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Useful Information and Tactics for Attaining a Practice Act for Structural Engineering By Barry Arnold P.E., S.E., SECB.

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Presentation on theme: "Useful Information and Tactics for Attaining a Practice Act for Structural Engineering By Barry Arnold P.E., S.E., SECB."— Presentation transcript:

1 Useful Information and Tactics for Attaining a Practice Act for Structural Engineering By Barry Arnold P.E., S.E., SECB

2 Know Who You’re Dealing With “We’re proposing this Bill on it’s own merits - because it’s the right thing to do.” “We don’t pass Bills based on their merits or principle. Right has nothing to do with the decisions that are made.”

3 Make Sure YOUR Heart is in the Right Place What is your motivation? What is your motivation? –Form an elitist group. –Make more money by limiting competition. –Force other professions to respect us. To live up to our ethical obligation to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of the general public. To live up to our ethical obligation to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of the general public.

4 There are Different Methods with Notable Differences that Yield Similar Results Option A Lobbyist Lobbyist $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ Low time demand Low time demand Passive Passive Option B Do-it-yourself Do-it-yourself ¢ ¢ ¢ ¢ ¢ ¢ ¢ ¢ ¢ ¢ ¢ ¢ High time demand High time demand Active Active Both methods are proven and acceptable. One method is not better than the other, but you must understand the differences before you begin.

5 Does anyone know who you are? Does your state proctor the NCEES Struct. I and II exams? Does your state proctor the NCEES Struct. I and II exams? Do you have SE’s on your Licensing Board? Do you have SE’s on your Licensing Board? What about other appointed state advisory boards? What about other appointed state advisory boards? Do you attend the Licensing Board meetings? Do you attend the Licensing Board meetings? Have you asked to address the Board and propose a Practice Act? Have you asked to address the Board and propose a Practice Act? Be VISIBLE and VOCAL and INVOLVED. You’ve got to start somewhere!

6 Not only at a state level but also in your engineering related associations. ASCE Chapters and Leadership ASCE Chapters and Leadership NSPE Chapters and Leadership NSPE Chapters and Leadership CASE / SEI CASE / SEI Etc. Etc. You can’t be a leader if you’re happy being a follower.

7 It’s never to early to get the PR machine running! Magazine and newspaper articles of local interest and concern. Magazine and newspaper articles of local interest and concern. –Why did my neighbor's house fall down? What can I do to prevent it? –Who’s looking out for you after a natural disaster? Emphasize: What structural engineers do and what sets them apart from other branches of engineering. Emphasize: What structural engineers do and what sets them apart from other branches of engineering. Differentiate Structural Engineering Differentiate Structural Engineering

8 Rally The Troops! SEA Membership – Involve ALL of them by making sure they’re informed ! SEA Membership – Involve ALL of them by making sure they’re informed ! –Newsletter articles. –Frequent (monthly) s. –Be specific and direct. –Inform them about the lines of communication. Emphasize : Emphasize : –Importance – Life Safety. –Code of Ethics – Protect the public. –Purpose – So we won’t have to count bodies. Wave the banner high and scream loud: Wave the banner high and scream loud: “This is the place where structural engineers that are concerned about public safety gather!”

9 Your Committee: Who’s on and who’s off? Trust – Hold your cards close to your chest – don’t reveal all your secrets / game plans. Trust – Hold your cards close to your chest – don’t reveal all your secrets / game plans. Communication – Loose lips sink ships and kills Bills. Communication – Loose lips sink ships and kills Bills. Fast and Effective Communication. Fast and Effective Communication. – s, Home phone number, personal cell phones, etc. Attendance is mandatory – be informed. Attendance is mandatory – be informed. –Decisions are made by those in attendance. No mavericks please! No mavericks please! Emphasize: “There is no reverse – only full steam ahead. Calculated and planned progress requires everyone’s commitment and dedication.” ‘A’ Group and ‘B’ Group

10 A Moment of Truth You only know what you know – and a lot of what you think you know is wrong. You only know what you know – and a lot of what you think you know is wrong. –I believe…. –I heard….. –I feel….. –I think….. Ask a lot of questions from a variety of people. No single person is going to have all the correct answers. Ask a lot of questions from a variety of people. No single person is going to have all the correct answers.

11 Gather all the information you can about every Legislator It’s all on the internet It’s all on the internet –Home address – address –Office address Districts Districts –Most Legislators don’t care about and won’t read anything unless it’s from their constituent. –Where is your (or your spouses, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, employees, etc.) office, home?

12 Why they act the way they do? No legislator wants to sponsor a Bill that will fail. It’s bad for their campaign and image. No legislator wants to sponsor a Bill that will fail. It’s bad for their campaign and image. No legislator wants to put a lot of time and effort into a cause unless it gets headlines. No legislator wants to put a lot of time and effort into a cause unless it gets headlines. All legislators answer to their party leadership. All legislators answer to their party leadership. Secretly, they want to know what’s in it for them. Secretly, they want to know what’s in it for them.

13 Important Considerations: Does it cost anyone? Does it cost anyone? –The State (Administration, Enforcement…etc.) –Their Constituents (Increased construction costs) Does it restrain/restrict any business? Does it restrain/restrict any business? –Will it adversely affect existing businesses? If the answer is yes - – you’re in for a fight.

14 Pick Your Legislator Download bio and information off the internet Download bio and information off the internet Majority –vs- minority Majority –vs- minority R’s and D’s – look for co-sponsors R’s and D’s – look for co-sponsors Know the Senate and House leadership Know the Senate and House leadership Focus on both the Senate and House Focus on both the Senate and House Elections are this Fall Elections are this Fall –You may be asked to donate to their campaign. –They may not get re-elected. Do you have a plan B? Longevity – Freshman –vs- Senior legislator. Longevity – Freshman –vs- Senior legislator. Interview them – there are a lot more engineers (or want-to-be engineers) in the legislature than you know. Do they care about this issue? Interview them – there are a lot more engineers (or want-to-be engineers) in the legislature than you know. Do they care about this issue? PICK CAREFULLY. PICK CAREFULLY.

15 Educate Your Legislator They must fully understand the reasons and purpose behind the Bill. They must fully understand the reasons and purpose behind the Bill. They must stand ‘alone’ on the Senate and House floor to speak for the Bill and answer questions. Make sure they’re well prepared. They must stand ‘alone’ on the Senate and House floor to speak for the Bill and answer questions. Make sure they’re well prepared. Make sure all of your printed materials (One- pagers) are in the sponsors and ALL the Legislator’s hands when the Bill is read. Make sure all of your printed materials (One- pagers) are in the sponsors and ALL the Legislator’s hands when the Bill is read.

16 Write the Bill yourself! Shoot for the Stars! Shoot for the Stars! (The Bill will get whittled down – give ‘them’ something to chew on.) –Ask for EVERTHING you would want as if it was a perfect world – yes everything! –What do you want in the Bill? –Offer no apologies.

17 What do you want in the Act? (Have plenty of meat on the bone) Building type Building type Building occupancy Building occupancy Building use Building use Building size Building size High wind speed High wind speed High snow loads High snow loads Site Class Site Class Soils considerations Soils considerations –Liquefaction Other….. Other…..

18 Don’t Leave the Verbiage to Chance (14)"Professional structural engineering or the practice of structural engineering" means [the design and analysis of complex buildings and structures and includes the definition of professional engineering or the practice of engineering provided in Subsection (9)] a service or creative work in the following areas, and may be further defined by rule by the division in collaboration with the board[.]: (14)"Professional structural engineering or the practice of structural engineering" means [the design and analysis of complex buildings and structures and includes the definition of professional engineering or the practice of engineering provided in Subsection (9)] a service or creative work in the following areas, and may be further defined by rule by the division in collaboration with the board[.]: – (a)providing structural engineering services for significant structures including: (i)buildings and other structures representing a substantial hazard to human life, which include: (i)buildings and other structures representing a substantial hazard to human life, which include: – (A)buildings and other structures whose primary occupancy is public assembly with an occupant load greater than 300; – (B)buildings and other structures with elementary school, secondary school or day care facilities with an occupant load greater than 250; Prepare the changes in the Act in its final format. (The big picture is helpful)

19 The Transition Clause is ‘THE’ most important thing! Open the door wide Open the door wide –Less fighting –Less opposition –More want-to-be’s –Easier to pass Bill Restrict Access Restrict Access –A lot of fighting –More Opposition –Less want-to-be’s –More difficult to pass Bill Do not underestimate the importance of the Transition Clause. This topic requires substantial consideration.

20 Beware: Unintended consequences Unintended consequences –Look at the proposed language from all perspectives. Wording – legal definition(s) Wording – legal definition(s) –(Not necessarily the common usage /definition found in the dictionary. Watch for words with double/multiple meanings.) Once you open the Act – anyone can add to it. (A common method to kill the Bill) Once you open the Act – anyone can add to it. (A common method to kill the Bill)

21 Be willing to negotiate, compromise and acquiesce The single best way to kill your Bill is to hold a hard line. The single best way to kill your Bill is to hold a hard line. The single best way to get your Bill passed is to be willing to give and take a little. The single best way to get your Bill passed is to be willing to give and take a little.

22 Get the PR Train Rolling Have your talking points and one-pager ready – you’re going to need them. Have your talking points and one-pager ready – you’re going to need them. –Television –Radio –Newspapers (recent building upgrades) –Magazines (Who/what’s on the cutting edge of safety.) What’s in it for their viewers, listeners or, readers? What’s in it for their viewers, listeners or, readers? Who’s doing the talking / writing? Who’s doing the talking / writing?Emphasize: Reasons that lay-persons will care about. A personal touch in your message that can be understood by everyone!

23 Opposition and Supporters Opposition and Supporters NSPE NSPE Contractors (Costs) Contractors (Costs) Residential Residential –(Lot’s of clout) Bridges (Specialized) Bridges (Specialized) Individuals Individuals NCSEA NCSEA ASCE / SEI ASCE / SEI ACEC? ACEC? AIA AIA –(Handled correctly) Building Officials Building Officials DOPL DOPL PTA PTA

24 Two important questions to ask yourself and everyone else: 1) “Do you know the qualifications of the engineer that designed your school, mall, police and fire station, office, or church?” 1) “Do you know the qualifications of the engineer that designed your school, mall, police and fire station, office, or church?” 2) “Does it matter?” 2) “Does it matter?”

25 Can you make the case? Schools Schools Malls Malls Police and Fire Stations Police and Fire Stations Office Buildings Office Buildings Churches Churches Public gathering places (arenas, auditoriums) Public gathering places (arenas, auditoriums) Recent significant structural upgrades to correct deficient designs. Recent significant structural upgrades to correct deficient designs. Document poor design practices (DOPL or Building Officials). Document poor design practices (DOPL or Building Officials). Failures. Failures.

26 s and Letters Short, sweet and direct to the point s and letters get read – everything else gets thrown out. Short, sweet and direct to the point s and letters get read – everything else gets thrown out. Short: two 5 sentence paragraphs maximum. Short: two 5 sentence paragraphs maximum. Sweet: cordial (but pointed) – no name calling. Sweet: cordial (but pointed) – no name calling. Direct: Direct: You support the Bill AS IS (no buts allowed) Explain why you support the Bill AS IS.

27 Support – have you got it? Support looks like this: Support looks like this: “I fully and completely support …… as it is written” Non-support looks like this: Non-support looks like this: “I support …….. but suggest the following changes:” “I agree with ….. in principle but would request…”

28 Critical Component: The Tree The warning went out. The warning went out. One to ten people. One to ten people. Ten people sent the warning to ten more people. Ten people sent the warning to ten more people. Who…… Who…… 300 s in 1 hour s in 1 hour. Only include TRUSTED people in tree. Only include TRUSTED people in tree.

29 The Legislative Process (Know the Gatekeepers) DOPL/Board (Get blessing and input) DOPL/Board (Get blessing and input) Legislative Analyst (Review legal aspects) Legislative Analyst (Review legal aspects) Interim Committee {G} (1 Vote) Interim Committee {G} (1 Vote) Fiscal Note Fiscal Note Senate Committee {G} (1 Vote) Senate Committee {G} (1 Vote) Senate {G} (3 readings - 2 votes) Senate {G} (3 readings - 2 votes) House Committee {G} (1 Vote) House Committee {G} (1 Vote) House {G} (3 readings - 2 Votes) House {G} (3 readings - 2 Votes)

30 Don’t be afraid to jump in the muck and get dirty – very dirty! If you want to win you’re going to have to stand up where everyone can take pot-shots at you. Do not keep a low (safe) profile and ‘see what happens’. If you want to win you’re going to have to stand up where everyone can take pot-shots at you. Do not keep a low (safe) profile and ‘see what happens’. It’s a war: It’s a war: –Go in prepared. –Wave your banner (cause) proudly. –Rally the troops. –When the battle is raging and verbal bullets are flying – SHOOT BACK!

31 Counter the opposition: “I don’t support the Bill.” “I don’t support the Bill.” “What is it about public safety you dislike?” “Are your constituents aware that you don’t care about them?” “Are we currently having a problem?” “Are we currently having a problem?” “I’d rather have action now than a body-count later wouldn’t you?.” “Ethics can’t/shouldn’t be legislated.” “Ethics can’t/shouldn’t be legislated.” “We’re not trying to. This Bill is about protecting the public – like drivers licenses, speed limits and seat belt laws. They’re good laws aren’t they? “Aren’t Professional Engineers intelligent and capable?” “Aren’t Professional Engineers intelligent and capable?” “History is full of people that were intelligent and capable that didn’t work for the public good.”

32 Counter the opposition: “Won’t buildings cost more?” “Won’t buildings cost more?” “The code establishes the minimum legal requirements. This Bill makes sure that certain structures are designed in accordance with the code. Shouldn’t public safety be our primary concern?” “PEs and SEs aren’t they all the same?” “PEs and SEs aren’t they all the same?” “Experience, education and examination separate SEs from PEs. Shouldn’t the most qualified engineers design our public buildings?”

33 Do what it takes Crush the opposition by volume not logic. Crush the opposition by volume not logic. Counter attack. Counter attack. Dam(n). Dam(n). Isn’t this an election year? I’m considering running just to debate this issue. Isn’t this an election year? I’m considering running just to debate this issue.

34 When the Bill passes – have integrity Promises were made – keep them. Promises were made – keep them. Deals were arranged – fulfill them. Deals were arranged – fulfill them. Agreements were made – honor them. Agreements were made – honor them. Do what you said you’d do.

35 Integrity Counts: It makes it easier to protect the changes to the Act. It makes it easier to protect the changes to the Act. Anyone/Association can come back next year and make additional changes or deletions to the Act. Anyone/Association can come back next year and make additional changes or deletions to the Act. Beware the Sunset Act Beware the Sunset Act –(Every 7 years ???).

36 Title Act –vs- Practice Act TITLE ACT Limits use of term “Structural Engineer”. Limits use of term “Structural Engineer”. Doesn’t limit practice. Doesn’t limit practice. PRACTICE ACT Limits practice – restricts the design of certain kinds of structures to licensed structural engineers. Limits practice – restricts the design of certain kinds of structures to licensed structural engineers. EOR must be a licensed structural engineer. EOR must be a licensed structural engineer. Unintended Consequence: How many structural engineers are in your office?

37 Final Thought: “Within the ranks of the structural engineering profession are some of the brightest minds on earth. Structural engineers have nothing to be ashamed of except for their lack of desire to stand up, stand out, and speak out for a good and honorable cause. We must now choose to be leaders or remain followers.” “Within the ranks of the structural engineering profession are some of the brightest minds on earth. Structural engineers have nothing to be ashamed of except for their lack of desire to stand up, stand out, and speak out for a good and honorable cause. We must now choose to be leaders or remain followers.” Barry Arnold P.E.,S.E.,SECB 2004 The choice is yours.


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