The Real Work Begins

September/October 2019

NSPE Today: Outlook
The Real Work Begins

BY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR MARK GOLDEN

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR MARK J. GOLDEN

It starts from a simple premise, something that has been NSPE’s unchanging reason for being since it was founded 85 years ago. It is a premise that should resonate with anyone on the street, regardless of their familiarity (or lack thereof) with NSPE, engineering or licensure: We all deserve to live in a world where we can be confident that the engineering decisions affecting our lives are made by qualified and ethically accountable professionals.

NSPE’s unique role in bringing this vision to reality follows in a mission statement of just nine words, in language that is plain and direct: to foster licensed professional engineers in service to society.

That is the foundation of NSPE’s newly updated strategic plan, approved by the House of Delegates on June 19.

It had been five years since the NSPE strategic plan was last reviewed and updated. The Race for Relevance initiative that produced that plan enabled the Society to make great strides forward, cementing the PE and those aspiring to become PEs at the center of our organization’s focus.

A lot has happened in those five years—much to be proud of, and much that remains more aspirational than realized. It was time to build on what had been accomplished and bring new focus to where the Society is today and where we need it to be in the future.

The strategic plan revision was a year-long project involving 56 one-on-one interviews and follow-up interviews with state, national, and NICET leadership; an interactive workshop webinar, with more than 50 state leaders participating; a comprehensive survey of state societies; discussion on 15 regional conference calls; three workshop conference calls with our State Society Executives Council; historical document review; benchmarking of NSPE to similar organizations, both within and outside the engineering field; and a project team of six independent but coordinated working groups.

In the process, we learned that there was equal intensity behind the desire for both continuity and change: continuity with the Society’s unchanging goal of protecting public health, safety, and welfare; and a recognition that we needed change in order to achieve more impact, through strategies backed by resources that will deliver real-world results.

That will be achieved by engaging in activities governed by the organization’s values: ethics and accountability; qualifications; professional advancement; and unity.

There is a lot behind each of those ideas … and they are explained in more detail in the illustration of the plan.

That is the all-important why and how of NSPE. We can never afford to take our eyes off these statements. They need to guide and inform every decision we make as an organization.

But they are insufficient unless they drive toward the accomplishment of concrete goals—our measures of success for the new strategic plan:

  • Growth in mission impact at all levels of the organization;
  • Increased public recognition of the value of competent and ethical engineering;
  • Increased membership and participation across all programs that engages more people and engages them more fully;
  • Maximized synergy, where value created anywhere in the NSPE system benefits everyone in the system; and
  • Financial sustainability for national, state societies, and NICET certification.

While capturing all this on one page was a monumental task, now the real work begins. Your board is committed and already working to translate these goals into action plans. Your board is now accountable for delivering results, consistent with the roadmap the plan sets out before us.

But every one of you has a role in carrying this Society forward, whether in an official capacity or as a rank-and-file member.

If this new statement of our strategic plan has sparked a renewed commitment from you to stand with us, and work with us, toward accomplishing NSPE’s mission and goals, we are off to a good start.