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 Spring 2015  
 by Debra Trace

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Business Practices Committee >>>

The Business Practices Committee has had an active year so far, having held two Business Practices Committee meetings and three meetings in conjunction with the CFO Committee.

Committee meetings have focused on health care with industry updates on provisions of the Affordable Care Act and strategies for controlling health care costs. Joint initiatives with the CFO Committee have included active involvement in addressing member concerns with Pennsylvania’s FAR Audit practices and federal initiatives relating to proposed tax changes and proposed changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The Business Practices Committee completed updating and distribution of its bi-annual Office Practices Survey in January. Results are currently being tabulated and should be available to member firms soon.

In December, the committee published its annual position paper, “The Business of Engineering in Pennsylvania,” which addressed federal acquisition regulations, audits, PennDOT contract procedures, the Adverse Interest Act, corporate registration reform, professional engineering registration, and cash-basis accounting.


Engineering Careers & Workforce Committee >>>

ACEC/PA’s Engineering Careers & Workforce Committee is at work developing a website that could become a valuable tool for students considering engineering as a career. The committee convened in late January to discuss the status of the proposed educational outreach website. The website will provide an interactive venue where prospective engineering students (and/or their parents) could assess their interest in engineering, view the variety of available engineering career paths, read profiles of representative projects, and obtain additional information through links to educational institution and engineering firm websites.

School guidance counselors will be able to use the site to learn about the engineering fields and the various institutions of higher education that offer engineering programs to help them guide the students in their decision-making. Lastly, the site would serve as a location for posting outreach events where students and/or member organizations can attend job fairs and other similar opportunities. In the coming months, the Engineering Careers & Workforce Committee will be developing the various page mock-ups and links in a draft website.


Transportation Committee >>>

The Transportation committee has nine active subcommittees as well as the ACEC/PA – PennDOT Task Force.  Here are highlights of several of subcommittees’ recent activities:

ACEC/PA-PennDOT Task Force – The task force meets quarterly with PennDOT management in order to maintain open communications on issues and new PennDOT activities.  Recent discussions have focused on issues related to construction inspection, design quality, Diverse Business requirements, and changes to the local project delivery process.

Aviation Subcommittee – The Aviation Subcommittee is just starting up and a meeting is being scheduled with the full subcommittee membership to identify direction of the subcommittee and agenda items for an initial meeting with Philadelphia International Airport management to be scheduled in the near future. Matt Marquardt, chair

DRJTBC/DRPA Subcommittee – A number of teleconferences have been scheduled with individuals interested in participating on the DRJTBC/DRPA Subcommittee, including one on March 11. Meetings are being scheduled for May 13, September 9, and November 11. Jim Maloney, chair

Construction Services Subcommittee –The Construction Services subcommittee is currently involved in discussions related to tracking weekly inspector time and expenses, the use of tablet computers in the field, and workforce development.  Matt Natale, chair

Contract Administration Subcommittee – The Contract Administration Subcommittee meets regularly with PennDOT’s Consultant Agreement Unit.  The subcommittee is currently working to improve consultant notification and reporting to satisfy the Diverse Business requirements. They have also been involved with establishing a new procedure for determining profit factors, the Mutual Gains process, and others. Steve Bolt, chair

Quality Subcommittee – A sub group of the Quality Subcommittee meets regularly as part of an ACEC/PennDOT Quality Task Force.  The task force is continuing to focus on improving the overall quality of projects and investigating what information should be examined to improve design. The Task Force last met January 13 and is scheduled to meet again in March.  Scott Zeevaart, chair

DBE Subcommittee –The DBE Subcommittee is currently looking for a volunteer to fill the position of vice chair and for additional members interested in actively participating in the group. This subcommittee’s focus is issues facing DBE firms.  Sharmon Winters, chair


Government Affairs Committee >>>

One of the ACEC/PA committees that holds regular meetings with scheduled programs, the Government Affairs Committee (GAC) offers speakers at its Government Affairs Breakfasts.  Many of these speakers are made available to our ACEC membership in a small forum allowing for direct interaction and valuable insight into our profession.

Highlights of other recent and regularly scheduled GAC initiatives include:

· ACEC/PA Legislative Day, typically held in the spring in Harrisburg as well as at the National Convention in Washington DC this year April 19-22.

· Legislative Reception is hosted in the fall to meet and greet with Legislators and thank those who are leaving office for their dedication and support.

· PA Consulting Engineers Political Action Committee (PaCE PAC) is the voice of the engineering industry in Harrisburg, contributing to candidates who support ACEC/PA issues without regard to political party. PaCE PAC fundraising events allow ACEC/PA members to interact with their peers while supporting the PaCE PAC.

· The GAC’s Position Papers – Transportation Funding, Legal Reform, Environmental Investment/Marcellus Shale, and Business of Engineering – are updated annually. Revised versions of these important white papers will soon be available via links on the GAC page of ACEC/PA’s website.


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