Susan K. Sprague, P.E., CCS
PSPE President 2013-2014
Happy National Engineers week to you! National Engineers Week, February 16–22, recognizes engineers and the various ways that the engineering profession impacts every aspect of our daily lives. “Let’s Make a Difference” is the 2014 theme, and invites the public to learn about the interesting things that engineers do. The celebration of National Engineers Week was started in 1951 by NSPE in conjunction with George Washington’s birthday. Washington’s agricultural, military, engineering and surveying skills led to his recognition as our nation’s first engineer and his founding of the nation’s first engineering school at West Point, NY. I encourage every member to talk to an educator, student, or non-engineering friend about engineering and how we “Make a Difference”. Go to www.discovere.org to find tips on starting conversations about the subject and encouraging students K-12 to consider engineering as a career.
Pennsylvania hosted three Future City regional final competitions in Pittsburgh (January 18, 2014) and in Harrisburg and Philadelphia (January 25, 2014) as a program of Discover E. The Future City program brings engineering to life for teams of middle school students, teachers and engineers who work together thru the design process to design cities. Thank you to our volunteers for making this happen.
Since September, the PSPE leadership has been focusing on membership and communications and its support of House Bill 1447 for the proposed Registration Act changes. PSPE has requested a public hearing on HB1447 so I will give you an update on this first. In addition to updating several definitions and modernizing the Act, the legislation is targeting the removal of Pennsylvania’s industrial exemption. Think about it: A PE’s first responsibility is to protect the public. PSPE’s mission is to promote and defend the interests of PA’s professional Engineers and our Strategic Plan objectives are to enhance the image of the PE license and to protect the PE license and title. The industrial exemption allows engineers to design products and equipment and provide services considered incidental to its “products” without requiring that the engineers be licensed. Most of these products will eventually be utilized by the public and we recommend that the exemption no longer makes sense and should be eliminated.
It won’t be easy and we’ll face opposition from the manufacturing sector and others concerned about the loss of jobs. The legislation includes a grandfather clause “Any person performing activities prior to the effective date of this subsection that did not require licensure under this act may continue to practice those same duties without obtaining licensure under this act.” Therefore, this legislation will only require employees performing these duties that are hired after the legislation is passed to become licensed engineers. It is confusing to the public when they learn that some engineers need to be licensed and others do not. Confusion like this and among our own members does not enhance our image or strengthen the PE license. Go to www.pspe.org and utilize PSPE’s Legislative Action Center to tell your reps why they should support the passage of HB1447! As soon as we have a hearing date, we will need PE’s to testify for its support.
With this issue of the PE Reporter, you will see more enhancements to its look, readability and share-ability. It is a work in progress. If you like what you see, let us know. President Elect Eric Tappert, PE would appreciate your ideas for our quarterly publication.
This is a non-renewal year for PA licensees, however, we are always looking for new presentation topics and speakers. We plan to have some 1-day education symposiums in 2014 and plan to offer 12 PDH’s at the Annual Conference in the Lehigh Valley area in September. The education and conference planning committees have a need for volunteers and ideas to develop our sessions and make them relevant to what our members need. If we are not providing programs that help you, why not help us on one of these committees to create the necessary sessions?
I assume that you all have cell phones or cable TV and have experienced the new customer promotions that get you to join and then after a year, you hardly hear from them again. I want you to know that we in the PSPE leadership appreciate all of you and are going to be trying some new things to remind you why your membership is important and valuable to you. We want you to find it valuable enough to renew. We have many committees at the state level and 20 chapters in PA, as well as student chapters in the west, northeast and southeast regions that need mentors. If you visit www.pspe.org you will see what PSPE is doing and where we need help.
Please contact any of the state officers with questions or input on what we are doing for you.
Congratulations to the MATHCOUNTS Regional winners this month and good luck to the state qualifiers. Thank you to the MATHCOUNTS coordinators for everything you do to make this successful in in PA.
Susan K Sprague, PE is a Project Manager for Johnson, Mirmiran and Thompson. She received a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Lehigh University in 1986.