How Chamber Membership and Community Involvement Help Grow Your Business

Toad Suck 50_50 Lane Housley, P.S. Executive Vice President Energy Services

What one step can your business take that will –strengthen internal relationships, positively impact recruitment and retention, drive sales, increase visibility, and help create better places to live and work? According to volunteeringinamerica.gov “Altogether, 62.6 million Americans volunteered nearly 7.7 billion hours last year. Based on the Independent Sector’s estimate of the average value of a volunteer hour, the estimated value of this volunteer service is nearly $173 billion.” What better way for a business to connect to the community than volunteering time and resources to make it the best it can be? This is especially true in the A/E/C industry. As those responsible for shaping the physical landscape of cities and towns, professionals within the industry share the responsibility of helping to shape the civic landscape as well. To understand fully the needs of the community, you have to be part of it. In addition to traditional volunteer activities – giving to charitable organizations, collecting and distributing goods, serving food to those in need, mentoring and coaching – there are many opportunities to effect change by becoming involved in the local government or Chamber of Commerce. As Executive Vice President of Energy Services at Crafton Tull, it was an honor to be named Chairperson of Conway Chamber of Commerce. This position allows me to further share how community involvement benefits local businesses and the community as a whole.

Following are my top three examples:

–        Increase Recruitment and Retention / Increase Visibility

It’s no secret that people want to work for a company that is visible in the community, and visible for the right reasons. Just like in many areas of life, reputation is everything when it comes to recruiting and keeping a talented workforce. I am proud to say I work for Crafton Tull for many reasons; top of that list is that we walk the walk when it comes to living our values of: Integrity, Respect, Excellence, Responsiveness, Teamwork, and Safety. In February of this year we were thrilled to be named Outstanding Philanthropic Corporation by the Arkansas Business Journal, as well as recently being named a finalist for Oklahoma’s Journal Record Beacon Award. I strongly believe that by engaging your employees in community outreach you increase morale, which in turn increases retention and exposure to a broader base for recruiting new talented employees.  In fact, many recent graduates see working for a company that gives back as a job benefit. United Way also states that one-third of millennials surveyed in the 2014 Millennial Impact Report take a company’s volunteer policies into consideration when deciding whether to apply for a job. Having had the pleasure of joining in green initiatives and charitable contributions as a Crafton Tull team member, I have seen the positive impact community involvement has from both the private and public sector. The bonding that occurs when talented, committed people come together for a common purpose is second to none.

–        Drive Sales

As well as the obvious personal and professional benefits that come from giving back, I have seen community involvement and positive exposure directly affect a company’s bottom line profit. When employees are proud of their company’s contributions, the more they are willing and eager to give back to the community both financially and charitably. A 2014 study by Nielsen found Fifty-five percent of global online consumers across 60 countries are willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that commit to positive social and environmental impact. It really is a snowball effect. When companies use their positive reputation to encourage community involvement, it draws positive attention. Our Mission is: Improving communities through professional design and surveying…one project at a time. I’ll tell you, we put a lot of thought into that statement. Crafton Tull wants to make money like any other business, but we know firsthand consumers want to be in business with companies that give back on a real and consistent basis. The positive exposure gained through philanthropic efforts is immeasurable when it comes to actual sales. However, being honored nationally for our year-long outreach program certainly shines a light on what we do in our communities, which in turn highlights our professional design and survey capabilities.

–        Help Build Better Communities

This is your town and your involvement is what makes it strong, and a strong community can withstand whatever is thrown at it. I speak to so many folks and business owners around Conway who are interested in becoming more engaged with the community. The Chamber of Commerce is the place to start. By joining the chamber you gain access to resources you simply cannot find anywhere else. This town is brimming with progress in the form of job opportunities, diversified churches, schools, events, and festivals. When businesses decide to sponsor Toad Suck Daze, Business Expo, Taste of Conway, Bowling for Business, Women in Business, or Minority Enterprise Development, they tap into that progress in a real way. These are just a few of the events that make the City of Conway the close-knit community it is. By volunteering time and financial resources, you build better communities; it’s that simple.

To find out how to get involved in your local chamber of commerce, visit:

uschamber.com/chamber/directory

For more information, visit:

craftontull.com

50acts.craftontull.com

conwaychamber.org

Part Two: DEFINE: The Importance of Professional Licensure to the Engineering Profession

 

In my first message as ASPE President, I addressed the need to implement the NSPE’s newly adopted Strategic Plan. The plan is made up of three basic tenets: DEFINE. PROMOTE. PROTECT. Just as the NSPE uses their national platform to raise awareness, I plan to use the space provided in this publication, to highlight each of these principles in greater detail. The first step to successful implementation is to DEFINE what it means to be a PE.

  1. DEFINE: Comprehensive Education: In an effort to increase college graduation rates, many states have passed legislation lowering the minimum number of credits needed to obtain a bachelor’s degree to 120 hours. While this is a positive step for many areas of study, it may limit the experience of applying technical engineering knowledge prior to graduation. In certain States, such as Arkansas, minimum credit requirements may be raised to the national average, which is currently 128 hours for a Bachelor’s of Science in Engineering. However, this still leaves a large gap between the 150 credit hour engineering degrees of the past. The NCEES recently released an updated position statement and NSPE is working through the process of amending professional policy language addressing the education requirements as they pertain to engineering licensure. One of the primary initiatives is commonly referred to as the B.S.+30.  If adopted, candidates seeking licensure as professional engineers would be required to obtain an accredited bachelor’s degree in engineering as well as a minimum of 30 additional engineering focused credit hours.  Proponents believe implementation of this initiative would go a long way in defining the public’s understanding of what it takes to become a licensed engineer; much like the almost universal understanding that doctors are required to attend medical school and lawyers are required to attend law school before receiving the proper licensure to practice. A more primary goal of the B.S.+30 initiative, is to ensure those sitting for the exams required to become licensed professional engineers are equipped with technical experience needed for practice. Regardless of which side of the B.S.+30 debate you sit on, there needs to be recognition with the engineering community between the technical knowledge necessary for graduation and the experience necessary to perform as a Professional Engineer.

  1. DEFINE: Code of Ethics/Order of the Engineer: As engineers, we have a significant impact on the safety and quality of life as a whole. Because of this, we are held to high ethical standards. The number one obligation listed under Fundamental Canons in the official NSPE Code of Ethics is: Hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public. Professional licensure ensures all PE’s are sworn to uphold a single code of ethics. Much in the way a comprehensive curriculum helps define the steps required to become licensed, a comprehensive code of ethics helps define the commitment engineers make to the public.

The Order of the Engineer follows the same premise as the Code of Ethics inasmuch as the goal of the Order is to “foster a spirit of pride and responsibility in the engineering profession, to bridge the gap between training and experience, and to present to the public a visible symbol identifying the engineer.”

In the same way the Hippocratic Oath instills confidence in patient – doctor relationships, the Order of the Engineer instills confidence in the relationships between engineers and those we serve. Unlike the Code of Ethics, The Order of the Engineer Obligation is not limited to licensed individuals, but is offered to engineering graduates at commencement and those working towards registration. Those of us who have take the Obligation of the Engineer share the common experience of wearing a stainless steel ring on the pinky finger of our working hand.

  1. DEFINE: Professional Development: Another tool in establishing a single, unified definition of what it means to be a PE is setting comprehensive requirements when it comes to professional development and continuing education. Once the public is aware of the education needed to pursue licensure, as well as the code of ethics to be honored upon receiving licensure, the topic becomes more about what is required to maintain the integrity that comes with the licensure. It is not enough to take the exams and honor the oaths if we are not also dedicated to keeping abreast of new technologies and advancements within our field. It is vital to the public’s quality of life that engineers learn and grow as landscapes shift and change with the times. The more PE’s participate in speaking engagements and technical presentations, the greater the opportunity to establish the expertise so crucial to our industry. Through civic involvement, community outreach, and the requirement of CEUs, we are able to more clearly define the importance of professional licensure as it pertains to the safety of the projects we undertake.

Clear, comprehensive requirements will go a long way in defining our profession to the public. By focusing on increased compulsory education and professional development, members of NSPE can ensure engineering retains its position among the most trusted careers.

To read the entire magazine, please visit:

http://arkansasengineers.com/home/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/December-2015-APE-web.pdf

 

Doug Hartwig, P.E. joins Crafton Tull as Project Manager in Oklahoma City office.

We are thrilled to welcome Doug Hartwig, P.E. to the Crafton Tull team. Hartwig brings with him 39 years experience in civil engineering and project management, including 28 years holding the position of Vice President of Engineering at an OKC based firm.  During his time there, Hartwig managed multi-discipline projects for industrial and military clients such as Coca-Cola Fountain, Constellation Brand Beverages, Department of Defense and Tinker AFB. He managed the design and construction of 2400 single and multi-family military housing units for Navy families in the Northeast United States.

“We are thrilled to have Doug in our firm.  His extensive experience in all types of government civil engineering projects will be of great benefit to our clients.” – Matt Crafton President & CEO

Born and raised in Northeastern Colorado, he holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Colorado State University. Hartwig and his wife of 38 years, Anita, have two daughters and currently reside in Edmond where they are members of the First Presbyterian Church of Edmond.

Line project will benefit Arkansas

Crafton Tull supports the Plains & Eastern Clean Line project to construct a power line that will transmit electrical power from wind farms in western Oklahoma to points in Arkansas and other places in the southeastern United States.

Our firm has a master service agreement with Clean Line to provide land surveying on an as-needed basis. To date, we have set the primary control along the proposed 700-mile Plains & Eastern route in Arkansas and Oklahoma and done other preliminary, miscellaneous surveys. We are impressed with the professionalism of the Clean Line staff. They have gone “above and beyond” to treat all landowners as well as our staff with the utmost courtesy and respect.

Whether provided by our firm or others, we believe there may be as many as 50 land surveyors who will work on this project once it proceeds. This workforce will have approximately $1.5 million in direct salary impact on our state over the life of the project. Those surveyors will eat meals, stay in hotels and shop in the areas they are working.

Crafton Tull supports the Plains & Eastern Clean Line for the following reasons:

• Arkansas needs more low-cost clean energy. The Plains & Eastern Clean Line would enable Arkansas to double the amount of wind energy currently acquired in the state. That’s enough to power over 160,000 Arkansas homes every year.

• Wind power reduces harmful pollutants and leads to cleaner air and better health for Arkansans. Wind power saves consumers money and helps to stabilize electricity rates against escalations due to fuel price increases.

• The Plains & Eastern Clean Line will boost jobs and economic development in Arkansas. Building this transmission line will support hundreds of construction and manufacturing jobs in Arkansas.

• Jobs could include: surveying, trucking and hauling, equipment operation and fueling, site grading, framing and drilling foundations, pouring concrete, building temporary access roads and more.

• The Plains & Eastern Clean Line will pay millions annually to local communities that host the transmission line.

• Clean Line will compensate landowners fairly by offering 100 percent of the fair market value of the land within the easement area for the transmission line, in addition to payments for each structure on their property.

• Clean Line has followed an extensive review process and sought input from the public to route the transmission line so that it avoids and minimizes impacts to sensitive environmental resources and existing land uses.

• Clean Line is committed to building and maintaining long-lasting relationships with landowners by working in a respectful and collaborative manner, and in minimizing impacts to existing uses of their property.

 

Crafton Tull is a 260-person architecture, engineering and surveying firm with six offices in Arkansas and Oklahoma. Our firm was founded in Rogers in 1963. We have an energy division, headquartered in Conway, with over 100 office and field surveyors.

We hope our fellow Arkansans will also support the Plains & Eastern Clean Line project.

 

– Matt Crafton

President & CEO

For more information on how you can help support the Plains & Eastern Clean Line, please visit:

http://www.plainsandeasterncleanline.com/support-arkansas/the-solution

The Importance of Professional Licensure to the Engineering Industry

Brad APE by Steve Brawner  Define. Promote. Protect. Those of you who have had an opportunity to review the NSPE Strategic Plan know that these words have been adopted as the organization’s Statement of Principles. I wanted to begin my tenure as ASPE President by giving my take on the        benefits of having a simple, unifying message for ASPE and engineers in general. It is easy to become distracted by the many differences between disciplines. However, learning to focus instead on the numerous similarities is critical to maintaining relevance. The      Strategic Plan is designed to do just that: put the spotlight on member engagement and involvement. The reality is that membership numbers are slipping across the board. This is due in part to other organizations offering other places for engineers to spend their time  and money. In order to stop the trend currently splintering our membership, it is essential that we deliver this concise new message explaining who we are and what we do.

 

DEFINE. In order to successfully implement a strategy based on the idea of raising awareness about being a Professional Engineer, you must first have a clear and concise definition of what it means to be a PE. Along with the requisite education, technical competence, and registration maintenance, a PE has an obligation to the health, safety, and welfare of the public at large. This type of responsibility calls for a high measure of professionalism and dedication to quality service; not only service to clients, but also to improving communities through public involvement, volunteerism, and philanthropic acts.

 

PROMOTE: As we all know, engineers don’t just drive trains. We know this because it is our chosen profession. As such, it is our job to educate the public on the dozens of practices that fall in the category of Professional Engineer. When a registered PE becomes involved in programs such as Engineers Week and Project Lead the Way, they help shape the public understanding regarding the integral role engineers play in providing meaning and value to communities where they live and work. Social Media is becoming an indispensable tool for exposing students, educators, and the general population to opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM.) Twitter campaigns like #BeAnEngineer and #ilooklikeanengineer are promoting the diversity of the people and careers available to Professional Engineers.

 

PROTECT: Perhaps the most important of these Principles is the responsibility we have to defend the engineering profession through active opposition to practice by unlicensed individuals. As Professional Engineers, it is imperative that we take the time to educate legislators and lawmakers from all levels of government on the fundamental need for PE registration. It is critical to our profession that we protect and support high standards for obtaining licensure. Just as critical is the support for high standards in ethics and professionalism. The NSPE is the only professional engineering organization made up of engineers from any discipline. A desire to maintain the integrity of our profession is a common thread among all areas of practice.

 

We know that ours is a profession that, when done properly, often goes unseen by the public at large. Many outside the engineering industry are not aware of the vast difference in skill and training that exists between licensed and unlicensed practitioners. It is the primary goal of the NSPE to draw attention to these differences by advocating the benefits of licensure. The organization uses its national platform to encourage leadership training, multidisciplinary networking, and education as a way of effectively raising awareness. It is then up to us to strengthen that impact through involvement on the national, state, and local level.

As a Father and a Planner: Inclusive Parks for all Abilities

To honor the opening of The Crossing at Angel Court, Arkansas’ first fully accessible park, we want to post an article written by our own Dave Roberts in January of 2014.  As a park planner and landscape architect, he knows just how possible it is to build parks that are 100% inclusive. As father to a wonderful daughter who happens to have special needs, he knows just how necessary these accessible parks are to the health and happiness of all families. Municipal League City & Town Dave Roberts

Roberts at Angel Court Ribbon Cutting Ceremony October 8th.
Roberts at Angel Court Ribbon Cutting Ceremony October 8th.