NSPE Attends House Committee America COMPETES Act Hearing
On November 13, Manager of Government Relations Arielle Eiser attended a House Committee on Science, Space, Technology subcommittee hearing on the upcoming reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act, which authorizes investments in science and engineering research and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education from kindergarten to the postdoctoral level.
On October 30 COFPAES met for its biannual Delegates Meeting. The COFPAES delegation, including COFPAES Chairman Chris Stone and COFPAES Treasurer Dan Hanlon, (accompanied by NSPE Manager of Government Relations Arielle Eiser) met with staff from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to promote QBS and advocate for a solution to the ongoing QBS violations in the GSA supply schedules. COFPAES then met for the Delegates Meeting. Topics discussed included QBS/licensing enforcement, GSA schedules, and design-build. COFPAES approved a plan to move forward with a white paper to initiate discussions with agencies that can serve as models or "centers of excellence" for contracting.
NSPE Urges U.S. Office of Personnel Management to Strengthen Qualification Standards
On October 18th, NSPE sent a letter urging the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to strengthen its qualification standards for filling federal professional engineering positions. OPM recently issued a proposed draft revision to the current qualification standards that would add ABET-accredited engineering technology bachelor degrees as qualifying for professional engineering positions. While NSPE greatly values the important role of the engineering technologists as part of the engineering team, the "professional engineer" is a protected term in all 50 states. The existing individual occupational requirements for a professional engineering position in the federal government do not meet the requirements for PE licensure. In a letter to OPM Deputy Associate Director Kimberly Holden, NSPE President Robert Green, P.E., F.NSPE writes, "Licensed professional engineers have always and continue to play a critically important role in designing innovative solutions to societal challenges and in protecting the public health, safety, and welfare. At a time when the federal government is seeking to promote broad economic prosperity and to enhance our national security, all federal agencies must show leadership and establish and maintain high engineering qualifications and standards for employees in the federal workforce."NSPE strongly urged the OPM to instead revise the qualification standard for professional engineering positions to require a PE for professional engineering occupations. You can read the press release, with a link to the letter.
NSPE Endorses Waterways Infrastructure Legislation
On September 25, NSPE endorsed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013 (H.R. 3080). Introduced on September 11th by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) and Ranking Member Nick Rahall (D-W.Va), this legislation would streamline the infrastructure project delivery process and strengthen our nation's water transportation networks. In a letter of support to Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member Rahall, NSPE President Robert Green, P.E., F.NSPE, writes, "WRRDA would overhaul and dramatically improve the process for federal water resources development. The legislation sets hard deadlines on the time and cost of studies, consolidates or eliminates duplicative studies and concurrent reviews that can hold up projects for years, and streamlines environmental reviews. WRRDA fully offsets new authorizations with deauthorizations and cancels $12 billion of inactive projects that were approved prior to the 2007 Water Resources Development Act. This legislation maximizes the ability of nonfederal interests to contribute their own funds to move authorized studies and projects forward. Moreover, it substantially reduces project backlogs." You can read the press release, with a link to the actual letter.
NSPE-PAC Participates in Event for Senator Tim Kaine
On September 24, NSPE's Government Relations Manager Arielle Eiser attended a political action committee event for Senator Tim Kaine. NSPE's top legislative issues were discussed, including veterans' licensure and certification and the need to strengthen the American engineering workforce. Senator Kaine is the primary sponsor of the Troop Talent Act of 2013 (S. 700/H.R. 1796) in the Senate, which NSPE endorsed earlier this month. The Troop Talent Act would facilitate improved alignment of specialty skills acquired in military service with civilian certifications or licenses required for post-service employment. Learn more about the NSPE-PAC and contribute.
NSPE and NICET Endorse Veterans' Certification Legislation
On September 12, NSPE and NICET endorsed the Troop Talent Act of 2013. Introduced by Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) in the Senate and Representative Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) in the House of Representatives, this legislation (S. 700/H.R. 1796) would facilitate improved alignment of specialty skills acquired in military service with civilian certifications or licenses required for post-service employment. In a letter of support to Senator Kaine and Representative Duckworth, NSPE President Robert Green, P.E., F.NSPE, and NICET Chair Dawn Edgell, P.E., write, "The Troop Talent Act of 2013 addresses this [information} gap by improving the information available to members of the Armed Forces at all stages of training, and increasing accredited civilian credentialing agency access to military training content."You can read the press release, with a link to the actual letter.
NSPE Submits Comments on Proposed Tunnel Safety Rule
On September 3rd, NSPE submitted comments in response to the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) proposed National Tunnel Inspection Standards for highway tunnels in accordance with MAP-21. NSPE commended FHWA for recognizing the critical role PEs perform in our nation's tunnel inspection process. The proposed rule requires that a Program Manager must, at a minimum, be a registered P.E. and have 10 years tunnel or bridge inspection experience and be a nationally certified tunnel inspector. While NSPE strongly supports the requirement that a Program Manager be a licensed P.E. and possess 10 years of tunnel or bridge inspection experience, NSPE urged the FHWA to eliminate the additional requirement to be a nationally certified tunnel inspector. Learn more.
NSPE Endorses Two-Step Design-Build Legislation
On August 9, NSPE endorsed the Design-Build Efficiency and Jobs Act of 2013 (H.R. 2750). Introduced on July 19 by House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO), H.R. 2750 would protect the integrity of the federal procurement process and enable small and large businesses alike to compete for federal construction contracts. In a letter of support to Chairman Graves, NSPE President Robert Green, P.E., F.NSPE, writes, "The Design-Build Efficiency and Jobs Act of 2013 addresses these issues by restricting the use of single-step design-build to federal projects that are less than $750,000 and by requiring federal agencies to better justify why they short-list more than five finalists in the two-step design-build process." You can read the press release, with a link to the actual letter.
NSPE Urges New Secretary of Transportation to Strongly Support
On August 9, NSPE sent an open letter to the new Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, urging him to strongly support and encourage the use of qualifications-based selection in the federal procurement process. In the open letter to Secretary Foxx, NSPE President Robert Green, P.E., F.NSPE writes, "Research shows that government agencies in the United States achieve lower construction costs, more efficient use of taxpayers' money, and higher construction satisfaction when procuring design and engineering services based on qualifications rather than price. By strongly supporting and encouraging the use of qualifications-based selection in the procurement of transportation projects, you can help ensure that the nation's transportation system will be safe, sustainable, cost-effective, and an example to other countries for generations to come. You can read the press release, with a link to the actual letter.
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NSPE Urges House of Representatives to Restore STEM Education Funding Provision to Immigration Bill
On August 1, 2013, NSPE, along with members of the STEM Education Coalition, urged the U.S. House of Representatives to restore a critical funding provision to HR 2131, the SKILLS Visa Act. One of the primary immigration bills in the House, this legislation initially included a provision that would direct fees paid by employers hiring foreign workers to support improvements in U.S. STEM education that will help improve American competitiveness. This provision was removed from the bill during the Judiciary Committee's June markup for procedural reasons. NSPE joins with other members in the science and engineering community to advocate for the restoration of the vital provision. Read the letter here.
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NSPE Attends WISE Public Policy Presentations
On July 31, Manager of Government Relations Arielle Eiser attended the annual Washington Internship for Students of Engineering (WISE) public policy presentations. Top engineering students from universities across the country presented public policy solutions to some of our greatest challenges. Presentations included the potential of biodiesel use as a viable alternative fuel source, reshaping the nation's intelligent electrical infrastructure to maximize energy efficiency and storage capacity, and revamping data management strategies for the smart grid to improve reliability, security, and efficiency.
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NSPE Urges House Committee to
Support Two-Step Design-Build Selection Process
On July 9, NSPE urged the House Appropriations Committee to revise House Report 113-90 on the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2014 (HR 2216) to unequivocally identify that the two-phase, qualifications-based selection process be followed on all military construction projects. In a letter to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) and Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY), NSPE President Dan Wittliff, P.E., F.NSPE writes: "NSPE believes the two-step/two-phase selection process ensures that competent and qualified design professionals are initially involved in the procurement process so that quality-based design considerations are incorporated into the drawings, plans, and specifications consistent with the interests of the public health and safety." Read President Wittliff's letter.
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NSPE-PAC Participates in Event for Speaker of the House John Boehner
On June 19, NSPE's Government Relations Manager Arielle Eiser attended a political action committee event for Speaker of the House John Boehner. Other U.S. representatives present were David Valadao (CA-21), David Joyce (OH-14), Mike Coffman (CO-6), Scott Tipton (CO-3), Jeff Denham (CA-10), and Rodney Davis (IL-13). NSPE's top legislative issues were discussed, including professional liability and tort reform, energy policy, infrastructure, and the need to strengthen the American engineering workforce. This was an excellent opportunity to cultivate and strengthen relationships with important members of Congress.
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Educating Tomorrow's Engineers Act Introduced
On June 18, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY-20), and Congressman Joe Kennedy (D-MA-4) introduced the Educating Tomorrow's Engineers Act (S. 1178/H.R. 2426). This bill would integrate engineering education into the K-12 curriculum, provide instructors with tools and support to effectively teach engineering education, and promote research in engineering education. NSPE has sent a letter of support and is working closely with the sponsors to promote the bill and add new sponsors to this vital piece of legislation. NSPE has posted an Action Alert. Take action today!
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June 12, 2013
NSPE Attends Congressional Briefing on the Role of Engineering in
K-12 STEM Education
On June 12, Manager of Government Relations Arielle Eiser attended a congressional briefing co-hosted by the National Science Foundation, ASME, and DISCOVER Magazine entitled "Harnessing the Power of Engineering to Improve STEM Education in K-12 Schools". Speakers from the NSF, the Museum of Science , and the University of Maryland School of Engineering all spoke about the critical importance of emphasizing engineering in education as early as elementary school. Studies clearly show that earlier engineering education improves student achievement, problem-solving skills, and increases the number of students interested in pursuing careers in engineering.
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EJCDC Contract Documents
An Owner's Guide to Successful Project Management
The Role of the Consulting Professional Engineer