P.E. DAY AT THE CAPITOL
P.E. Day at the Capitol is held every other year during the Texas Legislative Session. The next P.E. Day at the Capitol will be held February 6, 2013.
Governor Rick Perry met with TSPE Dallas Chapter Board Members Jessica Baker, P.E., CFM, Noelle Gaspard, P.E., GISP, CFM, and Bud Brown, P.E. on February 11, 2009. The Governor filmed a very special message for the chapter in celebration of the 2009 Engineers Week Event and the video was played at this year’s E-Week Event on February 19th. He said that in this time of economic struggle, Texas is in a lot better shape than most, due to people like the engineers that work smarter and harder in this Texas environment we’ve created by keeping taxes low, our legal system fair, and our regulations predictable. Governor Perry stated he is proud that our state is home to a group like TSPE, because our track record of upholding high professional standards, setting an ethical tone and cultivating the next generation of engineers has gone a long way toward strengthening the engineering profession in Texas
Several TSPE Dallas Chapter Members attended the 2009 P.E. Day at the Capitol
On Tuesday, February 10, 2009, TSPE hosted another successful P.E. DAY AT THE CAPITOL, for members to visit with their elected officials and discuss issues related to engineering. The event kicked off with a morning briefing session to review the issues, which included advice and suggestions from Representatives Wayne Smith and Bill Callegari (both of whom are licensed PEs and members of TSPE) on how to effectively communicate with legislators.
Representative Senfronia Thompson provided the luncheon keynote address, which offered a compelling call to action to the professional engineers of Texas, whom she referred to as “the backbone of our nation.” (An excerpt of her speech is provided below.)
The day turned out to be quite a busy one at the Capitol. Not only was it “Senior Day,” but there were several other large groups visiting as well. Despite the crowds, however, TSPE members were able to meet with many of Texas’ Senators and Representatives to discuss issues related to QBS, the Engineering Practice Act, and the proposal to eliminate the PE requirement for TxDOT’s executive director. Additional issues included state funding for education programs such as MATHCOUNTS®, infrastructure, water resources and lawsuit reform.
That evening, attendees had another chance to chat with legislators at a legislative reception and dinner at the Omni Austin Hotel Downtown.
Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, who gave the keynote address for the evening, was delighted to take part in a surprise presentation honoring TSPE Legislative & Governmental Affairs Director Gerhardt Schulle, Jr. for 25 years of service to TSPE and the Texas Engineering Foundation. The Lt. Governor presented Gerhardt with his “very own gavel” to show his appreciation for the friendship and support he has received from Gerhardt, and TSPE, over the years, and to commemorate the impact Gerhardt has made through his involvement—as both a legislator himself and then a long-time lobbyist—in over twenty legislative sessions in Texas.
Overall, the legislators seemed most impressed with the TSPE visit, praising it for being so organized and effective.
Representative Thompson’s Call to Arms…
“While the Constitution is the foundation of this country, engineers are its backbone...
We would still live in caves without the skill and ingenuity of the engineer. Yet we have devalued your contributions to the nation’s development by allowing the country’s infrastructure to deteriorate. The United States of America, the most powerful nation in the world, has fallen short of protecting and maintaining our assets, our infrastructure and our people—and has thus fallen short in maintaining our leadership in this global economy...
This country is in trouble. Our values are corrupted and we are going to need you, our nation’s backbone, to stand strong once again and help us out of this mess...
I ask you to look beyond your present situation and attempt to catapult this nation back into the position of leadership. I ask you to do everything in excellence and accept nothing less. We are depending on you—the Professional Engineers—to repair, rebuild and restore this nation to it’s rightful place.”
– Texas Representative Senfronia Thompson, P.E. DAY Luncheon Keynote Speaker