Grateful for the Journey

By President Harve Hnatiuk, P.E., F.NSPE

It has been said that feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.

That being said, I want to say thank you for the opportunity to serve as the 76th president of NSPE. My thanks to my fellow NSPE officers, our board of directors, committee and task force members, House of Delegates members, state leaders, and everyone who has volunteered their time, talent, and treasure to move NSPE forward this year.

Many, many thanks to the NSPE staff for its outstanding work. We are blessed with so many great individuals in Alexandria. Thank-yous go to our state societies’ staff as well as for their excellent efforts.

Together we have moved the ball downfield, advanced NSPE’s position, and formed the foundation for continuous improvement of our organization. As the saying goes, it’s all good.

However, this is not the time for an end-zone dance. We must continue to get better and grow NSPE into a more prominent organization that attracts engineers at all points in their careers. Let’s continue to commit to do that, recognizing that we can defy our mathematical training by working together to make 1+1+1 add up to much more than 3.

From my joining NSPE in 1980 to this point in time, it has been a great and unexpected journey.

Every good journey—at work, at play, in volunteer organizations…anywhere—comes only with a lot of help and encouragement from others. Travel along my road included a lot of that from so many individuals. And, we as PEs can do that for others as we travel along our personal highways.

The president of my firm, Joseph Maida, P.E., encouraged me to take the FE exam in 1980 and nudged me toward licensure until my desire to get my PE overpowered my procrastination in 1986. Joe also recruited me to be a member of the Valley Forge Chapter of the Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers and NSPE. Thanks, Joe, for that and your support through the years.

Employers and supervisors can do a great service for our profession by encouraging and supporting their engineers to become licensed and to join and engage in NSPE.

In the late 1990s, during a memorable breakfast with two PSPE officers—John Ackerman, P.E., F.NSPE, and Bob Eble, P.E.—the conversation steered me toward running for state office and my term as PSPE’s president in 2006–07. Thank you, John and Bob (who passed several years ago).

The possibility of being engaged at the national level surfaced during a conversation with Lisa Catania, P.E., F.NSPE, during participation in my first NSPE Annual Meeting in Orlando in 2002. Thank you, Lisa.

It was during that national meeting that I became interested in NSPE’s Critical Infrastructure Homeland Security Task Force and eventually chaired that group. It was also at that meeting that I first met 2012–13 NSPE President Dan Wittliff, P.E., F.NSPE.

Running for a position on the NSPE Board of Directors only happened after 2008–09 NSPE President Brad Aldrich, P.E., F.NSPE, told me that the board needed members like me when we spoke at the NSPE Annual Meeting in St. Louis. Thank you, Brad.

About an hour after I was elected to the NSPE Board as its member-at-large in 2010 (also in Orlando), 2007–08 NSPE President Bernie Berson, P.E., P.L.S., F.NSPE, planted the seed in my mind about becoming another NSPE president from the Northeast Region. Thank you!

Dan Wittliff also made that “suggestion” (a bit more strongly, I might add) during the NSPE winter board meeting in Tucson in 2011. Many thanks, Dan!

Last but not least, I thank my wife Cyndee for her support, advice, patience, and counseling and my family for being there when it counted.

This is only the beginning of a long thank-you list that includes so many others.

Interestingly, every past NSPE president I have met has, at one time or another, provided inspiration and insight. Soon, I will be joining that group and will do my best to be as good to others as that group has been to me.

As members of NSPE, we can all reach out to others and help them along their journey in our profession. Recruitment of new members, engagement of current members, and retention of members in many ways remain as “retail activities.”

BaseballYears ago, a professional baseball player observed: “Many times, life can be summed up in one word: yaneverno.” And, no, it wasn’t Yogi Berra!

When we work with students in MATHCOUNTS, at the National Future City Competition, or in our NSPE student chapters, we may be moving them toward doing great things in our world. The next Einstein could be in their midst. When we say a kind word, let people know that they can do more, that they have the capacity, that they may have the “right stuff”…there is no telling where that will lead.

Indeed, my continuing journey—for which I will be forever grateful—proves that you never know.

Published May 27, 2015 by Harve Hnatiuk, P.E., F.NSPE

Filed under: President's Message,

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