Randolph W. Rakoczynski, P.E., F.NSPE
After an unplanned hiatus from my position as editor of PEPP Talk for numerous personal and work-related reasons, it is good to resume my duties in helping to bring to you the latest news from within the Professional Engineers in Private Practice (PEPP) interest group
The most recent Annual Meeting held in Boston, Massachusetts, July 6-11 saw the new House of Delegates (HOD) convene for the first time. Another departure from tradition was the Installation Banquet typicllay held on Saturday evening, moved to an Installation Luncheon on Saturday afternoon where former PEPP chairs, Bob Miller, P.E., F.NSPE, and Bernie Berson, P.E., F.NSPE, were installed as president and president-elect of NSPE, respectively. Russ Devick, P.E., F.NSPE, a former PEPP Chair, was installed as treasurer.
During the first meeting of the new House of Delegates, action was taken to fill an at-large position on the new NSPE Board of Directors. Former PEPP Chair Ed Racila, P.E., F.NSPE, was successful in being elected to fill this at-large position on the NSPE Board of Directors. Ed will be joining Bob, Bernie, and Russ on the Board of Directors, along with John Parisi, P.E., another former PEPP chair, and Andrea Martinez, P.E., a former PEPP-YEAC chair.
I am sure that we can all rest easy with the assurance that the new directions in which NSPE is embarking will be carefully guided by the strong nucleus of PEPP representatives serving at the highest levels of NSPE.
PEPP EXECUTIVE BOARD
The PEPP chair position was turned over by Larry Britt, P.E. (Mississippi) to Steve Theno, P.E. (Alaska) during the Annual Meeting in Boston. Kevin Skibiski, P.E., F.NSPE(Missouri) will assume the position of chair-elect and Pete Koval, P.E. (New York) will serve as secretary. Eric West, P.E. (Texas), is coming onto the Board as southwest Region vice-chair and Kevin Nelson, P.E. (North Dakota) will take over for Skibiski as north central region vice-Chair. They join Randy Rakoczynski, P.E., F.NSPE (Northeast Region Vice-Chair), Dan Dawson, P.E. (Southeast region vice-chair), Mark Davy, P.E. (central region vice-chair) and Steve Dyrnes, P.E. (western and pacific region vice-chair) on the PEPP Executive Board.
PEPP PRODUCTS and SERVICES COMMITTEE
The PEPP Products and Services Committee met on July 6 in Salem, Massachusetts, to discuss its goals and objectives for the upcoming 2006-07 program year. Non-dues revenue from the sale of EJCDC documents and from the Human Resources and Chief Financial Officers Roundtables continue to show solid performance and hopefully additional growth in the future. Bill Clarke, P.E., F.NSPE (Missouri), deserves recognition for this role as NSPE-PEPP liaison to the EJCDC group. Pete Koval, P.E. (New York), has led the efforts in the formation and continued improvement and development of the HR and CFO Roundtable sessions.
PEPP Announces 2006 PEPP Award Winners
On July 7 in Boston, Massachusetts, the PEPP Annual Dinner was held on a cruise on the Charles River.As part of the dinner cruise, the following awards were presented:
Trudi K. Williams, P.E, for her efforts as a delegate to Florida and the House of Representatives, her dedication to engineering, and private practice specifically. Williams is CEO and founding partner of TKW Consulting Engineers.
PEPP Professional Development Award
Lincoln Pearce accepted the Professional Development Award for KJWW Engineering Consultants of
. An associate at KJWW, Pearce is chair of the firm's Education Management Group and has helped develop a list of programs that keep their 160 engineers well trained. He is a 1995 graduate of
with a B.S. in mechanical engineering.
PEPP Outstanding Service Award
This award was presented to Fred Palmerton, P.E., F.NSPE, for his sustained support and dedicated leadership on behalf of PEPP-NSPE, and the engineers in private practice.
PEPP Chair Award
Willem S. Van Hemert, P.E. has had many years of successfully directing and guiding the efforts of the PLC. He is stepping down and Tom Maheady (Pennsylvania), a former PEPP Northeast Region vice-chair, will be taking over the NSPE-PEPP PLC chair position being vacated by Van Hemert, and will continue the service to the profession. Van Hemert's contribution to PLC and to PEPP over the years have been indeed significant and substantial.
PEPP Merit Award
Eric West, P.E. is past chair for the PEPP Young Engineers Advisory Council (YEAC) and now takes his place as the current vice-chair for the Southwest Region.
Randolph W. Rakoczynski, P.E., F.NSPE, is the PEPP Talk editor, liason for the Professional Liability Committee (PLC) and the vice-chair for the Northeast Region.
National ACEC/NSPE/PEPP-QBS Award
The QBS Awards recognize the entities that effectively use and promote QBS methods to procure the professional services of consulting engineers at the state and local level. This year, the grand award was presented to the State of South Dakota. Bill Noordermeer, P.E. was present to accept the award. The QBS merit award was awarded to Indiannpolis Public Schools.
Congratulations to all of the 2006 PEPP Award Winners! [ return to top ]
Get Up to Speed on Certifications! Dick Garber, Victor O. Schinnerer
By Richard B. Garber, Vice President
A/E/C Risk Management Services
Victor O. Schinnerer & Company Inc.
In legal terms, a certification is a formal assertion, in writing, of some fact. The client, the client’s lender, or a government agency requests a certification as assurance that some aspect of the project has been completed as promised in the contract for professional services or as required by law. Depending on the wording, the certification could establish a warranty or guarantee, and this can increase the professional’s exposure to claims. By signing an unqualified certification, professionals may assume a level of liability that is both beyond the standard of care required under law and the coverage afforded by professional liability insurance.
Avoiding Warranties and Guarantees
While it is possible to rewrite certification language to reflect an expression of professional opinion regarding those facts or findings that are the subject of the certification, this is often not accomplished by the professional. Thus, the certification may establish a warranty or guarantee, which is excluded from insurance coverage.
If the conditions of a certification are not precisely as certified, liability may result regardless of whether or not there was negligence on the part of the professional. The main points that should be considered in every instance before signing a certification are the following:
• Based on the scope of services provided, the professional can only certify conditions that are within the direct knowledge or control of the professional.
• Any additional services or tests by the professional necessary to certify a specific fact need to be compensated for by the client.
• The language of the certification should be properly qualified. If the certification is not based on facts, it should be stated as an expression of professional opinion based on knowledge, information, and belief. This can prevent the certification from establishing a warranty or guarantee.
• The certification language needs to be crafted in such a way as to avoid the possibility of a claim of detrimental reliance by a third party. The client, or another party specifically identified in the certification, should be the only parties entitled to rely on the certification.
• The certification should be identified as to the specific purpose, applicable time and date, and recipient. Improper identification of the recipient could lead to third party claims.
Identifying Unqualified Certifications
Construction-related professionals need to carefully read the language of a certification to avoid unintended liability. A certification to avoid would contain language similar to the following:
Intending to be legally bound hereby, the professional hereby covenants, represents and warrants, and agrees as follows.
Such language could be construed by the courts, and a professional’s insurance carrier, as being an uninsurable warranty or guarantee, leaving little recourse for the professional’s defense.
Qualifying Your Certifications
Careful attention to the language of a certification, and the ability to provide the client with realistic limitations of that certification, constitute prudent risk management. This allows the firm to better predict the costs and consequences of performing professional services. An example of a certification with appropriate qualifying language is as follows:
In my professional opinion, and based on [my observations] or [my scope of services], I hereby certify that.
As always, remain diligent in reviewing a certification to avoid language that may exceed the legal standard of care or the scope of professional liability insurance coverage.
Victor O. Schinnerer & Company Inc. is managing underwriter for the CNA/Schinnerer Professional Liability Insurance Program commended by NSPE/PEPP since 1957.
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Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective A/E Firms
Herbert M. Cannon, president of AEC Management Solutions Inc.
1. Overworking and Under Appreciating the Staff
Long hours and hard work are often the norm in this business. Bonuses and other benefits are nice, but people want to know their efforts are appreciated. Be sure to take the time to individually and personally thank your staff for long hours and effort above and beyond the call of duty.
2. Not charging what they are worth
There is a great reluctance among most design professionals to charge what they are worth. They work long hours, provide great service, and deliver far more work than what is contracted for. When it comes to added scope, additional meetings, and extended schedule and so on, they are far too hesitant to charge the client. When they do charge for these services, the tendency is to undercharge in hopes of breaking even.
3. Thinking the Business Will Take Care of Itself
Well it actually will take care of itself, just not very well. How well would design take care of itself if zero to minimal attention was paid to it?
4. Believing that Great Design and Profits are Incompatible
Nothing could be further than the truth. Profits provide the revenues needed to invest in the best people, best equipment, best facilities, and best marketing materials. When you have the best to work with, great results are possible.
5. Not Having a Plan
Working hard and hoping for the best is not a plan. It is wishful thinking. The most successful firms have a plan for their future that is communicated to the entire company. Unsuccessful firms usually do not.
6. Not Collecting their Money
After overworking their staff and not charging what they are worth, they sit by and wait for the money to hopefully come in. When the invoice is over 90 days old, they sometimes call and walk on eggshells hoping not to offend their clients. Their project managers then refer to this call as "badgering their clients for payment" .
7. Admiring the Problem
Yes. They know what the problem is and they know how to solve the problem (or at least they think they do). However they do nothing about it. They find it easier to ask for more information so they can better understand the problem. They want the data analyzed yet another way. All in all it is an excuse for inaction. The problems remain as they invent new ways to admire the problem.
Herbert M. Cannon, president of AEC Management Solutions Inc. and publisher of AEC Managing Partner Newsletter, is a management consultant, seminar provider and speaker exclusive to the A/E industry. He is available to speak at company meetings and conferences. For more information, contact Herb via e-mail . Or visit his Web site. [ return to top ]
Fall is Back to School for Engineers, too!
Toxic Mold 101, Randy Rakoczynski, P.E.
The presentation will deal with an introduction into the world of mold, which species of mold are "toxic" and how one goes about conducting a survey of suspected mold contamination and the options available to remediate mold problems in residential, commercial and industrial structures
September 26 1:30 p.m. EST
FREE! Web seminar presented by the NSPE Licensure & Qualifications for Practice Committee:
Changing the PE Paradigm...
October 24, 1:30-3:00 p.m. EST
FREE! for NSPE members.
NSPE Web Seminars: Ethics Forum
Protection of the Public Health and Safety
Session 1: September 13, 12:30–1:30 p.m. EST
Sustainable Development and the Environment
Session 2: October 18, 12:30–1:30 p.m. EST
Professional Competence and Qualifications for Practice
Session 3: November 15, 12:30–1:30 p.m. EST
Honesty and Integrity in Professional Practice
October 12, 1:30–3:00 p.m. EST
E-Seals, E-Signatures & E-Mail:
I Never Signed on the Dotted Line!
Visit our Web site for more information on education programs.[ return to top ]
NSPE-PEPP Professional Liability Committee Seeks Volunteers
NSPE is seeking professional engineers with experience working with professional liability insurance, risk management, loss-prevention, and related issues for an engineering firm to serve on the NSPE/PEPP Professional Liability Committee. If you meet those qualifications and are interested, please send an expression of interest as well as background information to Arthur Schwartz, NSPE deputy executive director and general counsel.
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Contact the PEPP Executive Board
Steve Theno, P.E.
|Immediate Past Chair
Larry Britt, P.E.
Kevin Skibiski, P.E., F.NSPE
Pete Koval, P.E.
|Vice Chair, Northeast Region
Randy Rakoczynski, P.E.
|Vice Chair, Southeast Region
Dan Dawson, P.E.
|Vice Chair, Central Region
Mark Davy, P.E.
La Crosse, WI
Vice Chair, North Central Region
Kevin Nelson, P.E.
|Vice Chair, Southwest Region
Eric West, P.E.
|Vice Chair, Western and Pacific Region
Steven Dyrnes, P.E.
|Young Engineer Representative
Dawn Edgell, P.E.
Kim Granados, CAE
1420 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
PEPP Homepage[ return to top ]