Former NYC DOT Traffic Commissioner, Sam Schwartz P.E. will Discuss Autonomous Vehicles at The 2019 National Engineers Week Celebration Event in NYC

By the PEs in Construction Group,  January 2019.   

Former NYC DOT Traffic Commissioner, Sam Schwartz P.E.  will discuss the pros and cons of driver-less cars at NYSSPE’s 2019 NYC Engineers Week Celebration Event, which will be held on Monday February 18th, 2019 at the Time Square Marriott Marquis in New York City.  Mr. Schwartz will discuss the adaptability of driver-less cars to urban roads and lay out the future of driver-less traffic.  While there are some major benefits—fewer crashes, less parking, and greater productivity while motoring, there is also a need to be aware of the big concerns. Autonomous vehicles (AVs) will affect family and work life, business, politics, ethics, the environment, travel, and health. City planning will change significantly as AVs will dominate transportation over the next generation. The streets cape, as we know it today, may be dramatically altered.  Mr. Schwartz will provide an overview of the concepts discussed in his latest book NO ONE AT THE WHEEL which will provide a road map for how to respond to the inevitable changes that autonomous vehicles will bring.  Stakeholders and citizens will need to work together with government to maximize the benefits of this technology while minimizing its downsides.

The autonomous vehicles presentation will be part of a series of 6 presentations (6-PDH) celebrating Engineers Week on Monday February 18, 2019 with some very interesting topics focused on infrastructure improvements and green/energy efficient measures.  The PE’s In Construction Group of NYSSPE is organizing this presentation series in conjunction with the Association of Towns of the State of New York (AOT) at the AOT 2019 Training School and Annual Meeting.  This will be the Association of Town’s 86th Annual Meeting. The event attracts elected and appointed officials from more than three-quarters of the state’s 932 towns.

To find out more information about the presentations and the 2019 National Engineers Week celebration event in NYC, CLICK HERE

Mr. Schwartz is currently President, and CEO of Sam Schwartz Transportation Consultants, a firm that specializes in transportation planning and engineering. In addition to his 1982 to 1986 post as Traffic Commissioner at the New York City Department of Transportation, he has served as an adjunct professor of engineering at Cooper Union, Long Island University, and Brooklyn College.  Mr. Schwartz is also the Inaugural Ted Kheel Fellow at Hunter College’s Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute. Among the many roles he has held throughout his career, he is the acclaimed author of Street Smart: The Rise of Cities and The Fall of Cars, and No One at the Wheel: Driver-less Cars and the Road of the Future (2018). He also pens the “Gridlock Sam” and “Transit Sam” columns in the New York Daily News and Downtown Express.   [Read more…]

NSPE Update-from Executive Director Mark J. Golden, FASAE, CAE

NSPE Update from Executive Director Mark J. Golden, FASAE, CAE

The year is just getting started, but there’s a lot to report. Check out the highlights covering January 1–15, 2019.

• How to Stay Current on Leadership Issues
• Court Ruling Preserves PE Designation
• 2019 Legislative Outlook and Webinar
• Challenges to Certification
New Lineup of 15 Free Courses
• Membership Campaign in High Gear
• Record-Breaking NAFE Conference
• NICET News
• Headquarters Operations


15th Annual CNY Engineering Expo Recap

Over 550 attendees participated in the 15th Annual CNY Engineering Expo on November 12th, at The Onecenter in downtown Syracuse, NY. This year’s event included the opportunity to earn up to 7 PDH credits with more than forty speakers and seventeen exhibitors offering seven separate engineering education tracts: civil, electrical, fire protection, mechanical, lighting, structural and professional/sustainability.

During the lunchtime program, Don Nims, PE, presented a compelling Ethics program engaging the audience with live interactive questions and answers with results tallied in real time. Don is a long-time member of NSPE and former president of The New York State Society of Professional Engineers. As this year’s event took place on Veteran’s Day, all veterans in attendance were recognized for their service – an impressive number of engineers in attendance have served our country.

The highlight of the event was the announcement of the first recipients of the Mike Hayes Memorial Scholarship. Mike Hayes was the visionary and founder of the Expo who passed away much too soon in 2017. Mike worked at C&S Companies as an electrical engineer for many years and was very involved in the community. The first winners of this scholarship are Madison Gross and David Procopio, both seniors in college studying engineering.

Save the date for the 16th annual CNY Engineering Expo November 4, 2019.

NYC DOB and DDC to Address Design Professionals on October 19th at NYC Design Professionals Day.

On Friday October 19th, the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) will provide several presentations to inform design professionals and the construction industry about important design considerations and about conducting inspections in the City, as well as about the recent initiatives by the department. The event will be held at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering (NYU-Poly), Pfizer Auditorium, 5 Metrotech Center, Brooklyn, NY 11201. For more information and to RSVP to the event CLICK HERE.

The full day event will begin with a keynote speech by DOB’s First Deputy Commissioner Thomas Fariello R.A., who will discuss recent developments and an update on the online filing system being implemented by the department. DOB’s Chief Structural Engineer Dan Eschenasy, PE, F.SEI, SECB, will provide an overview of post fire structural investigations by design professionals (1 PDH). Chief of DOB’s Forensic Engineering Unit, Tim Lynch PE, will discuss Building Typology and NYC’s building classifications system (1 PDH) as well as lessons from the recent damage assessments in Puerto Rico (1 PDH). In addition, DOB’s Director of Sustainability Enforcement, Holly Savoia PE will discuss TR-8 energy progress inspections conducted by design professionals in New York City (1 PDH).

In addition, the Deputy Commissioner of the NYC Department of Design & Construction (DDC) Eric Macfarlane, PE, M.ASCE, will provide an overview of New York City’s efforts to engineer sustainability and resiliency in the face of Global warming and associated sea level rise projection and extreme weather events (1 PDH). Mr. Macfarlane will discuss NYC’s emissions reduction efforts to date and NYC’s Roadmap to 80% GHG reduction by 2050. Also discussed will be a few DDC projects and case studies related to sustainability and resiliency and 80X20 efforts to preserve and improve the quality of life for NYC residents. For more information and to RSVP to the event use the following link: RSVP to Event.

The presentation by DOB’s Director of Sustainability Enforcement, Holly Savoia PE will include a discussion on changes in the energy code and the continually evolving knowledge base of design professionals in an effort to improve energy performance and sustainable building practices in construction. Strong enforcement and education are a necessary component of this effort, and TR-8 progress inspectors play a crucial part in the bridge between the design phase and construction. The presentation will identify the resources available to design professionals for the conduct of progress inspections with respect to the energy code, the administration process to be followed, lessons learned by the Department of Buildings during a recent pilot study of alteration projects, a discussion of challenges, and what is coming up on the horizon.

The presentation by DOB’s Chief Structural Engineer Dan Eschenasy, PE, F.SEI, SECB, will include an overview of Post Fire Structural Investigations. Material specific methods of post-fire inspection and evaluation will be presented. Following a fire incident structural engineers are called to evaluate the structural stability and condition of the remaining structure and determine the needs for structural repairs. Fire characteristics and the effect of fire on various construction materials will be discussed (steel, concrete, stone and wood). [Read more…]

State Education Department Launches Paths to the Professions Website

Media Contact: Jonathan Burman, Jeanne Beattie or JP O’Hare
(518) 474-1201


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
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: 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.

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.











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


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

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.


Share This