News for the NSPE Community January 2013





PEs Take Office

Since publishing a list of NSPE members who were elected in November to their state legislatures in PE magazine ("PEs Elected to Public Office," December, p. 32), readers have identified four others who also will be serving their communities.

Louis W. Blessing III, P.E. (R)
District 29, Ohio House
An electrical engineer who graduated from the University of Cincinnati, Blessing works in R&D for SSI, a product manufacturer for heat processing. He will be assuming the seat of his father, who served as speaker pro tempore in the Ohio House of Representatives but couldn’t seek reelection due to a term limit.

Rick Catlin, P.E. (R)
District 20, North Carolina House
Owner and president of Catlin Engineers and Scientists, Rick Catlin has more than 30 years of engineering experience. In addition to his professional engineering license, Catlin is a licensed professional geologist. He graduated from the University of South Florida. This will be his first term.

Bart Korman, P.E. (R)
District 42, Missouri House
After earning dual bachelor degrees in agricultural systems management and agricultural engineering, Korman became an engineer and surveyor for Lewis-Bade Inc. He's a former president of his local Missouri Society of Professional Engineers chapter. This will be his second two-year term.

R. Wayne Smith, P.E. (R)
District 128, Texas House
Smith has served in the Texas House since 2003 and is chairman of the Environmental Regulation Committee. Prior to his election, he was president of the consulting engineering firm Wayne Smith and Associates Inc. Smith served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam and has since focused on veteran’s issues, including preserving local and state history.

These NSPE member legislators are in addition to:

  • William Callegari, P.E., (R) District 132, Texas House
  • Mark Messmer, P.E., (R) District 63, Indiana House
  • David Omdahl, P.E., (R) District 11, South Dakota Senate
  • Stephen Precourt, P.E., (R) District 44, Florida House
  • Bennett Ratliff, P.E., (R) District 115, Texas House
  • Lake Ray III, P.E., (R) District 12, Florida House
  • Angelo Santabarbara, P.E., (D) District 111, New York Assembly
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Recruitment for Civil Engineers Strengthens

Firms and industry are clamoring for more engineering talent. If you’re a civil engineer, the demand for your expertise is increasing. Recruiters posted more than 22,500 online job ads for civil engineers from October through December, an 18.3% increase from the same period in 2011, according to a talent report by Wanted Analytics. The metropolitan areas of Denver, Dallas, and the District of Columbia experienced the greatest increase in online job ads for civil engineers since 2011.

10 Metropolitan Areas with the Greatest Growth of Civil Engineering Online Job Ads

  1. Denver-Aurora—84.1%
  2. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington—50.6%
  3. Washington, D.C.-Arlington-Alexandria—35.8%
  4. Minneapolis-St.Paul-Bloomington—29.5%
  5. Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown—23.2%
  6. Chicago-Naperville-Joliet—18.7%
  7. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont—12.5%
  8. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana—7.5%
  9. New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island—4.1%
  10. Pittsburgh—3.1%

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Meet the 2013 FEYA Nominees

NSPE and the Professional Engineers in Government will be honoring the top engineers in the federal government at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on February 21. The Federal Engineer of the Year Award Ceremony, sponsored by Bolfy, will feature keynote speaker Surgeon General Regina Benjamin.

The following are this year's top finalists for the award:

Robert Anderson, P.E.
Natural Resources Conservation Service, Department of Agriculture
Noteworthy: Worked with federal and state officials following major floods in Tennessee to accomplish $22 million in recovery measures, including stabilizing a stream bank that saved 35 homes.

Commander Joseph Dugan, P.E.
U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Homeland Security
Noteworthy: Led the integration of the heavy icebreaker fleet into the Coast Guard's new logistics support model, which ensured delivery of 1.3 million gallons of fuel to Nome, Alaska, to sustain energy reserves last winter.

Captain Richard Gelting, P.E.
Centers for Dienters for Disease Control & Prevention, Department of Health & Human Service
Noteworthy: Led teams to support international water safety standards, with implementation results leading Brazil to make the guidelines mandatory nationwide.

Ronald Goldman, P.E.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Department of the Army
Noteworthy: Developed software to determine real-time flood mapping estimates that was used on search and rescue missions during Hurricane Katrina.

Lieutenant Commander LaKeeva Gunderson, E.I.T.
Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Department of the Navy
Noteworthy: Oversaw 80 humanitarian projects throughout the Horn of Africa, including three schools in Rwanda.

Lieutenant Colonel Michael Klapmeyer, P.E.
Air Force Space Command, Department of the Air Force
Noteworthy: Heads a $5 million project to convert the entire fleet of vehicles at Los Angeles Air Force Base to hybrid/electric vehicles, the first Defense Department installation to do so.

Todd Martin, P.E.
Air Mobility Command, Department of the Air Force
Noteworthy: Upgraded aging infrastructure at a base in South Carolina, including sewers and the electrical system. Currently leading a $43 million runway repair project.

Predrag “Mick” Mastilovic, P.E.
Tennessee Valley Authority
Noteworthy: Led the TVA's participation in a multiparty agreement to convert uranium enrichment tails into fuel for TVA’s nuclear reactors.

John Schmelzle, P.E.
Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Department of the Navy
Noteworthy: Designed and developed deck shields to protect ships from the V-22 aircraft's exhaust in just 12 days.

Joshua Tomblin, P.E.
Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Department of the Navy
Noteworthy: Deployed to Haiti following the 2010 earthquake where he provided repair concepts and technical support to help restore cargo operations at a marine terminal.

Go to to learn more about the FEYA awards and to purchase tickets to the event.  [ return to top ]


Legal Beat: Design Changes

Question: Can a local building official make design changes to drawings and plans prepared and submitted for approval by a licensed professional engineer for construction? (Minnesota)

Answer: No. According to Minnesota building officials, it is not uncommon for building officials to “red line” a document or plan that has been submitted for permitting with changes to comply with the building code; by law, however, building officials cannot alter plans that have been prepared by a licensed professional engineer.

When a building official reviews a plan or document signed by a licensed professional engineer and determines that changes need to be made, the building official may write a correction letter explaining the required modifications. The building official may red line the plans, requesting corrections for code compliance. Typically these documents are required to be revised and resubmitted by the responsible professional engineer. However, in Minnesota, the building official is required to approve the construction documents in writing or by a stamp, stating "Reviewed for Code Compliance." This must include the date and a signature by the building official or an authorized representative.

Responses are based on questions posed to NSPE Legal Counsel Arthur Schwartz. These questions and answers do not, in any way, constitute legal advice. Always consult your own attorney before reaching any conclusions or acting upon any information presented in this forum. Also note that legal precedents change. An answer based on a case from several years ago may have a new perspective today.

Are you an NSPE member with a legal question for this column? Send it to Arthur Schwartz, 1420 King St., Alexandria, VA 22314-2794; fax 703-836-4875; or e-mail
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New Year, New FREE Courses

Start the year off right by taking advantage of the 15 free professional development hours that are included with NSPE membership. The courses are conveniently available 24/7 online through the NSPE Web site. At the end of each seminar, a quiz will be available for those who need it to meet their state's continuing education requirements.

The following are a few of the courses available for 2013:

Access all 15 courses on the NSPE Web site. [ return to top ]


Are You Up for an Ethics Challenge?

A marketing company establishes a Web portal and offers a service where experts answer questions on various topics such as law, accounting, and engineering. The customer pays a service and access fee to the company. The company pays a fee to the service provider who provides answers. Is it ethical for an engineer to participate in this type of business?

Think you know the answer? Then you'll want to take part in NSPE's 2013 Milton F. Lunch Ethics Contest for a chance to win a $1,000 prize. Contestants, who may work in teams, are asked to review the facts of the case and develop a discussion and conclusion following the format of the NSPE Board of Ethical Review. All entries must be 750 words or fewer and received by Friday, April 12.

Entries will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Quality of form and presentation;
  • Demonstration of the ethical implications of the case; and
  • Comprehensive analysis of the case and arguments supporting the conclusions.

The contest is in memory of Milton Lunch, NSPE's general counsel from the 1940s to the 1980s, who was instrumental in the establishment of the NSPE Board of Ethical Review and the development of the NSPE Code of Ethics. [ return to top ]


NCEES Seeks Civil Engineering Volunteers

The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying is seeking licensed civil engineers to participate in a professional activities and knowledge study (PAKS) for the PE civil exam. The results of this study will be used to update specifications for the exam, which is used throughout the U.S. for licensing purposes.

NCEES requires a cross section of licensed professional engineers practicing civil engineering—including those working in consulting, the public sector, and academia—to complete an online survey about the tasks and knowledge required of a licensed civil engineer with 46 years of experience to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public. The survey can be completed in about an hour.

Tim Miller, P.E., director of exam services, says the studies help NCEES to ensure that the licensing exams are relevant to current professional practice. "The value of this PAKS depends on the number of people who participate, so NCEES is eager to get a large response from PEs across all areas of civil engineering," he says.

Access the online survey at Responses must be received by February 25.
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