News for the NSPE Community April 2014




Join the Mission to Strengthen the Profession

NSPE's Board of Directors has renewed its mission of promoting and protecting the value of engineering licensure through a new Statement of Strategic Direction.

Since July 2012, NSPE and its members have been engaged in an open process aimed at building a Society dedicated to organizational innovation and development. The foundation of that effort has been the association management book Race for Relevance, which outlines the challenges faced by today's associations and provides a plan for change. 

Informed by data collected through extensive surveying and the active engagement of about 100 members from 41 states involved in seven task forces, the NSPE Board has committed itself to reinvigorating an organization that has been serving professional engineers for 80 years. By following the changes outlined in Race for Relevance, NSPE will be renewing its unique and vital role in promoting and protecting the value of the licensed professional engineer. 

The NSPE Board is committed to integrating the values, strategies, objectives, and action plan outlined in the Statement of Strategic Direction into the very fabric of NSPE's ongoing governance and operations. 

Read more:

Staying Strategic (March 2014 PE)
By Executive Director Mark Golden

Change or Be Changed (April 2014 PE)
By President Robert Green, P.E., F.NSPE

Background on NSPE's Race for Relevance initiative.  [ return to top ]


2014 Engineering Grads Lead Peers in Salary Offers

New engineering graduates continue to command some of the highest starting salary offers as they enter the work world. The average starting salary offer for engineering majors is $62,719 followed by $61,741 for computer science majors and $53,901 for business majors, according to a National Association of Colleges and Employers report. However, the average salary for engineering majors saw very little growth from last year with only a 0.3% increase.

The top-paid engineering major remained petroleum engineering with an average starting salary of $95,300, a 1.9% increase. Industrial and manufacturing engineering majors had the highest increase, 9.1%, for an average starting salary of $61,400.

2014 Average Starting Salaries by Discipline

  • Engineering: $62,719
  • Computer Science: $61,741
  • Business: $53,901
  • Health Science: $51,541
  • Communications: $43,924
  • Math & Science: $43,414
  • Education: $40,863
  • Humanities & Social Sciences: $38,365

The industries that offered the highest starting salaries to bachelor’s degree recipients regardless of major are mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction ($97,200); utilities ($68,700); construction ($58,883);
management of companies and enterprises ($57,380); and manufacturing ($56,841). The five industries with the highest number of new graduate hires are educational services (463,500); health care and social assistance (296,000); professional, scientific, and technical services (255,400); federal, state, and local governments (200,000); and finance and insurance (92,100).  [ return to top ]


West Virginia Passes PE Inspections Bill

West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin approved legislation in March that seeks to protect the state’s water resources and the public by establishing a regulatory program for aboveground storage tanks that will require inspections by a professional engineer.

The bill (S.B. 373) was introduced in January after a chemical leak from an industrial storage tank contaminated a local water supply and water treatment plant near Charleston. More than 300,000 West Virginians lost access to safe drinking water when about 10,000 gallons of a chemical used to clean coal spilled into the Elk River. The law will take effect on June 6.

To protect the state's water supply, the law requires the commissioner of the Bureau for Public Health to oversee and administer updated regulations for protecting public water systems. A critical component of the legislation requires certification and annual inspection of aboveground storage tanks, leak detection systems, and secondary containment by a qualified PE licensed in by the State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers. The legislation also requires that the secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection establish a regulatory program for new and existing aboveground storage tanks that contain fluids other than water without additives.

The West Virginia Society of Professional Engineers and the state chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies supported the legislation.  [ return to top ]


Mathletes Head to Orlando

Top middle school mathletes from around the country will meet in Orlando, Florida, for a numerical showdown during the 2014 Raytheon MATHCOUNTS National Competition from May 8–11 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort.

On Friday, May 9 at 2 p.m. EDT, MATHCOUNTS will show a live webcast of the Countdown Round at You'll also be able to access the webcast later if you can't watch it live.

Founded by NSPE, CNA, and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, MATHCOUNTS helps build a foundation for future success in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. Many NSPE members contribute to the program's success by volunteering their time at the local, state, and national levels.

Did you miss last year's MATHCOUNTS national competition? See videos of previous webcasts and competition highlights on the MATHCOUNTS website [ return to top ]


Legal Beat Q&A: The PE Seal

Q: I am a professional engineer and my firm provides signed and sealed engineering drawings for a client's use in the manufacturing processes. My firm provides the client with a new set of drawings at the beginning of each year and the client then pays my firm for the use of the drawings on an annual basis.
Would it be legally acceptable for my firm to put a note on our drawings stating that the signature and seal will expire a year from the date that the drawings are signed and sealed? (New York)

A: While there are ways to accomplish what you are seeking, the method you propose would not be effective. As a general rule, the inclusion of an "expiration" date on your sealed engineering drawings would not be legally recognized and could be confusing or misinterpreted. A more effective approach would be to have a formal written agreement prepared between you and your client setting forth the terms and conditions of your engagement.

In the written agreement, you should include language specifying that your firm retains sole and exclusive ownership over the engineering drawings along with the intellectual property contained therein, and that your firm agrees to grant the client a "limited license" to use the signed and sealed engineering drawings solely in its manufacturing processes for a one year period, with all rights reverting to your firm at the expiration of the one year period. This will protect you and your firm against the possibility of use of your work beyond the client’s manufacturing processes and also limit the client's authorized use to the one year period.

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 [ return to top ]


Network and Learn in the Nation's Capital

It's not too early to start making your plans to attend NSPE's 2014 Annual Meeting at the Grand Hyatt Washington and spend a fantastic Fourth of July in the nation's capital!

The annual meeting kicks off on July 1 with a tour of the Capitol building led by the Architect of the Capitol—an opportunity to earn 2 PDHs. A reception will be hosted at NSPE headquarters in nearby Alexandria, Virginia, followed by a nighttime tour of the Washington monuments that's not to be missed. Watch the video invitation from NSPE President-Elect Harve Hnatiuk, P.E., F.NSPE.

The 2014 Annual Meeting will also feature education sessions—including a session designed specifically for young engineers—networking opportunities, receptions, and updates on the Society's latest activities in support of PEs and the profession. Attendees can earn up to 14 PDHs.

On July 4, meeting attendees will have a free day to experience all the capital has to offer on Independence Day! This includes the Independence Day Parade, the opportunity to watch the Washington Nationals play the Chicago Cubs (game time 11:05 a.m.), and a spectacular fireworks display in the evening.

See the complete schedule of events and register today! [ return to top ]


Get Your Digital PE

NSPE members can now choose to receive PE magazine in a digital format.

This new format, which looks just like the printed version (see a sample here), can be accessed from wherever you have an Internet connection. If you choose to receive the digital edition, you will receive an e-mail each time a new issue is ready, along with a link to the magazine.

Digital PE gives you access to other recent issues, the ability to do keyword searches, share articles with colleagues, print articles, and download PDFs.

To receive your PE subscription in digital format only or to receive digital PE while continuing your print subscription, log in to the NSPE website. On the "Manage My Account" page, click "View your mailing lists." An unchecked box means you're subscribed. A checked box means you're unsubscribed.

Questions? E-mail  [ return to top ]


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