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

PEI Member Survey

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New Products Improve Energy Efficiency, Communications

What do a fiber optic cable slitter, heat pump, solar lighting system, and handheld audio-visual device all have in common? They are distinctly engineered creations worthy of receiving NSPE New Product Awards for 2010, which honor exemplary new products that demonstrate the innovative use of engineering principles toward improving the socioeconomic qualities of life.

Now in its 24th year, the annual competition was founded and organized by NSPE’s Professional Engineers in Industry interest group as a vehicle for recognizing the efforts and foresight of those companies whose research and development policies bring new products to the marketplace. The awards are grouped according to employment size of the company: small, medium, large, and mega.

Small Company Category

A trademark of Uraseal Inc. of Dover, New Hampshire, the FOD Speed Slitter is one of the most efficient tools today for technicians to safely prepare flat fiber optic drop cables typically found in fiber-in-the home networks. In just one motion, a twist of the cable allows the outer jacket to easily peel and separate from the buffer tube, leaving the fiber undamaged. The technician then snips off the loosened jacket and begins splicing.

The compact tool, which is offered through Uraseal’s new fiber optic division, Accensus, has no exposed blades and opens a range of flat FOD cables from multiple manufacturers. And the product’s unique design also facilitates fast and safe mid-span access for technicians.

Medium Company Category

The NextAire 11-ton Packaged Gas Heat Pump, developed and trademarked by IntelliChoice Energy of Las Vegas, brings ultimate energy efficiency, outstanding environmental advantages, and impressive cost savings to building owners and operators. Ideally suited for retrofit and new construction applications on flat-roof commercial and large residential structures, the PGHP is 50% more efficient than other gas furnaces because it captures and uses the expelled excess heat from the heat pump’s engine. And because it uses natural gas as its primary fuel, the system lowers energy costs, enabling businesses to avoid high-demand kilowatts and time-of-use rates.

The PGHP system was developed in part with funding support from federal energy and defense agencies, and it is the culmination of several years of engineering research conducted by IntelliChoice Energy, Southwest Gas Corp., and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Large Company Category

A patented, registered trademark of Orion Energy Systems Inc. of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, the Apollo Solar Light Pipe is a commercial-grade device that utilizes the lowest-cost light available—the sun—to significantly reduce the lighting energy costs of work facilities and lower carbon emissions. In fact, measurements show that the system can replace electric lighting for up to 10 hours a day, essentially reducing related energy costs to near zero, often during times when the electrical grid is operating at or near peak capacity.

The rooftop-installed device harvests daylight through a collector dome and directs it to necessary work areas through a sealed light tube, using no electricity. When integrated with a facility’s lighting system and ambient sensors, and the illumination levels from the light pipe reach a desired level, electric lights automatically shut off, all or in part until needed again. The collector dome is designed specifically to interrupt the low-sun angles associated with seasonal change, early morning, and late afternoon. As a result, harvested daylight is delivered as usable light energy almost five times more efficiently than a traditional photovoltaic system.

Mega Company Category

The latest version of Disney’s handheld assistive technology device is a palm-sized wireless device combining multiple functions—assistive listening, handheld captioning, closed captioning activation, and audio description—into one easy-to-use platform for guests with disabilities visiting Disney theme parks. Developed by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S. Inc. of Lake Buena Vista, Florida, the device with its assistive technology provides amplified audio to guests with partial hearing loss, while handheld captioning enables those who are deaf to read captions while enjoying specific theme park attractions. Closed captioning can be activated in preshow areas where television monitors narrate the upcoming experience.

Audio description, the newest feature added in 2009, is a service for guests who are blind or have impaired vision. Narrated information is provided regarding key visual elements in attractions such as actions, settings, and scene changes and works seamlessly with the existing show audio. From the moment that guests step into an attraction, they are given rich detail of their surroundings and become immediately involved in the experience. Weighing only 7.2 ounces, the device is offered at no additional cost to users.


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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 www.nspe.org/PEI/Supporters.

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Boeing Enlists Hollywood to Make Engineering Cool

Rachel King

On the TV show NCIS, actress Pauley Perrette plays quirky, über-smart forensic specialist Abby Sciuto. As part of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the tattooed, well-educated goth uses her expertise in hacking, ballistics, and DNA analysis to solve murders and other crimes that involve the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.

In a public service announcement shot in July, Perrette takes on a different—and possibly more challenging—role. On behalf of the nonprofit Entertainment Industries Council, Perrette encourages students to pursue careers in the fields of science, engineering, and technology.

There's a pressing need for young people in the U.S. to consider careers in science and technology, particularly in aerospace, says Marion Blakey, chief executive officer of the Aerospace Industries Association A high percentage of the industry's workforce is nearing retirement and many of the jobs that will need to be filled are in engineering, she says. Because many of the jobs relate to defense contracts and require employees to be U.S. citizens, aerospace companies must find new scientists at home, rather than abroad. "Within 10 years half of our workforce will be eligible to retire," Blakey says. "We have to home-grow this workforce because of the security clearance requirements." Already, there are more than 7,000 job openings, many of them on defense projects and hard to fill, she says.

Boeing (BA), the second-biggest U.S. defense contractor, may feel the pinch acutely. Chicago-based Boeing says that by 2015, about 40% of its workforce, or 60,000 people, will be eligible to retire. To ensure that the open positions are filled, the company works closely with 150 colleges in the U.S. and abroad.

Boeing is also trying to get young people interested in technology-related fields at an earlier age. Last year the company joined forces with the Entertainment Industries Council to use media to kindle greater interest in science and technology. There's no shortage of scientists and engineers on TV and the movies, says Richard Stephens, senior vice-president of human resources and administration at Boeing. Many, however, are portrayed in an unsympathetic light. "In movies and on TV, 10% of characters are scientists and engineers," Stephens said in Congressional testimony on Feb. 4. "Unfortunately, of those more than 70% kill others, are killed, or are overcome by lay people."

In his testimony, Stephens estimated that 20% of the technical talent in the aerospace industry will be eligible to retire in three years.

In its effort to reshape perceptions of engineering and encourage young people to see technology-related work as more alluring, the Entertainment Industries Council in late July brought together engineers and executives from Lie to Me, a TV show on News Corp.'s (NWS) Fox; National Geographic Channel, a joint venture of National Geographic Television & Film and Fox Cable Networks; Discovery Communications' (DISCK) Science Channel; and Viacom's (VIA) Black Entertainment Television during the annual meeting of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association to explain the creative process to the engineers and foster a better understanding between the two groups.

The council is also starting an annual awards ceremony for films, TV series, newspaper, magazines, Internet, or radio content that has an impact on the public's understanding of science, engineering, technology, or math and debunks myths or stereotypes. The council is accepting award nominees through mid-September. "Engineers have been stereotyped and our industry has played a part in this," says Brian Dyak, president of the Entertainment Industries Council. "We've had mad scientists in movies going back to the '30s," he says, with scientists often portrayed as deranged and engineers as geeky. "No one realizes what a technologist does."

In past years, the council made strides to encourage film, TV, and journalists to portray mental health and substance-abuse issues more accurately. It did that in part through the Prism awards, which annually honor actors, movies, music, media, and TV shows that accurately depict and bring attention to these issues.

Can the council change perceptions of engineers? "The media has enormous power to influence people's attitudes," says John Kao, Chairman of the Institute for Large Scale Innovation and the author of the book Innovation Nation. "During the Sputnik era, Walt Disney put out a series called Men in Space and it's hard to overstate how influential that TV series was for a generation of scientists and engineers."

Filling the gap in engineering talent will take more than hip characters on TV, Kao says. "It's a condiment to the main course. We are in danger of having our educational enterprise founder because of a lack of qualified math and science teachers."

Perrette, whose "Abby" boasts more than 450,000 fans on Facebook, may nevertheless do a small part to encourage viewers to consider science cool.

King is a writer for Bloomberg Businessweek in San Francisco.

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Engineer Your Way to Success- For Free!

Written for engineering students, recent graduates, and newly minted PEs, the guide provides advice on managing a successful career in engineering, no matter if you intend to be a company expert, independent consultant, or a manager. With anecdotes and advice from people who have been there and done that, Engineer Your Way to Success is a comprehensive career handbook. The book was published with help from NSPE’s Professional Engineers in Government and the Professional Engineers in Higher Education Sustaining University Program.

Engineer Your Way to Success is available to members as a free download. The nonmember price is $19.95.

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2010 PEI Scholarship Winner

White is currently entering his fourth and final year of undergraduate studies in mechanical engineering at Michigan Technological University. He will be designing a CNC gun drill sharpening system for Precision Edge Surgical Products LLC to fulfill his senior design project requirements.

Upon graduating, he plans to pursue a master's degree in either business management or entrepreneurship. His ultimate goal is to combine his engineering background with a honed set of business skills in order to start a manufacturing facility in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, where wind turbine components could be built. White's interests and hobbies include any and all outdoor recreation, music, and writing. He started his first company in 2009, the St. Mary's Guide Company LLC, which is a guide service for avid fishermen. Travis credits his optimistic outlook on life and the strong support of his family for his ambition and drive.

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A Second Look at Safety

For much of the spring and summer, the nation watched in dismay as oil gushed from a BP well into the Gulf of Mexico—an incident that may be one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history. This disaster has highlighted the fragility of the environment and its connection to the health of the economy, and it has spurred debate about how Americans use energy resources.

The disaster has also given rise to serious questions about the proper levels of oversight of critical industries to protect the environment and the public. Within the engineering profession, the Gulf disaster is fueling long-burning discussions about the role of PEs within industry. Should industrial exemptions to state licensing laws be reviewed and changed to require more PEs in positions of responsible charge? How will the engineering profession address this issue? Will anything change?

To find out more and join the conversation please see the August/September Issue of PE Magazine and visit the blog to post your comments.

Also, NSPE is hosting a Webinar: Part I Engineering Ethics: Key Issues in the Aftermath of the Gulf Oil Spill". To sign up visit our web site.

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Contact the 2010-11 PEI Executive Board Officers

Jonn Nebbe, P.E.

Curtis A. Beck, P.E.

Cullen M Flanders, P.E.

Immediate Past Chairman
Richard L. Buchanan, P.E.

Young Engineer Representative
Austin Lin, EIT

NSPE House of Delegates Representative
Robert (Bob) G. Becnel, P.E.

Northeastern Region

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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