Ethics: The Principles of Conduct Governing an Individual or a Group

Ethics: The Principles of Conduct Governing an Individual or a Group
Susan K. Sprague, PE, F.NSPE, Chair, NSPE Board of Ethical Review

Every profession has ethics – doctors and lawyers, dance teachers, retailers, and car salesmen – and each discipline of engineers has a similar code of ethics emphasizing protection of the public. The code has evolved over the years to include sustainable development and anti-discrimination principles, and it essentially covers all aspects of professional practice and guides the PE for prioritizing actions when dealing with the public, clients, and employers.

The National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) established the Board of Ethical Review (BER) in 1954 to further its mission as the authoritative expert in the ethical practice in engineering. The purpose of the BER is to render impartial opinions pertaining to the interpretation of the NSPE Code of Ethics, develop materials, and conduct studies relating to ethics of the engineering profession. The engineering profession’s emphasis on ethics dates to the end of the 19th century. In 1946, NSPE released its Canons of Ethics for Engineers and Rules of Professional Conduct, which evolved into the current Code of Ethics. While these statements of general principles served as a guide, many engineers requested interpretations of how the Canons and Rules would apply to specific circumstances. These requests ultimately led to the creation of the BER. Ethics cases rarely have easy answers, but the BER’s nearly 700 advisory opinions have helped bring clarity to the ethical issues that engineers face daily.

Every year, the BER publishes 12 cases to be used by its members, other engineers, attorneys, and educators as guides for ethical conduct. NSPE members are appointed to serve on the BER and use their expertise to render impartial opinions on questions of ethics.

On December 5 and 6, I had the unique privilege of chairing the six-member NSPE Board of Ethical Review at NSPE headquarters in Alexandria, VA in the face-to-face discussions of 12 cases involving engineering ethics. The BER is seven professional engineers from across the country (PA, NH, FL, NM, WA, IN, and SD). Two members are ethics professors, three are in private practices, and two are in government positions. Being the Chair is an honor, and it comes with very few perks. We received the cases a few weeks prior to the meeting and we had homework to do to prepare. Some cases are real (submitted by members), but most are hypothetical. Each of us was assigned two cases to lead in our meeting.

The review of the cases is a methodical process conducted “old school” by the case leader reading the case facts and conclusion out loud to the group. It’s amazing how hearing the facts and listening to it being read can offer you a different perspective on the case.

We all take turns offering our opinions and we discuss the merits and ethical conflicts in each case. Do we agree with the conclusion? Were Engineer A’s actions ethical? What were Engineer A’s ethical obligations under the circumstances? Are the cited references from the Code of Ethics applicable to the case? Sometimes we finish discussing a case and reach consensus in 25 minutes, and a few have taken over 90 minutes to reach consensus.

You may ask how someone can find an opinion on an issue. The cases are cross-referenced by topic and the portions of the Code cited. For example, if you are interested in cases pertaining to reviewing another engineer’s work, changing employment, autonomous vehicles, etc., you can search under those topics. All published cases recognize the committee members, so my name is recorded on 24 cases and will be noted as Chair on this year’s 12 cases.

It’s a great experience to participate in something important to the profession and provide useful guidance to others. Sadly, both professors on our committee have observed their engineering students cheating on their school exams in ethics (they have video proof), so we still have much work to do to teach the next generation of engineers about ethics.

Test your individual knowledge of the language in the NSPE Code of Ethics by taking a quiz – a series of true/false questions.

Take the 2019 Milton F. Lunch Ethics Contest Challenge!

All current NSPE individual members through their NSPE state societies and NSPE chapters (including student chapters) are invited to participate in the 2019 NSPE Milton F. Lunch Ethics Contest.

This year the winning entry will receive an award of $2,000 to the author provided by NSPE, a certificate, and recognition in PE magazine.

How to Participate

NSPE’s Board of Ethical Review is furnishing you with two different fact situations to choose from regarding the ethics of engineers, or you can submit your own case! Please choose either of the two situations (or use your own case) and develop an essay, video, photo essay, poster, or PowerPoint presentation, which could include embedded videos/sound, etc., to demonstrate your understanding of the facts and the NSPE Code of Ethics. Contestants are asked to read the facts of the case, then develop a discussion and conclusion to respond to the included question(s). Contestants should also provide references, citing specific sections of the NSPE Code of Ethics for Engineers. A copy of the NSPE Code is linked for your reference. Contestants may also want to check the NSPE Board of Ethical Review’s website for additional cases decided by the BER.

Contest Rules

All entries must be received by Monday, April 15, 2019. E-mail or mail entries to:

2019 NSPE Milton F. Lunch Ethics Contest
NSPE Legal Department
1420 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

Download the full contest flyer (PDF)

Risky Business – Entity Protection

Rebecca A. Bowman, Esq., P.E.

I’ve been running into a problem lately into which I should not have been running. (Don’t you love the sometime-weirdness of correct grammar?)  I want to make sure that you are not contributing to this problem. By the way, nothing in the column is intended to provide legal advice. I am merely repeating the requirements of the Commonwealth Department of State.

Whatever entity form you have chosen, if you are presenting yourself as anything other than a sole proprietorship using your own name, you have to register/file with the Commonwealth AND you have to keep your registration/certification/filing current AND you have to provide a decennial (before you go look that up, that every ten years) update.

Just to be clear, let’s look at some of the alternatives. I’ll use my name, just for the fun of it. If I do business as a sole proprietorship using my name (i.e. Rebecca Bowman, P.E.), I’m fine and I can skip down to the last three paragraphs.

If I do business as a sole proprietorship but use a name other than my name (i.e. Brilliant Design Engineering), I have to register “Brilliant Design Engineering” as a fictitious name. This is true even if I am using “Bowman Engineering.” Understand, too, that I may not have the right to use my own name in this modified fashion if someone else has registered the name first, especially if I had a common name (i.e. John Smith).1 If I change, cancel, or withdraw my use of the fictitious name, I must also file the corresponding form.2

If I do business as a general partnership (i.e. Bowman Associates),3 I must register my partnership with the Commonwealth and disclose the names and addresses of EACH of the partners. As you might anticipate, I must keep that information current with the Commonwealth. Anyone may legitimately sue a party identified as a partner with the Commonwealth, but may have difficulty suing someone he KNOWS is a partner but is not on file with the Commonwealth.

If I do business as an LP (Limited Partnership), (i.e. Bowman Engineering, L.P.) I must file a Certificate of Limited Partnership and all general partners must be identified.4 There are a wide variety of forms required to update the public record to reflect internal (and some external) changes to the organization.

There is even an LLP (Limited Liability Partnership), (i.e. Bowman Engineering, L.L.P.) for which I must file a Statement of Registration, spelling out whether or not the entity is a general partnership (with all partners having equal powers to act and to bind the entity) or a limited partnership.5 Interestingly and surprisingly, if you elect a limited partnership, the managing partner does not have to be identified.

For either a general or a limited liability partnership, every partner is legally presumed to have full authority to act on behalf of and bind the entity unless a Certificate of Partnership Authority is filed.6 This certificate puts the public on notice that only the identified parties and no one else has authority to act on behalf of and bind the entity.

If I do business as an LLC (Limited Liability Company), (i.e. Bowman Engineer, L.L.C.) I must file a Certificate of Organization.7 There are wide variety of forms required to update the public record to reflect internal (and some external) changes to the organization.

If I do business as a C-corp, (i.e. Bowman Engineering, Inc.) I must file articles of incorporation.8 (The rules are the same for an S-corporation; I just file an additional form with the IRS electing S-corp status.) There are a wide variety of forms required for changes in officers, changes in address, change in status, mergers, dissolution, etc. My entity name does not have to be difference in any way to indicate that I have elected S-corp status. Election of S-corp status is primarily related to taxation benefits, but that benefit carries with it restrictions on the nature of corporate shareholders.

If I do business as a P.C. (Professional Corporation), (i.e. Bowman Engineering, P.C.), I must meet all the requirements of a corporation, may elect S-corporation status, and must meet the requirements of Pennsylvania’s professional corporation statute.9 There is an inherent prestige build into the P.C. designation, but the price of that prestige is restrictions on the qualification of corporation shareholders. The real challenge arises if I want to operate in multiple states. Many states have differing requirements for professional corporations and many are fairly-openly hostile to foreign (i.e. out-of-state) professional corporations.

By the way, just in case you were wondering, no, I do not know why the convention is to use the periods associate with an abbreviation for P.C., and often for L.P., but not for LLP or LLC.

Now that we’ve run through all that, why do I bring that up? The birth of an entity is exciting and full of promise. The death of an entity is sometimes ugly, often dismal, and tempting to minimize. However, if you do not modify or terminate your entity correctly, the entity continues to linger on in a vegetative state. Here is the key, though: If you do not wrap things up properly, the liability associated with the entity does not cease.

I’m in the middle of a case now, involving a construction company set up as a corporation. I don’t know whether it’s a C-corporation or an S-corporation and, for the moment, I don’t care. The corporation ceased to operate several years ago, BUT NEVER WRAPPED UP. Hence, it still remains in existence and I can still sue it. A properly-wrapped up entity has to report any anticipated liabilities and address them before the Commonwealth will permit the entity to be terminated/dissolved. Once properly terminated/dissolved, there is no longer an entity to sue.

Many of us are solos and small businesses, established and continued on the basis of our personal reputations. Structural engineers, especially, have long tails (yes, that’s the correct word) of statutory liability. We tend to assume that when we stop practicing, our entities stop, too. However, ending an entity is not a passive event, but requires a series of affirmative acts.

If you don’t wrap up properly you may – without even realizing it – continue to be in a Risky Business.










Rebecca A. Bowman, Esq., P.E. is the principal of a woman-owned business, certified in estate planning, civil engineering, dispute resolution, real estate, legal services, strategic development, and training by Allegheny County, PennDOT, PADGS, PAT, Massachusetts, New York State and New Jersey Transit. She is experienced in engineering design and forensic analysis, construction/project management, dispute resolution, real estate and boundary law, small business start-up, employment law, and nonprofit support. She is a registered professional engineer and a certified arbitrator, mediator, and Christian conciliator. Mrs. Bowman is a frequent CPE lecturer for a variety of providers.  She received her B.S. degree in civil engineering, from the University of North Dakota, her M.B.A. degree from Oklahoma University and her J.D. degree from Duquesne University. Mrs. Bowman is involved with the American Arbitration Association, and the Bar Association. She volunteers with the Senior Action Coalition, Legal Aid, Children and Youth Services, City Mission, Habitat for Humanity, Family Promise of Southwestern Pennsylvania, MATHCOUNTS, and National History Day. 

PSPE 2018 Awards Program

The Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers recognizes performance and accomplishments of chapters, individuals, projects, and other professional organizations whose efforts have enhanced the integrity of our professional engineering society or the stature of our engineering profession.

These official PSPE awards recognize exceptional engineers. These individuals, through their efforts, are the epitome of the Professional Engineer. The PSPE Engineer of the Year Award recognizes an outstanding, distinguished engineer not necessarily only for their work for, or in, PSPE, but for their overall activities and achievements. Occupational and professional achievements, civic, political, and engineering affairs, and education represent the primary selection criteria for the Engineer of the Year award.

The Young Engineer of the Year award recognizes an outstanding engineer no older than 35 as of January 1, 2018. The evaluation criteria include collegiate achievements, professional and technical society activities, engineering experience, publications/patents, major engineering project achievements, and additional activities, such as civic, fraternal, or humanitarian endeavors.

Awards may be nominated through each PSPE chapter awards committee or President. Chapter awards nominations included in the State Awards Program Handbook available through PSPE, are due to the PSPE Awards Committee by July 27, 2018. Nominations should be submitted to PSPE Headquarters, 908 N. Second Street, Harrisburg, PA 17102 via email

Award recipients will be recognized at the PSPE State Engineers Conference. I encourage all PSPE chapters to submit a nominee. Questions can be directed to David K. Williams, PE, PSPE Awards Committee Chair, at cell phone (412) 855-4540, or via e-mail.

Click here to obtain an application for PSPE Engineer of the Year and PSPE Young Engineer of the Year Awards.


Silicon-Carbide (SiC) Based Semiconductor Technology – The Disruptive Technology Innovation for the 21st Century

Abstract (Click here to see abstract with grids.)
Matthew A. Balmer, P.E.

In the field of power electronics, there is an ongoing search for an ideal solid-state power switch which has a low on-state resistance, low switching losses, high operation frequency, and good thermal capabilities. Silicon-Carbide (SiC) technology is a proven forerunner in the quest for the ideal solid-state power switch.

SiC technology represents a disruptive technological innovation for the 21st century that will establish new trajectories for electronic innovations obsoleting the silicon technology of the 20th century.  SiC technology has found a niche in small device applications and is a nascent technology being commercialized into power electronics.  Testing of SiC power electronics has demonstrated improved efficiencies, reduced size and reduced weight when compared to conventional Si based technology.

This paper explores

  • SiC Technology Introduction,
  • SiC Technology Power Electronics Advantages, and
  • SiC Technology Commercialization.

Sic technology introduction

The challenge in the semiconductor industry is to maximize efficiency, reduce size, increase power quality and reduce costs.  Researchers have learned that using Wide Bandgap (WBG) materials, such as Silicon Carbide (SiC), allows semiconductor components to be smaller, faster, more reliable and more efficient than the existing Silicon (Si) technology [1].

 Characteristics SiC Technology

Silicon carbide morphology is a binary combination of two group IV binary elements having an equal number of silicon and carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice structure. This atomic structure makes SiC one of the hardest and most thermally stable materials known [1].  Additional, features such as increased avalanche breakdown voltage, high thermal conductivity, and decreased thermal leakage current have created great interest in SiC technology for use in high power applications.  Microscopic studies of the stability and rupture of molecular junctions under a high voltage bias discovered that semiconductors having a SiC backbone have higher probabilities of sustaining higher voltages [2].

 Wide Bandgap (WBG) Technology

Bandgaps determines how a material’s electrons behave. Electrons are negatively charged particles that surround a nucleus at different energy levels.  When electrons move together in the same direction they form an electric current.  Electrons in an atom exist in various states which includes their energy level, momentum and spin.  Furthermore, quantum mechanics states two electrons cannot exist in the same state at the same time; therefore, one variable must differ.

These sets of possible states form regions called bands. Sets of states that are not possible form regions between the bands called bandgaps.  Bands closest to the nucleus of an atom are called core level and the band containing electrons furthest from the nucleus are called the valence band.  Beyond the valence band is the conduction band where the electrons can move freely, figure 1.

Examining various materials (Figure 2), metals have an overlapping valence and conductions bands and electrical current easily flows through them. On the opposite end are insulators, which have a wide gap between the valence band and conduction band reducing the probability to move an electron from the valence band to the conduction band.  The third and most interesting materials are semiconductors which can have properties like a metal, an insulator, or properties in between.

When semiconductors were first discovered, they were considered useless because of their erratic unpredictable behavior. Once bandgap properties were understood, physicists and engineers were able to harness bandgaps to innovate new technologies.  It was also discovered that valence electrons became exited by heat, light, or an electric field and will jump the bandgap (figure 1) provided the bandgap’s width allows the electrons to jump to the conduction band.  Consequently, different electronic devices require materials with different bandgaps which is relative to the energy supplied by the energy source.  Table 1 lists common semiconductor materials with their bandgap energy levels and application.

SiC: Power Electronics Advantages

Power Semiconductor Construction

Power semiconductors are unique when compared to that of low power signal semiconductors. Low power semiconductor devices are required to carry a few amperes under forward biased conditions and block small voltages under reverse biased conditions.  However, power semiconductor devices are required to carry hundreds of amperes in forward biased condition and block several hundred to thousand volts in the reverse biased condition.  These extreme operating conditions require a structural change affecting the operating characteristics.  These operating conditions create an inherent contradictory condition for power semiconductors, in that, increased doping reduces the forward losses and also reduces the reverse breakdown voltage, with the converse being true.  This contradiction is eliminated by the addition of a lightly doped epitaxial layer (drift region) whose doping density is 1014cm-3 between the heavily doped p and n regions whose doping density is 1019cm-3.

Figure 3 depicts the construction differences between low power and high power semiconductor devices.

This epitaxial layer creates a uniform electric field between the p and n junction that reduces the forward voltage drop and increases reverse blocking voltage.

Reduced Power Loss

Reduced power losses create increased savings for the consumer. SiC wide bandgap has a critical field for avalanche breakdown that is 10 times greater than Si.  This reduces the width of the epitaxial layer by one-tenth that of Si.  The result is SiC has a specific forward conduction resistance 400 times lower than Si thus reducing power losses [2].

 High Temperature Operation

SiC intrinsic characteristics allow SiC based semiconductors to operate at higher junction temperatures. The intrinsic characteristics include:

  • SiC based semiconductors have a melting point of approximately 2,700oC, whereas Si based semiconductors have a melting point of approximately 1,400oC.
  • Thermal leakage current is proportional to a compound’s intrinsic carrier concentration.  SiC has an intrinsic carrier concentration that is in order of magnitudes less (10-18) than Si [2].
  • SiC has a bandgap three times that of Si prohibiting excessive thermal leakage current.

The combination of these intrinsic features allows SiC devices to operate at junction temperatures reaching 600oC compared to Si which has a junction temperature limit of 150oC.

 High-speed Switching Operation

SiC wide bandgap has a high dielectric breakdown voltage which reduces power losses during switching operation. Figure 4 depicts the forward recovery time for an SiC Schottky Barrier Diode.  The Si overshoot represents an accumulation of charge carriers in the epitaxial layer that must diffuse prior to re-switching.  In addition, the Si overshoot is also indicative of heat generation in the device created by the simultaneous current and voltage overshoot.  SiC has an epitaxial region one-tenth the size of Si which results in a reduction of overshoot, a faster forward recovery time and reduced power loss.

Heat Dissipation

SiC intrinsic thermal conductivity, the ability to remove heat, is twice that of Si [1]. SiC has a thermal conductivity of 3.3W/cmoK contrasted to Si which has a thermal conductivity of 1.5W/cmoK. SiC’s increased heat dissipation means SiC devices can operate with a reduced temperature drop across the device making it ideal for power applications.


 SiC: A Disruptive Technology

The Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEEE) states silicon carbide may be to the 21st century what silicon was to the 20th century [3].  Furthermore, the US Department of Energy considers WBG semiconductors to be a foundational technology that will transform multiple markets and industries, resulting in billions of dollars of savings for businesses and consumers when use becomes widespread [4].  WBG semiconductors permit devices to operate at much higher temperatures, voltages, and frequencies making the power electronic modules using these materials significantly more power and energy efficient than those made from conventional semiconductor materials [4].

SiC technology is a disruptive technology that has change the trajectory of future semiconductor innovations. Topologies of technological change are divided into two distinct categories:  Sustained or Disruptive [5].

A sustained technological change maintains the industry’s rate of product performance trajectory; these are process innovation and less product innovation. An example of sustained technology change was in the early use of computer memory disk drive industry.  Computer memory disk drives were introduced circa 1976 and with a recording density of 1 million bits/square inch.  These disk drives used particulate oxide disk technology and ferrite head technology (oxide/ferrite) [5].  From 1976 to 1985, oxide/ferrite recording density grew linearly to 10 million bits/square inch.  The recording density growth was related to incremental advances in manufacturing techniques such as grinding the ferrite heads, more precise dimensions, and using smaller more finely dispersed oxide particles on the disk’s surface [5].

In 1985, the oxide/ferrite storage technology reached its maturity and the recording density began to level-off. The maturity of the oxide/ferrite technology created a search for a new technology which introduced an incremental advance to thin film and head technology starting a new trajectory.

A disruptive technological change is governed by an innovation discontinuity which redefines the performance trajectory leading to creative destruction overturning the established industry structures [5].  Furthermore, discontinuous innovations are competency destroying, obsoleting existing know-how because mastery of the old technology does not imply mastery of the new [5].  In the 20th century, the disruptive technology was the introduction of silicon based electronics which replaced vacuum tubes and sparked the evolution electronics that revolutionized the world.

In the 21st century, the integration of WBG technology will set a new course for all industries.  The Department of Energy (DOE) has indicated WBG semiconductors will pave the way for exciting innovations in power electronics, solid-state lighting and other diverse applications across multiple industrial and clean energy sectors [4].

Commercially Available SiC Power Devices

Mitsubishi Electric has commercialized SiC technology into fundamental power semiconductor devices that include Schottky Barrier Diodes (SBD) and Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor (MOSFET). More important, Mitsubishi has commercialized SiC technology into both full and hybrid Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors (IGBT) and Intelligent Power Modules (IPM).  These full and hybrid SiC IGBT products offer the following advantages over the existing Si technology:

  • Reduced switching losses;
  • Increased system efficiency;
  • High temperature operation;
  • Increased operating frequency;
  • Reduced cooling requirements;
  • Low inductance for increased switching speed; and
  • Reduced system size = increased power density.

The full SiC IGBT modules have attained a 70% reduction in inverter power losses and the hybrid SiC IGBT modules have attained a 45% reduction in inverter power losses. Both products have found applications in a plurality of industries which include:

  • High power inverters for traction drives, Uninterruptible Power Supplies, and renewable energy applications.
  • Small inverters for household appliances and HVAC equipment.
  • High frequency inverters for medical equipment and welding.

 SiC Power Application: Mitsubishi Ginza Subway Line Retrofit

SiC technology development has focused on small device technology. However, Mitsubishi Electric introduced SiC technology into power electronics through the development and testing of SiC inverters for Japan’s Ginza subway line [6].  Mitsubishi’s test results are summarized as follows:

  • The SiC based inverter was 40% smaller and lighter than the conventional inverter;
  • Energy savings was 38.6% compared to the conventional system; and
  • Increased regenerated power to 51% compared to 22.7% for the conventional system [6].

These favorable results have prompted Mitsubishi Electric to commercialize the technology and have received 127 orders for the SiC-based inverters [6].


SiC technology is a disruptive technology that will establish a new trajectory for small device and power electronics. Tests have demonstrated that SiC based power electronics is smaller, lighter, and more efficient than the existing Si based technology.


  1. Ren, F., Zolper, J.C. Wide Energy Band Electronic Devices.  World      Scientific Publishing, 2003
  2. Li, Haixing, Su, Timothy, Zhang, Vivian, etal.  Electric Field    Breakdown in Single Molecule Junctions.  Journal of the American    Chemical Society, 2015, pp 5028 – 5033.
  3. IEEE Spectrum, Vol 52, no.5 (INT) May 2015, Front Cover.
  4. Wide Bandgap Semiconductors: Pursuing the Promise.  US Department of   Energy, Advanced Manufacturing Office.
  5. Tushman, M. L. & Anderson, P. Managing Strategic Innovation and Change.  Second edition, Oxford University Press, 2004.
  6. IEEE Spectrum article retrieved from  ready-to-run-the-rails

Take the 2018 Milton F. Lunch Ethics Contest Challenge!

Take the 2018 Milton F. Lunch Ethics Contest Challenge!

Download the full contest flyer (PDF)

All current NSPE individual members through their NSPE state societies and NSPE chapters (including student chapters) are invited to participate in the 2018 NSPE Milton F. Lunch Ethics Contest. Match your wits and knowledge of engineering ethics with experienced professional engineers and engineering students throughout the country.

This year the winning entry will receive an award of $2,000 to the author provided by NSPE, a certificate, and recognition in PE magazine.

How to Participate

NSPE’s Board of Ethical Review is furnishing you with two different fact situations to choose from regarding the ethics of engineers or, new this year, you can submit your own case! Please choose any one out of the two situations (or use your own case) and develop an essay, video, photo essay, poster, or PowerPoint presentation which could include embedded videos/sound, etc. to demonstrate your understanding of the facts and the NSPE Code of Ethics. Contestants are asked to read the facts of the case, then develop a discussion and conclusion to respond to the included question(s). Contestants should also provide references, citing specific sections of the NSPE Code of Ethics for Engineers. A copy of the NSPE Code is attached for your reference. Contestants may also want to check the NSPE Board of Ethical Review’s Web site for additional cases decided by the BER.

Contest Rules

All entries must be received by Friday, April 27, 2018. E-mail or mail entries to:

2018 NSPE Milton F. Lunch Ethics Contest
NSPE Legal Department
1420 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

The contest is named for NSPE’s former general counsel, who played a key role in the founding of the NSPE Board of Ethical Review.

QBS Awards Call for Nominations Now Open Until February 21, 2018

Every year, we administer the QBS Awards, recognizing public and private entities that make exemplary use of the qualifications-based selection process at the federal, state and local levels. QBS Award winners serve as examples of how well the QBS process works, and they help us promote the practice of QBS in jurisdictions that do not use, or underutilize, QBS to procure engineering services. We are now seeking nominations for the 2018 QBS Awards. The deadline for nominations is Wednesday, February 21, 2018. Nominations must originate from an NSPE State Society, an ACEC Member Organization, a public or private entity, or an individual in the public or private sector. Self-nomination is not permitted. Please mail or email nominations to John Keane with NSPE at and Charles Kim with ACEC at The QBS Award winner will have an opportunity to receive an engraved trophy and will be recognized during the 2018 NSPE Professional Engineers Conference (PECON) in July 2018 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. To learn more, please see the nominations form.

QBS Awards Call for Nominations Now Open Until February 21, 2018 | National Society of Professional Engineers

John Keane
Policy & Advocacy Associate
National Society of Professional Engineers
Alexandria VA


Report of the Nominating Committee 2017

The 2017 Nominating Committee confirms the following slate of officer nominees for the PSPE 2017-2018 term of office.  Joseph F. Boward, PE, F.NSPE (Pittsburgh Chapter) will become President according to the PSPE Constitution and Bylaws.  The elected officers will be installed at the annual conference September 13-16, 2017.

Due to the eventual interest and availability of nominees, David Briskey and Vince Borrelli were relieved of their appointment to the Nominating Committee by John Nawn, President, PSPE 2016-17.

The slate of nominees will be published to the general membership in the next PE Reporter.

Nominations by petition of at least 25 eligible members must be delivered to the Chair of the Nomination Committee by May 15, 2017. [PSPE Bylaw 10, Section 4]  At that time, the Secretary may be directed to cast a ballot for each office with only one nominee.  [PSPE Bylaw 10 Section 5]

In the event of having two (2) nominees for an office, an official ballot shall be prepared and delivered to each voting member in the region of the office.  Votes must be submitted to the Secretary by June 30, 2017.  The Tellers Committee will tally the votes and determine the final outcome by July 15, 2017.  [PSPE Bylaw 10 – Sections 6 thru 8]

Respectfully submitted by the nominating committee:

Timothy S. Ormiston, P.E., F.NSPE; Chairman
Matthew J. Carnish, PE
Daniel P. Cook, P.E.
Richard A. Horenburger, P.E.
Vince R. Borrelli, P.E. (relieved)
David J. Briskey, P.E. (relieved)

NSPE Update on Oregon Engineering Licensure Board Enforcement Matter

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (May 3, 2017) – The National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), as the recognized voice and advocate of licensed professional engineers, is aware of and interested in the recent lawsuit filed against the Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying challenging the Oregon Board’s application of the Oregon Professional Engineer Registration Act and Oregon Administrative Rules relating to the use of the title “engineer” and the “practice of engineering.”

NSPE stresses that since this matter is in the initial stages of litigation in federal court, all of the relevant facts and circumstances in the lawsuit are not yet known: much of what is being asserted as fact by the parties, and in social media, is not only incomplete but also in dispute. This includes the facts related to the Oregon Board’s state interest in investigating and prosecuting the matter, allegations of harm by the litigants, and other issues. Accordingly, it is inappropriate for NSPE to comment specifically on this lawsuit until all the facts of the matter are established. NSPE continues to closely monitor ongoing developments, and is fully committed to taking all appropriate steps to ensure that the integrity and the credibility of the engineering licensure process is preserved and protected in furtherance of the public interest.

Since the enactment of the first state professional engineering licensure law in Wyoming in 1907-and more recently in such matters as the Kansas City Hyatt Regency Hotel collapse hearings, the Texas A&M bonfire investigations, the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill investigations, and the Hurricane Sandy inquiries-state engineering licensure laws have sought to ensure that qualified individuals practice in a manner that safeguards the welfare of the public.

“It is NSPE’s view that engineering licensure serves to hold individuals accountable for the ethical and competent practice of engineering,” said Kodi Verhalen, P.E., Esq., F.NSPE, president of NSPE. “The ultimate role of licensure is the protection of the public health and safety.”

The vital public interest role served by professional licensure of engineers is clear. Licensure ensures that the people who design and maintain the infrastructure and technology around us are not only competent to do so, but also accountable and place the public’s interest above all other considerations. NSPE, as an integrated network of national and state societies working in collaboration, will actively pursue legislative and regulatory action to ensure the continued ability of the state engineering licensure process to fully protect the public.

* * *

The National Society of Professional Engineers is a member-centric, nimble, future-focused, and responsive organization, serving as the recognized voice and advocate of licensed Professional Engineers. Through education, licensure advocacy, leadership training, multidisciplinary networking, and outreach, NSPE enhances the image of its members and their ability to ethically and professionally practice engineering. Founded in 1934, NSPE serves more than 31,000 members and the public through 52 state and territorial societies and over 400 chapters. For more information, please visit
Kodi Jean Verhalen, PE, F.NSPE, Esq.
2016-2017 NSPE President

DEP Approves PA Pipeline Project/Mariner East 2 Permits

Harrisburg, PA – After extensive review, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has approved the permit applications from Sunoco Pipeline LP (Sunoco) for the PA Pipeline Project/Mariner East 2 pipeline project. DEP considered 17 Chp. 105 (Water Obstruction and Encroachment) permits and 3 Chp. 102 (Erosion and Sediment Control) permits for the project. The pipeline would transport natural gas liquids from southwest counties to Marcus Hook, in southeast Pennsylvania.

“I am proud of the immense undertaking our staff took to hold this project accountable within the confines of state law and DEP’s role in this process over the last few years,” said Acting DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “This was a huge undertaking – holding five hearings during a 60-day comment period, reviewing permit applications and technical deficiencies for more than 20,000 hours, responding to 29,000 comments, and ensuring Sunoco addressed deficiencies identified in its initial applications.”

The project required a Chp. 105 permit for each of the 17 counties it crosses, as well as one Chp. 102 permit for each DEP region the project crosses (the Southwest region, the South Central region, and the Southeast region).

“The intensive review included input and feedback from scores of DEP biologists, wetland ecologists, engineers, legal staff, and permit reviewers. Further conditions were put on the operator as we move forward to ensure accountability to state standards,” explained McDonnell.

Part of the review process included revisions to the original permit applications submitted by Sunoco. These revisions were received in December 2016, in response to technical deficiency letters sent by DEP in September 2016. The final approvals include conditions in both the Chp. 102 and Chp 105 permits to establish environmental protections specific to this project.

DEP did not hold an additional public comment period or hold additional hearings because the revisions Sunoco made to the applications did not substantively change right-of-ways nor the corridor of the permits. Previously submitted comments were still applicable.

DEP’s obligation is to ensure that installation of infrastructure like pipelines is in accordance with the relevant regulations, and that concerns raised by commentators were addressed within the scope of those regulations.

“This is not the end of the process, as DEP, working in conjunction with the Public Utility Commission, will continue to hold the project accountable to regulatory standards that protect the environment and ensure the health, public safety, and welfare of local communities,” said McDonnell.

More information on the Mariner East 2 pipeline project can be found here.

MEDIA CONTACT: Neil Shader, 717-787-1323