Keep Uncle Sam Out

Your editorial regarding deficient small dams nationwide suggests that legislation at the federal level is what is needed to properly address this potential problem (ENR 7/26 p. 56). I disagree. I do not believe that centralized power is the de facto solution to all of the nation’s problems.

You also note that New Jersey is admirably and aggressively addressing the issue. Let New Jersey be a model for other states and keep Uncle Same out.

Vice President
Wm. P. Lipscomb Co., LLC
Arlington, Va.

Offshoring Has Proper Role

Iwant to applaud ENR for your recent comprehensive and balanced cover story on the impact that offshoring of engineering work has had on our industry (ENR 8/2 p. 20). However, your article left the mistaken impression that all of the major engineering industry groups have shied away from taking a stand on the controversial issue.

While it is true that the American Council of Engineering Companies and the American Society of Civil Engineers have thus far been unable to reach consensus on offshoring, the National Society of Professional Engineers took a position on this issue in April 2004. Our position may be summarized as follows:

  • Outsourcing of engineering work should be done only when the talent cannot be found in the U.S.
  • If outsourcing of engineering work is done, it should be done using the same rules, regulations, laws and ethical codes that employers and employees are subject to in the U.S.
  • The engineering work should be performed without jeopardizing national security, and all parties should be made fully aware of the location and the conditions where offshore work is being done.
  • When a licensed professional engineer considers signing and sealing documents not prepared in his presence, the following conditions should apply:

  • The work, wherever it is done, should be done in accordance with the laws of the state in which the project is located.
  • The work should be done in accordance with the rules of the appropriate licensing board in the subject state.
  • The engineer must not be placed under duress to sign and seal documents that he or she does not feel are appropriately prepared.
  • We feel that NSPE’s position is balanced between the need to provide companies with the flexibility to pursue offshoring in cases where it is warranted, while still addressing real concerns about such issues as “responsible charge” and national security.