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The Nevada Connection – November 2016

Chairman's Message

By Christopher M. Roper, PE/SE

Board to Launch New Website

The Nevada State Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors will soon be launching a new website! In addition to an updated look, a look similar to this newsletter, the website will be streamlined. The Board’s website currently has well over 120 pages, too many pages to quickly find what you need. The new site will be pared down to about 30 pages and will include the ability to quickly search for what you need. There are a number of improvements we are looking to incorporate that will help you quickly and easily get the information you seek. Along with improving the usability of the Board’s website, we are continuing to make changes that benefit our applicants and licensees. We are working to launch online applications. Online applications will simplify the application process and ultimately shorten the time it takes to complete an application and get licensed. Our goal is to eliminate having to print and mail forms to the Board office. Coming soon, for those that don’t want to get our newsletter, you will be able to unsubscribe.

Governor Appoints New Board Member

Governor Brian Sandoval has appointed new member, Gregory P DeSart, PE, CEM, LEED AP, to the Board. He takes over the seat held by Samuel D Palmer, PE, PEng, whose term expired on September 30, 2016.Greg is the Principal/President of Geotechnical & Environmental Services, Inc (GES), and is the owner of Eagle Drilling Services, LLC in Las Vegas. Since founding GES in 1992, Greg has managed and performed materials testing and inspection, geotechnical, and environmental engineering services for over 4,000 projects throughout Nevada. Greg is a licensed civil engineer in both Nevada and California. He is a native Nevadan, having been born in Henderson. He obtained his bachelor of science degree in geological engineering from the University of Nevada, Reno. Greg has been very involved in the engineering community throughout his 24 years of owning and operating GES and Eagle Drilling Services. He has served as President and National Director for the American Council of Engineering Companies in Nevada, Chairman for the Air and Waste Management Association, and Past Chairman for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Civil and Environmental Engineering Advisory Board. Greg’s current affiliations include the Nevada Alliance for Quality Transportation Construction, National Society of Professional Engineers, American Public Works Association, the Association of Energy Engineers. Greg and his wife Shawna live in Las Vegas. They have three daughters, Schaller, Adelynn, and Halla who is married and has a son, Oak. For fun, Greg likes to mountain bike, motorcycle ride, fish, camp, backpack, kayak, and garden.

Computer-based PS Exam

With the April 2016 Exam Administration, NCEES closed the door on the pencil-and-paper version of the Principles and Practice of Surveying (PS) exam. NCEES will now only be offering the PS exam via computer based testing (CBT). Registration opened June 20, with the first CBT appointments available October 3. The exam will be offered year-round at approved Pearson VUE test centers. Go to, http://ncees.org/surveying/#Nevada for more information about the NCEES PS exam. With the move to CBT, the Nevada Board requires you to have taken and passed the NCEES PS exam before applying for licensure in Nevada.

CBT transition for PE exams 

For now, all Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exams will continue to be offered twice per year as pencil-and-paper exams. NCEES continues to work toward moving its 25 PE exams to CBT, with each exam following its own transition timetable. A number of the PE exams could be offered via CBT as early as January 2018.

BOARD MEMBERS REAPPOINTED


Governor Brian Sandoval reappointed land surveying member, Bob LaRiviere, to the Board effective July 1, 2016.

Bob is a licensed professional land surveyor in Nevada and California, and has been working in the northern Nevada and Lake Tahoe area for the past 33 years. He currently is the president-owner of CFA, Inc, a Reno civil engineering, land surveying, planning, landscape architecture, and construction observation firm. He has been a partner at CFA since joining the firm in 1998.

Bob graduated from Paul Smith’s College in New York with a degree in surveying and forestry. He is active in the Nevada Association of Land Surveyors, the Sparks Centennial Sunrise Rotary Group of which he is a Charter Member, the Nevada Land Conservancy, and the Builders Association of Northern Nevada.

Bob and his wife Terry live in Sparks. They have a son Dave, daughter-in-law Leah, and three grandchildren.

Governor Sandoval also reappointed public member, Bud Cranor, to the Board effective July 1, 2016. Bud was originally appointed in 2003 and was the first public member to serve on the Board. He served one term and was then reappointed again by Governor Sandoval in 2013.

Bud is the Director of the Communications and Council Support Office in the Mayor’s Office at the City of Henderson. He oversees the administrative and constituent affairs for the Mayor and Council. Bud also serves as the City’s primary spokesman and directs the City’s public information efforts.

Prior to coming to the City of Henderson in 2003, Bud was the Director of Nevada Governor Kenny Guinn’s Southern Nevada Office, and was a member of the Governor’s senior staff from 1998 to 2003.

Before entering public service, Bud held positions in the private and non-profit sectors after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in communications from Brigham Young University in 1995.

Bud serves on the Emergency Response Review Committee for the Clark County School District (CCSD), the Voices in Voting Board of Directors, the APPLE Partnership Executive Committee, and the Del Sol High School Governance Team.

Bud lives in Las Vegas with his wife Erin and their four children.

NCEES RECORDS CREATION

The Nevada State Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors would like to recommend to all licensees to explore NCEES and all the features it offers. NCEES now allows licensees to create a profile in their database free of charge, a NCEES Record. A NCEES Record eliminates the hassle of resubmitting your: 

■ College transcripts 

■ Exam results 

■ Employment verifications 

■ Professional references 

When applying for a license in an additional state, NCEES will review your materials and electronically submit them directly to the state licensing board on your behalf. This saves time and simplifies the application process when you need to practice in multiple states.

Another feature of creating an NCEES Record is storing your Professional Development Hours (PDH) documentation online. You can select which states you are licensed in, and store your PDH documentation in the database so that each state can access these documents electronically. This simplifies your record keeping and expedites the audit process. Keeping track of your PDH using the NCEES Record is convenient for licensees licensed in multiple states, and keeps an online electronic record eliminating personal filing of PDH and supporting documents. 

Creating an NCEES records account is free and simple. Simply go to NCEES.org/records/ and follow the links to complete the application to be included in the NCEES Records program.

DOES LICENSURE REALLY MATTER?

n the June 2016 edition of NCEES Licensure Exchange, an official NCEES publication for the exchange of information, opinions, and ideas regarding the licensure of engineers and surveyors, NCEES President Michael Conzett, PE, wrote an article called, “Does licensure really matter?” As a reminder of the value of your license, we wanted to share the article with you.

Does Licensure Really Matter?  At a recent NCEES meeting, I heard an excellent presentation by Bill Quatman regarding the collapse of two skywalks at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kansas City in July 1981. Most of us in the room were certainly old enough to remember the significance of that disaster 35 years ago. Mr Quatman, in a very succinct way, told us how it was the work of a licensed structural engineer (as well as a lack of attention up the QA/QC chain), that caused the failure of the skywalk system, which took 114 lives and injured 216. In fact, one of the deaths due to the disaster came some time later when one of the rescuers committed suicide, likely as a result of the mental anguish he experienced dealing with the ordeal. Listening to the talk, I began to wonder: “Does licensure really matter?” We, who are in the business of licensure and regulation would answer “Yes” to that question without thinking very deeply. It is kind of like preaching to the choir, wouldn’t you say? But the real question needs to be expanded. It is not “Does licensure really matter?” but rather “Does licensure really matter to the public?” After all, it is the public who benefits from engineering and surveying licensure, not us as practitioners. But when the latter question is asked, I wonder what the public really thinks. After all, what does the public really know about our licensure? It is hard enough trying to tell people what engineers and surveyors do, much less trying to tell them how licensed professionals make a difference. As I continued to listen to the presentation and ponder these questions, an irony presented itself. When an engineering disaster occurs (e.g., Deepwater Horizon, GM ignition switches, Flint lead-tainted drinking water) that affects the public health, safety, and welfare, we can be quick to point out that the industrial exemption is the fault and “but for that,” the missteps would not have happened. So what argument do we make when a licensed professional, such as the engineer in the Hyatt incident, is found negligent? We can’t say that licensure would have made a difference. Because in and of itself, it didn’t make a difference. So those opposed to occupational licensure could easily make the case that licensure really doesn’t matter. The public remains at risk, regardless. We, in our roles as state regulators, must be articulate in the public square to clearly point out that licensure should matter to the public. I sincerely believe that although not every engineer needs to be licensed, the world is in a better place and the public is better served when more engineers and surveyors are licensed. Does licensure matter because it makes a person smarter, more qualified, or more experienced? No, licensure should matter to the public because it compels engineers and surveyors to think differently about the work they do every day. It reminds all of us of our duty to place the interest of the public over and above our duty to any other party. Finally, licensure should matter to the public because it is a privilege, not a right. Licensure should make us behave and act differently. For we have something to lose: our license, along with our reputation and livelihood. And that should matter to the public.

Nevada Board Compliance Actions

by Ryan Mulvany, Compliance Officer

As the new compliance officer for the Nevada State Board of Engineers and Land Surveyors, I am frequently presented with different compliance questions and complaints. A vast majority of complaints pertain to potential Nevada Revised Statutes 625 and Nevada Administrative Code 625 violations. As a licensed Nevada Professional Engineer or Professional Land Surveyor, you are expected to know and understand Nevada statutes related to engineering and surveying (NRS 625 and NAC 625). As professionals in your industry, you are held to a very high standard, and ignorance is no excuse for a violation of the law. NRS 625 and NAC 625 are available online for your review. The Board is also here to help you. If you have questions concerning compliance and the law, please feel free to give us a call. 

Recently, I have been conducting a license renewal audit where the Board audits the Professional Development Hours (PDH) reported by each licensee. During each renewal period, we randomly select 10% of our licensees, using a random number generator, for auditing of their PDH. Random audits are conducted in an effort to verify that regulations are being met and to identify potential communication problems between the Board and its licensees. Of this 10% selected for audit, we narrow the licensees down to those whom are Nevada residents, or those in which their home state does not require PDH. If you are selected for a random audit, you must provide documentation of proof of completion of the PDH you have reported. Documentation of PDH activities may include: 

■ Attendance lists 

■ Certificates 

■ Letters or reports documenting successful completion of courses by employers 

■ Employer training lists 

■ Educational institutions or associations 

■ College transcripts 

■ Receipts of seminar or conference program fees 

■ Cover or title page of a published document

During the recent audit, there have been a number of licensees who had difficulty providing PDH documentation, or have not provided specific proof of completion. NAC requires licensees to keep proof of completion of PDH’s for a minimum of 3 years. We are looking for a certificate of completion, plain and simple. Please do not send in piles of paperwork that could not be considered proof of completion. After your documentation has been reviewed, you will be notified whether you have successfully completed the audit, or you are required to send more information. If you are not able to prove completion of PDH in accordance with NAC 625.430, your license will be made “inactive” and will remain inactive until such time as you provide the appropriate documentation. When your license is inactive, you are not able to legally practice engineering.

Edward Phariss, PE # 18976
Case Number 20150017
Violation NRS 625.410(7)

Mr Phariss self- reported that he stamped and signed two projects for the Washoe County Health Department after his license had expired. Performing engineering work while your license is expired is grounds for discipline by the state Board.

Stipulated Agreement Mar 10, 2016
  • Mr Phariss shall pay an administrative fine in the amount of $500
  • Mr Phariss shall reimburse the State Board for all investigative costs and fees incurred in the matter.
David Steward, PE #22679
Case Number 20150018
Violation NRS 625.410(7), NRS 625.383(1)

Mr Steward self-reported providing two electrical engineering plans for a client after his PE license had expired. Performing engineering work while your license is expired is grounds for discipline by the state Board.

Mr Steward’s stamp on the plans was not authorized by the State Board. Each Professional Engineer and Professional Land Surveyor must obtain a stamp of the design authorized by the State Board.

Stipulated Agreement Nov 24, 2020
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