NSPE Gateway to Industry Winter 2013
In This Issue of PEI e-News...

PEI Seeks Award Submissions

PEI New Product Award
Don’t miss an opportunity to get national visibility for your product by entering the 2013 PEI New Product Award competition. The competition recognizes any process, machine, or material developed in the U.S. that improves the public’s standard of living.

Winning products will be honored with the PEI New Product Award crystal and are entitled to use the coveted PEI New Product Award logo. Winners will also be recognized in PE magazine, through NSPE’s Web site and print communications, and through significant media coverage.

Submit your entry by February 15, 2013. For an application and list of past NPA winners, visit the
PEI New Product Award Web page.

PEI Service Awards
The PEI Service Awards are presented to licensed professional engineers who have made an outstanding contribution or contributions to advance the causes of the individual "engineer in industry" and/or specifically to the Professional Engineers in Industry interest group of NSPE.

Deadline to apply for PEI Service Awards is January 31. Visit the
PEI Service Awards Web site for an application.

For a list of all NSPE awards, please visit the
NSPE Award Web site.

Support PEI and Get Free Listing in Online Directory!

Become a 2013 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 as we strive to promote the hard-earned professional engineer designation and enhance the image of the PE in Industry.

As a 2013 PEI Sustaining Sponsor, your company will receive the following promotional privileges:

  • NEW! Free advertisement on NSPE Facebook and Twitter pages: Companies can provide a non-self-promotional tip of the day (250 words or less) to be featured on the NSPE Facebook page and Twitter page with a direct link to your firm’s Web site and/or social media platform. Please e-mail to pei@nspe.org.

  • Free company listing: Your company will be included in 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

  • Free company ad: Company advertisement in NSPE’s PE magazine (circulation is over 40,000) and in PEI e-News, a monthly electronic newsletter sent to more than 5,500 PEI members.

  • Valuable discounts: 25% discount on ads in PE magazine, NSPE Update, NSPE Web banners, and Job Board postings.

Visit the PEI Web site for sponsorship level details and to register your company as a 2012 PEI Sustaining Sponsor. 

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NCEES to Administer First PE Exam in Software Engineering in April 2013

Six years ago, the Software Engineering Licensing Consortium (an alliance of engineering organizations including NSPE, IEEE-USA, the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying, and TBPE) believed that the critical nature of some engineered software systems to the public health, safety, and welfare clearly indicated that the time was right to move the software engineering field onto the path to licensure.

After a three-year exam development effort led by IEEE-USA, NCEES will administer the first PE exam in software engineering in April 2013, thus providing thousands of software engineers with a path to licensure. This examination now completes the three pillars of licensure: education, experience, and examination.

The new exam marks the first time that any new PE exam has met the rigorous standards enacted by NCEES in 2002, including garnering letters from 10 state licensing boards who support developing an exam.

The new exam will also promote comity among the states by providing consistency in the way software engineers are licensed in the future. Prior to the new exam, licensure candidates practicing as software engineers had to take an exam in another discipline.  

Read the full article in the December issue of PE magazine. [ return to top ]

2013 PEI Scholarship

The 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.   [ return to top ]

15 New Free PDHs Coming January 15

The new lineup for 15 Free professional development hours will be available beginning January 15. See the complete list below.

For more information on how to sign up, go to: http://www.nspe.org/MemberBenefits/fifteenfreepdhs.html. Don’t forget to click on the FAQ button at the bottom of the page for answers on how to "purchase" the courses.

2013 15 Free PDHs

1. Conflicts of Interest: Will Proposed Federal Rules Impact Engineering Practice?

2. Engineering Ethics: What is the Impact of the Ongoing Economic Crisis on Engineering Ethics

3. EJCDC Construction Contract Documents: Key Clauses and New Approaches

4. Got BIM? It's Not Just About 3D Models

5. Harnessing the Power of Change

6. How to Conduct Effective Meetings

7. IT Solutions for AEC Professionals

8. Key Federal Contracting Laws that Everyone Must Know

9. Legal Realities of Project Scheduling

10. Ethics Forum: Maintaining Objectivity, Truthfulness, Non-Deception, & Preserving Confidentiality

11. Pending and Current Legislation, Rules, and Programs that Will Change How We Manage Stormwater

12. Project Management and Ethics

13. Ethics Forum: Protecting the Public Health, Safety, and Welfare & Demonstrating Professional Competence

14. Strategic Planning

15. Ethics Forum: Whistleblowing: What Are the PEs Obligations to Report Misconduct?

The spring webinar series will begin in mid-February. You can find more information on how to register on the NSPE Education Web site.

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Oil Shale Gaining More Industry Attention, But Still Has Obstacles

Steve Storts

It is estimated that the oil shale potential in the western United States could yield an amount of oil greater than the proven petroleum reserves in the Middle East. And if fully developed, oil shale could supply the current U.S. consumption of oil for more than 70 years. Some studies forecast even higher estimates. A Rand Corp. report points out that the current domestic demand for petroleum products is about 20 million barrels per day. If oil shale could be used to meet a quarter of the daily demand, the recoverable resources could last for more than 400 years.

Consequently, the magnitude of this energy resource potential is making it attractive for some energy industry stakeholders to invest in its development, or at least take a second look at its viability—something that was briefly explored and then abandoned in the early 1980s due to excessively low oil prices and a lack of advanced cost-effective technologies. Estonia and China already have well-established oil shale industries, and Brazil, Germany, and Russia currently utilize oil shale for various uses. Australia recently commissioned its pilot demonstration oil shale plant in Queensland to begin the production phase.

The largest known oil shale deposits in the world are in the Green River Formation, an area spanning portions of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming, with earlier oil estimates ranging from 1.5 to 1.8 trillion barrels. In 2011-12, though, the U.S. Geological Survey increased its estimate of the amount of oil shale contained in the region to more than four trillion barrels, but not all resources in place are recoverable. Rand notes that potentially recoverable oil ranges roughly from 1.1 trillion barrels on the upper scale to about 500 billion barrels on the lower side. However, the research organization emphasizes that for policy planning purposes, any amount of oil in this range is very substantial and worthy of consideration for development.

Low-cost oil shale commercialization would, of course, yield tangible benefits, including reduced world oil prices, increased employment, and bolstered national security due to less dependence on foreign oil imports. Additionally, direct economic profits could range as high as $20 billion annually for an oil shale industry producing just three million barrels per day. Rand reports that through lease bonus payments, production royalties, and corporate income taxes, roughly half of these profits would likely go to federal, state, and local governments, thereby broadly benefitting the public at large.

The National Oil Shale Association admits that commercial operations cannot occur overnight, but they could evolve in a methodical manner over years to achieve production levels in the range of 1.5 to 3.0 million barrels per day, which translates into upwards of 40% of the U.S. oil imports from OPEC countries in 2012 and 100% of the oil imported from the OPEC Persian Gulf countries. NOSA adds, however, there are critical issues that must be addressed before successful commercialization of oil shale can be realized cost effectively. Some of these include land use and ecological impacts, air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, water quality and consumption, socioeconomic impacts, leasing restrictions, and market risks.

Additionally, some confusion exists among the general public and the media regarding the term “oil shale,” which is often used synonymously—and sometimes incorrectly—with “shale oil,” also called “tight oil” or crude oil. Oil shale contains an organic chemical compound known as kerogen, from which liquid hydrocarbons called shale oil can be extracted via high temperatures and vaporization, using either surface or underground retorting technologies. Oil-bearing shale (shale oil), on the other hand, actually contains petroleum elements or crude oil, which is extracted through an underground hydraulic fracturing process. Shale oil is often found near drilled wells or known oil reserves, with significant deposits located in Saskatchewan, Canada, and extending southward through Montana, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and into Texas. Ohio and other Midwest regions have documented large shale oil deposits, too.

Water management is a key element in the oil shale landscape because direct consumptive water requirements range from one to three barrels of water for every barrel of shale oil produced, depending upon the recovery technology being employed. However, NOSA points out that the quality of the required water also varies for commercial oil shale projects, and much can come from non-potable sources. For instance the wastewater currently produced from the oil and natural gas wells and coal-bed methane wells may be treated and used for various uses within an oil shale complex.

Moreover, the amount of water necessary for oil shale development compares favorably with other energy sources, according to NOSA. The consumption is much less that ethanol produced from irrigated crops and not significantly greater than fuel generated from conventional petroleum resources. Also, the required amount of water will likely be less as more advanced technologies evolve and alternative sources of water are developed.

Perhaps the greatest challenge for the oil shale industry currently lies in leasing rights and restrictions. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management controls more than 70% of the western oil shale resource. In 2008, BLM published a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement that amended 10 resource management plans in Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming to make about two million acres of public lands potentially available for commercial oil shale leasing and development and 430,000 acres potentially available for tar sands leasing and development.

However, in spring 2011, BLM initiated a new planning effort to reassess the appropriate mix of public lands to be made available for oil shale and tar sands leasing. In November last year, new PEIS regulations for eight land use plans in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming were issued. BLM’s preferred alternative now reduces the leasing acreage available for new oil shale development projects to 676,967 acres and to 129,567 acres for tar sands development. Also, the new regulations only authorize research, development, and demonstration projects, which can be later converted to commercial leases when all conditions and regulations of the RD&D lease have been satisfied and all further environmental reviews and public comment periods have been conducted.

Currently, there are oil shale projects or applications under operation or development by American Shale Oil, AuraSource, Colorado Energy Research Institute, ConocoPhillips, Enefit American Oil, Energy Dynamics Laboratory, Enshale, ExxonMobil, Genie Energy, Hatch, Idaho National Laboratory, Natural Soda Holdings, Red Leaf Resources, Sage Geotech, Shell Mahogany Research, and Total. [ return to top ]

U.S. Surgeon General to Serve as FEYA Keynote Speaker

On February 21, 2013, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., federal engineers from across the country will be recognized for their commitment, innovation, and value in service to our nation. This year we are honored to have Dr. Regina M. Benjamin, U.S. Surgeon General, serve as keynote speaker.

The Federal Engineer of the Year is selected by a panel of judges established by NSPE-PEG who consider engineering achievements, education, continuing education, professional/technical society activities, NSPE membership, awards, honors, and civic and humanitarian activities. Candidates are nominated by their employing federal agency. The agency must employ at least 50 engineers worldwide.

All agency winners will be honored at a FEYA luncheon at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., in February 2013. The 2013 NSPE/PEG Federal Engineer of the Year is selected from the "Top Ten" and announced the day of the event.

For more information on the Federal Engineer of the Year Award Program, including how to purchase tickets to this year's event, visit

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Contact the 201213 PEI Executive Board Officers

Stephen A. Hutti, P.E.

Austin Lin, EIT

Franklin Fong, P.E.

Immediate Past Chairman
Curtis A. Beck, P.E.

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

Northeastern Region
Thomas J Kesolits, P.E.

Southeastern Region
Stanley Nurnberger, P.E. 

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
Thomas Smailus, Ph.D., P.E.

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