1755 E Plumb Lane Suite 258, Reno, NV 89502

The Nevada Connection – February 2019

Chairman's Message

By Robert La Riviere, PLS
Mr LaRiviere was elected by the state board to serve a second term as chairman effective July 1, 2018.  He was reappointed July 1, 2016, by Governor Brian Sandoval to serve a third term on the board.

As I reflect upon my last eight years on the board, and anticipate the end of my term in June of 2019, there have been many changes at the board—staff changes, re-establishing a Las Vegas office, relocating the Reno office, expedited comity licensure, legislative sunset review, executive branch audits, development of a strategic plan, creating a business plan, implementation of an online licensing system—I am impressed with the volunteer dedication of Nevada professionals to better serve the public and licensed professionals. 

During the past year, the board undertook a complete review of its regulations and gave priority to updating four regulations to reflect current practice.  The board recently adopted the updates as temporary regulations.  The temporary regulations are in affect and will become permanent when the Legislative Counsel Bureau takes final action.  Below is a summary of the regulation changes—

NAC 625.260 Clarifies upper point of reference in determining the 45-foot height limitation for civil engineers who perform structural design.  And, adds the requirement that structural engineers design facilities and structures designated as essential facilities assigned a IV Risk Category in accordance with the International Building Code—hospitals, fire stations, etc.

NAC 625.545 Adds the requirement for a professional to contractually disclose to a client whether the professional maintains professional liability insurance. 

NAC 625.610 Updates language related to stamps, seals, and signatures.  Including language associated with electronic submittals and digital signatures. 

NAC 625.630 Updates language to eliminate the “brick and mortar” requirement.  Firms will no longer be required to have a full-time engineer in each office that provides services.  A firm still needs a professional in responsible charge, but can have multiple offices with a single professional in responsible charge. 

To review the adopted regulations, click here. Even though the regulations have been adopted by the board and are temporary regulations until the LCB finalizes, they are in affect and professionals must comply with them.  So please review the regulations and incorporate them into your practice as applicable.  We are continuing to review our regulations and will likely have more updates later this year.  Stay tuned!   

In support of active military, I’m happy to report, the board recently approved waiving application fees and priority processing for active military members and their spouses seeking a license in Nevada.  We hope this will ease the burden on military families needing to relocate to Nevada. 

On a closing note, the board welcomes offers to volunteer your time and talents.  If you would like to be considered to be a guest board member or serve on a board advisory committee, please feel free to send an email to the board office, board@boe.state.nv.us

Governor Appoints New Board Member

Governor Sandoval appointed Angelo Spata, PE, to the board effective July 1, 2018. He takes over the seat previously held by Amy Cheng, PE, whose term expired June 30, 2018.

Angelo is a licensed professional engineer in Nevada and four other western states. He’s the national alternative delivery director for the engineering consultancy Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, and he works in the Henderson, Nevada, office. He was the design manager for Project Neon Design-Build in Las Vegas and has focused his career on overseeing engineering and design projects throughout Nevada.

Angelo has lived in Nevada since 1976, graduating from Chaparral High School, attending the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and obtaining his PE in 2002. He is an active member of the Nevada chapters of the American Public Works Association and American Society of Civil Engineers. He has overseen a variety of community and educational activities, such as the Clark County School District’s education program, All People Promoting Literacy Efforts (APPLE), a computer funding and reading competition for elementary school students, and the Summer Business Institute Program for Clark County, which funds intern opportunities for local high school students interested in the field of engineering. Angelo is a supporter and contributor to the Nevada Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) initiative that includes scholarships, fundraisers, and outreach promoting students in pursuing technical professions, as well as the Fuel Revenue Indexing (FRI) campaign to modernize, grow, and diversify the needs of our transportation infrastructure.

He has worked on a wide variety of projects in Nevada, nationally, and globally, such as when he traveled to the Middle East to work on the $7 billion King Abdulaziz International Airport Expansion, allowing him to bring work back to Nevada during the recession. His initiative, skill, and judgment have secured success on multi-faceted, multi-jurisdictional projects that required balancing the needs of the community with other factors, such as the re-establishment of the F Street Bridge at I-15 (2009 Assembly Bill 304).

Angelo lives in Las Vegas with his wife Christine and their four children.

 


Governor Sandoval appointed Tom Matter to the Board as the public member effective April 17, 2018.  He takes over the seat previously held by Bud Cranor. 

Tom currently is the Vertical Market Manager for Granite Construction and resides in Reno, NV.  His primary responsibility at Granite is to grow the Vertical Construction group regionally.  Prior to joining Granite, Tom worked for CH2M HILL as part of their Industrial and Advanced Technologies Group focusing on front-end solutions for high-tech clients.

Tom earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and his MBA from the University of Nevada, Reno.  Since graduating with an engineering degree he has over 10 years of experience in both construction and engineering design work.

Tom and his wife Kara have two children, Kolten and Reese.  For fun, Tom enjoys Skiing, Golfing, exercising and coaching his children’s various athletic teams.  Tom is also an active board member for the University of Nevada Alumni Football Association and Strengthen the Pack, a fundraising group with a goal of assisting the University of Nevada, Reno in building nationally ranked athletic programs.

BOARD MEMBERS REAPPOINTED

Governor Sandoval reappointed Karen Purcell, PE to her second term on the board effective on July 1, 2018.

Karen Purcell, P.E., is the founder, owner, and president of PK Electrical, Inc., a thirty-six person electrical engineering, design, and consulting firm with offices in Reno, NV and Denver, CO.  She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Widener University in Pennsylvania.  Ms. Purcell has more than 29 years of experience in electrical engineering. She has had the honor of working on several exciting projects such as Project Neon, University of Nevada Engineering Building, Nevada State Veterans Home, and the Denver Concourse B and C expansion, In 2015, Ms. Purcell was appointed by Governor Sandoval to the Nevada State Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors and presently holds the position of Vice-Chair.

In 2012, Karen’s book, Unlocking Your Brilliance: Smart Strategies for Women to Thrive is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math was published. She draws on her successful engineering experience to inspire young women to enter into and remain in science, technology, engineering and math related careers with full confidence, knowing that she did it, other women have done it, and that they are unquestionably our leaders of tomorrow. Ms. Purcell has spoken to audiences across the United States and China on STEM.


Governor Sandoval reappointed Kent Anderson, PE to his second term on the board effective on July 1, 2018.

Mr. Anderson is the principal engineer of Nevada By Design. Kent has devoted over 33 years to the engineering profession, and has practiced engineering in Southern Nevada since 1982 in both the private and public sectors. During his career, he has developed a diverse background of experience in engineering practices and solutions. His work includes a variety of public works projects including freeway and arterial roadway design, water and sewer distribution design, storm drainage facilities, hydraulic structures and commercial development. As the owner of Nevada By Design, Mr. Anderson is responsible for the execution of all administration and civil engineering tasks and assignments.

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION EVENT CALENDAR

A Professional Associations Event Calendar has been added to the NVBPELS website. It’s designed as a one-stop resource for licensees to find out about professional engineering and land surveying related events happening in their community. 

View the calendar at https://nvbpels.org/calendar

ELECTRONIC SUBMITTALS AND DIGITAL SIGNATURES

Probably the most common question we get at the board office is related to stamping and signing electronic submittals.  From the questions asked, it is clear there are elements of confusion amongst professionals—agencies and practitioners.  As stated elsewhere in this newsletter the board recently updated its stamping regulations (NAC 625.610) in an effort to clarify terminology related to signatures. The regulations related to stamps, seals, and signatures are Nevada Administrative Code 625.610 and 625.611.

FIRST, LET’S TALK ABOUT SIGNATURES…..

Historically engineers and land surveyors have hand signed their documents.  A signature is legally binding.  With the evolution of technology, professionals can realistically eliminate paper documents by solely working in an electronic environment.  Documents can be created electronically, signed electronically, and transmitted electronically, without printing a single sheet of paper.  Electronically signing a document so that the signature is legally binding does not mean a professional can just insert or add an image of a signature.  Anyone can add anybody’s signature image to a document, and the signature, as an image, is not legally binding.   For an electronic signature to be legally binding it must be a digital signature.  Digital signatures are encrypted and are logically associated with other data in electronic form to ensure the signer is who they say they are.  Digital signatures have the same legal standing as a handwritten signature.

NEXT, LET’S TALK ABOUT SUBMITTALS……

Documents submitted to an agency can either be originals or copies, paper or electronic.  Professionals have been submitting paper documents to agencies for many years.  Most of us are intimately familiar with the proper procedure as described in Nevada regulations. The only clarification needed is whether a stamp created electronically can be used in lieu of the traditional wet stamp.  Yes, a stamp created electronically can be used in lieu of a wet stamp. There is nothing in the law or regulations that preclude the use of an electronically created stamp as long as the electronically created stamp conforms to the style, dimensions, and other details stated in the regulations.  For those that may be less familiar with submittals to agencies, the regulations state that when submitting paper originals to an agency, each page of the document must be stamped, dated, and signed (pen/ink).  When submitting paper copies of documents, the cover sheet and first page of each discipline must be stamped dated, and signed (pen/ink).

Electronic documents submitted electronically to agencies can also be original or copies. The only difference is in the signature.  Electronic documents submitted as originals must have a digital signature.  Original electronic documents submitted to an agency must have a stamp, date, and digital signature on each page of the document.  When submitting electronic copies of documents, the cover sheet and first page of each discipline must be stamped, dated, and signed (digitally).

Aren’t all electronic documents a copy?  When is an electronic document, submitted electronically, an original document and when is it a copy?  When submitting an electronic document to an agency for review and approval, it is an original document, the document of record.  Original documents are intellectual property and stand as a professionals work product.  Hence the reason an electronic document submitted as an original must have a stamp, date, and digital signature on each page, and the document is electronically locked to prevent any changes.  A copy of the electronic document can also be submitted to an agency.  As a copy, the document would not be considered an original and is therefore not required to be electronically locked to prevent changes.  An agency might request a professional to submit an electronic copy so the document can be marked up—comments added or design review changes added.  When an electronic document is submitted as an original, locked to prevent changes, it typically cannot be manipulated, can’t be marked up.  Hence an agency may request a copy that is unlocked.

As we all—agencies, professionals, and regulators— adapt to the changes mandated by the evolution of technology, and continue to move from paper to electronic submittals, we will likely need to update procedures and regulations as well as adjust processes to ensure the public is adequately protected.  Along those lines the board has been discussing with Nevada building officials if there is a need for the board to insert itself in the digital signature authentication process.  Since digital signatures are encrypted, and are logically associated with other data in electronic form to ensure the signer is who they say they are, should the professional’s license be a required part of the encryption data?  We are asking the question because the board was created to safeguard life, health and property and to promote public welfare by providing licensure for qualified professionals.

THE BOARD STARTED ASKING IF IT SHOULD INSERT ITSELF IN THE DIGITAL SIGNATURE VERIFICATION PROCESS AFTER CONSIDERING THE FOLLOWING……

With paper submittals, engineers are issued or authorized to have a stamp by the board.  Historically, professionals are known by building officials and agencies, often having long-standing relationships developed by numerous face-to-face interactions.  With electronic submittals and digital signatures, an engineer may never step foot in an agency, and currently anyone can create a digital signature by self-certifying their identity.  Also, it’s possible a professional could be impersonated using current technologies.  Anyone could create a stamp and pose as a licensed professional.  Granted, this could still occur with paper and signatures (pen/ink), but it’s more likely an impersonator would be discovered.  Electronic submittals increase the potential for fraud.

Current regulations only require that an electronic signature be a digital signature.  Digital signatures can be self-created with no, or limited verification.  With current regulations, the building department, at a minimum, has the burden of verifying that a professional is actively licensed.  As a professional, sharing electronic document copies which are unlocked documents, you have a responsibility to protect your stamp and signature.  As a regulator, does the board have an obligation to tighten the regulations to facilitate the building department fulfilling its obligations and/or also help professionals protect their stamp and signatures? Does the board have an obligation to require third party verification?  Should the board insert itself in the digital signature authentication process by becoming the government authorizing agency issuing license authentication data for digital signatures? Or, should the board take a similar position taken by some technical boards and consider relaxing the regulations and have no requirements for electronic signatures, allow the use of signature images?

Each one of us has a unique perspective—building official, practicing professional, client, regulator—and the board needs input to determine how best to move forward.  Do we need to update the regulations—relax or tighten?  Or, do we maintain the status quo?  The board anticipates hosting a number of workshops and will likely send out a survey to collect your input.  We look forward to hearing from you on this important issue.

CHANGED ADDRESS OR CONTACT INFORMATION?

Send us an e-mail at board@boe.state.nv.us and include your name, license #, and the new address or contact information and we will update your file.

Nevada Board Compliance Actions

December 2017 – November 2018

SAJAN ABRAHAM, PE 019285
CASE NUMBER: 20170005
VIOLATION OF NRS 625.080, NAC 625.612, AND NAC 625.613

Complainant alleges two instances of stamping by Mr. Abraham on items over which he did not have responsible charge of the work performed. Specifically, Complainant alleges that Mr. Abraham stamped calculations for shop drawings that had been prepared by and stamped by a licensed Arizona PE, and Mr. Abraham then submitted the same to CCPW for review under the letterhead and title block of Forterra, an Arizona firm, with whom Mr. Abraham was not employed. Complainant further alleges that Mr. Abraham sealed cement design mix certifications and test results under the title block of CEMEX, with whom Mr. Abraham is not employed, and that he again did not take due care or responsible charge through the testing and certification process.

  1. The first project at issue is described as the Clark County Public Works Bid Number 603740-15 located at Las Vegas Wash.  The contractor on the project was Aimes Construction, and the Quality Control Consultant was Mr. Abraham’s employer at the time, 1st Choice Inspections & Testing.
  2. On August 4th, 2016, Forterra, an Arizona firm with whom Mr. Abraham was not employed, submitted a reinforced concrete box calculation that was designed by Hugh Martin, the Arizona Responsible Charge Professional Engineer for Forterra. Mr. Martin performed the calculations and stamped the same as an Arizona professional engineer. Mr. Martin does not have a Nevada PE license.
  3. Forterra hired Mr. Abraham to review and stamp the calculations using his Nevada PE license.
  4. As to the second allegation, the project is referred to as Clark County 604263 Moapa Town Roads II – Henrie Road. The contractor on that project is Meadow Valley 4615, and the supplier is CEMEX. IQC Southwest was Mr. Abraham’s employer at the time, and IQC was a consultant on the project. The owner is Clark County, Nevada, a governmental subdivision of the state of Nevada.
  5. On April 3, 2017, a CEMEX mix design, number 1577290, was submitted to the Clark County Department of Public Works as project 604263. CCPW’s design review resulted in rejection due to the stamping of the design by Mr. Abraham, who was not in responsible charge.
  6. Mr. Abraham has since left the private sector, and is now employed by the City of Henderson as a Laboratory Manager for the Public Works Quality Control Material Laboratory.
  7. The State Board may take disciplinary action against a licensee for violations of provisions of NRS Chapter 625 and/or NAC Chapter 625.
  8. NAC 625.612 provides that each report, study, test result, certification or calculation which is submitted to a public authority must be stamped, signed and dated by the licensee  who  had  responsible  charge  of  that  report,  study,  test  result,  certification or calculation.
  9. NAC 625.613 provides that details, shop drawings, descriptions of products or any other information which is prepared by a manufacturer, supplier or installer of a product or system may be included in a document which has been prepared and stamped by a licensee. Each document which is prepared by a licensee must include: (a} A description of the document; (b} The date the document was printed; (c) The name, address and telephone number of the licensee’s firm; and (d) The name and location of the project for which the document was prepared.
  10. NRS 625.080 provides that “Responsible charge of work” means the independent control and direction, by the use of initiative, skill and independent judgment, of the investigation or design of professional engineering or land-surveying work or the supervision of such work.
  11. By reviewing and stamping Mr. Martin’s calculations on the Clark County Public Works Bid Number603740-15 (Las Vegas Wash), Mr. Abraham violated NAC 625.612 and 613.
  12. By stamping the design on the CEMEX Project 604263 (Henrie Road) without have responsible charge thereof, Mr. Abraham violated NRS 625.080.

Pursuant to NAC 625.640, this matter may be resolved without a formal hearing by Stipulated Agreement.

Stipulated Agreement executed on January 18, 2018

  1. Mr. Abraham shall, within six (6) months of approval of this Stipulated Agreement, undergo study and course completion of a Murdough Center Basic Level Study in Engineering Ethics;
  2. Mr. Abraham shall within one (1) year of approval of this Stipulated Agreement, complete a follow-up Whitepaper on the importance of responsible charge of work as it relates specifically to materials and testing field and the Southern Nevada Quality Control and Assurance Program, as well as the chain of command in materials and testing, and the responsibilities of a professional engineer in personnel management and supervision. The Whitepaper shall be submitted to the Board, but shall not be deemed completed until the Board approves the content thereof;
  3. Mr. Abraham shall pay an administrative fine of $250.00;
  4. Mr. Abraham shall pay assessed administrative costs and fees incurred in this matter in the amount of $2,000.00.
DAVID WINCHELL, PLS 003209
CASE NUMBER: 20170016
VIOLATION OF NAC 625.700

The complaint against Mr Winchell alleged violations of NRS chapter 625 and NAC chapter 625.  Upon investigation by the Board’s staff, it was determined that a violation of NAC 625.700 likely occurred. The provisions of NAC 625.700 require a professional land surveyor to “(1) advise his or her client of discrepancies which raise doubts concerning the boundary lines of the property being surveyed; and (2) provide a written report to the client concerning the discrepancies.”

Factual Summary

On June 26, 2017, the Respondent recorded a land survey of 3835 Ponderosa Drive, Carson City, Nevada 89701, APN 009-137-08. The subject recorded survey set new monuments where established monuments previously existed and were apparent.  The boundary was surveyed in 1995, and apparently affirmed in 2011 when monuments were set, by James Haddan, a Nevada registered professional land surveyor. These prior existing monuments established the boundary line upon which the affected parties relied, as demonstrated by the construction of a fence along the boundary line and a masonry wall a few inches to the north of it.

Prior to the survey in question, the Complainant had the original 1995 survey boundaries reaffirmed by the original surveyor. This reaffirmed survey was recorded on June 7, 2011, as Document No. 413275. Despite the existing and apparent monument boundaries and the June 7, 2011, recorded land survey, the Respondent set new monuments between the parcels, which appear to move the boundaries approximately eight (8) inches to the north. The Complainant called the Respondent on June 21, 2017, and inquired about the new and conflicting monuments. During the parties’ telephone conversation, the Respondent acknowledged his awareness of the existing conflicting monuments, but nevertheless, recorded his new land survey on June 26, 2017, apparently without discussing the discrepancies with the original surveyor, James Haddan. Stipulated Settlement Agreement

The Board is prepared to proceed with a hearing on a disciplinary action against the Respondent, and the Respondent is prepared to contest the allegations against him at a hearing.  However, the Parties desire to compromise and settle the instant controversy upon the terms and conditions of the following Stipulated Agreement.  

Stipulated Agreement executed on May 10, 2018

  1. The Respondent agrees to provide a written report to his client regarding the boundary discrepancy found during the subject land survey, in accordance with NAC 625.700(2), including a recommended action to resolve, within thirty (30) days of the effective date of this Stipulated Settlement Agreement (“Agreement”).
  2. The Respondent agrees to complete, within ninety (90) days of the effective date of this Agreement, the following distance learning tutorials conducted by Gary Kent at Geolearn, on surveys and disputed boundaries: 
    1. “The Surveyor’s Judicial Role Series (Tutorial 1)—What is the Real Role of the Boundary Surveyor?”; and 
    2. The Surveyor’s Judicial Role Series (Tutorial 4)—Can the Surveyor Resolve Boundary Title Problems?”.
  3. The Respondent agrees to pay an administrative fine to the Board of Five Hundred and No/100 Dollars ($500.00), within thirty (30) days of the effective date of this Agreement.
  4. The Respondent agrees to pay the Board’s attorney’s fees incurred in this matter in the amount of Five Hundred Forty Dollars and Twenty-Six Cents ($540.26)
  1.  
LAZELL PREATOR, PE 014982
CASE NUMBER: 20180006
VIOLATION OF NRS 625.410 (2) & NAC 625.530

The office of the Deputy Building and Safety Director for the City of Las Vegas received a plan set entitled “Calverts Main Extension Plan”. The plan set included an irregular and misspelled signature of the City Engineer, Allen Pavelka, with his name signed “Alan” as opposed to the proper spelling “Allen.” The plan set further included a signature of a retired Director of Building and Safety, Chris Knight. Mr Preator asserts that he relied on a third party to acquire said signatures, and that said third party, unbeknownst to Mr Preator, obtained or affixed the forged signatures. Although Mr Preator denies forging the signatures at issue, he admits that he is responsible for documents that he seals and signs and that he is responsible to use due care and oversight to manage originals and copies of all documents he has signed and sealed.

Pursuant to NAC 625.640, this matter may be resolved without a formal hearing by Stipulated Agreement.

Stipulated Agreement executed on November 8, 2018

    1. Mr Preator’s Nevada license shall be suspended for twelve (12) months following entry of this Agreement, pursuant to NRS 625.410 (2) and NAC 625.530, but with the suspension stayed and probation imposed for the duration of that time period.
    2. The stay of Mr Preator’s suspension may be lifted by the state board upon notice and the opportunity to be heard should Mr Preator fail to abide by the terms hereof.
    3. Mr Preator’s successful completion of probation is expressly conditioned upon his full compliance with the following conditions of probation:
      1. Mr Preator shall pay a fine of Five Hundred and No/100 Dollars ($500.00) for each forged signature at issue, for a total fine of One Thousand and No/100 Dollars ($1,000.00);
      2. Mr Preator shall draft and file a White Paper on the meaning of responsible charge or work in relation to the practice of professional engineering.
ROGER BLAIR, PE 024744
CASE NUMBER: 20180011
VIOLATION NRS 625.410 (6), NRS 625.410 (2), NRS 625.410 (5), NAC 625.520(1), NAC 625.530(1), & NAC 625.611

Mr Blair self-reported to the Nevada board discipline imposed against his Texas PE license by the Texas Board of Professional Engineers (“Texas Board”) for violations of the Texas Engineering Practice Act, the Texas Occupations Code, and the Texas Administrative Code, with regard to engineering services provided on a project.

The project consisted of a weld-up building to be used as a recreational facility and mechanic shop by the client. Mr Blair prepared, issued, signed, and sealed seven engineering design sheets for a metal building on the project, under the incorrect assumption that the building was a pre-engineered/manufactured building. Mr Blair did not include a disclaimer on the seven design sheets or a cover sheet indicating that his signature and seal only attested to the materials list as appropriate, thus his signature and seal attested to the entire engineering design. As such, Mr Blair’s signature and seal misled the client to reasonably believe the entire design met general engineering standards. It was subsequently determined that Mr Blair’s engineering design for the project was materially deficient in violation of 22 TAC §§ 137.33(n), 137.55(a) and (b), 137.57 (a), 137.57(b)(1)-(3), 137.63(a), 137.63(b)(1), 137.63(b)(4)-(6), and 137.77(h).

Mr Blair stipulated to the following violations in the Texas Consent Order:

  1. Based on the significance and extent of the deficiencies and lack of information, Mr Blair neglected to practice engineering in an honest, ethical, professional, careful and diligent manner, thus jeopardizing the public health, safety, and welfare. Thus, Mr Blair failed to practice engineering in an honest, ethical, professional, careful, and diligent manner, which when measured by generally accepted engineering standards and/or procedures endangered the public health, safety, and welfare in violation of 22 TAC §§ 137.55(a) and (b), 137.57 (a), 137.57(b)(1)-(3), 137.63(a), 137.63(b)(1), 137.63(b)(4)-(6); and
  2. Mr Blair is employed by and associated with the engineering firm Caiman Engineering, Inc., with firm registration number F-15209. On or about August 26, 2015, Mr Blair issued, signed, and sealed seven engineering design sheets for the project which lacked the firm’s title block and registration, which violated 22 TAC §§ 137.33(n) and 137.77(h).

Mr Blair stipulated that he engaged in conduct which violated 22 TAC §§ 137.33(n), 137.55(a) and (b), 137.57(a) and (b) (1-3), 137.63(a), (b)(1), and (b) (4-6), and 137.77(h), as set forth in the Texas Consent Order.

NRS 625.410(6) provides authority for the Nevada board to administer discipline in Nevada for discipline received by licensee in another state, if at least one of the grounds for discipline is the same or substantially equivalent to any ground contained in NRS Chapter 625. Regarding same or substantially similar grounds for discipline as those imposed on Mr Blair in the Texas Consent Order, NRS 625.410(2) empowers the Nevada board to impose discipline on a licensee for “[a]ny gross negligence, incompetency or misconduct in the practice of professional engineering as a professional engineer…” Likewise, TAC §§ 137.55 (h) provides the Texas Board the power to discipline “[a]ny act or conduct which constitutes incompetence or gross negligence, or a criminal violation of law, constitutes misconduct…”

Furthermore, NRS 625.410(5) provides that the board may take disciplinary action against a licensee for “[a] violation of a provision of this chapter or regulation adopted by the Board.” As such, grounds for discipline under Nevada Administrative Code (“NAC”) Chapter 625 are grounds for discipline under NRS Chapter 625. The additional grounds for discipline of Mr Blair in Texas or are substantially equivalent to the following NAC Chapter 625 provisions:

  • NAC 625.520(1) provides that “[in] a licensee’s relations with the public, the licensee shall…[h]ave proper regard for the safety, health and welfare of the public in the performance of his or her professional duties.” This regulation is substantially similar to TAC §§ 137.55(a)&(b) which provides, in relevant part, that “[e]ngineers shall be entrusted to protect the health, safety, property, and welfare of the public in the practice of their profession.”
  • NAC 625.530(1) reads, in relevant part that “[i]n a professional engineers…relations with his or her employers and clients, he or she shall…[a]ct in professional matters as a faithful agent or trustee for each employer and client. “TAC §§ 137.63(B)(4) reads in relevant part that “[t]he engineer must…act as a faithful agent for their employers or clients.”
  • NAC 625.611 requires that “[p]lans or maps submitted to a public authority must include…[t]he name, address and telephone number of the form which submits the plans or maps. “TAC §§ 137.77(h) requires that “[a]ll form documents released, issued, or submitted by or for a registered engineering firm…must clearly indicate the firm name and registration number.”

Pursuant to NAC 625.640, this matter may be resolved without a formal hearing by Stipulated Agreement.

Stipulated Agreement executed on November 8, 2018

  1. Mr Blair’s Nevada license shall be suspended for the duration of his Texas license probation pursuant to NRS 625.410 (2) and (6), but with the suspension shall be stayed and probation imposed for the duration of his Texas license probation.
  2. The stay of Mr Blair’s suspension may be lifted by the Nevada board upon notice and the opportunity to be heard should Mr. Blair fail to abide by the terms of his Texas Consent Order and/or this Stipulated Agreement.
  3. Mr Blair’s successful completion of probation is expressly conditioned upon his full compliance with the following conditions of probation:
    1. the licensee shall provide proof to the Nevada board that he is in good standing throughout the Texas board’s probation period, and he shall provide the Nevada board with copies of the reports for verification.
    2. the licensee shall submit detailed bi-monthly probation reports to the Executive Director of the Nevada Board, which shall report any work completed in Nevada during the previous two (2) month period. A report shall be filed even if no work was performed in Nevada during the previous two (2) month period. The first report shall include any work performed in Nevada since the date of the Texas Consent Order. Each report shall include a copy of the contracted executed for any work in Nevada, including the scope of work detail as well as supporting project documentation.
    3. Mr Blair shall fully satisfy the terms of the Texas Consent Order.
  4. Mr Blair shall not be required to pay any administrative fine or reimburse any investigative costs of fees.
MINGQIAO ZHU, PE 015943
CASE NUMBER: 20180015
VIOLATION OF NRS 625.410 (6), NRS 625.410(3) & NRS 625.565(3)

Mr Zhu self-reported to the Nevada Board disciplinary action imposed against his Oklahoma PE license by the Oklahoma State Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors for violation of the Oklahoma Statute Title 59. In that matter, Mr Zhu signed and sealed design and engineering documents for Stephen P Maslan & Co., a firm not authorized to offer and practice professional engineering services in Oklahoma. Further, Mr Zhu did so while not in responsible charge of the work performed. Mr Zhu thus violated 59 O.S. § 475 1 et seq., and the Board Rules in place in Oklahoma.

 Mr Zhu stipulated to the following violations in the Oklahoma Consent Order:

  1. On September 7, 2017, Mr Zhu was contacted to stamp a cover letter and drawings in relation to engineering drawings and calculations for the Oklahoma City Zoo timber frame project (“Project 1”). That same day, Mr Zhu digitally signed the cover sheet of the structural calculations report for Project 1, and further sealed the same on September 8, 2017.
  2. The signed and sealed structural calculations report for Project 1 further included the name and information of Stephen P Maslan & Co., despite the fact that neither the firm, nor Mr Maslan himself, hold a valid or current Certificate of Licensure in Oklahoma.
  3. On March 20, 2015, Mr Zhu signed and sealed the structural engineering drawings for a project for Joe Klerekoper, at the request of Mr Maslan (“Project 2”).
  4. On September 18, 2015, Mr Zhu signed and sealed a structural engineering design for a project for Jamie Cupp in Oklahoma, at the request of Mr Maslan (“Project 3”).
  5. On November 21, 2016, Mr Zhu signed and sealed structural engineering design drawings for a project for Don Davis in Oklahoma, at the request of an employee of Mr Maslan’s firm (“Project 4”).
  6. On March 15, 2017, Mr Zhu signed and sealed structural engineering design and drawings, architectural drawings, and calculations for a residence in Oklahoma, at the request of an employee of Mr Maslan’s firm.

Mr Zhu stipulated that he knew or should have known that Stephen P Maslan & Co did not have a Certificate of Licensure to offer and/or practice engineering in Oklahoma at the times in which Mr Zhu provided the services listed above. As such, Mr Zhu stipulated that he violated the provisions of 59 O.S. § 475.1 and 475.18(A)(8) by aiding and assisting Stephen P Maslan & Co. in offering and practicing engineering services in Oklahoma without proper licensure.

Mr Zhu further stipulated that his signed, sealed, and dated structural engineering design drawings and/or structural calculations reports for the five projects listed above were not prepared under his direct control and personal supervision.

Mr  Zhu acknowledged  that  the  actions  of  Stephen  P  Maslan  &  Co.  violated  the provisions of 59 O.S. § 475.1, which provides in pertinent part that it shall be unlawful to practice or to offer to practice engineering or land surveying in this state, as defined in the provisions of 59 O.S. § 475.1 et seq. of that title, or to use in connection with any name or otherwise assume or advertise any title or description tending to convey the impression that any person is an engineer, professional engineer, professional structural engineer, land surveyor or professional land surveyor, unless such person has been duly licensed or authorized under the provisions of that title. Mr Zhu stipulated that by assisting Stephen P Maslan & Co. in violating 59 O.S. § 475.1, Mr Zhu violated 59 O.S. § 475.18{A){8), which provides in pertinent part that the Oklahoma Board shall have the power to deny, place on probation, suspend, revoke or refuse to issue a certificate or license, or fine, reprimand, issue orders, levy administrative fines or seek other penalties, for aiding or assisting another person or entity in violating any provision of Section 475.1 et seq. or the rules or regulations pertaining thereto. Nevada has a same or similar statute, namely NRS 625.410(3), which allows the Nevada Board to impose discipline against a licensee for “[a]iding or abetting any person in the violation of any provision of this chapter or regulation adopted by the Board”.

Mr Zhu stipulated that he violated 59 O.S. § 475.l S(A)(l 0), which provides in pertinent part that the Oklahoma Board shall have the power to deny, place on probation, suspend, revoke or refuse to issue a certificate or license, or fine, reprimand, issue orders, levy administrative fines or seek other penalties, for signing, affixing the professional engineer’s or professional land surveyor’s seal, or permitting the professional engineer’s or professional land surveyor’s seal or signature to be affixed to any specifications, reports, drawings, plans, design information, construction documents, calculations, other documents, or revisions thereof, which have not been prepared by, or under the direct control and personal supervision of the professional engineer or professional land surveyor in responsible charge. Nevada has a same or similar statute, namely NRS 625.565(3), which makes it ”unlawful for a professional engineer to sign or stamp any plans, specifications or reports that were not prepared by the professional engineer or for which he or she did not have responsible charge of the work”.

NRS 625.410(6) provides authority for the Nevada board to administer discipline in Nevada for discipline received by licensee in another state, if at least one of the grounds for discipline is the same or substantially equivalent to any ground contained in NRS Chapter 625. Accordingly, as stated above, the grounds for discipline in Oklahoma are the same or substantially equivalent to grounds for discipline under NRS 625.410(3) and NRS 625.565(3).

Pursuant to NAC 625.640, this matter may be resolved without a formal hearing by Stipulated Agreement.

Stipulated Agreement executed on November 8, 2018

  1. Mr Zhu’s Nevada license shall be suspended for eighteen (18) months following entry of this agreement, pursuant to NRS 625.410(6), but with the suspension stayed and probation imposed for the duration of that time period.
  2. The stay of Mr Zhu’s suspension may be lifted by the Nevada board upon notice and the opportunity to be heard should Mr Zhu fail to abide by the terms of his Oklahoma Consent Order and/or this Stipulated Agreement.
  3. Mr Zhu’s successful completion of  probation  is  expressly conditioned upon his full compliance with the following conditions of probation:
    1. the licensee shall submit detailed bi-monthly probation reports to the Executive Director of the Nevada Board, which shall report any work completed in Nevada during the previous two (2) month period. A report shall be filed even if no work was performed in Nevada during the previous two (2) month period. The first report shall be due within two (2) months of the effective date of this Stipulated Agreement, and shall include any work performed in Nevada since the date of the Oklahoma Consent Order.  Each report shall include a copy of the contracted executed for any work in Nevada, including the scope of work detail as well as supporting project documentation; and
    2. Mr Zhu shall fully satisfy the terms of the Oklahoma Consent Order, and shall provide proof of said full compliance to the Nevada board.
  4. Mr Zhu shall not be required to pay any administrative fine or reimburse any investigative costs of fees.

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