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

PEI Honors Chairman, President, and CEO of Ameren Corporation

Thomas R. Voss, P.E., received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Society of Professional Engineers’ Professional Engineers in Industry interest group at its 2011 annual meeting in Las Vegas. 

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 of professional engineers in industry. Eminence in the field of engineering does not have to be limited to that of technical contributions, but also to the profession itself.

Thomas R. Voss was elected to the position of chairman of the board of directors of Ameren Corp. on April 27, 2010. He was elected president and chief executive officer of Ameren in May 2009—titles he retained with his promotion to the position of board chairman. Voss served as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Ameren from 2004–09. In December 2006, he was elected to the additional position of president and chief executive officer of AmerenUE, Ameren’s Missouri rate-regulated operations. Prior to this appointment, he held the title of senior vice president of generation, and president of AmerenEnergy and AmerenEnergy Resources. In this position, he was responsible for generation, fuels and services, and related trading and marketing operations, including AmerenEnergy Inc., AmerenEnergy Generating, AmerenEnergy Resources Business Service, AmerenEnergy Fuels and Services, AmerenUE Power Operations, and AmerenEnergy Marketing.

Previously, Voss served as senior vice president for energy delivery/customer services. In this position, he was responsible for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of all gas and electric delivery systems and also for all customer care activities for Ameren’s operating utility companies—AmerenUE, AmerenCIPS, and AmerenCILCO. 

Voss began his career with Union Electric (now known as AmerenUE) in 1969 as a student engineer after earning a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla. After four years in the U.S. Air Force, he returned to Union Electric as an assistant engineer. From 1975–87, he held a series of successively higher positions—moving from engineer to staff engineer, superintendent, and district manager. In 1988, he became manager of distribution operating. He was named vice president of region operations for AmerenCIPS in July 1998.

Voss is also a graduate of the University of Michigan’s Public Utility Executive Program and the Westinghouse Advanced Power Systems School in Pittsburgh. In addition, in June 2005, he completed the Reactor Technology Course for Utility Executives—an intensive three-week program on nuclear technology offered through MIT and the National Academy for Nuclear Training. Voss is a licensed professional engineer in Missouri and Illinois. 

He serves on several St. Louis civic and arts organizations, including Civic Progress, Dance St. Louis (past chairman), the MUNY, the Regional Chamber and Growth Association, and the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis. Voss also serves on several national industry boards and is a member of the Missouri Science and Technology Energy Advisory Board. He has been a champion of diversity both within and outside Ameren Corp. A native of St. Louis and a graduate of St. Louis University High School, Voss and his wife of 40 years, Carol, have three children and three grandchildren.

Renewable Energy Output Continues to Show Gains in U.S.

Steve Storts

As regulatory agencies continue their focus on U.S. nuclear power plant safety and inspection following the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant disaster in Japan, utility advocates for renewable energy are gazing into a crystal ball. And they like what they are seeing. 

Renewable energy accounted for 11.14% of the domestically produced electricity in the United States during the first six months of 2010, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, with hydroelectricity as the largest producer of renewable power. In 2009, domestic energy production from renewable sources was 10.6% of total energy production, with increased gains in utility market share by wind and solar power generation.

For instance, Plunkett Research Ltd. reports that wind power has seen rapid growth both worldwide, especially in the United States, with its capacity more than doubling in the past three years. In fact, the first quarter of 2011 witnessed more than 1,100 megawatts of wind power capacity installed—more than double the capacity installed in the first quarter of 2010—bringing the U.S. wind industry’s current power capacity to nearly 41,400 MW, according to the American Wind Energy Association. 

As for cost-effectiveness, AWEA says utilities can lock in wind energy prices for 20–30 years because the fuel is free, which is one reason why wind power has added 35% of all new generating capacity to the U.S. grid since 2007—twice what coal and nuclear power generation combined have added to the grid. Even large commercial wind turbines, rated at 500 kilowatts to more than a megawatt, can generate electricity for as little as four to five cents per kilowatt hour. 

Texas is firmly established as the leader in wind power development, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), with an installed capacity of 10,085 MW in 2010, followed by Iowa (3,675 MW), California (3,177 MW), Minnesota (2,192 MW), and Washington (2,104 MW). The Roscoe Wind Farm in Texas continues to be the largest facility in the world, with an installed capacity of 781 MW.

In the past few years, some of the nation’s publicly owned utilities and rural electric cooperative utilities have begun adding wind power to their energy supply portfolios, including Great River Energy in Minnesota, Holy Cross Energy in Colorado, the East River Electric Power Cooperative in South Dakota, the Kotzebue Electric Association in Alaska, CPS Energy and Denton Municipal Electric in Texas, the Minnkota Power Cooperative in North Dakota, and the Nebraska Public Power District.

Municipal utilities are harnessing wind resources too, including Austin Energy in Texas, the Hull Municipal Lighting Plant and the Princeton Municipal Light Department in Massachusetts, Moorhead Public Service in Minnesota, the Eugene Water and Electric Board in Oregon, the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska, and Waverly Light and Power in Iowa.

On the sunnier side of renewable energy, solar power is experiencing a technological renaissance. Plunkett Research cites a significant rise in the percent ratio of solar energy that is being converted into electricity, along with the increased use of polymers leading to more flexible solar panels and nanotechnology creating breakthroughs in solar technology itself. Solar power advocates are touting the 561 MW of solar electricity capacity added in 2010, representing 100% growth over 2009. Of that increase, 140 MW were earned by utilities.

“More and more utilities are integrating solar power into their energy portfolios, including many in states like New Jersey, Idaho, and North Carolina,” says Julia Hamm, president and chief executive officer of the Solar Electric Power Association. “Solar power has largely been associated only with California and the Southwest, but that’s no longer the case.” SEPA’s 2010 analysis of utilities’ solar power markets reveals that 63% of new energy capacity came from other states.

According to SEPA statistics, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. in northern California led all utilities in the most new solar energy added to its grid with a total of 157 MW. However, seven of last year’s top 10 solar utilities were from outside of California, with four of them located in the eastern United States: Florida Power & Light Co. (87 MW), Public Service Electric & Gas Co. in New Jersey (75 MW), Jersey Central Power & Light (23 MW), and Duke Energy Carolinas (21 MW).

Although wind and solar power generation has made strident gains during recent years, hydropower still accounted for 6% of total U.S. electricity generation for all 50 states and 60% of generation from renewables in 2010. The top 10 hydropower-generating states continue to be Washington, Oregon, New York, California, Alabama, Idaho, Tennessee, Montana, Arizona, and North Carolina.

In terms of facilities, the federal government operates a total of 133 hydroelectric power plants, representing 8% of the nation’s hydroelectric facilities. The other 92% (1,623 facilities) are operated by the private sector, public utilities, and state or local governments.

The National Hydropower Association estimates that the nation’s power industry could install 60,000 MW of new capacity by 2025 depending on policy changes. Nearly 9,000 MW would come from modernization projects, such as turbine and generator upgrades, operational improvement, and adding capacity, according to a recent Navigant study. In fact, DOE recently earmarked $32 million in modernization funding to upgrade seven hydropower facilities.

NHA further reports that many new energy technologies have entered the market or have seen major advances in recent years. These involve the harnessing of ocean waves and tidal movements and hydrokinetic power (tapping the power of flowing water). Hydropower advocates claim that the potential of these new technologies could meet 10% of U.S. electricity needs. [ return to top ]

NeXt Generation of Leaders

Name: Peter Pisasale, P.E.
Age: 35 
Title: Operations Value Stream Leader 
Company: Raytheon Co. 
Been There: (# of years): 12
# of employees: 72,000

Previous Gigs: Within Raytheon, I’ve had the opportunity to work in three states at five facilities in 12 years. I’ve worked in electrical systems design, test engineering, as an operations manager, a manufacturing program manager, and now serve as a value stream leader with responsibility for roughly a dozen programs and 150 employees. 

How did you first get into engineering? Accidentally. I applied for an Air Force ROTC scholarship to pay for college and listed physics as my preferred major. The Air Force was interested in me, but they needed engineers, so they offered me the scholarsip if I studied electrical engineering (and joined the Air Force). I talked it over with my parents and a few high school teachers and decided to go for it. 

If you weren’t an engineer you’d be …. It’s funny, I can’t imagine not being an engineer, because I think like an engineer. I haven’t been “working” as an engineer for several years, I manage groups with engineers embedded in the teams, but I view every problem I come across using the tools I’ve learned as an engineer.

What do you value in the people you work with? I feel the most important trait for a coworker is accountability. If you make a commitment to do something, get it done, don’t make excuses. A team of people who are committed to doing what they say is a high performing team that gets things done, which makes work much more fun. 

What do you think companies need to do to attract younger generations into the engineering industry? More people need to be exposed to the field of engineering. Unfortunately, there are too many people who don’t know what engineering is and what engineers do.

What does leadership mean to you? A leader needs to have the courage to do the right thing every time. It sets the tone for the organization. 

Leaders you admire? Colin Powell and Andrew Jackson, two focused, hard driving men who acted decisively and achieved significant successes. 

Web site you can’t go a day without visiting: MLB.com. 

Something readers would be surprised to learn about you? I’m in the middle of a personal reading challenge, a biography of each US president in order. I’m up to James Garfield, so I’m approaching the halfway point. 

Finish this sentence: In 10 years, I will have… enough free time on evenings and weekends to coach softball and track for my two daughters, aged 11 and 12 (I’m hoping they don’t choose to play soccer). 

Book you can’t go a year without rereading? I’ve read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance three times over the last 12 years and each time I read it I say I’m going to reread it more often, but I’ve got too long a list of books I want to read for the first time. 

Facebook or MySpace? Facebook, but I’m a very passive user. 

How do you strike a work/life balance? I make it a point to be home in time for dinner with my family. I usually end up turning my PC back on after my two daughters go to bed, but I have up to two hours of family time each evening that’s sacred.

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Happenings on the Hill

1. The NSPE Legislative and Governmental Affairs Committee met at the Annual Meeting in Las Vegas to discuss the committee's goals for the coming year and determine NSPE's primary public policy agenda for 2011–12. Based on committee discussions and a recent survey of NSPE members, NSPE will focus on the following federal issues:

2. NSPE sent a letter with approximately 30 other professional and scientific organizations to the Office of Government Ethics supporting a proposed rule that would ease the way for federal employees to hold leadership positions in professional societies. The rule would clarify that serving in such roles was not a conflict of interest with federal employees' duties to the government, removing the legal concern that has prevented federal employees from holding leadership positions in the past. 

3. NSPE sent a letter with the STEM Education Coalition to Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee leadership recommending that the Elementary and Secondary Education Act be reauthorized with a focus on improving science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. NSPE is a member of the STEM Education Coalition, which supports STEM programs for teachers and students at the Department of Education, National Science Foundation, and other agencies that offer STEM-related programs. The coalition is composed of more than 1,000 diverse groups representing all sectors of the technological workforce. 

4. In May, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY-21) introduced the Engineering Education for Innovation Act (S. 969, H.R. 1951), which 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. The bill was first introduced in 2010 but failed to pass before the 111th Congress adjourned. NSPE sent a letter in February encouraging Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Tonko to reintroduce the bill. 

5. Michael Molnar, P.E., has been appointed as the National Institute of Standards and Technology's first Chief Manufacturing Officer. The post was created to help accelerate innovation in manufacturing, enhancing U.S. competitiveness. Molnar earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering and an M.S. in manufacturing systems engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He currently serves as director of environmental policy and sustainable development at Cummins Inc. in Columbus, Indiana.
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Get a Head Start on Your Fall Education

The NSPE Fall Webinar Series in taking shape. Already available for purchase are the Ethics Forum Webinars. 

Member price per Webinar is $99, for the series of three $165
Nonmember price per Webinar is $99, for the series of three $265

September 28, 2011 
Conflicts of Interest: Will Proposed Federal Rules Impact Engineering Practice? 

Newly proposed federal organizational conflict of interest rules could have a serious effect on the design and construction industry. The proposed rules make substantial changes to existing organizational conflict of interest requirements for engineering and construction firms doing business with the federal government.

This Webinar will examine these proposed requirements and related issues, and a panel of experts will examine a series of case studies relating to conflicts of interest, disclosure requirements, professional objectivity and bias, and other issues. 1 PDH

October 19, 2011
Confronting an Ethics Disaster: What Can Professional Engineers Do? 

What can you and your company or organization do when faced with an ethics catastrophe? How do you investigate the problem, prepare a response, manage and limit the harm, avoid similar problems in the future, and stabilize your company or organization in order to move forward? 

This Webinar will examine all of these and other issues, and a panel of experts will discuss case studies relating to objectivity and truthfulness, obligation to act as a faithful agent and trustee, avoidance of deceptive acts, and other issues. 1 PDH

November 9, 2011
Whistleblowing: What Are the PE’s Obligations to Report Misconduct? 

What should a professional engineer do when confronted with organizational wrongdoing? What are the appropriate steps to take and stages to consider when wrestling with your obligation of loyalty to your employer/client and your professional obligation to the public? 

This Webinar will examine all of these and other issues, and a panel of experts will discuss a series of case studies relating to knowledge of violations, duty to report and cooperate with the appropriate authorities, obligation to act as a faithful agent and trustee, public health and safety, and other issues. 1 PDH

Other Webinars planned for the fall include: 

·         Harnessing the Power of Change;
·         How to Get Your First Job;
·         How to Get Your Next Job;
·         Career Transitions; and
·         Project Management, Design, Construction Management and Ethics for Professionals.

Register today!

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2011-12 PEI Executive Board Contact Information

Curtis A. Beck, P.E.

Stephen A. Hutti, P.E.

Austin Lin, EIT

Immediate Past Chairman
Jonn Nebbe, P.E.

Young Engineer Representative
Peter E. Pisasale, P.E.

Northeastern Region
Thomas J. Kesolits, P.E.

Southeastern Region

Central Region
Howard R. Jones, P.E.

North Central Region
Donald W. Mitchell, P.E.

Southwestern Region
Neerali J. Desai, P.E.

Western & Pacific Region
Franklin Fong, P.E.

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