Joe S. Jones
A lot happens at ACEC-SC in the first quarter of the new year.
To recap our activities since 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. We 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 during Engineers’ Week.
ACEC-SC concluded its bi-annual 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.
ACEC-SC held three Board of Directors meetings where three new ACEC-SC members and one affiliate member were approved along with other business. 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. Prior to the retreat, ACEC-SC held a regional membership meeting in Mt. Pleasant.
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. The keynote luncheon speaker from the SC Department of Commerce, Ford Graham, gave an entertaining and informative presentation on South Carolina’s economic development activities.
Also, during this first quarter Adam Jones and I have been meeting with senators and staff to get the Engineers’ and Surveyors’ Practice Act set for hearing. We have been talking to senators about the bill and our position on the three areas of contention: qualifications based selection, brokering and maintaining the protection of the term engineer. We have also been talking to the Senate Black Caucus members because we understand they may have some problem with sections of the practice act. This bill has been set for a Senate Labor Commerce & Industry subcommittee hearing on April 13, 2016 at 10:00 in Room 407 of the Gressettee building. Please contact the members on the Senate L.C.I. Committee and ask them to pass the practice act as written.
We have also been working to defeat legislation called the “Pipe Bill.” The only practical effect that this bill might have is that it would create a lot of extra work for the engineer or project designer, and create the potential for litigation by charging that the engineer or designer did not “consider” “suitable” piping material. This bill only adds layers of complexity and cost to what is now an orderly and effective process for local governments. This bill was carried over in a House Labor Commerce and Industry Subcommittee, but it has gotten renewed interest with legislator signing onto the bill. We expect it to be brought up again.
The year is not over, however. Our next membership event is our annual golf tournament that funds the ACEC-SC scholarships. It is being held at the Spur at Northwoods in Columbia April 25. I urge you to sponsor a hole, sponsor a team or just come out and enjoy a fine spring day with other members. You are always welcome to make this a networking event by filling your team(s) with clients. The funds go to a great cause.
On May 5, ACEC-SC holds its final membership meeting in the membership year. Stantec is sponsoring the meeting in Columbia. The breakfast meeting is being held in the SC Municipal Association building, 1411 Gervais St. Columbia, SC 29201 Stantec’s offices are in this building.
The ACEC-SC Annual Meeting is set for Thursday, June 23 at the SC Engineering Conference and Trade Show. The conference is being held at the Embassy Suites Charleston Area Convention Center, 5055 International Blvd. North Charleston, SC. Thursday is the opening day of the Conference. Make plans to attend the annual meeting and participate in the entire conference.