Brian Palmiter, Jr., E.I.T., LEED Green Associate,  Civil Designer at Borton-Lawson Engineering
PSPE KNE Wilkes Univ Ethics 1On March 17, 2016, the Keystone Northeast Chapter and the Wilkes University Student Chapter of PSPE sponsored and hosted the 2016 Engineering and Professional Ethics Workshop at Wilkes University. Similar to the 2015 Career and Ethics Panel held at the University, the Workshop looked to join students and professionals on common ground to discuss Engineering Ethics, a topic that is ever-present and of monumental importance within the world of engineering.
The Workshop explored the Ethics Prompt found in the 2016 NSPE Milton F. Lunch Ethics Contest, which questioned both an engineer’s responsibility from the review of manufacturer’s drawings, plans, and specifications, and whether it is ethical for an engineer to relinquish responsibility in case manufactured equipment does not perform as represented.
PSPE KNE Wilkes Univ Ethics 3The Workshop hosted about 30 students from the University and 9 professionals from different companies and organizations throughout the Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania area. Each professional acted as a “Group Leader” within the “Discussion Groups,” where it was their job to guide the students through the 2016 Milton F. Lunch Prompt by providing professional experience and expertise. The 9 professionals that were involved in the Workshop included:

  • John R. Ackerman, P.E., P.G., BCEE, F.NSPE (Environmental Engineering) – Principal at Twin Oaks Consulting
  • Holly T. Frederick, Ph.D., P.E., (Environmental Engineering) – Assistant Professor of Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences at Wilkes University
  • Christopher A. Hetro, P.E. (Electrical Engineering) – Electrical Engineer & Project Manager at Borton-Lawson Engineering
  • Mary K. Hudson, P.E. (Electrical Engineering) – Electrical Engineer at Borton-Lawson Engineering
  • Holly Avery Ostopick, P.E., CPESC, CPSWQ (Engineering Management) – Project Manager at Minichi
  • Brian Palmiter, Jr., E.I.T., LEED Green Associate (Civil Engineering) – Civil Designer at Borton-Lawson Engineering
  • Walter J. Poplawski, P.E., F.NSPE (Civil Engineering) – Senior Associate at A&E Group Company
  • Eric W. Tappert, P.E. (Electrical Engineering) – Immediate Past President of the Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers
  • Chris R. Zarpentine, Ph.D. (Moral Psychology) – Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Wilkes University

Each of the Discussion Groups reviewed the Prompt and provided their own responses, which were drafted within the individual groups and presented to the assembly after the responses were finished. The students were required to reference the NSPE Code of Ethics for Engineers, including the Fundamental Canons, the Rules of Practice, and the Professional Obligations that all engineers are bound to in their professional lives. Therefore, the students were exposed to a common ethical issue in engineering, were challenged to answer the Prompt by referencing the Code of Ethics, and had the opportunity to interact with local engineers on both a personal and professional level, giving the students a chance to experience Engineering Ethics on a practical level.
The Workshop lasted about 2 hours and was another successive collaboration between the Student and Professional Chapters of the Keystone Northeast Chapter of PSPE. As mentioned the event was sponsored by both the Professional and Student Chapters, but special thanks to the professionals who volunteered their time and to Holly Frederick (President-Elect of the Keystone Northeast Chapter and Advisor of the Student Chapter), for her vital day-to-day planning, organization, and continuous collaboration in preparation for the event.