ACEC-SC had a productive 2015-2016 year. To recap what has gone on in the 2015 -2016 fiscal year, we’ll start in July of 2015.
In July 2015, ACEC-SC launched its off season lobbying effort. This effort put lobbyists Joe and Adam Jones on the road most Wednesdays from July to January. This was an effort to meet with as many legislators on their home turf as possible. At these meetings ACEC-SC members would join Joe and Adam to talk about the issues engineers had before the legislature in the coming year a lot happened at ACEC-SC in the first quarter of the New Year.
ACEC-SC hosted its most successful ACEC-SC / SCDOT Annual meeting in December last year. This meeting was originally scheduled for October, but after the devastating floods, the meeting was forced to be postponed. It was so successful in December, that it will be held in December again in 2016, so mark you calendars for December 7, 2016 at the Columbia Convention Center.
Starting early in January ACEC-SC participated in the successful Legislative Reception sponsored by ACEC-SC, AIA-SC, ASCE-SC, Carolinas AGC, SEASC and SCSPE at the Palmetto Club in Columbia.
ACEC-SC celebrated Engineering Excellence at our 30th Annual Engineering Excellence Award Gala at the Columbia Museum of Art. Also, in February, ACEC-SC and SCSPE members were recognized by the SC House of Representatives and the SC Senate with proclamations on February 24, 2016 during Engineers’ Week.
ACEC-SC concluded its biannual Future Leaders Program at the Engineering Excellence Gala. The 2016 class was recognized at the Gala. Also at the Gala, ACEC-SC awarded a $3,500 scholarship to USC Engineering student, Michael Oswald, who is interning at ACEC-SC member firm, Alliance Engineering.
The Annual ACEC-SC/SCSPE Winter meeting was held at Seawell’s in Columbia where Chair Tom Jordan reported on the organization’s activities which was followed by two professional development tracks – environmental and business. This meeting was a success as well.
In March, Chair Elect Rick Fauteux led our annual planning retreat held at Patriot’s Point in Mt. Pleasant where goals were set and plans were made to reach them. Membership is the name of the game in 2016 -2017, so get your elevator speeches ready, and “Ask me about ACEC-SC.”
Speaking of membership, ACEC-SC held three regional membership meetings this year. These meetings were hosted in Greenville, Charleston, and in Columbia. Next up? Rock Hill early this year.
In April, ACEC-SC had a strong contingency at the ACEC National Convention where ACEC-SC member Peter Strub, PE was elected as Chair of ACEC. While in Washington we had good meetings with the SC Delegation at Consulting Congress day. Eight ACEC-SC Members attended the appointments with the Congressman and Senators.
Our annual scholarship golf tournament was held at the Spur at Northwood’s, with record attendance. We were able to raise enough money for two $3,500 Scholarships and put some money in the education account.
This was a busy legislative session for ACEC-SC. S.685, the Engineers & Surveyors Practice Act, and H. 4661, “the pipe bill” kept ACEC-SC busy the entire session. The Practice Act , S.685, was introduced in 2015, and ACEC-SC was aware it had a couple sections that were controversial, brokering and procuring professional services by direct negotiation rather than bidding (Qualification Based Selection), which was why the off- season lobbying effort was launched. ACEC-SC was also prepared to stop the general contractors from making the term “Engineer” generic. Joe and Adam Jones worked the entire legislative session to get this bill set for a hearings. In the end, the bill was passed, but without brokering or QBS. After much discussion and trust between the parties, ACEC-SC was successful protecting the term engineer. This is something we do expect to resurface. ACEC-SC is also planning to get a QBS bill passed. We will start working with the Water Utility Council soon to see how we can work out a compromise.
The battle to keep PVC pipe from receiving preferential treatment started early in 2016. H.4661 was defeated early in January, but resurfaced in the House of Representatives late May. The bill was able to make the cross over deadline to the Senate. With help from an impromptu coalition made up of Water Utilities, Engineers, and other piping groups, we were able to stall H.4661 in the Senate. We are sure the American Chemical Council will re-introduce this bill next year.
This year ended with our final board meeting being integrated with the Annual Meeting, where Chair Tom Jordan, Davis & Floyd, transferred the gavel to Chair-Elect Rick Fauteux, HDR, and the 2016 -2017 Officers and Directors were sworn in. At the Annual Meeting, longtime Executive Director Joe S. Jones, passed the torch to Deputy Executive Director Adam B. Jones. Joe Jones will remain active with ACEC-SC, but will focus his efforts on advocacy, leaving the day to day business to Adam B. Jones and the staff at Jones McAden & Associates.