Blogs

January 18, 2012 - 10:46
California has a convoluted engineering statute that needs fixing. For many years, reasonable legislative initiatives proposed by the PE board, legislators, and other interests have failed due, in large part, to testimony and political influence from factions within the engineering profession in California with interests in maintaining the status quo. [Read arelated articleby Diane Spencer, P.E., vice president of the California Society of Professional Engineers.] California has a unique engineering licensure system. There are three “practice act” disciplines: civil, mechanical, and...
December 15, 2011 - 09:30
Of the many things Steve Jobs will be remembered for, his view on how design aesthetics, creativity, and technology should be closely interwoven has particular resonance for engineers. In expounding upon how the arts and humanities were closely bound to the technical engineering demands at Apple, Jobs emphasized the foundational attainment of innovation through the balance of technological mastery with design mastery. In Walter Isaacson’s biography of the Apple co-founder, Jobs shared this insight: “Edwin Land of Polaroid talked about the intersection of the humanities and science....
December 14, 2011 - 13:52
The National Academy of Engineering’sfinal reporton the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster from April 2010 does not specifically list oversight from professional engineers as a potential safeguard for future rig operations. It does, however, call for independent oversight from qualified parties on many aspects of rig safety, equipment, and operations. The offshore drilling industry should also establish an effective safety culture to prevent future potential disasters. Paul Bommer, P.E., a member of the Academy’s panel, said that, because each state licenses engineers and the...
December 2, 2011 - 09:19
The holidays are a time of reflection and thoughts of how we all can help our fellow human beings. The most important professions include not only those who excel at the technical aspects of their craft, but who also measure their impact on society. We were reminded of that when we spoke with the heads of four engineering societies in November. When asked what gift they would give to engineering this holiday season, their wishes may as well have been identical: Share your engineering expertise outside the lab or construction site to make our world a better, safer place. Listen to Carl...
November 28, 2011 - 10:47
Many in the engineering licensure community have for decades bemoaned the fact that the percentage of engineering faculty licensed as professional engineers has been declining. This continuing trend is due to a variety of factors, outlined in aprevious article. A new, and brilliant, idea is coming to the fore, which may serve to reverse this trend in the long term. The NSPE Licensure and Qualifications for Practice Committee recently adopted aproposed NSPE position statementadvocating that funding agencies and state licensing boards require principal investigators of R&D projects...
November 17, 2011 - 13:19
The House last night passed the Senate-amended version ofH.R. 674by a vote of 422 to 0, ending a protracted battle to repeal an onerous tax-withholding mandate that would place significant financial and administrative burdens on engineering firms that contract with the government. The bill now heads to the president's desk, where he is expected to sign it into law. (Note: H.R. 674 was later signed into law by President Obama on 11/21/11.) H.R. 674 would repeal Section 511 of the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005 (PL 109-222), which requires federal, state, and...
November 17, 2011 - 08:44
Around me was a backdrop of pirate ships, crystal-clad dancers, and LED arrays lighting the glass facades of steel towers sparkling with the reflections of taxis, storefront signs, and digital camera flashes. One couldn’t have hoped for a more visually energetic scene, hued in reds, blues, purples, and incandescent yellows, to talk the depth and breadth of the influence of the engineering profession and the multifarious career paths within it that made such sensory spectacles possible. The reach of engineers was further emphasized by the ubiquitous proliferation of every day experiences...
November 9, 2011 - 09:08
In recent years, tremendous strides have been made in engineering licensure in the U.S. to promote mobility and expedited comity licensure for individual PE licenses. In many states, a PE who meets the definition of a Model Law Engineer, and has an up to date “Council Record” through the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying, can obtain a license in a new state in less than a week. This is all well and good, and works like a charm, but only if that engineer’s firm can also meet that state’s requirement for firm certifications in a similar time frame. That same level...
September 27, 2011 - 15:12
On September 26,Sesame Streetlaunched its 42nd season with a new focus: science, technology, engineering, and math. The show will teach preschoolers about STEM to help prepare them for school in areas where the U.S. is falling behind other countries. Throughout the season, the show’s loveable characters will use scientific inquiry on challenging problems—from experiments on “what worms like to squirm on best” to engineering a boat for Zoe’s pet rock—to get kids thinking like engineers and scientists. While once students were lucky if they got any exposure to engineering before they hit...
September 6, 2011 - 16:45
At annual meetings in 2011, both NSPE and the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying took action on policies regarding the existence of industrial exemptions from engineering licensure requirements in state statutes pertaining to manufacturing businesses and/or utilities. Industries were successful prior to the 1960s in enacting industrial exemptions in most states. At the present, all but nine jurisdictions have industrial exemptions for manufacturing businesses, and all but 16 jurisdictions have exemptions pertaining to utilities. At the NSPE Annual Meeting in...

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