|In This Issue of PEI e-News...
How Industry Accountability Can Restore Public Trust
industries have been engulfed in several critical events this past year — an
oil rig explosion and ensuing spill, mine cave-ins, a utility pipeline
explosion, and multiple environmental investigations — all raising issues of
safety and quality. For the engineering community, these issues pose a more
diverse challenge: how to regain public confidence in the products and services
provided by industry.
public trust can often be evasive. Determining fault or liability for any
industrial incident is certainly the first step, but that is usually an action
reserved for the legal system; accountability, on the other hand, is a decision
the public renders, one that invites industry at large to provide some
assurance that similar incidents will not occur in the future.
So, how can
credibility be restored? It begins with a set of principles that point toward
measures of accountability. For professional engineers employed in industry,
accountability has always been a long-sought-after goal. Repeal of the
engineering licensure exemption has been legislatively lobbied for decades at
the state level, but tendering an across-the-board repeal is probably only a
distant possibility. What is proving more practical is convincing young
engineers of the long-term value in pursuing licensure by laying out the
tangible career benefits of professional credentials: better compensation,
expanded opportunities for management roles, wider selection of technical
assignments, and the option to practice in other engineering fields such as
individual accountability is only part of the equation. And it is not just a
matter of licensure or removing the industry exemption; it is doing the right
thing and making the right decisions. Individuals within private industry do
not have the option of setting their own standards, although many companies are
developing mechanisms for some type of internal peer review. Instead,
accountability must be achieved on a wider scale that encompasses all business
leaders might do well to take a page out of the playbook of the Coalition for
Environmentally Responsible Economies, an advocacy network of investors and
environmental groups. Years ago, CERES promulgated a set of challenges that are
now serving as a model for accountability among numerous global enterprises.
Aimed at helping industries incorporate environmental stewardship into their
business culture, these challenges include: protection of the biosphere,
sustainable use of natural resources, reduction and disposal of wastes, energy
conservation, risk reduction, safe products and services, environmental
restoration, informing the public, management commitment, and audits and reports.
accountability, however, does not end with environmental advocacy; it is just
the beginning. Accountability must be self-imposed. For instance, in the
aftermath of the BP oil spill, major energy companies are beginning to disclose
information regarding their risk oversight measures for their offshore oil
operations around the world. Transparency has come to the forefront because
investors (the public) are now focusing attention on the necessary governance,
compliance, and management systems for minimizing risks associated with
sustainability and transparency of business practices, however, are only two
elements of self-imposed accountability. Other factors include risk management,
the economic and social impacts of business operations, and corporate
governance and ethics. Of those remaining factors, risk management assumes a
dominant role for the industrial engineering community.
inherent in any venture, particularly where human decision-making is a major
consideration, many industries have turned their attention more toward risk assessment, a process that
scrutinizes policies and procedures from every perspective to limit the
possibility for any business operation, product, or service to endanger the
public or environment. Those advocating this process contend that
accountability will improve when risk assessment becomes part of the business
culture itself. But that culture will require bringing every possibility for
imminent danger to the forefront, thereby erasing the stigma of whistle-blowing
from any level of employment.
there are many simple tools at hand for engaging in risk assessment:
Conducting brainstorming sessions that
consider all scenarios of potential threat;
Doing more in-depth research from a
socio-economic perspective prior to actual industrial design;
Scrutinizing safety and environmental
regulations more closely; and
Improving inspection training.
risk assessment is also expanding use of information technology, 3-D modeling,
and various imagineering techniques,
whereby computer modeling “imagines” countless scenarios that pose an imminent
threat to public or environmental safety. Part of this process also involves
“designing for failure,” with failure meaning the unforeseen, accidents, or
mechanical breakdown. This technique not only targets the unexpected in the actual use of a product or service, but it also
addresses one of the many principles espoused by the late W. Edwards Deming,
founder of the original Total Quality Movement — eliminating defects in the
industrial production process, primarily through statistical analyses and
reduction of human error.
farm machinery, power tool, landscape equipment, and aircraft manufacturers are
examples of industries using these risk assessment tools to help eliminate or
reduce the possibility for human error before, during, and after the production
process. By striving to limit any dire consequences due to human error, these
industries are strengthening their accountability practices before the eyes of
Search is On for the Nationís Most Innovative New Products
Society of Professional Engineers is seeking innovative new products and their
inventors for consideration in the New Product Awards program, designed to
highlight the benefits to society made by engineers and engineering principles.
Now in its 28th year, the program was developed and is sponsored by NSPE’s
Professional Engineers in Industry.
The specific purpose
of the New Product Awards program is to recognize the societal benefits that
come from the research and engineering of new products. These benefits include
a direct and unique impact on the public’s health, safety, and welfare; added
employment; increased productivity; economic development; the strengthening of
the nation’s competitive position internationally; and a significant
contribution to the public’s standard of living. This competition recognizes
those companies with the pioneering vision and knowledge to bring these new
products, and their benefits, to the marketplace.
improved products from engineers enhance our quality of life and ensure our
safety,” said Richard Buchanan, P.E., chairman of the New Product Award
Committee. “This competition recognizes the efforts and foresight of these
companies whose aggressive policies bring new products to the marketplace.”
In addition to
the industry recognition and wide acknowledgement of winning products, all New
Product Award winners will receive
of the award at the NSPE Annual Conference in Las Vegas in July 2011 and two
complimentary banquet tickets;
NSPE/PEI New Product Award crystal;
- A featured
article in the award-winning PE
- Media coverage
through press releases, media materials, social media outlets, and events;
recognition on NSPE’s Web site.
judged based on a product’s improved function, sales and economic impact, and
innovative use of engineering principles and its improved function. Nominations
are grouped according to size of the industrial company and winners are
selected in four employment categories: small (50 or fewer employees), medium
(51 to 200 employees), large (200 to 9,999 employees), and mega (10,000 or more
employees). Past winners have included Uraseal Inc., IntelliChoice Energy,
Orion Energy Systems Inc., and Walt
and Resorts U.S. Inc.
To be eligible,
each submission must be for a product, machine, process, or material that has been
developed in the United
States and first placed on the market
between 2005 and 2009. Entries should contain a detailed product description
and include photos, brochures, and samples, if possible. The deadline for
delivering entries to NSPE is February 15, 2011.
To review the
rules and download an application, visit www.nspe.org/npa,
or e-mail email@example.com for more information.
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2011 Federal Engineer of the Year Award
The Federal Engineer of the Year Award recognizes federal engineers for
their commitment, innovation, and value in service to our nation. Contributions
from the private sector help us celebrate these agency-nominated engineers, and
are important to the continued success of this nationally recognized program.
Each year, federal engineers from across
the country are recognized. They are nominated by their employing agency, such
as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Naval Facilities Command, U.S. Air
Force, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Energy. On
February 24, 2011, leaders from both private and public engineering sectors
will recognize these engineers at the Federal Engineer of the Year Award
luncheon and ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
In addition, the event is recorded and made available on the NSPE Web site, www.nspe.org, as well as other media venues.
This event provides a unique opportunity
for your organization to interface with hundreds of attendees, including senior
level engineers and agency officials from numerous government agencies. To
learn more about the Federal Engineer of the Year Award program and see the
high caliber of previous winners, visit our Web page at http://www.nspe.org/FEYA.
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Get Free Online Company Listing
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Now throughMarch 1, get 10% off the price
of becoming a 2011 PEI Sustaining Sponsor and get exposure, and more business,
for your company. By becoming a 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 2011 PEI Sustaining Sponsor, your company will receive the following
- Company listing: Your
company will be included in a searchable directory that includes a
complete description of your company and link to your website. 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
Enews, a monthly electronic newsletter sent to more than 5,500 PEI members.
Your options to participate
include the following: (*Price reflects
10% discount for payments received by 3/1/11):
SILVER $135* (regularly $150)— Company Listing. Includes
company listing and link to company website. NSPE’s Web site receives more than
75,000 user sessions per month. ($500
$225* (regularly $250)—Includes
“Silver” package plus company
logo advertisement in PEI E-News,
a monthly newsletter delivered to more than 5,500 PEI members by email. ($ 1,000 value)
PLATINUM $270* (regularly $300)—Includes
“Gold” package plus company
logo advertisement in PE magazine,
NSPE’s premier magazine with a circulation over 50,000. ($ 1,550 value)
appreciate your support and hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to
help your business endeavors and fellow engineers in industry. For more information and to see a list of
current sponsors, please visit the NSPE/PEI web site at: www.nspe.org/PEI/Supporters.
FDA Launches External Defibrillator Improvement Initiative
The Food and Drug Administration's Center for Devices and Radiological Health has launched an External Defibrillator Improvement Initiative. The initiative seeks to improve the safety and effectiveness
of automatic external defibrillators by promoting innovation in the next
generation of AEDs, improving the ability of industry and FDA to
identify and respond to problems with devices currently on the market, and
designate an appropriate premarket regulatory pathway for device design
While FDA urges
consumers to continue using current external defibrillators, the agency hopes
to improve design and manufacturing practices to enhance future devices and
reduce instances of failure.
NSPE will discuss
engineering practices that could improve external defibrillators at an FDA
workshop in December.
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Nominate Fellow Engineers for NSPE Awards
NSPE offers several awards that have upcoming deadlines in 2011. 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.
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
Steinman (founder of NSPE), former Puerto Rico Governor Luis Ferré, former NSPE
Executive Director Paul Robbins, and R. Bruce Taylor, P.E.
Distinguished Service Award (Deadline: January 31)
The PEI Distinguished Service Award is presented to an individual who has
made an outstanding contribution of national scope to advance the causes of the
individual engineer in industry or Professional Engineers in Industry
(PEI). The award winner will receive an engraved plaque and up to $500
toward travel expenses to accept the award at the 2011 NSPE Annual Meeting in Las
Vegas in July. Also included are two complimentary tickets to the NSPE awards
ceremony held during the conference.
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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Professional Engineers in Industry Scholarship
Professional Engineers in Industry Scholarship
is a $2,500 award. Applicants must be sponsored by a NSPE member.
Students who are children, dependents, or relatives of NSPE members are
given preference in the scholarship selection process. Students must
have completed a minimum of two semesters or three quarters of
undergraduate engineering studies (or be enrolled in graduate study) in a
program accredited by the ABET.
To apply visit the PEI web page.
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Contact the 2010-11 PEI Executive Board Officers
Curtis A. Beck, P.E.
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.
Jorge L. Pardo, P.E., F. NSPE
Howard R. Jones P.E.
North Central Region
Stephen A. Hutti, P.E.
James Mathis, P.E.
Western & Pacific Region
Franklin Fong, P.E.
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Is your company interested in reaching more than 5,000 engineers? If so, contact PEI Manager Erin Garcia to learn about sponsoring the next edition of PEI e-News.
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Participate in PEI today!
PEI has a variety of programs to become involved in. If you are interested in serving your fellow industry engineer, visit the PEI Web site or contact PEI Manager Erin Garcia.