December 07, 2013
NSPE Enters New Leg in its Race for Relevance
Over the past year, as NSPE approaches its 80th anniversary, the organization's leaders have been asking fundamental questions about the Society and its role in the profession of engineering.
Why? Much has changed since David Steinman founded NSPE in 1934—changes that have been experienced by all nonprofit societies and associations. To remain relevant to their members and successfully carry out their missions, organizations need to adapt.
What's changed: 1) decreased availability of time that members have to dedicate to association activities, 2) increased value expectations, 3) increased industry consolidation and specialization, 4) increased generational differences, 5) increased competition caused by the growth in the number of associations, and 6) technology explosion, according to Coerver and Byers in the association management book Race for Relevance.
What hasn't changed: the need to engage with members in meaningful and effective ways; to provide real and tangible value; to make a difference for members and create opportunities for members to make a difference; and have an impact on the profession and society.
Under the leadership of President Dan Wittliff, P.E., F.NSPE, seven task forces, made up of 96 dedicated NSPE members from 41 states, were formed to address various aspects of the Society's operations. The work of the task forces—totaling about 3,000 hours—was coordinated by Vice President Harve Hnatiuk, P.E., F.NSPE, and Tim Austin, P.E., F.NSPE. Thanks to their efforts, these members have created a new foundation for a refocused NSPE.