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

2013 PEI Distinguished Service Award Winner Announced

Michael Heyeck, P.E., is the recipient of the 2013 PEI Distinguished Service Award. Heyeck recently retired as senior vice president of transmission from American Electric Power. He was responsible for AEP's 11-state transmission system, including officer and board positions for several AEP affiliates. He also held leadership positions in AEP's Corporate Planning and Budgeting Department. He joined AEP in June 1976.

Heyeck founded The Grid Group in 2013 to provide strategic services for executives in the electric utility industry, tapping his 37 years of service to the industry.

Heyeck served the industry in numerous capacities, including the U.S. Department of Energy's Electricity Advisory Committee, President of the CIGRE US National Committee, Chairman of the EPRI Power Delivery & Utilization Council, and Board Member for Reliability First Corp., a regional entity of NERC.

Heyeck earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He earned a master's in business administration at the University of Dayton. He also is a graduate of The Executive Program at the University of Virginia's Darden School. He is a registered PE in the State of Ohio and a senior member of IEEE.

Heyeck has held elected office in Ohio as Westerville City Council Member since 1993, and has served as chairman (2001–03, 2009–13) and mayor (2003–05). He also served in several community Board capacities. He and his wife, Fernanda, have three adult children and reside in Westerville, Ohio.

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.

For more information on the PEI Service Awards, visit the
PEI Web site.

NSPE Legislative Affairs News

NSPE-PAC Participates in Event for Speaker of the House John Boehner

NSPE's Government Relations Manager Arielle Eiser attended a political action committee event for Speaker of the House John Boehner. Other U.S. representatives present were David Valadao (CA-21), David Joyce (OH-14), Mike Coffman (CO-6), Scott Tipton (CO-3), Jeff Denham (CA-10), and Rodney Davis (IL-13). NSPE's top legislative issues were discussed, including professional liability and tort reform, energy policy, infrastructure, and the need to strengthen the American engineering workforce. This was an excellent opportunity to cultivate and strengthen relationships with important members of Congress.

Educating Tomorrow's Engineers Act Introduced

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY-20), and Congressman Joe Kennedy (D-MA-4) introduced the Educating Tomorrow's Engineers Act (S. 1178/H.R. 2426). This bill would integrate engineering education into the K–12 curriculum, provide instructors with tools and support to effectively teach engineering education, and promote research in engineering education. NSPE has sent a letter of support and is working closely with the sponsors to promote the bill and add new sponsors to this vital piece of legislation.
NSPE has posted an Action Alert. Take action today!

NSPE Attends Congressional Briefing on the Role of Engineering in K–12 STEM Education

NSPE attended a congressional briefing cohosted by the National Science Foundation, ASME, and DISCOVER Magazine entitled "Harnessing the Power of Engineering to Improve STEM Education in K–12 Schools". Speakers from the NSF, the Museum of Science, and the University of Maryland School of Engineering all spoke about the critical importance of emphasizing engineering in education as early as elementary school. Studies clearly show that earlier engineering education improves student achievement, problem-solving skills, and increases the number of students interested in pursuing careers in engineering.

For a complete list of NSPE legislative activities, visit
NSPE's Issues and Advocacy page
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NIST to Award $4 Million in Funding

AMTech-supported consortia will identify and prioritize long-term, pre-competitive industrial research needs; enable technology development; and create the infrastructure necessary for more efficient transfer of technology. Teaming and partnerships are strongly encouraged including participation by the full value chain, including small-and mid-sized firms. By convening key players across the entire innovation life cycle, the objectives of the AMTech Program are to eliminate critical barriers to innovation; increase the efficiency of domestic innovation efforts; and collapse the time scale to deliver new products and services based on scientific and technological advances. The end goal will be a growth of advanced manufacturing in the U.S. and an increase in the global competitiveness of U.S. companies.

Full details of the solicitation, including eligibility requirements, selection criteria, legal requirements and the mechanism for submitting proposals, can be found in the FFO posted at Grants.gov, funding opportunity number 2013-NIST-AMTECH-01. Optional pre-applications should be sent by September 6 to amtech@nist.gov. There will not be a down selection process based on the pre-applications. Full applications (proposals) will only be accepted through Grants.gov.

The AMTech Program will host two webinars on August 15 and August 20 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time. Participants are required to register in advance. The events will offer guidance on the AMTech Program and preparing proposals, and will provide an opportunity to answer questions from the public about the program. Participation in the free event is not required to submit an application. Information on and registration for the event is available at www.nist.gov/ampo.

To assist in identifying potential collaborators for a consortium, the AMTech Program is creating a LinkedIn group where individuals can provide their area(s) of interest and communicate with each other. Visit www.nist.gov/ampo for more information about joining.

For more information about AMTech and this funding opportunity, visit www.nist.gov/ampo or send an e-mail to amtech@nist.gov





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Effective Teamwork Requires Strategy, Leadership, Respect

Steve Storts

Since the expanded quality movements of the 1970s and 1980s, the team concept has been a valued tool for industrial organizations aimed at improving their productivity, meeting the challenges of fluctuating economical markets, and helping to navigate policy changes. Although teamwork is widely practiced today, younger engineering managers and supervisors may occasionally require a basic orientation or additional guidance regarding the deployment of teams.

Generally, most companies that choose to utilize the team concept do so with the intent of sustaining and improving various functions of the organization. Functional teams can be aligned with task forces, process improvement or quality circles, or study groups. In a group or team environment, employees can freely share their experiences, increase familiarity, and motivate or even teach each other. Most important, though, any team success should always equate to actual business performance, with established benchmarks for evaluation and feedback.

While teamwork among employees is usually considered a company cardinal rule, the actual formation of teams as an endgame does not necessarily ensure success. It is helpful for managers and supervisors to note the following:

  • There is always the possibility for team formation wherever any organizational interfacing occurs, particularly when facilitating change.
  • Teams can frequently achieve tasks that may not otherwise get completed through individual job functions.
  • Teams are much easier to form than problems are to solve.
  • Team consensus is not always the correct way to do business.
  • A team must not degenerate into ineffectual committee behavior, with little or no direction.

Another key point in team training and development is that managerial or supervisory roles must shift toward that of a coach, leader, and facilitator. All team meetings should focus on a structured agenda: constructive news reports or announcements; discussion of recent performance; problem solving; news and information of value to the team’s mission; and planning for the next event.

Contrary to some management theorists, meetings are not the problem when it comes to facilitating teamwork. In fact, team meetings can be one of the most effective communication tools for businesses when conducted properly. The problem is poor meetings! Without tight structure, purpose, and planning, team meetings will never become a contributing factor in confronting organizational challenges. Also, employees tend to respond better to what is measured and recognized. Companies need to take the time to identify where team objectives have been fulfilled, or where they may not be quite satisfactory. And even small victories should be celebrated.

“So, what’s in it for me?” Managers and supervisors have heard this countless times in the workplace, but it’s true. Employees often respond favorably and will more actively participate in team training and development when they know it will professionally benefit them. As with other business endeavors, outlining the benefits of teamwork can assume many forms, including:

  • Helping employees succeed in a newly changed environment;
  • Increasing job satisfaction and value to the organization;
  • Preparing employees for a promotion or new career opportunities; and
  • Encouraging licensing or pursuit of required credentials.

It is also a good practice for organizations to develop staffing procedures that encourage voluntary team participation, which allows for a platform where only interested or enthused participants form a team. Randomly throwing together a group of individuals and expecting them to work as a team is not good management strategy and can be costly and counterproductive. Strong leadership and a system of built-in accountability are required for implementing viable team training and development programs. After all, an effective team attitude also improves employee motivation and job satisfaction, which contribute to productivity, innovation, and retention.

However, consensus should never be regarded as a dynamic objective when involving collaboration and teamwork. If consensus becomes the end rather than the means, stagnation may result. Teamwork is a useful vehicle for many projects, but total agreement among team members is not necessary on all issues. Moreover, someone’s view or opinion should never be ruled out just because that person is not a team player—or does not appear to be.

Team leaders must encourage all participants to express their point, even it seems to be out of step with the team at the time. It could be an important element, and if not heard, the team may collectively lose an asset. As a training rule, it is never a team member’s obligation to agree. If a team sets out to block dissension or controversy, it may also block out the one person who has the best idea at the table.

The lesson here is that team members can disagree without being disagreeable, and much responsibility rests on the team leader’s shoulders. A team member should never be intimidated when stepping forward with suggestions if he or she sees the group straying off its appointed course. Remember the importance of maintaining a balance and be willing to listen to those who go against the grain of conventional wisdom.

The bottom-line strategy for teamwork is to first listen and learn and then synthesize the best ideas out of the team pool. The other ideas can be put on hold for future discussion. Leaving it up to one person to make all the decisions does not necessarily result in the right decisions. Shared decision-making is what makes the team concept so effective.

Protocols for guiding team interaction obviously vary from one organization to another. Overall, though, the less complicated the protocols are, the better. The key components that prove most effective include the allocation of ample time to discuss issues and explore differences, encouragement of respect for all team members, and taking responsible action on all decisions made. In terms of motivation, it is also vital to provide important and meaningful work assignments, increase the team’s visibility whenever possible, and link recognition or rewards to the collective goals of all participants.

Teams that are successful in satisfying their mission always create an environment of respect that allays any fears of reprisal for disagreement or conflict. At the beginning of each new project, team members openly discuss their challenges and then establish their shared goals. Each member’s role and expectations must be clarified, and a system must be in place for measuring and recognizing results. Through this approach, participants can greatly reduce the potential for any negative consequences or resistance to final outcomes. 
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2013 PEI Scholarship Winner

Nick Brandis, the 2013 PEI Scholarship winner, received $2,500 to pursue his civil engineering studies at Northwestern University, as well as a minor in economics and a managerial analytics certificate from the Kellogg School of Management.

Brandis is a member of a civil engineering professor's research lab studying material science and structural engineering on the nanoscale level through molecular dynamics. This summer, he will be a field engineer intern for Kiewit, a national engineering contractor, working on an extension of the BART subway system in the San Francisco Bay Area.

For more information, please visit the 
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NSPE Enters New Leg in its Race for Relevance

Under the leadership of President Dan Wittliff, P.E., F.NSPE, seven task forces, made up of 96 dedicated NSPE members from 41 states, were formed to address various aspects of the Society's operations. The work of the task forces—totaling about 3,000 hours—was coordinated by Vice President Harve Hnatiuk, P.E., F.NSPE, and Tim Austin, P.E., F.NSPE. Thanks to their efforts, these members have created a new foundation for a refocused NSPE.

To learn more about this initiative, visit the
NSPE Web site.

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Contact the 201314 PEI Executive Board Officers

For a complete list of PEI Executive Board Officers, visit the PEI Web site.
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