As I take over the reins, my term as NYSSPE’s President is starting out like no other…..
As many of you know, NYSSPE’s Executive Committee has recently voted to change the Presidency to a two-year term hoping that this will give us more time to accomplish the tasks we set out to achieve. Even at two years, I’m sure the time will fly.
I’ve had over a year to think about what I would like to accomplish, but there are so many initiatives that it’s difficult to come up with just one or two. Back in November, in conjunction with our Fall Meeting, we conducted a Strategic Planning Day headed by our current President, Larry O’Connor, PE. Many of NYSSPE’s past, present, and future leaders attended, and we spent the day brainstorming ideas about the direction of NYSSPE. We developed a “short list” (which wasn’t so short after all), of initiatives that the members felt were of high priority to be focused on in the next few years.
The value of membership was by far the front-runner on the list. Over the next two years, I will be focusing my efforts on increasing the value of the NYSSPE membership and taking an overall look at the three-tiered National/State/Local membership structure. The rising cost of membership dues has been an on-going concern. We have spoken at length to NSPE’s leadership regarding this three tiered system vs. states only membership and are anxiously awaiting their ideas which they have promised to roll out at the Annual conference this June being held in Dallas, TX.
Communication with our members was also high on the list, as this is something we don’t do very well. We can have the most valuable product out there, namely membership in this organization, but if no one knows what we do, is there really a value to it? We need to better demonstrate to our members, and also to the other Professional Engineers in New York State, exactly who we are. I bet there was a time when most of you can remember thinking, “A personal computer? Who would need that?” Now we all walk around with a cell phone that can do more than our first PC! And as much as I hate to admit it, in the past I have been skeptical about the use of social media, but I’ve recently seen the benefits of using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. These are the personal computers of twenty-five years ago. They are here to stay. In this time of instant information, we need to use all available avenues to get our message across, that NYSSPE is the only organization that promotes and defends the lawful and ethical practice of engineering. We need to expand our use of social media. That is what is going to attract younger talent to NYSSPE.
This is not to say that all the other initiatives such as STEM Education, collaboration with other engineering organizations, legislative issues, and continuing education are not of equal importance. They are. But none of these other initiatives can exist if we don’t keep this organization running by increasing our membership and increasing our ACTIVE membership.
With that said, I want to take a moment to thank the members of the NYSSPE staff, Anthony Fasano, PE, and Jennifer Miller, who work so hard at keeping us going.
Anthony joined us in 2012. He hit the ground running and hasn’t stopped since. As our Executive Director, Anthony is in charge of overseeing the three organizations under the Society’s umbrella. They being NYSSPE and its two sister organizations, FEE, the Foundation for Engineering Education, and PIE, the Practicing Institute of Engineering. In addition, Anthony guides the society in strategic planning and governance, public relations, and legislative issues in concert with our legal counsel, Mark Kriss, Esq. It is never ending and I want to thank Anthony for the amazing job he has done moving the Society forward.
And then there’s Jen. What can I say about Jen other than she’s been the heart of NYSSPE for over twenty years. She is our Director of Programs and she makes every event we hold run flawlessly. And events, there are a lot of them. She managed to coordinate over thirty successful events last year and the list keeps growing. In addition, she has single handedly managed to run the day-to-day operations of NYSSPE, keep up on membership, and do everything else the society has needed for many years. She has truly been our “go-to gal.”
In an effort to relieve Jen of some of the day-to-day functions so she can bring us even more events next year, I would like to introduce you to some new folks that we’ve hired in the office.
Rachel Pieniazek has joined us as the new Operations Manager for NYSSPE. Rachel has an extensive marketing and media background where she has designed and developed show related materials, websites, and social media pages. Rachel’s focus will be on taking over these day-to-day operations, overseeing the office, handling membership, and developing new marketing strategies for us.
Kathryn Viggiani has joined us as the new PIE Administrator. Kathryn will be handling all the coursework accreditation paperwork and record keeping for PIE. Kathryn is a Certified Meeting Professional with ten+ years of event management. She has planned and executed programs ranging from small working groups to large-scale conferences and trade shows with thousands of attendees. As the number of courses that PIE accredits each year has continued to grow significantly, we are glad to have Kathryn on-board to help PIE continue on its successful path.
Please join me in welcoming Rachel and Kathryn to the NYSSPE family. I am confident with these two new team members on board and their strong backgrounds to support Anthony and Jen, we are poised to see many positive changes coming soon. And I would be remiss if I didn’t say thank you to our interns, Rojing Rajkarnikar and Antonio D’Elia. Both have worked tirelessly in the office on the website and Facebook pages as well as helping me with the State Mathcounts competition.
And now, for my challenge to all NYSSPE members…..I challenge each of you to spend five minutes a day working on something that is NYSSPE related.
- Talk to a colleague or co-worker who is not an NYSSPE member and tell them about the benefits of membership and how NYSSPE is working to protect their license.
- Watch our new video series on Legislative Updates presented by Anthony Fasano and Mark Kriss.
- Go through your contacts list and invite other Professional Engineers to join NYSSPE. People are more likely to join if they believe someone they trust and respect is already a member and are receiving a personal invitation to join.
- Join our LinkedIn group or our Facebook page. Remember, social media is the fastest growing method of communication. Or send us a Tweet, and as soon as I figure out what that is, I promise I’ll answer you.
- Mentor a student or speak to a student group about the benefits of getting licensed.
Send us an email about a workshop/seminar that you would like to see presented or better yet, propose a topic you can present yourself.
- Send us email about a benefit you would like to see us provide. We are open to exploring all ideas to improve the value of your membership.
- Get involved with a STEM program. MATHCOUNTS is an NSPE sponsored program. We are always looking for volunteers. There are also many other worthy STEM programs that need volunteers.
- Become active in your local chapter events. We have several chapters that are in need of revitalization. It only takes one person instill the energy.
The list could go on and on. The important point is that we need YOU to help us move NYSSPE forward. In closing, I would like to say thank you to Larry O’Connor, PE, and the entire Executive Committee for the time and energy they’ve invested for NYSSPE. I’m looking forward to working with everyone over the next few years and am excited to see what new challenges and directions lie ahead for NYSSPE.
NOTE: NYSSPE facilitates posting on this blog, but the views and accounts expressed herein are those of the author(s) and not the views or accounts of NYSSPE, its officers or directors whose views and accounts may or may not be similar or identical. NYSSPE, its officers and directors do not express any opinion regarding any product or service by virtue of reference to such product or service in this blog.