Brian Palmiter, Jr., E.I.T.
On March 10, 2015, the Keystone Northeast Chapter and the Wilkes University Student Chapter of PSPE sponsored and held the Career and Ethics Panel at Wilkes University. The panel discussion, which was the first ever of its kind for the Student Chapter, brought together six esteemed professional engineers from different companies and organizations with the common goal to educate students about engineering ethics. The primary purpose of the Panel was to provide a medium for both students and professionals in order to discuss ethics, specifically the ethics prompt in the NSPE Milton F. Lunch Ethics Contest, and to give the students a chance to learn about the many career options available across all disciplines of engineering.
The six panelists were:

  • Thomas Maheady, P.E. – Vice President, Borton-Lawson Engineering
  • John R. Ackerman, P.E. – Principal, Twin Oaks Consulting
  • Prahlad Murthy, P.E. – Professor & Associate Dean, College of Science & Engineering, Wilkes University
  • Thomas Walski, P.E. – Senior Project Manager, Bentley Systems
  • Eric W. Tappert, P.E. – President, Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers (PSPE)
  • Holly Avery Ostopick, P.E. – Project Manager, Pennsy Supply

Each panelists gave a 5-minute introduction of themselves, including education, current/previous positions with firms, and some experiences within the field. After their individual introductions, the Panel discussed the Milton F. Lunch Ethics Contest prompt. In their roundtable-style discussion, the Panelists gave their opinion about the response, the ethical issues involved in the case, their experience with ethics in their own careers, and recommendations to the students regarding ethics for when they enter their careers. Unsurprisingly, all six panelists were in complete agreement about the prompt and how the ethical situation crosses gray areas, but in the end agreed that the Engineering Code of Ethics is always to be adhered to and act as a guide in questionable situations. They panelists each strongly recommended to the students they get their EIT, followed by their PE, as well as to join the Order of the Engineer.
The Panel discussion also included a “Career Panel” segment, which include another roundtable-style discussion by the Panelists, as well as 5-minute narrative titled, “Notes from a New Engineer.” The narrative was given by Brian Palmiter, Civil Designer with Borton-Lawson Engineering as well as a Director within the Keystone Northeast Chapter. In his narrative, Brian shared some of his experiences as a new engineer as well as five tips and recommendations he believed would be most helpful to new graduates. He told the students to be open to different career options, to never give up when applying for positions, to always pursue learning opportunities, and to most importantly do what you enjoy and try to make a difference in the field. Following the narrative, the Panelists followed suit, giving their own career advice on entering the engineering field. The Panelists honed in on various aspects of the field, including continual growth through learning experiences, getting PE licensure, and what they look for in an individual when in the hiring process.
The event lasted about 2.5 hours, with the discussion taking about two hours of that time. There were about fifty students present and five professionals, not including the Panelists, in the audience. The event was received well and was another successful collaboration between the Student and Professional Chapters. As mentioned the event was sponsored by both the Professional and Student Chapter, but special thanks to Holly Frederick (Vice President of the Keystone Northeast Chapter and Student Chapter advisor), Bernard Socha (Student Chapter President), and Brian Palmiter for its day-to-day planning, organization, and the ultimate implementation of the Panel.