As NABIE’s Executive Director I am often called upon to wear many hats in the course of about 500 hours per year devoted to NABIE activities. Nearly half of that time involves arranging and attending a number of meetings throughout the year, along with newsletter production.
This spring saw a substantial increase in necessary work on NABIE activities, and slightly delayed production of the Spring Newsletter. Let me recap some of the events since our San Antonio Conference (reported on elsewhere in this edition).
Perhaps the saddest event to report was the passing of Gwen Carlysle, member David Carlysle’s wife. Having known both David and Gwen for many years, theirs was a unique relationship that had them committed to not only one another, but many activities including the business of engineering and the whole NABIE experience. As those who know David well, he has maintained a dedicated linkage to NABIE for many years and served in officer positions and on the board. He has also been an active presenter at many NABIE annual meetings, including the most recent in San Antonio. In most every way Gwen was a part of all those experiences, including being a frequent conference registrant and attendee.
Sadly, Gwen succumbed to a long but brave battle with cancer shortly after the San Antonio event. During their Texas visit for the conference, Gwen required hospitalization but David still managed to present an excellent program on tornados.
NABIE will shortly be making a contribution to the local Fire Department and Ambulance Squad in David’s home town, community institutions that both David and Gwen served together for many years as paramedics.
My wife and I were able to attend Gwen’s memorial service in Birmingham, AL. It was a moving experience and a lovely celebration of the life of a great lady. David offered some very poignant remarks about the wheel of life and the spokes within it, of which both NABIE and engineering were included.
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A happier note was achieved not too long after this sad one. NABIE has pursued being the first NSPE affinity group to nominate and achieve fellow status for one of its own. This spring we were successful in helping David Carlysle, P.E. become part of this year’s class of NSPE Fellows. Becoming an NSPE Fellow is the pinnacle of professional achievement as an NSPE member and David’s commitment to engineering, as well as community based activities, personifies all that a Fellow should be. We congratulate David on this extraordinary and fine achievement.
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Also this spring NABIE’s new Standards of Practice were promulgated on our website, and become the newest version of standards NABIE initially developed in the 1990s. Unique to these standards are the move to a performance approach as opposed to a prescriptive approach when providing building inspection engineering services. NABIE’s president Peter Schkeeper, P.E., F.NSPE gets credit for being the impetus behind the change, but a committee of NABIE members meeting nearly weekly on line through nearly 20 edited versions of the proposed new standard got the job done.
Many NABIE members referenced the old version of the NABIE Standards of Practice in their various contracts or client services agreements. Be sure to check the new Standards of Practice for coordination with wording in your existing agreement documents.
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As your executive director I made two trips this spring to Virginia. Both include opportunities to meet with NSPE staff members and acknowledge and thank them for work done on NABIE’s behalf. Accompanied by NABIE board members and officers, these trips continue to forge the important bond between our society as an affinity organization and our parent, NSPE. The work of NSPE staffers including Larry Jacobsen (NSPE Executive Director), Arthur Schwartz (NSPE legal counsel), and Nancy Oswald (NSPE’s “go to” administrative person) contributes to the mission of NABIE.
The second trip to Virginia also provided a chance to kick off the strategic planning initiative envisioned by NABIE vice president Bill Coulbourne, P.E. While still in its very early stages, Bill’s vision for NABIE’s future may well be a very exciting one. As you may recall, under President Schkeeper’s leadership, a variety of work paths were envisioned for officers, and with the Standards of Practice revisions now complete, moving to other work – including strategic planning – becomes the new priority.
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We are also working on plans for next year’s conference. With three cities short listed as possible venues, the process of considering them is now well underway. Expect to learn whether next year’s travel plans will be to Biloxi, Nashville, or Savannah in the Summer Newsletter.
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Lastly, I want to remind all our members that NABIE is an organization largely driven by volunteerism. The work of the Standards of Practice committee exemplifies such a volunteer effort. There is no “paid full time staff” at NABIE headquarters. NABIE has a .25 full time equivalent executive director who relies heavily on the voluntary efforts of officers, board members, and active members to both get things done and shape the vision of the organization. President Schkeeper’s vision for NABIE has always acknowledged volunteerism, so I urge you to find a passionate mission for yourself as a member and step up.