NSPE's Gateway to Private Practice September 2010 

Separate Licensure of Structural Engineers

You may have heard about recent efforts in Texas to require separate licensure of structural engineers. The attempt to strengthen requirements to practice structural engineering has gained momentum with NCEES’s upcoming launch of a new 16-hour structural PE exam; but separate licensure of structural engineers has been an issue for a few years (see this October 2007 PE magazine article).

NSPE opposes separate licensure of engineering disciplines. The Licensure and Qualifications for Practice Position Statement #1737 establishes, “NSPE endorses and supports the concept of licensure of engineers only as a ‘professional engineer’ and opposes licensure status by designated branches or specialties.” NSPE believes that additional licensure is divisive to the profession. Further, PEs already are bound to abide by the engineering code of ethics and “perform services only in areas of their competence.”

In addition to Texas, four other states are actively working to enact structural engineering legislation: Florida, Georgia, Ohio, and Minnesota. Eight states have met with the National Council of Structural Engineers Associations and the Structural Engineering Institute and may be looking to enact legislation: Arkansas, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

Currently, 11 states license structural engineers. Most of these states have seismic activity. California, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington have practice acts that require PEs to hold a structural engineering license to design certain or all structures. Arizona, Idaho, Nebraska, and New Mexico have title acts that require PEs to meet specific qualifications in order to call themselves structural engineers.

Those in favor of separate licensure for structural engineers argue that additional qualifications requirements would further protect the public’s health and safety. There has been no evidence presented, however, that states with separate structural engineering licensure have fewer engineering failures.

The NSPE Licensure and Qualifications for Practice Committee is developing talking points on this issue, and I will make them available to you when they are finalized. In the meantime, please see L&QP Committee member Craig Musselman’s blog on the NSPE Website, wherein he suggests an interesting compromise on the structural engineering issue.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at 703-684-2844 or sogden@nspe.org.


NSPE Government Relations Log

NSPE participates in a wide spectrum of government relations activities, sometimes with the lawmakers on the Hill that create laws but much more often with the administrators across the region that interpret and apply the laws. Sometimes NSPE acts alone, but often we work through coalitions of organizations that are interested in similar fundamental issues, even if they are not always within the engineering profession. NSPE is often invited to comment on proposed regulations or interpretations of regulations, and we try to comply with requests that may further the protection of the public via licensed professional engineers. 

NSPE has now created a log of its activities online so members can be more aware of the efforts.

On the home page, find “Resources” in the left hand column. Click on “Government Relations” and then click “Latest News” to see the log. Or, you can go to the following link: http://www.nspe.org/GovernmentRelations/LatestNews/index.html.

Each new event will be added to the top of the log so the latest is always seen first, and we'll do our best to refresh and upload the cumulative list weekly. When background information is available, we'll include a link so you can find it easily.

We hope you'll check the Government Relations log often!

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Milton Lunch Research Fellowship Articles on Seismic Design and Options for Structural Engineers in Integrated Project Delivery

Jill Koehler served as the 2010 recipient of the Milton F. Lunch Research Fellowship, a program offered by NSPE and Victor O. Schinnerer & Co. (VOSCO). Koehler has an undergraduate degree in architecture from the University of Maryland where she is now pursuing a master’s in structural engineering.

The fellowship is an eight-week summer program in VOSCO’s offices and is structured to provide both an educational component and a research assignment.

Two white papers were written this year. One analyzes practice trends in structural engineering related to seismic design under both prescriptive codes and performance-based design requirements, and the other investigates the legal and contractual developments of IPD from the perspective of a structural engineering consultant.

These, along with past works and information on how to apply for the 2011 fellowship, can be found at http://www.schinnerer.com/Risk-mgmt/Pages/Milt-lunch-fellow.aspx

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NSPE Ethics Series, Upcoming Webinars

NSPE Fall Ethics Forum

Part I: Key Issues in the Aftermath of the Gulf Oil Spill
September 29, 12:30–1:30 p.m. (E.D.T.)

Part II: What Do Millennials, Gen X'ers, and Boomers Think?
October 13, 12:30–1:30 p.m. (E.D.T.)

Part III: What is the Impact of the Ongoing Economic Crisis on Engineering Ethics?
November 10, 12:30–1:30 p.m. (E.S.T.)

Register for the entire 2010 Fall Ethics Forum Series.

Engineers as Skilled Communicators

October 5, 12:30–1:30 p.m. (E.D.T.)
This Web seminar is designed for technical professionals who need to communicate technical information to various audiences. It discusses how to write and present reports, e-mails, and letters more efficiently and effectively.

Wind-Generated Electricity and the Engineering of Wind Machines
October 21, 12:30–1:30 p.m. (E.D.T.)
Learn about an innovative approach for working with small communities and campus-based facilities to address the full range of their infrastructure issues while incorporating sustainable approaches. Samantha Dunn of Yellow Wood Associates and Dan Folsom of Design Tree Engineering will describe this three stage process, known as Green Community Technologies, that prepares decision-makers for a productive working relationship with engineers.

Find these, and many more excellent education opportunities, online at Shop NSPE.

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NSPE PEPP Award Winners

PEPP Award

The purpose of the PEPP Award is to honor an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the role of private practice serving in the public interest.  


The 2010 recipient is Willem Van Hemert, P.E., F.NSPE. Van Hemert is a principal with CRW Engineering Group LLC, a 60-person civil-surveying consulting firm that he founded in 1981. He has lived in Alaska for 36 years, graduated from the University of Michigan in 1972. He has been in the private sector throughout his career with emphasis on water and wastewater system design and construction, as well as roadway and trail design. Van Hemert was actively involved in project design for over 30 years with major projects in Anchorage, Girdwood, Ketchikan, Seward, Whittier, and Valdez, as well as a number of rural communities.

Van Hemert is currently a member of the NSPE/PEEP Professional Liability Committee. He previously served as chairman of that committee for 10 years, served as Western Region Vice-Chairman for NPSE-PEPP for four years, and served two terms as the president and national director of ACEC-Alaska. He has also served on several municipal boards and commissions. 

PEPP Professional Development Award

Since 1960, NSPE has used this award to recognize engineering employers who have made significant contributions to the advancement and improvement of engineering practices.

This year’s recipient is Howard R. Green Co. HR Green, established in 1913 is a 375-employee, multidiscipline professional services firm offering planning, technical consulting, engineering, environmental, and construction services to clients in diverse markets.

Howard R. Green Co. has exceptional development initiatives and people practices that advance the engineering profession by attracting, developing, and retaining talented employees that allow the company to achieve its vision to be the preferred solutions provider in its target markets. HR Green is committed to its employees, its clients, and the communities in which they live and work. They have built their success through a balanced approach and by providing unmatched client service and understanding.

PEPP Merit Awards 

This award is presented to members who have made significant contributions to the private practice. 

Samuel Schwartz, P.E., is the president and CEO of Sam Schwartz Engineering, an interdisciplinary traffic engineering and planning firm with 70 employees and multiple offices. Schwartz is an educator, leader, proponent of engineering, and active participant in the political process. Schwartz is an expert in the field of transportation engineering and traffic safety. He coined the term “gridlock” and is widely respected for his congestion relief strategies. There are a multitude of projects that truly represent Schwartz’s engineering achievements and contributions to the profession, such as his investigation into the Minnesota I-25 bridge collapse as lead forensic engineer, his transportation plan through the Korean Demilitarized Zone, the post 9/11 restoration of transportation services in lower Manhattan, and as the World Trade Center reconstruction planning and logistics coordinator.

Schwartz has also dedicated his time to the education of the nation’s youth and exposing them to engineering. He founded the School for the Physical City. He is now working toward opening another public school focused on sustainability.

Neil Van Dyke, P.E., is vice president of Foth & Van Dyke LLC, a 600-person consulting firm headquartered in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Foth was founded in 1938 and has 18 offices. Van Dyke has been actively involved in NSPE’s Professional Liability Committee since 1993 and originated the series of risk management articles on the NSPE Website entitled, “For the Client.” Van Dyke also takes part in and authors the annual summary article regarding the professional liability insurance interviews conducted by NSPE, ACEC, and AIA, which appears annually in PE. Since 1997, Neil has also been an active member of the Engineers Joint Contract Documents Committee (EJCDC) as an NSPE delegate and has focused on the Engineering Documents Subcommittee, serving as the subcommittee chair for a period of time.

PEPP Chair Award

Joseph W. Eberle, P.E. is an engineer with Ruekert & Mielke Consulting Engineers in Waukesha, WI. He has served on the Engineers Joint Contract Document Committee since 1993 and has served as PEPP’s delegation chair since 1996 and having served twice as Chair of EJCDC.  In this capacity he works on drafting documents and overseeing the operations of EJCDC.  Eberle is most involved in the creation and revision of the Construction set of EJCDC documents. He also serves on the Design Build Subcommittee and the Engineering Services Documents Subcommittee.



PEPP Outstanding Service Award

David Conner, P.E.

Daniel Dawson, P.E., F.NSPE

Eric West, P.E.

Randolph Rakoczynski P.E., F.NSPE

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To become a PEPP Sustaining Firm visit our Website for the contribution form.

PEPP 2010-11
Executive Board

Mark Davy, P.E.
La Crosse, WI

Andrea Martinez-Graves,
Tampa, FL

Dawn Edgell, P.E.
Chicago, IL

Immediate Past Chair
Bill Clarke, P.E., F.NSPE
St. Louis, MO 

Vice Chair, Northeast Region
Randy Petersen,
Washington, DC

Vice Chair, Southeast Region
Charlotte Maddox, P.E., F.NSPE
Tampa, FL

Vice Chair, Central Region
Kent Buehrer, P.E., F.NSPE
Maumee, OH 

Vice Chair, North Central Region 
Karen Stelling, P.E.
Kansas City, MO

Vice Chair, Southwest Region
Chris Richard, P.E.
Lafayette, LA

Vice Chair, Western and Pacific Region 
Wes Segawa, P.E.
Hilo, HI 

Young Engineer Representative 
Carlos Gittens, P.E.
Deltona, FL

SSEC Representative
Pat Christians
Birmingham, AL

PEPP Staff
Kim Granados, CAE
1420 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
tel: 703-684-2857
fax: 703-836-4875


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