April 4, 2019
Dear MSPE Members:
Spring is here, and change is in the air. The MSPE Board of Directors is working hard with our Committee leaders to finalize the agenda for our May 2-3 conference in Lansing. The annual conference is the time that we swear in our new officers for the 2019/2020 year. I’ve really enjoyed helping to lead MSPE through some tough times and I’m hoping to hand over the keys to Tom Wheat, with a full tank of gas and a deluxe car wash. Tom has been a great support to me over the last year and I’m excited to see what direction his leadership brings after the conference, and officially on July 1st. We will work together during the transition between May 3 and July 1st to ensure that continuity of leadership is in place. If you have not met Tom, you are really going to enjoy working with him!
We are always looking for new leaders to step up and join committees throughout the year. Here is a list of our 2018/2019 Committees along with each chairperson.
Legislative and Government Affairs – Leanne Panduren
Personnel – Tom Wheat
Strategic Planning – Scott Conners
Building Fund Advisory Committee – Josh Szymanski
Nominating – Scott Conners, Rob Wheeler, Tom Wheat
By-Laws & Operating Procedures – Patrick Lewis
MATHCOUNTS – Nancy McClain
Scholarship – Don Nedervelt
Education – Debbie Dawson
Fellows – Nancy McClain
Membership – Mike Schwartz
Awards – Doug Thompson and Patrick Lewis (Co-Chairs)
PAC – Chris Cruickshank
Ethics and Practices – Vacant
Professional Engineers in Government – Dan VanderHeide
State Conference Planning – Scott Conners
Historic Preservation – Rob Wheeler
As part of taking over on July 1st, Tom will be responsible for reaffirming these committees and their leadership. The bulk of MSPE’s work is actually performed in these groups. We owe these folks a debt of appreciation for their dedication! If you would like to join one of these committees or consider future leadership opportunities, please feel free to reach out to me and I’ll try to help make that happen. We would love to have you engaged in these efforts.
Unless you have been living under a rock you probably heard about the Governor’s proposal to increase the state’s fuel tax by $0.45/gallon to help fund roads and bridges. It seems like several professional groups are starting to take stands in favor or against this initiative. Your leadership at MSPE has talked about the proposal but we have not taken a strong stand for, or against. I feel confident in saying that our society is absolutely in favor or dedicating more public dollars towards our state/county/city roads and bridges. It’s critically important. The devil is in the details as to how best to address the deficiency. The source of the money is the biggest debate right now. But when you look inside the proposal we should also explore how this money will be divided up. It appears that the first pass at distribution will send most of the money to the state system consisting of highways and “M” routes. Some money will be dedicated to city and county roads, but it does not appear to be as much as the traditional Act 51 formula would provide. The proposed budget tout’s savings for the average driver of $562 per year in vehicle repairs, so the distribution of funding becomes important in solidifying this argument. Many of the members I’ve talked to believe that the condition of the local road network is the source of most car repairs. The road ratings seem to support this theory. It is my hope that we can learn enough about the details of the proposed budget to help educate the public and get Michigan moving in the right direction.
Earlier today I sent a note to he Governors office asking for more information so that we can have an educated debate at the annual conference about Michigan’s future transportation funding. I also offered an invite to the conference to help keep the dialogue going among our members. If Governor Whitmer, or any of her key staff members, can dedicate some time to participate we will certainly try to adjust the conference schedule to accommodate this important item. I believe this is the type of discussion that would engage all our members on a professional and personal level. Please stay tuned for more discussion on this important topic.
Thanks again for all your support as we have worked through some challenges over the last few years. I think I can speak for Past President, Rob Wheeler, when I say that we have appreciated reaching out to our members and having them reach back with great questions and insights. Rob and I will be forever connected as we took on several big issues together. I hope that with solid footing, Tom will be able to lead us through enhancements that will strengthen MSPE’s position as a leader in all areas of infrastructure and technology. We have great things ahead! Including the annual conference in Lansing, May 2-3. Please take advantage of this central location and the great list of speakers to be a part of our annual spring tradition.
Scott Conners P.E.
Michigan Society of Professional Engineers
P.O. Box 160
Parma, MI 49269
cc: Office of Governor Gretchen Whitmer