Observer Back Issues:

April 2000

A Word From The President

With this issue of The Observer you receive your ballot to elect new officers for the coming year, a sure sign that spring is coming soon.

This year we have, with the Engineers Week meeting, had three general membership meetings. We plan on three more as described more completely in this issue. They are the April 6 meeting in conjunction with the P.E. Board (introducing new registrants), a meeting in May to induct NHSPE's new officers for the next year, and we are invited to join SAME for their June 14 meeting at the Wayfarer in Manchester. The presentation will be on "The Big Dig" in Boston.

MATHCOUNTS competitions in the state have been completed and the program is winding down for 1999-2000, and preparing for next year, the program's 18th. State results are noted inside in a special article.

March 8 was a busy day with testimony given to the House Legislative Committee reviewing SB-372 (regarding the use of "Engineer" in business names). That evening your board, in review of materials received, voted to endorse Mr. Jeffrey Tirey, P.E., for membership on the State Board of Licensure of Professional Engineers. Additionally a letter supporting UNH Durham's proceeding to update its antiquated engineering education facilities was authorized by the Board.

Lee F. Carroll, P.E.,
President, NHSPE

Engineers Week Mall Display

There is something in every day that surprises me and really makes me think about what WE do. Some of the questions that I fielded at this years Engineers Week Mall Display really brought some of this to the forefront for me. I am always quite amazed to find just how little the general public knows and understands about the field of engineering, or how we are operating within their local communities, as well as around the world. I suppose it should not really come as a surprise to me though since, for instance, I know absolutely nothing about the art of making a perfect coffee bean or why I feel compelled to stop at every Dunkin' Donuts that I might see. Even so, that first cup of coffee in the morning is something so fundamental to our existence on this planet that 80% of us cannot function or survive without it.

Kidding aside, our title as an "Engineer" is something that many of us sometimes begin to take for granted, to a point where it just becomes the job we do in order to pay the rent or mortgage. Fortunately for me, or, those of you who work with me may say unfortunately for me, I still wake up every morning with a fire in my belly and a driving desire to get to the office to face new challenges that may change the world, or at least my local community. It is unfortunate that many people will never feel that way about their profession and will go through life unchallenged or unmotivated to maximizing their potential.

This is what Engineers Week means to me. It is a celebration of what we have done and a time for engineers to boast about what we can do. It is also a time to reach out to our local community to educate and inspire students and adults alike to the wonders of an engineering career. It is up to all of us to perpetuate our own existence as engineers by promoting what we do and by sharing with others why we love it. I was recently at a conference where the Assistant Transportation Commissioner, Carol Murray spoke about how she was surprised at hearing that enrollment in Engineering Programs was on a downtrend and that there was a general concern for our profession in the coming years. President Clinton noted in his endorsement letter to the engineering community that engineers have a passion for discovery and have made our lives safer, easier, and more fulfilling. My challenge to each of you is to reach out with that passion to those around you and to inspire them to maximize their own potential, either as an engineer, a brain surgeon, or social worker. Each of these makes our world a better and more fulfilling place to live.

This year's Mall Display certainly echoed this challenge. The Mall Display was hosted once again by the Steeplegate Mall and was perhaps one of the largest displays in recent years. The event was very well received and attended. With the help of some attention getters that I called "blinkie-blinkies", a traffic signal display provided by a local contractor, there was a high level of interest, exposure and a good gawking factor. Many of the supporting consultants and educators helped to provide for a very professional and well represented view of how engineering is being used in our everyday lives, and how it is being promoted within our local schools. Special thanks should go out to our educators that were represented. These included New Hampshire Technical Institute, the University of New Hampshire, Dartmouth, as well as Hopkington High School.

I would like to thank all of those who had some part in organizing the events during Engineers Week and I look forward to seeing each of you in the future.

by Roch D. Larochelle, P.E.

One of the many who enjoyed this year's E Week display.

A buggy designed and constructed by UNH engineering students in Durham NH.

This family examines a highway site plan.

New Hampshire Engineers Week Banquet is Popular Event

NHSPE hosted the 50th annual New Hampshire Engineers Week Banquet on Thursday, February 26 at the Center of New Hampshire in Manchester.

This event proved again to be the most popular and well-attended event of the year, drawing engineers from across the state. The Engineers Week Banquet featured recognition of two outstanding professionals. Leonard Zebelanski is the 2000 Engineer-of-the-Year. Sally Gunn is this year's Young Engineer-of-the-Year. The keynote speaker was Dean Roy Torbert of the UNH Engineering and Sciences Department. Dean Torbert spoke of the evolution of engineering and his forecast of the future.

Clarence Ahlgren was a special guest of NHSPE at this banquet. Mr. Ahlgren is the oldest active P.E. in the state of New Hampshire. Over thirty years ago, he had been honored as the engineer of the year. And it was certainly a treat for those of us who had a chance to chat with him at this year's event.

But best of all, attendance at this year's banquet surpassed last year, and that continues a trend that we have seen over the past few years. In a time when we often hear discussions about how thin enthusiasm has grown for all those extracurricular societies, associations, meetings, clubs, etc., it is great to know that National Engineers Week still holds a special meaning to the professionals of New Hampshire.

Leonard Zebelanski, P.E. (right) of CRREL accepts the Engineer-of-the-Year Award. George Fredette, P.E. (left) hosted this year's banquet.

Sally Gunn, P.E. of CLD Consulting Engineers received the Young Engineer-of-the-Year award.

Clarence Ahlgren, P.E., who holds NHs Professional Engineer License #50, was honored at the banquet.

Dr. Roy Torbert, Dean of College of Engineering & Physical Sciences at UNH, was the keynote speaker.

Committee News


The NH legislature is very much preoccupied with the education funding issue and related items. However, we will be successful, we believe, in resolving an issue raised under Senate Bill 372 which would have allowed any company to use the word "engineer" or "engineering" in corporate titles without a licensed professional engineer as a partner or on the board of the company. The bill passed the Senate and when heard in the House an amendment was offered to resolve the situation and was treated favorably in the hearing. The amendment essentially included a grandfather clause for companies that were registered with the State before 1999, but maintained requirements for a licensed professional engineer as currently provided in law. Input was provided in support of the amendment by NHSPE President Lee Carroll. Representative Maurice Goulet of Bedford has been and remains a friend to professional engineers in protecting our titles and public relations. Therefore, we hope and expect the House will approve the amended Senate bill and also anticipate the Senate will concur because it is an amendment acceptable to the sponsor, Senator Hollingworth, and to her constituent involved in the bill.

On another subject, Ed Bergeron, P.E., will conclude two terms on the P.E. Board this summer. Therefore our board passed a resolution endorsing Jeffrey L. Tirey, P.E., For P.E. Board membership. Tirey is president of his own structural engineering company in Littleton, NH. He has over twenty years of experience in the planning, designing and construction administration of building structures. Also, he is active in his community. Those who know him or his work may write the Governor urging her to nominate him to the P.E. Board and contact your Executive Counselor requesting they confirm his nomination if it is offered by the Governor.

Submitted by Rep. John Alger, P.E.
NHSPE Legislation Committee Chair



The NHSPE has, for several years, awarded $50 savings bonds to the top individual student scorers in each of the six regions (Seacoast, Manchester, Keene, Lebanon, Plymouth, and North Country) of the MATHCOUNTS program, based on the regional competition results. This award was established in memory of Bob Evans, the individual most responsible for organizing the MATHCOUNTS program in the state from its inception in 1983 until he passed away, having served as MATHCOUNTS State Coordinator for 13 years.

This year the award recipients are:

  • Niall Prendergast, Frances C. Richmond School; Margot Maddock, coach
  • Yichuan Liu, Oyster River Middle School; Sue Gagnon, coach
  • Jeff Snow, Berlin Jr. High School; Tammy Fauteux/Laura Reynolds, coaches
  • Alex Chittim, Hopkinton Middle-High School; Melanie Thornley/Susan Roberts, coaches
  • Tom Dunlap, Gilford Middle School; Sue Leitch, coach
  • Bradford Westgate, NH Alliance for Home Education; Brad Westgate, coach

Funding to ensure continuation of this memorial award is provided from donations from NHSPE members. Your contribution made payable to "MATHCOUNTS Foundation" and noted "Bob Evans Award" in the lower left comer of the check will be appreciated. Your gift is tax deductible.


This year, of approximately 216 schools with 7th and 8th grade students in New Hampshire, there were 52 schools formally registered to participate on the local, regional, and state levels of the MATHCOUNTS program. This resulted in 17 school teams and three regional individuals participating as official competitors, and many other students unofficially participating, at the March 11th State MATHCOUNTS Competition held at Plymouth State College. Thanks to the excellent coordination of activities arranged by Dr. Dick Evans of Plymouth State's Math Department and the assistance of students with registration and grading of exams, the day's program went very smoothly.

The state team to represent New Hampshire at the National Competition in Washington, DC is composed of the top four individual scorers based on two rounds of exams presented at the State Competition. The coach for the team going to the National Competition is selected based on the best total score obtained by the participating school teams at the State Competition, which is a combination of individual team member scores and a third round exam where the team's four members work as a group to solve problems.

The New Hampshire State MATHCOUNTS team that will compete in the National Competition in Washington from May 11-14 this year will be coached by Suzy Gagnon of the Oyster River Middle School, Durham. Her school team of Yichuan Liu, William Lewis, Jan Ng and Brain Malley were the top school team at the State Competition.

Suzy's state team members will be:

  • Yichuan Liu, 8th grade, Oyster River Middle School, Durham; School Coach, Suzy Gagnon
  • Niall Prendergast, 8th grade, Frances C. Richmond School, Hanover; School Coach, Margot Maddock
  • Kyle Wang, 8th grade, Cooperative Middle School, Stratham; School Coach Josh Frost
  • Sean Harper, 8th grade, Frances C. Richmond School, Hanover; School Coach, Margot Maddock

Following the official opening of the competition, which included the reading of a formal letter of greetings from Governor Jeanne Shaheen, this year's Honorary Chairman of the NH MATHCOUNTS, the morning written competitions and lunch, the top students participated in two oral exams. The oral exam portion is not used to decide selection of team or individual placement at the State Competition, but they do provide trophies to the participants.

The first, a "Masters Round", is open to the top four individuals and consists of each student, in turn, having a 30 minute isolated period to review a special problem, then having a 15 minute time to present their solution and reasoning to a panel of three professors on the Plymouth State faculty and with non-competing students, teachers, and parents in attendance. The results of this competition were:

  • Yichuan Liu, Oyster River Middle School, First
  • Sean Harper, Frances C. Richmond School, Second
  • Kyle Wang, Cooperative Middle School, Third
  • Niall Prendergast, Frances C. Richmond School, Fourth

The Second, a "Countdown Round" places the top 10 individual students in a contest. Here the students all have a 45 second time to answer a problem after it is displayed on a screen at the front of the room. Speed in indication of having an answer as well as accuracy in having the correct answer determines the ultimate winner. In this contest the winners were:

  • Kyle Wang, Cooperative Middle School, First
  • Yichuan Liu, Oyster River Middle School, Second
  • Niall Pendergast, Frances C. Richmond School, Third
  • Sean Harper, Francis C. Richmond School, Fourth

This year's State Competition included 70 official competitors and 22 alternates (students not eligible to win awards, but permitted to informally participate). The official participants included 26 females and 44 males.

The New Hampshire MATHCOUNTS program is funded by donations. The major contributors supporting this year's program were Bell Atlantic, The Millipore Foundation, The NH Teachers of Mathematics, Laconia Savings Bank and the NH Society of Professional Engineers. Many other businesses and individuals also made donations.

We now look forward to planning for next year's competitions, the 18th year of MATHCOUNTS.

Submitted by Lee F. Carroll, P.E.
State MATHCOUNTS Coordinator

NH Attends NSPE 2000 Winter Meeting

In January, 2000, the NHSPE Board of Directors sent Judith E. Houston, President-Elect, and Matt Purcell, Vice President, to the NSPE 2000 Winter Meeting in Washington, DC. The meeting included "Leadership Training" and the "Strategic Planning Consensus Congress", for all participating States.

Leadership Training:
The "Association Leadership" training was geared towards providing pointers to State leadership for leading the state organization. The following issues were discussed: how to develop a "New Reality" to greatly reduce volunteer time needed to accomplish goals; a strong emphasis was placed on the necessity to develop a State Strategic Plan and to tie everything the organization does to that plan; how to carry the message beyond the board, and get members involved and communicative; focus on "outcome" not "progress" of the organization; and, lastly, how to develop leadership as a "Relay Race", not a "series of Sprints" - each new President actually has a 3 year term, as Pres.-Elect, Pres., and Past President.

Many of these ideas will be useful for the NH Chapter, and, as President-elect, I found renewed energy for my upcoming year at the post.

Consensus Congress:
The National Leadership Consensus is a national meeting of state and chapter leaders to solicit the membership for their input in order to update the NSPE Strategic Plan. The consensus is divided into two portions. During the first segment the congress is broken into small working groups and the proposed issues are discussed in a round table manner. The second segment collects all members into a voting hall and provide for consensus voting on the issues.

The following general issues were presented to the working groups, deliberated and voted on by the congress:

  • What programs/resources should NSPE provide to promote the ethical practice of the Engineering Profession? Develop ethics resources targeted at selected audience, members, college students and the general public.
  • Should members be required to complete any ethics program/activity for NSPE membership? No.
  • Who should be the target audience to receive PR message to enhance the image of and stature of engineering professionals? General public, college students, public and private clients, public officials, and educators/college officials.
  • What should be NSPE's message? "Who, and What Engineering Professionals are, and what they do."
  • How should NSPE fund a major PR Program? Uniting other organizations, short term dues assessment or voluntary check off, corporate partnering, fund raising campaign, and increasing dues.
  • How can NSPE best facilitate cross-state practice of engineering? Adoption of NCEES Model Law, uniform national P.E. license for all states, and NCEES record/application.
  • Should NSPE encourage and stimulate professional development? Yes.
  • What are expected roles and functions of NSPE Regions? Elect representatives, foster communications among states, foster communications between NSPE national and members, expand regional practice division involvement, meet and discuss regional issues and educate regionally, form policy, state consensus and networking, and form leaders.
  • Given a new NSPE Board structure and regional emphasis, how do states ensure proper representation of the issue and concerns to the NSPE Board? Require attendance to Regional Meetings, state representative to elect regional representation on NSPE BOD, states to attend Consensus Congress, regional representative to be state's and region's representation on NSPE BOD, state resolutions, and letters on constitutional issues.
  • Recognizing that there may be value in future changes of our regional alignments, develop criteria for creation of realignment of regions: contiguous geographic area, minimum of 2 states per region, limit the number of regions, require mechanism for realignment if requested by state, consider other interests, and need diversity of large and small states.
  • The conclusion of the Consensus Congress consisted of a discussion regarding the streamlining of the governance of the NSPE Board of Directors, from over 60 members to 30, and the "NSPE Governance Cycle". The BOD revisions will be included in the April NSPE ET magazine for membership voting. We encourage you to review the revisions and post your ballot. In summary, the board is proposed to consist of 23 Board of Directors and a 7 member Executive Committee. The revised governance cycle keeps the Consensus Congress and Leadership Training in the Winter, with a summer "All Members" Meeting for the Board of Directors and Convention/Expo.

Submitted by:
Judith E. Houston, P.E.
NHSPE President-elect
(in conjunction with Matt Purcell, P.E., NHSPE Vice President)

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