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



CDC Engineer Named Federal Engineer of the Year

NSPE held its 34th annual Federal Engineer of the Year Award (FEYA) ceremony on Thursday, February 21, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

More than 100 people were in attendance as NSPE and its Professional Engineers in Government interest group recognized and honored 22 outstanding engineering professionals representing 13 federal government agencies and the U.S. Armed Services. The 2013 FEYA recipient is Captain Richard Gelting, Ph.D., P.E., with the Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The keynote speaker was the Honorable Regina M. Benjamin, M.D., the U.S. Surgeon General.

We invite you to read more about Captain Gelting and view photos and an excellent video highlighting this year's FEYA ceremony on NSPE's Web site [ return to top ]

New Spring Webinars

Register for these online webinars.

Leading as an Engineering Responsibility
April 23, 12:30–1:30 p.m. (E.D.T.)
There is a lot of talk these days about leadership and excellence. What does leadership mean to you? Do you believe that only executives can be leaders? Why should you be concerned about leadership yourself? Why is it important for engineers and scientists to step up to leadership? Do you add value to your organization? How can you have more influence in your organization and have more fulfillment in your professional and personal and life?

If these issues are of interest to you, you will want to join the NSPE webinar on April 23 to hear Ron Bennett speak. Ron and coauthor Elaine Millam have just published Leadership for Engineers: The Magic of Mindset’ The book is based on interviews and research on leadership development of working technical professionals, and represents their 80+ years of experience in industry and academia developing leadership skills in working adults.  1 PDH

Engineering Ethics: A Conversation About Safety, Confidentiality, Online Engineering Services, and Other Issues
May 15, 12:30–1:30 p.m. (E.D.T.)

Join NSPE Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel
Arthur Schwartz and a panel of engineering ethics experts for a discussion of providing online engineering services, accepting promotional advertising as consideration, safety issues relating to highway scaffolding, and expert witness confidentiality obligations. Polling questions and opportunity for Q&A will allow for audience interaction.  1 PDH

The Pros & Cons of Using Consultants
May 16, 12:30–1:30 p.m. (E.D.T.)
Presented by: 
Christian J. Knutson, P.E., PMP
Many engineering firms and public agencies find it difficult maintaining the right mix of engineering capability and capacity for every situation.  The reason is simple:  reduced budgets, limited staff, and an infrequent need for certain specialties.  To remedy this, most firms and public agencies rely on consultants to provide manning assistance, advisory services, and niche skills. Before making the decision to use consultants, a clear assessment of the pros and cons is necessary. During this 60-minute webinar session, participants will gain insight on what factors to assess in making the decision to use consultants, as well as the factors to consider when developing expectations and contracts for consultants. 1 PDH [ return to top ]

Ontario Ends Industrial Exemption

The government of Ontario, Canada, has repealed the province's industrial exemption. The change, which took effect on March 1, means that those responsible for professional engineering work related to production machinery or equipment must be licensed professional engineers.

In the U.S. engineering profession, industrial exemptions from state licensing laws have long been a controversial issue, especially since the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Since its founding, NSPE has questioned the wisdom of exemptions from licensing laws and believes state licensure laws should apply to all individuals who practice engineering as defined by the Model Law published by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying.

Last year, NCEES amended the Model Law to require responsible charge by a PE over the engineering design of buildings, structures, products, machines, processes, and systems that can affect the public health, safety, and welfare. [ return to top ]

Analysts Projecting Modest Rise in Industrial Activity in 2013

Steve Storts

Amid political wrangling on Capitol Hill and fluctuating employment reports, what can the industrial community anticipate in terms of a production outlook for this year and beyond? The forecast has some encouraging signs, more than one might expect in light of a gross domestic product (GDP) that increased only 0.4% in the fourth quarter of 2012. An ideal growth rate, one that also keeps inflation in balance, should be at least two percentage points higher.

Even with some stagnation in production output, though, Industrial Info Resources Inc. cites growth activity in numerous industries, particularly manufacturing. According to data from its North American industrial database, IIR notes that more than 200 grassroots plants were slated to begin operations in the first quarter of this year, yielding a potential for 17,000 new jobs in the United States and Canada.

Additionally, more than $2.7 billion in project activity is scheduled for startup in the second quarter, which is expected to create 6,700 jobs nationwide. Aside from manufacturing, the food and beverage, oil and gas, metals and minerals, and pharmaceutical-biotech industries have the most planned expansion opportunities for both quarters. And as in previous years, the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions are expected to outpace other U.S. regions in plant startups.

Here is some recent industrial expansion news as reported by Industrial Info:

  • More than 230 construction projects for the chemical processing industry are likely to begin in 2013, with a total investment value exceeding $11 billion.
  • Bridgestone Metalpha USA Inc., a subsidiary of Bridgestone Americas Holdings Inc., has started construction on a $75 million expansion of its tire cord-manufacturing plant in Clarksville, Tennessee.
  • Despite weak metal prices and a difficult 2012, Alcoa Inc. has seen improvement during the first quarter of 2013 and is reporting stronger profits, with more than $6 billion in active projects.
  • For 2013, about $982 million in industrial manufacturing projects are set to launch between April and June in the Great Lakes region.
  • The U.S. oil and gas industry will spend about $40 billion this year, exceeding the $33 billion expended in 2012.

On a different front, a recent quarterly business outlook survey by the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation shows a slight improvement over previous quarterly reports, implying that the manufacturing sector is holding steady during an uncertain economy. MAPI’s March composite index advanced to 56 from 55 in the December 2012 survey, breaking a string of 10 consecutive quarterly declines.

“The March survey results offer a mixed bag,” says Donald Norman, MAPI senior economist and survey coordinator. “On the positive side, the composite index ended a long slide, and there is good news in the upswing in the investment indexes and in the profit margin index. Most of the other indexes, however—including current orders, prospective shipments, exports, backlog orders, and capacity utilization—all fell. The outlook over the next three to six months remains the same: growth at a slow pace.”

Following Japan’s announcement that it will join the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, the National Association of Manufacturers applauded the move. Canada and Mexico have already signed on to the negotiations on a comprehensive basis. NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons emphasizes, “A successful and ambitious TPP agreement will open up new opportunities in overseas markets and eliminate barriers for U.S. exports, sustaining and creating jobs for American workers.”

NAM points out that significant work still remains to ensure that U.S. manufacturers gain a level playing field and meaningful access to Japanese markets and other venues. The Business Roundtable touts balanced trade for both imports and exports, which supports more than one in five American jobs. Moreover, U.S. exports account for nearly 14% of the GDP, and an estimated 61% of imported goods are inputs or components used by U.S. companies.

In its National Activity Index report, the Chicago Federal Reserve stated that industrial production rebounded in February from lower statistics a month earlier, increasing 0.8%. The modest increase helped boost manufacturing’s contribution to the NAI by 0.34 points, a reversal of a 0.30 decline in January.

However, as 2013 moves forward, Industrial Info is observing some changing trends in planned projects and industrial spending. On the whole, IIR says the value of active projects in North America has declined 7% annually for the last several years, falling from $482.28 billion in January 2012 to $449.92 billion January 2013. The larger upticks have been in the petroleum refining industry ($12.6 billion) and the chemical processing industry ($10.9 billion). Planned projects may not always move forward, IIR explains, because contractions in product demand, financing issues, and other mitigating circumstances can often lead to project fallout in industrial spending.

Of course, market trends and perceptions also play an important role in forecasting industrial activity. For instance, global automotive sales have been healthy in 2013, up nearly 7% over last year in the United States alone. Industrial Info reports a sales volume projection that could reach 17 million units by the end of the year, matching pre-recession sales figures. Surprisingly, although numerous vehicle recalls have been well-publicized worldwide for the last several months, total sales to date have not been adversely affected by issues regarding quality.

Unfortunately, the computer industry is not reflecting the same marketplace success as its automotive counterpart. Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and Intel have shown steady losses in worldwide sales of desktop PCs, according to the International Data Corporation. The 76.3 million PC shipments during the first three months of 2013 is a decline of about 14% from the same period in 2012, far exceeding analysts’ loss predictions of more than 7%. One of the reasons for this decline, IDC contends, is that Microsoft’s new Windows 8 “touch” operating system, with its radical changes to the user interface, has made PCs less attractive in terms of costs and familiarity as compared to tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices.

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A State-by-State Summary of Liability Laws

A must-have tool for firms drafting, negotiating service agreements, and managing risks in various states. To help guard against increasing liability claims, this excellent resource describes the current status of every state’s key engineering liability-related provision. It also includes information and language regarding statues of repose, certificate of merit, sole-source worker’s compensation, joint liability provisions, and anti-indemnity statutes and limitation of liability.

Purchase your copy today at "Shop NSPE." Discounted NSPE member price is $25.00.

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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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