January 2023 Region 1 Update: Please Allow Me to Introduce Myself

Hello, and welcome to 2023. First, I’d like to introduce myself: My name is Paul Freeman, and I am the new ASPE Region 1 Director. I’d like to thank the Chapters of Region 1 for their confidence and trust in me.

Second, I’d like to share the story of how I got here: I joined ASPE in August of 2002 after having recently become a Professional Engineer in the state of New York. My career was beginning to take shape, and I looked for industry organizations to help myself grow. At that time, I was beginning to do more plumbing and fire protection design in addition to HVAC design. I joined ASPE because it was intriguing to me to see an organization focused on plumbing and fire protection engineering.

After several years as a member of ASPE, a member of the New York City Chapter, and living and working on Long Island, I was disappointed that I had not attended one in-person meeting. I decided to inquire about the possibility of creating a Long Island Chapter. At first, I was met with resistance and non-interest. I did not give up, however, and sometime around 2009 I started contacting ASPE members who lived or worked on Long Island and came across Vinny Falkowski, PE, PMP, CCM. He was genuinely interested in my idea and became instrumental in the creation of the Long Island Chapter. In 2010, Vinny and I attended the ASPE Business Meeting in Philadelphia as spectators, not delegates. It was at that Business Meeting that the proposed charter of our new Chapter was announced. Then in January of 2011, our Chapter was officially chartered. After about five years successfully managing our Chapter as a team, I decided to do something more individually for the Society. In 2016, I ran for a position on the national Board of Directors. I lost that race to the current President, Jim Zebrowski, PE, CPD, FASPE. I ran for positions twice more before finally becoming the Region 1 Director in September 2022.

In April 2022 I passed the CPD exam. I want to share a story about the benefit of the CPD certification and why I decided to take the exam. Perhaps it was my own belief based on discussions with CPD holders or reading through articles and ASPE Connect responses—I always thought that responses from members with certification carried more weight than those without. Even though I was a licensed Professional Engineer, I felt somewhat inferior not having the CPD certification. Passing the exam made me feel respected as a plumbing engineer. Granted, this is only my experience, and I am not saying that one must receive CPD certification to be respected in the industry, but it does help.

Fast forward to today: Within Region 1 we are holding monthly virtual meetings, created a Region contact list, and developed a shared Region calendar, and we continue to be the largest region in ASPE based on membership. Membership levels are way up across the entire Society as compared to pre-pandemic numbers. Last November I attended the NYC Chapter meeting in my quest to fulfill my promise to visit every Chapter of our Region at least once during my first term as Director. In January I plan to visit the New Jersey Chapter. In June our Region will join the other Regions at the first ever Leadership Summit in Chicago. I am very excited for this event as we will be able to share the ideas and updates of all Chapters together as well as catch up with our friends from all over the country. In September of this year, I will be representing Region 1 at the Tech Symposium in Bellevue, Washington.

I look forward to serving the next two years as ASPE Region 1 Director.

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