NSPE Gateway to Industry Spring 2011
In This Issue of PEI e-News...

2011 Federal Engineer of the Year Announced


Vincent P. Sobash, P.E., an emergency management program specialist for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command within the U.S. Navy, has been named the National Society of Professional Engineers' 2011 Federal Engineer of the Year. Sobash received the honor during the 32nd Annual FEYA Banquet at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on February 24. This year, NSPE was honored to have as a keynote speaker Rear Admiral Christopher J. Mossey, P.E., CEC, USN, commander of Naval Facilities Engineering Command, chief of civil engineers.

Sponsored by NSPE and the Professional Engineers in Government, FEYA recognizes engineers working for federal agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Naval Facilities Command, and U.S. Air Force, for their dedication and exemplary service to the public.

For more information on the FEYA program, the full press release, and to hear the podcast interview with Rear Admiral Mossey and Vincent Sobash, visit the
FEYA Web page.

You can also watch interviews with several of the semifinalists and the winner, covering current topics facing the engineering profession, on
NSPE's YouTube channel.

Get Online Exposure For Your Company, Support Industry Engineers

Become a 2011 PEI Sustaining Sponsor and get exposure as well as more 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 2011 PEI Sustaining Sponsor, your company will receive the following promotional privileges:

  • Company listing: Your company will be added to 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/PEI/Supporters;
  • Valuable Discounts: 25% discount on ads in PE magazine, NSPE Update, NSPE Web banners, and job board postings; and
  • 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 $150: Includes company listing and link to company Web site. ($500 value)

GOLD $250: Includes “Silver” package plus company logo advertisement in PEI e-News. ($1,000 value)

PLATINUM $300: Includes “Gold” package plus company logo advertisement in PE magazine. ($1,550 value)

We 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.

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Nuclear Power Still a Worthy Player in the Energy Game

By Steven Storts

Less than one month before Japan’s devastating earthquake, tsunami, and ensuing nuclear breaches at the Fukushima nuclear plant, public support for nuclear power generation in the United States was continuing its climb, with more than 70% of respondents in a recent opinion survey indicating that nuclear energy will and should play a prominent role in the nation’s future.

The survey data, released in late February by Bisconti Research Inc. and GfK Roper Consulting, also showed a strong majority of respondents, 66%, indicated that more nuclear facilities should be built. The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), which sponsored the research, further noted that support for nuclear power had steadily moved upward from 49% in 1983. Equally important, 67% of Americans viewed nuclear plant operations as safe, compared to only 35% in 1984.

Not surprising, new polling data following the Japanese events tell a different story. A CBS News survey has public support for nuclear energy dropping to 43%; a USA Today/Gallup Poll shows a decline from a high of 62% early last year to a 44% low; and a Pew Research Center survey finds 52% opposing nuclear power expansion.

Other research by the Civil Society Institute, a nonpartisan think-tank, indicates that 53% of Americans would support a moratorium on any new reactor construction, but only if current energy demands could be satisfied by renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar. That scenario, though, poses a great challenge for anti-nuclear advocates because the United States currently has 104 nuclear power reactors in 31 states, operated by 30 different power companies. Together, they produce 20% of the nation’s electricity. Industry analysts contend that it would be nearly impossible to replace any significant amount of that energy production with other sources in a cost-effective manner.

Whether support for nuclear energy permanently wanes in light of recent events in Japan largely depends on how quickly and effective the energy industry can respond to renewed public skepticism and concern regarding the structural and operational safety of nuclear power facilities.

NEI, a leading industry trade group whose member companies have been providing technical expertise and equipment assistance during recovery efforts in Japan, has reported that nuclear power companies have already initiated an assessment of the events in Japan. In view of their findings, steps are now being taken to ensure that U.S. reactors could respond to similar events that may challenge the safe operation of nuclear facilities.

Such precautions include verification of all operations staff, equipment, and technical capabilities to address the following: invasive aircraft impact; loss of major plant operations due to natural forces, fires, or explosions; total loss of off-site power; flooding within and around plant facilities; and loss of equipment functions during seismic events.

In late March, Bloomberg news service reported that the Westinghouse Electric Co. nuclear plants now being constructed in China and the United States and proposed for Brazil are immune to any loss of off-site power, a key factor that adversely affected the nuclear reactor crisis in Japan, according to Aris Candris, chief executive officer of Westinghouse, a unit of Tokyo-based Toshiba Corp. He confirms that the new plants can operate without relying on external power in the event of an earthquake matching the 9.0 magnitude level that struck Japan.

Over the last several years, U.S. companies have applied to build more than 20 nuclear reactors using technology from Westinghouse, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., Areva SA, and GE Hitachi. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), which is reviewing the license applications, notes that Westinghouse reactors would be used in 14 of the projects.

Site preparations for new reactors have begun in Georgia and South Carolina, and plans are moving forward in Tennessee to finish a reactor project that started years ago but was never completed. NEI officials expect the Tennessee reactor to come online in 2013, and 2016 is the target date for operations to begin in South Carolina and Georgia. Meanwhile, new research and development projects focused on enhanced technologies for uranium enrichment are tentatively on schedule in Idaho, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Ohio.

If the U.S. power industry can survive the heightened public scrutiny and a more lengthy NRC review process, eight new reactors could be generating electricity by 2020, according to NEI projections. President Obama’s 2012 budget proposal for $36 billion in federal loan guarantees to build modernized nuclear power plants could help provide some assurance for that energy expansion. However, congressional budget negotiations and NRC’s reassessment of the nation’s nuclear facilities could delay those loan guarantees, even if approved.

Still, recent bipartisan support for the nuclear power industry has been clearly evident in Congress, at least prior to the events in Japan. In early March, the Nuclear Power 2021 Act was introduced in the Senate to facilitate development of small, scalable reactors using two design parameters: one fewer than 300 MW of electricity-generating capacity and the other fewer than 50 MW. Smaller reactor designs are an attractive energy option for some rural regions because they can be installed incrementally in less-populated areas that do not require large power stations.

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Happenings on the Hill

March 21, 2011

NSPE Supports Federal Good Samaritan Protection for Engineers
Reps. Dave Reichert (R-WA-8) and Jim Matheson (D-UT-2) introduced the Good Samaritan Protection for Construction, Architectural, and Engineering Volunteers Act (H.R. 1145), which would provide qualified immunity to engineering, architectural, and construction entities volunteering in a declared emergency. The bill was proposed in response to lawsuits against architectural, engineering, and construction firms that volunteered after 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. It would protect both individuals and companies. The legislation was first introduced in 2007.

NSPE supports both federal and state Good Samaritan protection for professional engineers volunteering in a declared emergency. For more information, please read NSPE's position statement on Statutes of Repose, Certificate of Merit, Sole Source Workers' Compensation, and Good Samaritan Laws.

March 14, 2011

NSPE Comments on QBS, NEPA at DOT Meeting
NSPE member L. Daniel Tanksley, P.E., F.NSPE, presented remarks on behalf of NSPE at a Department of Transportation regulatory review meeting. NSPE's remarks focused on two issues: the Federal Highway Administration's and Federal Transit Administration's limiting qualifications-based selection procurement procedures to construction-related projects and the convoluted environmental clearance process. NSPE submitted written comments prior to the meeting that also discussed the FHWA conflict of interest policy, inconsistent models of quality assurance, and outdated pipeline safety standards. 

DOT's regulatory review is a response to Executive Order 13563, which requires every federal agency to review its existing regulations and determine whether regulations are effectively promoting economic growth, job creation, and competitiveness without being unduly burdensome.

February 17, 2011

NSPE Advocates Introduction of E2 for Innovation Act
NSPE sent a letter to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY-21) in support of the Engineering Education for Innovation Act, which will be introduced in the coming weeks. The E2 for Innovation Act would provide grants to integrate engineering curricula and content into classrooms across the country. The bill's goals of increasing student achievement and interest in engineering, broadening the diversity of students participating in engineering, and developing a workforce prepared to teach engineering are critical to cultivating the next generation of engineers. Gillibrand and Tonko are expected to introduce the bill soon. Rep. Tonko is an engineer.

NSPE Requests Clarification of Forensic Science Reform Act
NSPE sent a letter to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) expressing concern about his introduction of the Criminal Justice and Forensic Science Reform Act (S. 132). The intent of the bill is to strengthen and reform forensic science in the criminal justice system and ensure that forensic evidence and testimony is accurate, credible, and scientifically grounded. The bill would require personnel performing forensic work for federally funded facilities to obtain certification. While forensic professional engineers rarely work in criminal laboratories, the legislation’s certification requirement could inadvertently include them, infringing on the engineering profession. NSPE requested that the legislation be revised to include a clarifying statement that the bill is only intended to affect those who are directly employed by a criminal laboratory.

December 15, 2010

NSPE Comments before Chemical Safety Board on Offshore Drilling
NSPE General Counsel Arthur Schwartz commented before the Chemical Safety Board on the role of professional engineers in offshore oil-drilling safety. NSPE believes that professional engineers should supervise all engineering design, operations, and maintenance of offshore oil rigs. Read NSPE's comments. The Chemical Safety Board is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents, including the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.


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NSPE 2011 Annual Meeting

Join your fellow engineers at the NSPE 2011 Annual Meeting, July 1317, headquartered at the JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort in Nevada. In addition to the State Leader Conference, there are many other opportunities to network, earn professional development hours, and learn about issues impacting the engineering profession and our Society. They include:

Thursday, July 14
NSPE Networking Lunch: Order of the Engineer Ceremony

Friday, July 15
NSPE Awards Lunch

Saturday, July 16
Young Engineers' Forum (5 PDHs)

Sunday, July 17
Private Engineering Tour of the Hoover Dam & Bypass (6 PDHs)

For more information on how to register for the meeting and the mentioned events, please visit the
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Market Changes Drive Demand For Power Train Engineers

Today's automaker needs skills from both traditional mechanical engineering and advanced battery and electronics engineering, say professors and instructors at the University of Michigan's College of Engineering. It's the latter skills that need nurturing in the age of the Prius and the Volt, they say. And, as more consumers see and drive electric and hybrid vehicles, more engineers will be needed in the sector. Universities accross the country, including the University of Michigan, are addressing this need by offering new education programs that will help develop new training systems for electric transportation.  

For the full article, see the March 2011 editon of PE magazine.
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NSPE Spring Online Webinars

Register today for the following Webinars:

The Fundamentals of Finance and Accounting for Engineers
April 21, 12:301:30 p.m., 1 PDH
$149.00 Nonmembers / $99.00 Member Price

Holding a PE usually includes engineering firm responsibilities like cash flow and budgeting. In this Webinar presented by Ian Rusk, we discuss the fundamentals of accounting, financial statements, fiscal performance, and future planning in terms familiar to engineers. This Webinar is especially useful for PEs aspiring to management at their firm.

The following areas will be covered:

• Fundamental aspects of accounting, cash vs. accrual accounting;
• Basics of reading and interpreting financial statements, income statements, and balance sheets;
• Important measures of financial performance;
• Understanding and tracking forward-looking financial metrics;
• Keeping a “balanced scorecard”;
• The importance of cash flow management; and
• The difference between a “S” vs. “C” corporations and related basic tax differences.

Ethics Forum: Ethical Issues in Communications and Marketing
April 27, 12:301:30 p.m., 1 PDH
$149.00 Nonmembers / $99.00 Member Price

This spring’s NSPE ethics Webinars feature discussions with NSPE Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel Arthur Schwartz and members of NSPE’s Board of Ethical Review. Discussions center on decisions from the Board’s 2010 session. This session focuses on communications and marketing, featuring:

• Appropriate public communications;
• Engineering firm selection;
• Web-based marketing; and
• Outside-party service reviews.

Ethics Forum: Ethical Issues in Expert Witness Testimony and Public Safety
May 11, 12:301:30 p.m., 1 PDH
$149.00 Nonmembers / $99.00 Member Price

This session will combine expert testimony by engineers and various public health and safety issues, including:

• Agreement limiting services for expert witnesses;
• Multiparty relationships;
• Off-site safety violation observation; and
• ADA guideline compliance.

Pending and Current Legislation, Rules, and Programs that will Change How We Manage Stormwater
May 12, 12:301:30 p.m., 1 PDH
$149.00 Nonmembers / $99.00 Member Price

This program will give an overview of federal programs, proposed EPA regulations, and design guidance and rating systems that will change the way we manage stormwater. The program will look at examples of green and LID methods and discuss some options for obtaining the same results using familiar technologies.

Engineering Your Career with a High Quality Social Network
May 19, 12:301:30 p.m., 1 PDH
$99.00 Nonmembers / $49.00 Member Price

Social networking can be a powerful tool when applied to the pursuit of professional career development. Due to differences in objectives and audience, however, professional social networks need to be managed very differently than how one would maintain a social network of friends and family.

From the perspective of career development, a professional social network is highly diverse tool that when used effectively, can grow one’s capabilities while simultaneously establishing resources for future development and work opportunities. The downside is that within this context, that also makes professional social networks naturally subject to a high degree of scrutiny from peers, colleagues, headhunters, and potential employers. Such scrutiny can open new doors or forever close existing ones.

To maintain a positive, forward momentum in extracting the benefits of professional social networking, an emphasis is needed on the quality of networking connections, not just the size of the network itself. To build a high quality social network as it relates to one’s career, participants will learn how to manage professional networking opportunities within the scope of four key elements: knowledge, skills, professional organizations, and personal growth.

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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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