February 2023 From the President’s Keyboard: Thoughts on the Last Board Meeting

My first order of business this month is to ask our Professional Engineer members, “Have you completed that all-important NCEES PAKS survey?” You should have received an email about the survey. One more reminder, please complete the survey. We don’t want the window to close on getting a plumbing option added to the Mechanical Engineering PE exam. Eight years will be a long wait to get this back in front of NCEES.

As of this writing, we just completed our February Board meeting. It was a solid day-and-a-half meeting, driven by a lengthy agenda. I’d like to commend the Board of Directors and ASPE Staff for staying focused and surviving through to the end. Regarding the agenda, I don’t know if it’s common knowledge or not, but the discussions at all of our Board meetings are available to any member upon request, generally one month following the meeting. On the subsequent monthly Board call, the BOD reviews a compilation of the meeting highlights and votes to approve and adopt them, either as presented or amended. Following approval, the highlights then become available to you, the member. It makes for some great reading for anyone interested (or anyone who suffers from insomnia).

If you’re interested in a sneak preview of this last Board meeting, I can disclose one item of discussion in advance, which did not turn out the way I thought it would; the great thing is that it exceeded my expectations. At our first Board meeting after the Convention in Indianapolis, I had asked each Board officer to come up with an idea that can move ASPE forward. I was thinking we could get one or two ideas that could be implemented. Well, that just didn’t work out the way I thought. As a result of our exercise, I am happy to report that we came up with no less than 10 ideas. Each one of those is a very viable, very workable suggestion that we can put in place. I won’t get into the particulars of those right here, but each Board member believes theirs can help and will follow through and push ASPE to that next level. The point of this sneak preview is more to point out the power of pooling the collective ideas of creative people. You’ve got a creative Board of Directors working on your behalf.

We also discussed Society committee structure and leadership at our Board meeting. I will be making calls to each committee chair, as some changes have been made. I also want to remind anyone interested in serving on a committee to upload your application. On the ASPE website, log in as a member and then go to aspe.org/wp-content/uploads/committee_form_01202023.pdf.

The application upload is required whether you’re a returning committee member or a new volunteer. ASPE can use your help.

Within your respective Regions, you may have heard of a push to establish Chapter Ambassadors. It’s intended to improve the number of dropped members that seems to occur in the one- to three-year range. If we can improve on that number and keep recruiting new members as we have, then ASPE Chapter membership should increase across the board. What better way to help a new member feel welcome at a Chapter meeting than to have an established (and sociable) individual welcome that new member and introduce them to the old hands?

The idea has been around for a while, and there is actually a link to its benefits on the ASPE Chapter Officers page. The advice there is only that—just advice. Every Chapter can draw from that and work with it as they see fit. To me, it seems like a no-brainer. If your Chapter doesn’t already have something in place, I urge you to give it a try. In fact, I will be calling Chapter VPMs to either get your impression of the benefits or ask why you’re not trying it. It is that important. We need to work on that retention.

I will be back with more in next month’s column. The ASPE schedule seems to get more full all the time. I’ll cover some of those events next time. For now, happy Valentine’s Day and happy Engineers Week to everyone. Continue to make a difference, both professionally and in your daily life. Practice random acts of kindness whenever you can. The payback on that is immediate. Thank you, again, for reading this.

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