State Education Department Launches Paths to the Professions Website

NEWS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 20, 2018
Media Contact: Jonathan Burman, Jeanne Beattie or JP O’Hare
(518) 474-1201         www.nysed.gov

STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT LAUNCHES PATHS TO THE PROFESSIONS WEBSITE

New Website Offers Information on Careers in over 50 Licensed Professions for Students, Parents & Adults

The State Education Department today launched the Paths to the Professions website, a new site aimed at highlighting careers in the licensed professions. The website is a comprehensive tool that offers students, parents and educators an opportunity to learn more about obtaining a professional license.

“Many students graduate high school undecided about what their next step to start a career should be,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said. “The Paths to the Professions website allows students to explore careers that match closely with their strengths and interests, helping to make the transition from school to a career in the licensed professions as seamless as possible.”

“For students across the state, the school year has just started but whether you just started the school year or are someone thinking about a new career, it’s never too early to explore your options,” State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said. “By introducing students and educators to careers in the licensed professions, the Paths to the Professions website provides a road map to careers in the licensed professions.”

The Department’s Office of the Professions, under the direction of the Board of Regents, licenses over 50 professions and oversees nearly 900,000 active professionals. Designed to give students and job seekers a sneak peek at these professions, the new website features insightful profiles for each of the licensed professions. Each profession’s profile highlights what practitioners do, valuable skills and interests that match up with the profession, license requirements, and more. In addition, many profiles offer a video overview of the profession.

Students will have access to explore over 50 professions or select a category of interest:
Health Sciences
Human Services
Business
Design and STEM [Read more…]

NYSSPE – FALL 2018 Select Legislative and Regulatory Update   

NYSSPE – FALL 2018 Select Legislative and Regulatory Update       

Parking Garage Inspections
NYSSPE commends the NYS Department of State and NYS Code Council for final adoption of regulations which are aimed at assuring public safety by requiring periodic inspections of public garages to be conducted by qualified professional engineers.  The new rule (Parts 1202, 1203, and 1204 of Title 19 of the New York Codes, Rules and Regulations) found at: https://www.dos.ny.gov/dcea/noticadopt.html has an effective date of August 29, 2018.  Inspections are required to be undertaken at least once every three years by properly credential professional engineers.  The Society had initially sought passage of legislation to address the absence of mandatory garage inspections in 2016 and thereafter worked with the Department of State and the Code Council to secure this important public safety measure.

Indemnification
Legislation addressing the issue of design professional contractual indemnification on public sector projects (state and local) was a top priority for the Society in 2018.  Unfortunately, after securing near unanimous passage the legislation (A8293-A Morelle / S6622-A Senator Ranzenhofer – 2018) in both houses of the legislature, Governor Cuomo veto the measure due to strong opposition from state agencies and local governments.  The legislation addresses public sector contracts wherein municipalities, state agencies and other governmental entities have inordinate leverage over the terms of indemnification.  Presently, governmental entities can and do unfairly shift the burden to design consulting firms for the cost of future contingent events such as property damage, personal injury and attorneys’ fees with liability arising solely from the terms of the contract and not wrongdoing on the part of the designer.  In many instances design professionals are unable to secure insurance to cover the scope of claims these provisions can generate.   The bill addressed indemnification inequity by voiding contractual provisions requiring defense and indemnification involving a public work to the extent that a design professional is required to defend and indemnify a municipality, state agency, and other governmental entity or other parties for damages that are not the result of the negligence, recklessness, or willful misconduct of the design professional.  Responsibility for loses related to the actions or failures of other parties that are unrelated to the design professional services rightfully rest with the at-fault party or parties.  Design professions simply should not be compelled to provide indemnification for such conduct.

Notwithstanding the design community’s efforts Governor Cuomo vetoed the bill on the ground that the statute would have unnecessarily restricted state and local government’s bargaining power and lead to potential higher costs to governmental units. Both the New York State Conference of Mayors and the New York State Association of Counties along with the general contractors opposed the legislation.  NYSSPE remains committed to adoption of remedial legislation in this area over the long term.  Similar laws are in place in more than 20 sister states.

In the interim the Governor directed that state agencies review current indemnification requirement with a view toward ameliorating the terms of indemnification where gaps in insurance coverages are found.  The Society will be working to insure that our voice is heard on the agency level.

Bachelors’ DegreeProfessional Engineering
 Both houses of the NYS legislature have passed legislation in previous sessions which would for the first time in New York required an applicant for a PE license to have post secondary education consisting of a bachelor’s degree or higher in engineering.  Unfortunately, the Society has not succeeded in passing the bill in both houses in the same year.  We are optimistic that 2019 may provide an opportunity to secure passage in the same year.    [Read more…]

NYSSPE Members attend 2018 Professional Engineer Conference in Las Vegas

From July 18–22 in Las Vegas, at Caesars Palace, NSPE members enjoyed an exciting week full of exceptional education programs, speakers, and great networking.

Laura Pellizzi, PE, Dave Janover, PE, and Andrew Yarmus, PE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year NYSSPE had 7 members attend the conference.  Joe Pasaturo, PE, Nikhil Bodhankar, PE, Laura Pellizzi, PE,  Rudi Sherbanksy, PE, Andrew Yarmus, PE and David Janover, PE (a prior NY’er who has now relocated to Arizona) represented NYSSPE.  Marty Gordon from NAFE (and also an NYSSPE member) was also in attendance.  Andrew Yarmus, PE chaired the last NSPE PEC meeting of his term as chair, represented NSPE PEC at the House of Delegates, and was acknowledged as a member of this year’s class of Fellows.  Laura Pellizzi, PE was appointed as NE Region Candidate Screening Committee representative and represented NY at the House of Delegates (report to come).  Nikhil Bodhankar, PE, of course, was acknowledged as NSPE’s Young Engineer of the Year.

Some Highlights:
Board of Directors, 2018–19
The new 2018–19 Board of Directors has been installed—a talented group to lead NSPE into the future.

NSPE has a new app! The NSPE App houses multiple conference events within one app. You only need to download one app to access an archive of conference events at the palm of your hands.  Download the NSPE App to stay up to date with the latest event news and the full conference schedule.  Explore exciting features to keep you engaged throughout the event, including interactive maps, session and speaker profiles, and much more.

2018 NSPE Award Winners
Young Engineer of the Year Award -NYSSPE’s Nikhil Bodhankar, P.E. (Capital District Chapter)

Images courtesy of NSPE and Christie’s Photographic Studios.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

NSPE 2017-18 Year in Review

NSPE’s Executive Director Mark Golden, FASAE, CAE shared his Yearly Review this month with NSPE:

Read the Year in Review to learn more about advocacy wins, growing federal presence,work on key topics, and much more.

NSPE Annual meeting, July 18–22, 2018 in Las Vegas marked the end of one very eventful program (and fiscal) year, and the start of a new one, with new officers and directors elected and plans in place to pick up right where prior leadership left off. Highlighting some of the progress your society has made, as reported to the membership in Las Vegas at the House of Delegates General Assembly:
The 2017–18 year saw:
• Continuation and even acceleration of the incidents of threats to licensure emerging in state legislatures and executive branches (and continued success by national and its state partners in fighting them off);
• The Committee on Policy and Advocacy completing (and the House of Delegates approving) a total update and refresh of NSPE Professional Policies and Position Statements;
• The Future of Professional Engineering Task Force presenting its final report to an overflow crowd at the convention’s closing session; and
• NSPE continuing its active role advocating for PE involvement in emerging technologies, in particular autonomous vehicles.
All in all, it was a very busy year for NSPE and its strong network of state societies and local chapters.  Throughout 2017–2018, the Society kept the professional engineer front-and-center as it championed the PE license, stood as the ethical guide to the profession, powered professional advancement, and united the PE community.

In terms of membership engagement and utilization of NSPE services, 2017–18 saw:
• A 160% increase in downloads of state-by-state licensing rule reports by members from the NSPE website;
• A 25% increase in the number of new threads created by members in the online Open Forum and a 51% increase in the number of posts;
• NSPE now has 38 active online communities (specific to a committee, task force or other society component) and these see 3,000 to 3,600 logins per quarter;
• Increases in the volume of NSPE mentions and activities on all of the major social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram) from 8% to 197%;
• A 437% increase in the number of members participating in live webinars; and
• A 31% increase in utilization of NSPE “15 Free PDHs.”
Looking beyond core NSPE member services:
• NSPE completed conversion from paper-and-pencil to computer-based testing for NICET certifications and achieved an 8% increase in NICET testing revenues;
• NSPE increased non-dues revenue from affinity program sales by 14%; and
• Increased advertising and sponsorship sales by 19%. [Read more…]

New Firestop Special Inspection Standards

NEW FIRESTOP SPECIAL INSPECTION STANDARDS

Firestopping is a critical area of fire protection in commercial buildings to limit the spread of building fires.  This is the reason NYC Department of Buildings changed their new 2014 code to require firestop special inspections utilizing the ASTM firestop inspection standards for all buildings.  According to these standards, the inspector shall provide visual and/or destructive testing for a percentage of the firestop systems.  The New ASTM firestop inspection standards have proven to be an excellent standard to protect the liability of the special inspection agency and general contractors. To reduce your liability these standards need to be adhered to, so NYSSPE has supported firestop special inspection training for its membership.

Firestop Special Inspection Requirement:

Firestopping, is becoming more and more of a hot button item these days.  Why is that? Because of its extreme importance in fire resistive floors and walls.  Firestopping is the use of materials for building; such as ducts, pipes, etc. that prevent flames, heat and gases from spreading through penetrations of ceilings, walls and floors to restore its full fire rating. Not only do many buildings not have the proper firestop systems installed, but we are finding that it is inexperienced workers from each trade installing the firestop systems, leaving their walls, joints, ceilings, etc. exposed and at great risk.  When a building is at risk, people’s lives are at risk of injury and fatality, that could lead to litigation for your company.  To reduce this liability the NYC Department of Buildings has recently required firestop special inspections according to the new ASTM firestop inspection standards. 

Review Some of the Highlights of the New ASTM Firestop Inspection Standard: 

You may be aware that the International Building Code used in the US has included new firestop inspection standards since the 2012 codes were adopted.  These standards were put in place to help increase the efficiency of firestop systems and inspections.  The ASTM firestop inspection standards have been also adopted into the 2014 NYC codes. The two ASTM Standards are E-2174 (Penetrations) and   E-2393 (Joints) that are in place for special inspectors to adhere to.    These two standards are similar and important to understand, starting with Conflicts of Interest.  The firestop inspector needs to be completely independent of and divested from the installer, contractor, manufacturer, or supplier.   [Read more…]

2018 Incoming President Message from James J. Kuhn, PE.

Thank you for electing me to the position of President of NYSSPE. My journey began with the NYSSPE in 2002. Jennifer Miller invited me to a business card exchange event, and I became a member.  I recognized that being part of the NYSSPE gave me and fellow members the opportunity to learn important business skills, as well as interact with experienced licensed professional engineers. Over time, I got more and more involved with the leadership of the organization, thanks to Wally Waidelich and Jim Galarneau.

I remember a day on the golf course with my father, when someone asked me what I did for a living. I said I was an engineer, and my dad was quick to correct me.  He said “No, you are a professional engineer”. That’s the moment when I realized the standing and recognition of what PE meant to others.

While being involved in the NYSSPE for the past 16 years, I have met many dedicated PE’s and Presidents of this organization. It is with gratitude and respect that I acknowledge Laura Pellizzi, PE, who finishes her term as the organization’s first 2-year term President.

What I’ve learned about Laura is that she’s extremely driven, determined, persistent, and organized. She has accomplished a lot during her term, including recognizing and affecting change in management, increasing activity on a National level, helping to update the Constitution and By-laws, and getting an accurate financial picture. She did a fantastic job getting the operations in order, and leading Executive Committee, Administration, and Board meetings. Laura has unquestionably had the Society’s interest and perpetuation as a top priority. And she did all this as a “volunteer”! Thank you, Laura.

I am very pleased to be working with a wonderfully dedicated staff in Jen Miller, Kathryn Viggiani, and Rachel Pieniazek.  I thank each of them for their hard work and professionalism put forth each day.  In addition to these three terrific ladies that make up the “office” (near and far), we have Mark Kriss, who supports our activities on various fronts. We also have well-rounded Executive and Administrative committees. With everyone’s efforts, we will continue the path that our past presidents and leaders took, while paving new paths with our current and future leaders, and members on the National, State, and Chapter levels.

As we look ahead to the next two years, we need to adapt and evolve while staying true to our mission of protecting the license. Times are changing, and I encourage our members to be part of this change. Stay tuned as we work to develop the next set of initiatives.  Your interaction and ideas are welcome.

I look forward to the next two years.  Thank you.

 

 

 

James J. Kuhn, PE
NYSSPE President

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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.

 

Engineering Ethics: How to Protect Your Engineering License

By Lewis Tesser and Randall Tesser

Bad things happen to good engineers.  Each year, some well-intentioned professional engineers cross over the misconduct threshold, and many, many more are the subject of disciplinary investigations even though they have not committed an ethical violation.  Therefore, it is worth discussing the factors triggering disciplinary investigations and the circumstances frequently attending disciplinary violations.  Whether or not misconduct has been committed, avoiding even the appearance of ethical pitfalls will save you time, money and stress, keep your clients satisfied, and safeguard your license.

Communication, Communication, Communication

In any profession, the vast majority of complaints emanate from unsatisfied clients.[1] The remedy is apparent; keep the customer satisfied. The best way to do this is to maintain good communication. Often, timely and honest communication is the single easiest and greatest step that any professional can take to reduce the likelihood of receiving complaints. What is involved?

Promptly return phone calls and e-mails. Whether you are working directly for a client, are working through a contractor or are part of an organization, whoever your point person is, keep them informed. When clients do not hear from you—even if you are hard at work—they may believe that their project is not important to you. Of course, you do not have to respond to each and every call ten times a day. The key is to communicate. Establish a policy regarding response time, and stick to it. If you are unable to respond, make sure to explain the reason for the unavailability and make a realistic promise as to when the call will be returned.

Document your work. Keep contemporaneous notes of relevant conversations, important events, time devoted and expenses incurred. Maintain records in a way that you can easily retrieve them. With good recordkeeping, you can show your clients all the hard work that you put into their projects. This will be especially useful if a bill is higher than usual.

Speaking of bills, clients should never be surprised. You may feel awkward having spent more time than expected on a project. That is the time to communicate with the client (or your company). Let them know ahead of time if you expect a bill to be high, and explain why the bill is higher than usual (using your well documented records). Consider sending out your bills frequently and regularly so they are not stuck with one big number at the end.

Be Wary of Ethical Grey Areas

            While being a licensed professional involves certain privileges, it also limits the scope of your practice. There are certain activities that are prohibited for professional engineers to take part in, either because they are not the work of a professional engineer, or because they pose a conflict of interest. For example, in some states an engineer may not work for, or with, the government while they are being regulated as a professional. In addition, professional engineers often may not perform work where they have an undisclosed financial interest in a project.[2]

On that note, be aware of local laws and regulations. Different states, counties and municipalities impose different requirements on the practice of engineering. Regardless of where your license was issued, violating local rules and regulations can put your license in jeopardy. A little bit of research goes a long way when working in new or unfamiliar localities. [Read more…]

Legislative Update: Indemnification Passed in Assembly

A.8293A /S.6622A INDEMNIFICATION

A.8293A /S.6622A yesterday passed the Assembly, giving it two-house passage. The bill, which passed the Senate last week, protects design professionals from broad form indemnity demands in public works contracts on both the state and local levels.  These indemnity provisions shift responsibility for damages from the government or third parties (who were at fault) to PEs and other design professionals.  In short, when something goes wrong on a project, though no fault of the design professional, the law should not permit contract terms to shift responsibility to the design professional or the professional design firm. This is precisely what this legislation prohibits.

To read NYSSPE’s entire memorandum in support CLICK HERE.

We extend a huge thank you to our members who have reached out to their legislators on this priority issue.  We would further like to thank other design professional organizations which have joined in the effort.  Governor Cuomo’s approval of this measure, now the focus of our attention, is the next step needed to put this law in place.

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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.

NYSSPE 2018 Annual Conference Recap

The New York State Society of Professional Engineers held their annual conference in Saratoga Springs, NY June 15th and 16th.  The conference was well attended by over 100 engineers and included a variety of learning sessions cover trending topics such as Bio-Engineering, Energy Code, Ethics and Large Diameter Infrastructure needs.  NYSSPE had the pleasure of welcoming Kodi Verhalen, P.E., Esq., F.NSPE; NSPE Immediate Past President who attended conference and Board Meetings.

On Friday evening NYSSPE hosted the Annual Awards and Installation Dinner, during which James Kuhn, P.E. was inducted as the 2018-2020 NYSSPE President.  The awards dinner highlighted NYSSPE award winners that have impacted the industry through a multitude of disciplines and recognized the high honor of Rockland Chapter’s Andrew Yarmus, P.E., F.NSPE who was recently chosen for NSPE Fellow Member and Capital District Chapter’s Nikhil Bodhankar, P.E. who was awarded both NSPE & NYSSPE’s 2018 Young Engineer of the Year.  The project of the year was awarded to PE’s in Construction (PEC) Project of the Year:  The Moynihan Train Hall and Farley Building Redevelopment – Phase 1– New West End.   [Read more…]

Legislative News: Suffolk Septic System Update

Mark Kriss, Esq, NYSSPE’s Legislative Counsel updated NYSSPE members at the Annual Conference meeting this past weekend on the Suffolk Septic System Plan.  He reported that currently we are hopeful that the bill will not be passed in the Assembly, which along with the Senate is expected to recess this week and not return until after the November 2018 elections.  All 213 state senators and members of the assembly, along with the Governor, are up for election and are focused on campaigning.

Currently the Suffolk County Division of Health Services (SCDHS) requires that a septic system for single family homes be designed by a design professional.  According to SCDHS protocols both a standard septic system and an Innovative/Alternative (IA) system, referred to as “nitrogen-reducing sewage disposal system” in the legislation must be designed by a “design professional”.

For standard septic systems, the SCDHS presently accepts plans prepared by a professional engineer or a land surveyor.  It is asserted by SCDHS that the county accepts plans from a land surveyor because in the County’s view the design of these systems is prescriptive based on their standards and requires little or no engineering.  In contrast, for an I/A system, the SCDHS requires plans to be prepared by a design professional (PE or RA).  The agency also require that the engineers be certified by the manufacturers of the system they are specifying so they understand the process design and installation requirements of the systems.   [Read more…]