Talking Points

All the latest news and updates from NSPE and its sister organizations.

This document was last updated on June 2, 2014.

Talking PointAdvocacy and Outreach

On June 2, NSPE debuted its new Legislative Action Center, now powered by VoterVoice, LLC. This enhanced legislative platform will enable all NSPE members to quickly and easily respond to Action Alerts, look up legislators, learn about legislation NSPE is tracking, and see how legislators voted on important issues. Visit the Legislative Action Center today and take action!

NSPE has urged Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) to reconsider his bill S. 496, the Farmers Undertake Environmental Land Stewardship (FUELS) Act. The act would substantially weaken the current EPA Spill, Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule, placing the public and the farmers it seeks to protect at increased risk of devastating oil spills. Read more here.

On March 6, NSPE members and staff participated in the 2014 Society of Women Engineers Capitol Hill Day to discuss issues of importance to professional engineers, including STEM education, investment in national infrastructure, and qualifications-based selection. A full recap is available here.

NSPE played a lead role in drafting the 2014 National Engineers Week Resolution, in the US House of Representatives by Representative Daniel Lipinski (IL-3) on February 11. Read more about the resolution here.

On February 4, at the request of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, NSPE President Robert Green, P.E., F.NSPE sent a letter of support endorsing the Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014. Read more about the act here.

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Talking PointLicensure and Ethics

All current NSPE members were invited to participate in the 2014 NSPE Milton F. Lunch Ethics Contest. Members participate through their NSPE state societies and local chapters (including student chapters) by submitting a 750-word response to a scenario presented by the NSPE Board of Ethical Review. The scenario this year involved change orders and the winner will be published in the upcoming July issue of PE magazine.


NSPE held three ethics webinars this spring. Be sure to check our website later in the year for the fall ethics webinar forum! The three seminars just completed were:

  • March 18: Expert Witness Testimony and Litigation
  • April 17: Conflicts of Interest, Confidentiality and the Public Health Safety
  • May 14: Employment and Professional Practice

The Japan Society of Professional Engineers has published its third edition of Introduction to Engineering Ethics, which for the first time includes the NSPE Code of Ethics translated into Japanese. The book will be distributed throughout Japan to engineering students enrolled in national technical colleges. You can also find the Japanese-translated code online here.

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Talking PointNational Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies

With the help of volunteer experts, NICET recently completed regular maintenance and updates for Fire Alarm Systems (FAS). Part of this update process included matching the test content to the newer versions of codes and standards. All FAS tests administered after April 1, 2014, will be based on the newer codes and standards. NICET also completed update and conversion for Special Hazards Suppression Systems Levels I, II, and III from the Work Element format to Standard Model/CBT format. Level IV is expected to be completed later this year. 

Why is NICET certification of engineering technicians and engineering technologists important?

To licensed professional engineers:
NICET certification is the mark of quality in engineering technology and indicates that the holder subscribes to a professional code of ethics, similar to that of a licensed professional engineer. NICET certification is recognized (and even required) by many employers and government agencies throughout the U.S. and internationally as assurance that an individual has mastered the critical elements in a specific discipline of engineering technology. Certified engineering technicians and technologists, as part of the engineering team, can be relied on to efficiently and effectively provide quality engineering products and services, on time and within budget, which help protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public.

To NSPE members:
NICET is a wholly owned subsidiary of NSPE as defined by NSPE Operating Procedure 6.6. As such, NICET represents a source of nondues revenue to NSPE (currently 5% of the projected gross revenue for NICET annually) as well as a partner with NSPE in sharing administrative expenses. NICET operates as a separate fiscal entity within NSPE in accordance with NSPE OP 9.3 with its own funding sources, which means NSPE member dues do not support any NICET activity. As NICET prospers, so does NSPE. Conversely, if NICET falters, so does NSPE.

How can I learn more about NICET and its certification programs:
Check out the NICET website at or contact a member of the NICET staff at 888-476-4238 to learn more about NICET, its organizational structure within NSPE, and its certification programs in 28 subdisciplines of civil, mechanical, and electrical engineering technology. 

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Talking PointEducation and Professional Development

NSPE has compiled the Engineering Body of Knowledge, the first concerted effort to provide common ground for developing the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to practice as a professional engineer across engineering disciplines. The document presents 30 capabilities intrinsic to being a PE, from design and safety, to societal impact and sustainability. View the first edition here.

There are 15 NEW online courses available from NSPE, at no cost to members. The seminars available throughout 2014 are:

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Talking PointHonors and Awards

NSPE member Captain Timothy Callahan, P.E., who has made a mark on Air Force education, has been named the 2014 Federal Engineer of the Year by NSPE’s Professional Engineers in Government. Callahan, of Centerville, Ohio, is course director for the Air Force Institute of Technology’s Civil Engineer School at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Read about the ceremony here, including a photo and video!

St. John Lutheran School in Rochester, Michigan, won the 2014 national Future City Competition for creating a city that took a holistic approach to transportation. The students’ goal was to make transportation flexible, accessible, integrated, and renewable—FAIR, which when translated into Chinese is the city’s name, Gongping. The school received a $7,500 scholarship for its STEM program, provided by Bentley Systems. The students on the team also each won a trip to US Space Camp in Alabama. This year’s competition, held in Washington, DC, was entitled “Tomorrow’s Transit: Design a Way to Move People in and Around Your City.”

Second place in the Future City Competition went to last year’s champions, Valley Middle School from Oakland, New Jersey, for their city Whenua Aotearoa. Valley Middle School received a $5,000 scholarship for its STEM program, provided by NSPE. HEAR Rockwall, a home school from Rockwall, Texas, took third place for their city Eisenhower. They earned a $2,000 scholarship for their school’s STEM program, sponsored by IEEE-USA.

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Volunteer Leadership and Tools

NSPE volunteer leaders have a variety of online leadership resources to help them carry out their responsibilities. All of the following, plus other resources, can be accessed in the Leadership Toolbox (user name and password required):

  • Recruitment tips;
  • Presentation on engineers in elected office, plus quotes and instructions;
  • Minutes and agendas from Board of Directors and House of Delegates meetings;
  • State Society website template;
  • 10 Reasons to Be Licensed;
  • Young engineer flyer; and
  • Archived webinars.

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Talking PointOther Notables

NSPE’s 2014 Annual Meeting will be held over Independence Day weekend this year in Washington, D.C. Join your fellow engineers from July 1–6 for educational seminars, a tour of the Capitol, a Washington Nationals baseball game—and a fantastic Fourth in the nation’s capital! Registration opens on April 1, so keep an eye on the NSPE home page. See the preliminary schedule here.

NSPE and the National Academy of Forensic Engineers leadership have reached an agreement in which NSPE will provide executive director and association management services to NAFE. NSPE Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel Arthur Schwartz will serve as NAFE Executive Director, with support from other NSPE staff members. NAFE is an NSPE Chartered Affinity Group.

NSPE has launched a new online Career Center designed to help engineers find job openings and help employers find the kinds of engineers they need. Job seekers can save and edit their resume, use that saved information to apply for jobs online, and store job listings for later review. Employers will also find new tools, including a searchable resume database, auto-notification about new applicants, and data on how many people have viewed listings. Check it all out here.

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