The Reading Chapter of PSPE was formed in December of 1935. Chartering occurred at the Berkshire Hotel in Reading at a meeting with J. Edgar Hires from Philadelphia and fifteen Professional Engineers from Berks, Lancaster, and Lebanon counties. Of special interest is the handwritten number and date on the charter. Engineer George W. Scott and Engineer Leroy F. Christman, both from Berks County, were elected as temporary Chairman and Secretary respectively. The Reading Chapter Charter was framed with paper backing and wired eyelets by Weaver's Art Shop on Washington Street at a cost of $2.25. At the next meeting on January 17, 1936, thirty nine people were in attendance and applications for charter membership were received from twenty five engineers. F. H. Dechant was elected as the chapter's first president at the February 7, 1936 meeting. Engineer Dechant was a local architect and later served as vice president of the national society. The dues in 1936 were $8.50, with $3 going to the national, $2 going to the state, $2.50 to the local chapter and $1 for the subscription to the American Engineer Magazine.
The local chapter was involved in discussions on unionism, malpractice, expert witness, and a proposal that the title "Engineer" could only be used by a Registered Engineer. On the subject of unionism, a resolution from the June 11, 1937 minutes; "Resolved, that this chapter is strongly opposed to the unionization, either of the State Society of Professional Engineers, or any of its Chapters, or of those who are intimately connected with Registered Engineers in professional work." And from a letter of November 19th, 1935 from the Philadelphia Chapter," It is the Society's function to protect the rights of engineers and see that only those who are registered practice as Professional Engineers." The Philadelphia Chapter provided much assistance during the charter process for the Reading Chapter. The above information was obtained from the chapter minutes supplied by Tim Krall of SSM dating back to December 18, 1935.
Since these early beginnings, the Reading Chapter of PSPE has been involved in education, scholarships, Math Counts, Science Fair, and most recently, membership in the Berks County Chamber of Commerce.
- Information compiled by Karl E. Peterson, P.E. 12/19/2007