Dear Colleagues – As we head into April and the Annual Convention, now less than four weeks away, Council performance is strong – with membership up in both number of firms and employee count; Minuteman Fund grants to West Virginia and Idaho to protect inspection services and lien laws; engagement on President Obama’s directive for new DOL overtime rules; legislation introduced to raise funds in the bond market for water projects; a new ACEC director for energy, industrial and private client practice; and PAC 2014 fundraising at a record pace.
• 3rd Q FY 14 Membership recruitment/retention results are strong with most MOs showing increases in firm and/or employee counts, and membership firm growth up 2.5% overall, the highest rate of growth experienced since the Strategic Plan goal of 2% annual firm growth was originally set in 2002.
• Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), and the Committee’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV), will discuss WRDA, MAP-21 reauthorization and related issues at the ACEC Convention on Tuesday, April 29.
• Other notable speakers at the convention will include: former NSA and CIA director General (Ret.) Michael Hayden; veteran CBS news analyst Bob Schieffer; former IRS Chairman Mark Everson; and U.S. Chamber of Commerce economist Marty Regalia.
• ACEC/PAC raised $250,000 the first quarter of 2014, a record start and on pace to raise $875,000 for the calendar year.
• Former HDR executive Don Sherman has joined the ACEC staff to enhance Council programs in the energy, industrial and commercial sectors.
• Representatives John Duncan (R-TN) and Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) have reintroduced ACEC-backed legislation to give states greater flexibility to raise funds in the bond market to support water projects.
• In response to an ACEC question on the Labor Department’s plans to review overtime rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act, Labor Secretary Perez said that the Department would review both the salary threshold below which workers must be paid overtime and the rules regarding time spent on management duties.
• Joined with other business organizations in voicing strong opposition to a provision in House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp’s tax reform proposal that would raise payroll taxes on S corporation owners; the Council has successfully fought similar proposals in the Senate in recent years.
• House of Representatives passed ACEC-backed legislation – the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2014 – which seeks to encourage energy savings in commercial buildings.
• Awarded a Minuteman grant to ACEC/West Virginia to help defray the cost of legislative action to require the state to have a qualified licensed engineer oversee the inspection and monitoring of above-ground storage tanks and source water protection programs in the wake of last year’s chemical spill that threatened the local water supply.
• Awarded a Minuteman grant to ACEC/Idaho to help defray the cost of an amicus brief in a state Supreme Court case urging protection of the precedence of engineering firms’ liens over liens filed later by mortgage companies.
• Submitted comments to the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) on its proposed rule that would establish a fiduciary duty for municipal advisors, thus raising concerns that prioritizing the client’s financial interests could conflict with the professional engineer’s ethical duty to public safety, health, and welfare.
• ACEC/PAC co-hosted fundraising events this month for House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee members Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Bob Gibbs (R-OH), Reid Ribble (R-WI), House Appropriations Committee Member Mike Simpson (R-ID), Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO), Ways and Means Committee members John Larson (D-CT) and Charles Boustany (R-LA), House Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (D-SC), and House Appropriations Committee member Henry Cuellar (D-TX).
• ACEC’s Registered Continuing Education Program (RCEP) continues to grow robustly with 40,179 users.
• EJCDC released a new commentary (C-001) on the C Series documents.
• Land Development Coalition membership recruitment campaign netted 39 new members.
• Upcoming industry business webinars offered in April: How to Create A Robust Pipeline of Sales Leads Using Social Media; 14 Proven Sales Techniques to Win the Sales Cycle; Ten Top Tips of Terrific Communicators; Getting Paid Without Getting Sued; A Tour of the Horizon for Architecture, Engineering and Construction Service Opportunities with the United States Government; Small Firm Business Continuity Planning for Severe Weather; Success on Tap: What Small A/E Firms Need to Know About Maximizing Financial Performance; Strengthening Your Organization’s Future: Getting Started on Strategic Planning; Win More Work by Presenting with More Power and Less PowerPoint; and Optimizing Your Outlook: Time Management Tips & Tricks for Busy Outlook Users.
• Hosted sold-out Business of Design Consulting, focused on the ins-and-outs of firm finance, HR, business management, legal issues and contracting; next BDC will be held in September.