SCSPE had a productive 2015 2016 year. To recap what has gone on in the 2015 -2016 fiscal year, we’ll start in July of 2015.
In July 2015, SCSPE launched the off season lobbying effort. This effort put lobbyist Joe and Adam Jones on the road most Wednesdays from July to January. This was an effort to meet with as many legislators on their home turf as possible. At these meetings, SCSPE members would join Joe and Adam to talk about legislative issues engineers had in the coming year.
In September, the SCSPE Board of Directors adopted a new three year Strategic Plan. The strategic plan drafted by a committee led by Vice President Angela Musselwhite. It focuses on Member Value, Member Engagement, Professional & Leadership Development, and Advocacy.
SCSPE continued the SCSPE Fall Symposium this year. This year’s topic was Project Management for Design Professionals. These programs were held in both Greenville and Charleston, with record attendance in both locations. The Symposium continues to be a great program SCSPE Offers.
Starting early in January SCSPE participated in the successful Legislative Reception sponsored by ACEC-SC, AIA-SC, ASCE-SC, Carolinas AGC, SEASC and SCSPE at the Palmetto Club in Columbia.
The Annual ACEC-SC/SCSPE Winter meeting was held at Seawell’s in Columbia where Executive Director Adam Jones reported on the organization’s activities which was followed by two professional development tracks – environmental and business. This meeting was a success as well.
In May, Vice President Angela Musselwhite led our annual planning retreat held at the SC Fire Academy in Columbia, SC. NSPE President Tim Austin, PE joined us for this planning retreat and gave us some insight on what NSPE is planning for the upcoming year. Musselwhite plans on bridging the gap between State/Chapter this year as well as working on growing the membership, and continue implementing the Strategic Plan adopted in September.
January began a busy legislative session for SCSPE. S.685, the Engineers & Surveyors’ Practice Act, and H. 4661, “the pipe bill” kept SCSPE busy the entire session. The Practice Act , S.685, was introduced in 2015, and SCSPE was aware it had a couple sections that were viewed as controversial, brokering and procuring professional services by direct negotiation rather than bidding (Qualification Based Selection), which was why the off season lobbying effort was launched. SCSPE was also prepared to stop the general contractors from making the term “Engineer” generic. Joe and Adam Jones worked all legislative session to get this bill set for hearings. In the end, the bill was passed, but without brokering or QBS. After a much discussion and trust between the parties, SCSPE was successful on protecting the term engineer. This is something we do expect to resurface. SCSPE is also planning to get a QBS bill passed. We will start working with the Water Utility Council soon to see how we can work out a compromise.
The battle to keep PVC pipe from receiving preferential treatment started early in 2016. H.4661 was defeated in the House of Representatives early in January, but resurfaced in late May. It was able to make the cross over deadline to the Senate. With help from a impromptu coalition made up of Water Utilities, Engineers, and other piping groups, we were able to stall H.4661 in the Senate. We are sure the American Chemical Council will re-introduce this bill next year.
This year ended with our final board meeting being integrated with the Annual Meeting, where 2016 -2017 Officers and Directors were sworn in at the SC Engineering Conference & Trade Show.
SCSPE is off to a running start in 2016 -2017. Be on the lookout for ways to volunteer, committees to join, and members to recruit.