ACEC Indiana is a trade association representing the business interests of the consulting engineering profession and offers knowledge and services to enhance the quality of life for every citizen in Indiana. Professional Consulting Engineers design roads and bridges, clean water and waste water systems, mechanical and electrical systems, redevelop brownfields and more.
Year in Review
Maintaining a high-level presence with state and local officials continues to be essential to advancing the interests and concerns of
Professional Consulting Engineers.
ACEC Indiana’s member-led liaison committees continued to meet with the key state and local government agencies, in addition to internal committees, taking action to enhance the value of membership. This is a summary of ACEC Indiana’s important accomplishments on behalf of all member-firms.
Focus continued on strengthening the relationship with INDOT, working productively with Commissioner Hendrickson, and the Executive and Senior Staff via subcommittees that included: CAN-DO, Team Indiana, Capacity/SSA Task Force, FAR, LPA, INDOT Prequalification, and Bridge inspection. Additional local and state funding for Transportation (federal and state) with continued push towards FY ‘17 legislative session for long term sustainable funding was a major effort. Additionally, Local Public Agency Bridge Inspection and Rate Caps; review of INDOT’s consultant performance scoring/selection system; improvement of the 12-month RFP list; Best Value Design-Build process; issue resolution policy; inspection testing & training; LPA guidance document updates; and review/implementation of new Federal Rules impact on selection and contract negotiation.
An election year is challenging for any organization seeking to maintain momentum with an entity as large as DPW, and through the transition, ACEC Indiana continued to meet with DPW Director and executive level staff to serve as a consistent resource.
The Pavement Management Subcommittee has kept DPW informed on INDOT’s pavement issues that could impact LPA organizations going forward, and as a result, it is working with DPW to host a pavement design and preservation seminar in June.
RPR Training with DPW was held in with a record number of consultants in attendance, and received positive reviews. Plans are already underway for next year’s training.
Citizens Energy Group
Emphasis on key items to enhance the working relationship between Citizens Energy Group and ACEC member firms was paramount. A Vendor Evaluation Subcommittee was formed to work collaboratively with Citizens staff to revamp the evaluation process to provide clear guidelines and consistency to address how Citizens project managers approach evaluations. Also, a Subconsultant Tracking Subcommittee was formed to address flexibility in measuring MBE, WBE, VBE and Local participation goals. The Committee also assisted Citizens’ leadership in establishing the Partnership for Excellence in Research and Learning (PERL) initiative with local Indiana universities to increase collaboration on research and student engagement with Citizens and their consultant partner firms.
IDEM’s long-time Commissioner retired, leading to existing Executive staff moving up the ranks, where ACEC Indiana already forged strong relationships developed over years of working together and regular quarterly meetings. Continued collaboration with the new Commissioner, Carol Comer, as well as Chief of Staff Bruno Pigott and the Deputy Commissioners is underway.
The 11th annual ACEC Indiana Environmental Business Conference had a strong turnout with the Lt. Governor’s keynote on “Planning for Indiana’s Water Needs in the Future,” as well as other pertinent topics of interest for business opportunities. Combining the next conference this September with the Funding Sources Workshop will provide nexus between ideas and potential funding.
Teamwork continued with Indiana Finance Authority to develop Fiscal Sustainability Plan (FSP) guidelines, an FSP example, and workbook tool to comply with the 2014 WRRDA requirements. These documents were posted on the IFA website in January of 2016 for use on all wastewater SRF loan projects.
ACEC IN made a presentation to the Indiana Legislative Interim Study Committee on the Environment on the significant funding needs for water-related infrastructure, totaling more than $15 Billion over the next twenty years. To help bridge the gap, a major funding initiative “It’s a Drop in the Bucket” was established by ACEC IN this year; based on a nominal user fee on bottled water, it could possibly generate $100 million-$150 million additional revenue annually for water-related infrastructure.
Building on the success of last year’s Funding Source Workshop, a joint conference between it and the Environmental Business Conference will be held on September 15th featuring leading edge topics and all the funding updates in one day! It will be a not-to-be-missed educational opportunity!
Regular meetings with representatives from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, the U.S. Department of Agricultural/Rural Development, the Indiana Finance Authority/State Revolving Fund, the Technical Assistance for Brownfields, and the I. U. Public Policy Institute continue and ACEC IN appreciates their participation and willingness to work together for communities.
Transportation Funding Committee
As a new committee the TFC started with a simple, yet massive, goal: To educate the public about how highway/road infrastructure is funded, why funding is inadequate, and to encourage the public to reach out to their representatives at the State House and tell them that their constituents understand and support lawmakers in making the hard choices required to enable adequate infrastructure funding.
We accomplished this through a grass-roots effort based in social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter), developed an educational web site, and placed six billboards in congested areas around the state. This effort was instrumental in the short-term funding provided by lawmakers this session. Next year will bring an even bigger push to continue on this momentum to provide more stable and long-term funding to transportation funding.
Focus has been devoted to how Design/Build projects can be improved for publicly funded projects and its impact on engineering firms, and planning has begun to conduct a round table discussion with all stake holders involved with D/B projects. Committee members lent expertise on legislation to streamline plan review and imposition of QBS for School Feasibility Studies/School Design. Meetings with the State Building Commissioner and the City of Indianapolis on plan review options remains of interest for its impact on project completion.
Using industry contact lists, ACEC IN distributed monthly mass emails (“E-Blasts”) to promote QBS awareness to educate clients with facts, photos, and real life examples of success, as well as some of the adverse consequences where low-bidding was used. Other efforts included: Trade events to promote QBS; showcasing QBS Awards opportunities beginning with 2017’s EEA Luncheon; and sharing QBS success stories by Greenfield Mayor Chuck Fewell with the recent ACEC Engineering Leadership class. A new QBS PPT presentation has been developed, the QBS pamphlet is being refreshed, and an LTAP study for Indiana LPAs experiences resulting from QBS is in the early stage of planning. For more information relating to QBS, visit www.qbsindiana.org.
The 10th annual Diversity Networking Fair and Reception was held on October 29th, with more than two dozen exhibitors and 150 attendees, enabling current and potential members to meet with firms representing women, minority, veteran and disadvantaged businesses. Attendees also got to network with local and state agency representatives and private-sector clients. Shanetta Griffin, Indianapolis Airport Authority and John Trypus, Citizens Energy Group, addressed the audience on the importance of diversity.
Premiering last year with great success, a Diversity Open House was held on May 25, 2016 and featured a panel of representatives from key agencies, moderated by Debbie Wilson of Engaging Solutions. The general membership discussed ways to provide mutually beneficial opportunities and advance specific initiatives in the respective organizations. Panel members included Shannetta Griffin, Indianapolis Airport Authority; Sam Sarvis, INDOT; Lori Miser, Director,
Indianapolis’ Department of Public Works; and Maxine Russell, City of Indianapolis.
ACEC welcomed a record number of volunteers for this year’s National Engineer’s Week. Presentations were given at 48 schools by 93 volunteers from ACEC, INDOT, Indy DPW and CEG partners. The group set in motion the Start at Home campaign, encouraging members to seek out educational and speaking opportunities with schools near their homes and businesses, all year round.
ACEC Indiana continues to award scholarships for college students pursuing an engineering degree at an Indiana institution. This year $26,000 was divided between 6 students, with the highest award being $10,000. Funds are raised through the continued support of the Annual Golf Outing. ACEC Indiana has awarded $245,000 in scholarships to Hoosier college students who uphold the value of engineering for a better
quality of life for future generations over the past two decades.
Additional funds devoted from dedicated investments were approved this year and future year’s scholarships; set standards for award amounts; and also include a special one-time award of the Stephanie Morse Scholarship.
To aid the effort of increasing the public awareness of the need for long-term infrastructure funding, ACEC IN published a white paper titled, The State of Indiana Infrastructure—Advancing our Economy. It was distributed to Gubernatorial candidates, state legislators, and leaders in the current Administration to urge action on the long-term needs of transportation and water infrastructure. Although a long term transportation bill was not achieved in the last legislative session, ACEC IN appreciated the steps taken by the Indiana General Assembly and Governor for passing some measures (HEA 1001 and SEA 67) to provide additional funding for both state and local projects. We will continue the pressure to see additional long term funding enacted as part of the 2017 Budget session.
Additionally, ACEC Indiana tracked hundreds of bills during the legislative session to protect the interests of consulting engineering firms, their clients, and the public health, safety and welfare resulting from the vitally important projects member firms help create in the Built Environment.
The committee worked with IDNR to host a Regulatory Training in April attended by 50+ members in-person and another 40+ online via webinar. The training covered topics such as Indiana’s new In-Lieu Fee Program, Fluvial Hazard Mitigation, Flood Control Act New Permit Life Extension, Theory and Problems with IDNR Bridge Replacement, Evaluation Table and New Modeling Guidelines, and IDNR and INDOT Hydraulic Requirements for Federal Funded Projects.