state to confirm this.


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Health Care Reform

On March 23rd, President Barack Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590) and the Reconciliation Bill, Health Care and Education Affordability Act (H.R. 4872).

Employees, firm leadership, and the general public alike, whether for or against the reform, are trying to get a handle on how it will affect them. New regulations are being published with detailed guidance on how to implement the reforms that will affect group health insurance plans. Here is a brief overview based on preliminary information. You can find more detailed information at the following links:




Some plans’ medical benefits may be exempt from some of the new provisions at this time, so consult an HR professional for additional information.

Beginning on June 1, 2010:

  • Pre-existing condition limitations will be eliminated on children up to age 19.
  • Children up to age 26, regardless of IRS dependent status, will be eligible for a parent’s employer-sponsored coverage if the child does not have access to other employer-provided coverage.
  • Lifetime limits on “essential” health benefits will be removed (pending regulations and guidance to be issued by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services).
  • Small Business Tax credits for small employers’ contributions to purchase health insurance for employees.
  • Rebates for Medicare Part D enrollees who enter the “donut hole.”

Beginning on January 1, 2011:

  • Over-the-counter drugs will no longer be eligible for reimbursement under a health care flexible spending account (FSA), unless prescribed by a physician.
  • Creation of a Simple Cafeteria Plan as a vehicle for small businesses to provide tax-free benefits to their employees.
  • Employers will begin reporting the cost of each employee’s group health coverage (including health, dental and vision insurance premiums) on your W-2 in 2011. The cost will not be treated as taxable income, but informational.
  • Fifty-percent discount on all brand-name drugs for Medicare Part D enrollees in the “donut hole.”

Beginning in 2012:

  • Plans will begin using a standardized benefit summary making it easier for you to compare benefits between different plans.

Beginning in 2013:

  • Annual contributions to health care FSA will be capped at $2,500 per year.
  • Taxpayers earning at least $200,000 (or $250,000 if married filing jointly) will have a 0.9% increase in Medicare payroll tax on their earnings above the threshold. These individuals will also pay a new 3.8% Medicare tax on unearned income (e.g. capital gains interest, dividends, and other investment income).
  • Increased income threshold for claiming itemized deduction for medical expenses from 7.5% to 10%.

Beginning in 2014:

  • All children under the age of 26, regardless of their access to other employer-sponsored coverage, will be eligible for coverage under a parent’s employer-sponsored plan.
  • Any pre-existing condition limitations in medical plans will be removed.
  • Waiting periods before coverage begins will be limited to no longer than 90 days.
  • Annual limits on “essential” health benefits may not be imposed.
  • All Americans and legal residents will be required to have a minimum level of health coverage or pay a penalty.
  • Employers with 50 or more employees may face a penalty tax if they do not provide acceptable affordable coverage to their full-time employees.
  • The health insurance Exchanges will be available for individuals and small businesses to purchase health insurance, through individual states. There is no guarantee that coverage provided to an individual through an Exchange will be more affordable than acceptable employer-provided coverage.
  • If an employee’s cost of coverage under an employer-sponsored plan is more than 9.5% of household income, he or she may be eligible to opt-out of coverage and receive federal subsidies through a state-based Exchange.
  • If an employee’s cost of coverage is between 8%–9.8% (to be fixed to 9.5%) of household income, the employer may provide a voucher, with a value equal to the employer contribution under its plan. Employees may use this voucher to purchase subsidized coverage through an Exchange.

Beginning in 2017:

  • Large employers may be eligible to purchase coverage from a state-based Exchange.

Beginning in 2018:

  • High cost health plans will pay a 40% excise tax. The tax is imposed on the plan provider (usually the insurance carrier), not directly on employees covered under the plan. Under certain self-insured scenarios, the employer would be responsible for the excise tax.

This overview is an interpretation of detailed and complicated legislation. It does not cover all aspects of the reform. 

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Manufacturing Requires Policy, Innovation, and Talent Says Report

Manufacturing is the third largest sector in the U.S. economy and creates more direct and indirect jobs than any other sector according to Innovation and Product Development in the 21st Century. However, a recent report by the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership Advisory Board suggests that manufacturing in the modern economy depends on both constant innovation and adoption of new technologies—both of which require higher skilled workers. But lack of skilled workers is a major challenge that the industry faces. Therefore, the group is strongly urging federal policies to increase manufacturing emphasis in formal engineering education and to help improve the process of transitioning from research and development to product design, manufacturing, and product deployment.

The full article can be read in the May 2010 edition of PE magazine.


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Sustainability Practices Vary In Creativity, Use, Savings

Steven Storts

Although generally associated with the green movement, sustainability exceeds the basic tenets of environmental stewardship through engineering application of diverse technologies that improve energy efficiency, indoor environments, industrial processes, waste management, and more.

Where product delivery is the target, sustainability is accomplished through a life-cycle assessment approach that considers all stages of a product’s life—from raw material acquisition to manufacturing, transportation, installation and use, and, ultimately, to recycling and waste reduction.

Organizations are beginning to chart the progress made in moving forward with their sustainability programs, now that benchmarks are in place. Recently, the chief executive officers of nearly 100 companies shared their best practices and success metrics in sustainability with The Business Roundtable, which compiled the data into an annual report entitled Enhancing Our Commitment to a Sustainable Future 2010.

Roundtable member companies represent virtually every sector of the economy, with nearly $6 trillion in annual revenues and more than 12 million employees. Here are just a few examples of their sustainability practices in which engineering is playing a significant role:

  • Boeing: Since 2002, on a revenue-adjusted basis, the company has reduced carbon emissions by 31%, trimmed energy consumption by almost one-third, and cut hazardous waste generation by 38%.
  • Coca-Cola: In 2009, the world’s largest bottle-to-bottle recycling plant was opened, which will produce about 100 million pounds of food-grade recycled polyethylene terephthalate plastic annually.
  • Cummins: All new engines are being designed to run on a 20% blend of biodiesel fuel, and more than 50 million pounds of engine-related material are recycled and reused annually.
  • Flordia Power & Light: In 2009, the largest solar photovoltaic power plant in the U.S. was commissioned, and two other commercial-scale solar energy centers are planned.
  • General Mills: A biomass energy project is underway that will generate steam from burning leftover oat hulls from producing Cheerios to heat and power the company’s oat milling facility near Minneapolis.
  • Pepsico: Gatorade bottles are being cleaned with purified air instead of rinsing with water, a process that is expanding to bottling plants worldwide, saving valuable resources.
  • Weyerhauser: In a joint venture with Chevron, biomass energy produced from managed forests is being converted into liquid fuels for transportation use.
  • Whirlpool: A front-loading washer was introduced in 2009 that can save consumers more than $1,000 in water and energy over the lifetime of the product, and more than 85% of the materials used in its production can be recycled.         

Outside of the Roundtable circle, other businesses are leading the way in sustainability practices, too, including:

  • Ford: Introduced into the vehicle lineup in 2009, the new EcoBoost engine uses a combination of turbocharging and direct injection to deliver up to 20% better fuel economy without sacrificing performance and significantly reduces carbon emissions. By 2013, EcoBoost will be available on 90% of the product nameplates, from small cars to large trucks.
  • Hawaii Electric Light: In addition to instilling use of a 20% blend of biodiesel fuel in its fleet vehicles, and eventually adding electric vehicles to the pool, the company has set a target year of 2030 to generate at least 40% of its energy production from sustainable resources.
  • Hewlett-Packard: Energy consumption of HP’s highest-volume desktop and notebook PCs has been reduced by 41% since 2005, and the 2008 goal of trimming energy consumption another 25% by 2010 using the 2005 baseline has already been exceeded. The new goal is to reduce the energy consumption and associated greenhouse gas emissions of all products to 40% below 2005 levels by the end of 2011.
  • U.S. Steel: Waste generation and emissions are being reduced by using a gas byproduct produced in the blast furnaces and coke ovens in the place of natural gas, while water used during production is processed and reused in the form of steam to generate electricity.

As the focus on sustainability initiatives continues to widen, engineering innovation and creativity will be key in developing new practices for environmental stewardship, as well as honing environmentally responsible technologies that have already proven successful. Engineers will, in fact, become the new pioneers for identifying and authoring sustainable solutions for the challenges posed by future domestic and global economies.   

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Contact the 2009-10 PEI Executive Board Officers

Richard L. Buchanan, P.E.

John Nebbe, P.E.

Curtis A. Beck, P.E.

Immediate Past- President
John M. Wall, P.E., CCS, F.NSPE

Young Engineer Respresentative
Austin Lin, E.I.T.

Northeastern Region
Cullen M. Flanders, P.E.

Southeastern Region
Jorge L. Pardo, P.E., F.NSPE

Central Region
Howard R. Jones P.E.

North Central Region
Stephen A. Hutti, P.E.

Southwestern Region
James Mathis, P.E.

Western & Pacific Region
Franklin Fong, P.E.

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