1755 E Plumb Lane Suite 258, Reno, NV 89502

The Nevada Connection – October 2020

CHAIRWOMAN'S MESSAGE

by Karen Purcell, PE

Ms Purcell was elected by the state board to serve as chairwoman effective July 1, 2020.  She was initially appointed to the board by Governor Brian Sandoval July 1, 2015. Governor Sandoval reappointed Karen, July 1, 2018, to serve her second three-year term.

As we continue to live with mandates related to COVID-19, Your Board continues to operate at full capacity.  As of July 6, 2020, the board’s Reno office was reopened to visitors (Monday -Friday, 8am to 5pm).  Office visitors are asked to practice social distancing and wear face coverings.  Because of Governor Sisolak’s directive to state agencies to limit non-essential travel and limits on occupancy to allow for social distancing, the board will continue to hold meetings virtually to ensure the public can participate.

Despite limitations related to COVID-19, there’s been a lot happening at the board since our last newsletter in May:

  • Drafts of 34 regulation updates were sent to Nevada’s Legislative Council Bureau
  • A strategic planning session was held to refresh the board’s Strategic Plan
  • An Electronic Submittal Digital Signature Guide was finalized and published

We anticipate getting all 34 regulations back from the Nevada Legislative Council Bureau mid-October.  If things go well, the board could vote to adopt the updates as temporary regulations by the end of the year. The proposed regulation changes were a result of a comprehensive review of all the board’s regulations.  The changes eliminate obsolete regulations and update regulations that are outdated.

The Strategic Planning Session reviewed the existing strategic plan and validated the boards goals.  It then updated strategies related to the goals to provide direction for future board initiatives.  The board will consider and vote to adopt the updated Strategic Plan at its November board meeting.

The Electronic Submittal Digital Signature Guide is a collaborative effort between the board, agencies, and professionals to facilitate paperless submittals and eliminate the challenges faced by agencies in implementing electronic submittal processes, and challenges faced by professionals in submitting electronic documents with the required digital signatures.  Click here for more on the new guide. 

There have been several recent changes on the board.  Kent Anderson, PE, retired as of June 30, 2020, and was replaced by Robert Fyda, PE.  Kent served five years on the board, July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2020.  Greg DeSart, PE, who served four years on the board, October 1, 2016 to August 31, 2020, has been replaced by Lynnette Russell, PE. Thank you to Kent and Greg for their service, they will be missed. We extend a warm welcome to Lynnette and Robert and look forward to the new perspectives they bring to the board based on their unique experiences.  For more on our two new board members click here.

Remember to follow us on social media, and stay tuned for frequent updates, videos, events and facts.

The board welcomes offers to volunteer your time and talents.  If you would like to be considered as 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.

ELECTRONIC SUBMITTAL DIGITAL SIGNATURE GUIDE

One of the silver linings of COVID-19 is it accelerated NVBPEL’s collaboration efforts with agencies and professionals to resolve challenges in moving to paperless submittals.  Agencies and professionals had different approaches to resolving those challenges.  Engineers want to protect their electronic submittals including their stamps and signatures.  Agencies need to review submittals—mark-up and add comments.  This created a wide range of issues resulting in considerable agency and professional manhours to resolve.  Agencies began to develop guides, and when the guides varied from legal requirements it created issues for professionals and for the board.  Professionals not knowing the law or wanting to appease agencies inadvertently were violating the laws.  Rather than professionals individually doing what they thought was best to comply with agency requirements for electronic submittals and Nevada regulations and each agency developing its own guide to meet its unique submittal processes, it was agreed the board would facilitate the development of a guide that could be adopted by agencies and provide uniform guidance to professionals.

It was an eye-opener for board staff at a Digital Signature Task Force meeting to see the frustration that ensued during a real-time experiment to transmit digitally signed electronic documents.  Here is a list of just a few of the challenges the task force faced during its real-time experiment—

  • server firewall interference with transmitting documents with digital signatures
  • file sizes too large to send/receive documents
  • inability to mark-up/comment digitally signed documents
  • inability to combine digitally signed documents and retain signatures
  • adding multiple digital signatures to documents and retaining their validity

With the frustration of the task force members, it became obvious the board was integral to facilitating a solution that could collapse the learning curve for agencies and 11,000 actively practicing Nevada professional engineers and land surveyors.

Transmitting documents electronically is a common everyday occurrence.  We have all mastered that skill.  The challenge is transmitting electronic documents in a manner that—

  • protects the public from fraudulent engineering documents, or at least reduces the potential for fraud
  • protects a professional’s work product while also protecting their stamp and signatures
  • enables agencies to fulfill their obligations in the submittal approval process
  • complies with Nevada laws related to electronic signatures, not just Nevada Revised Statutes chapter 625, which the board has purview over, but NRS chapter 719 and 720
  • establish uniform guidelines for electronic submittals and digital signatures

To collapse the learning curve, the Digital Signature Task Force agreed to draft a guide to be published by the board.  A guide to—

  • establish uniform guidelines for electronic submittals and digital signatures
  • enable consistency amongst public agency requirements for electronic submittals
  • guide professionals in preparing and submitting electronic submittals that conform to Nevada regulatory and agency requirements
  • serve as a resource for public agencies and professionals

The guide is intended to be software agnostic and can easily be adapted to meet specific requirements of agencies.  Click here to access the Electronic Submittal Digital Signature Guide.

Governor Appoints New Board Members


Governor Sisolak appointed Lynnette Russell, PE, to the board effective September 1, 2020. She takes over the seat previously held by Gregory DeSart, PE September 30, 2019.Lynnette is a licensed professional civil engineer in Nevada. Her engineering career began in Northern California where she worked initially in the environmental field and then with the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District. Lynnette came to Nevada in 1999 when she accepted a rotational engineer position with the Nevada Department of Transportation, which provided exposure to all engineering and maintenance functions across the Department. She worked on the private side for ten years, contracted back to public agencies as a Resident Engineer in construction, and returned to NDOT in 2013. She is currently the Assistant Chief of Project Management, responsible for a team of engineering project managers, delivering the largest public works projects in the state.

Lynnette graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from California State University, Chico, and with her Master of Science in Organizational Leadership from Regis University in Colorado. She has served as Southern Branch Chair of the American Public Works Association (APWA), and currently holds the position of Director I for APWA.

Lynnette lives in Las Vegas and has one daughter, Abigail. Lynnette is active in volunteerism, STEM outreach, and tutoring math, and enjoys doing home improvement projects, gardening, hiking, and off-roading in her Jeep in her spare time.

 


Governor Sisolak appointed Robert Fyda, PE, REHS, to the board effectively August 31, 2020. He takes over the seat previously held by Kent Anderson, PE who retired June 30, 2020.

Robert is a licensed professional engineer in environmental engineering with the Southern Nevada Health District who currently oversees the Safe Drinking Water program, Legionella investigations, and the septic system plan review program. Robert’s engineering passion is for decentralized wastewater and water system design and operation. By working with local jurisdictions and other state agencies, Robert works to protect Southern Nevada’s groundwater supply through sustainable development, proper engineering design, and good operational and maintenance practices.

He studied at the University of Nevada, Reno and received his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. He went on to receive his Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering from Columbia University in City of New York. As a Bloomberg Fellow, Robert is now working towards earning his doctorate in Public Health as a part time student attending the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health where he is working on addressing environmental challenges in America today.

Robert is the son of Polish immigrants and has lived in Nevada for over 20 years. Robert’s younger brother is also an engineer – at NASA. Robert spends his weekends hiking with friends and with his trusted Siberian husky named Aries.

DISCUSSION BETWEEN AGENCIES AND PROFESSIONALS ON QUALITY OF SUBMITTALS TO PUBLIC AGENCIES

The Professional Association Liaison Committee of the board facilitated a discussion between public agencies and professionals on the quality of engineering and land surveying documents submitted to public agencies. The facilitated discussion was an opportunity for agencies and professionals to better understand the challenges with submittal review processes.

To summarize the discussion, at one end of the spectrum agencies are experiencing poor quality submittals resulting in a high percentage of submittals requiring more than three reviews.  When excessive reviews are needed to process submittals, the agency review processes experience significant inefficiencies and increased costs and processing delays. 

At the other end of the spectrum, professionals are required to make multiple submittals when subsequent reviews identify new unique comments/changes that need to be addressed.   When all comments/changes are not noted during the initial review, it increases project time and costs.  

Between these two ends of the spectrum, there are myriad of reasons that excessive submittal reviews are occurring.  Stay tuned for a future article on this topic.  In the interim, please consider the standards for building plan submittals detailed in the 2020 Blue Book, pages 22 thru 27, https://nvbpels.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/2020-BLUE-BOOK.pdf

 

LICENSE RENEWAL

For Licenses that Expire December 31, 2020—last names with first letter of A thru E

In continued recognition that professionals were likely impacted by COVID-19 in meeting continuing education requirements for license renewal, the board has directed staff to grant a six-month grace period for meeting continuing education requirements.  If your license expires December 31, 2020, last name A-E,  you are encouraged to renew your license in a timely manner, despite not currently meeting continuing education requirements, acknowledging you will get them in the following six-months.  To renew your license, go to: https://nvbpels.org/license-renewal/

NCEES SPECIAL EXAMS

NCEES Special PE Civil Exam January 26, 2021


Due to COVID-19 impacts to the professional engineering exams and to accommodate as many pencil-and-paper examinees as safely as possible, NCEES is holding a special PE Civil pencil-and-paper exam.  The exam will be administered on January 26, 2021 at regional locations.   For current exam site locations go to https://ncees.org/covid-19/.  Additional exam sites may be added before registration opens.  Examinees can schedule their exam at any of the regional sites.

Registration for the January 26, 2021 regional exam will open on November 1, 2020 and will close for examinees at 3:00 pm eastern time on December 14, 2020.  Please be sure to register for the exam early, https://ncees.org/engineering/#nevada.

 

Spring 2021 NCEES PE Exams

Registration for the April 2021 pencil-and-paper PE exams will open January 27, 2021 at 10:00 am eastern time.  Registration will close for examinees on March 4, 2021 at 3:00 pm eastern time. More information will be sent to you after the October 2020 exam administration.

NEVADA BOARD COMPLIANCE ACTIONS

May 2020 – October 2020

ANDREW RYAN, PE 018055
CASE NUMBER: 20190009
VIOLATION OF NRS 625.410(7)

Mr Ryan allowed his license to lapse on January 1, 2018 and continued to practice professional engineering with an expired license until self-reporting to the board on July 22, 2019.

NRS 625.410 states that the Board may take disciplinary action against a licensee for practicing after the license of the professional engineer has expired or has been suspended or revoked. Pursuant to NAC 625.640(3)(b)(2) this matter may be resolved without a formal hearing by Stipulated Agreement.

Mr Ryan and the State Board hereby stipulate to the following terms for the above-referenced violation:

1.  Mr Ryan shall reimburse the State Board for legal fees incurred in this matter in the amount of Seven Hundred Thirty-Eight and 25/100 Dollars ($738.25) within ninety (90) days from the date of the State Board’s approval of this Stipulated Agreement.

2.  Mr Ryan shall provide written notification to the developers of each project of the fact that Mr Ryan was unlicensed at the time he performed work, provide the developers with the opportunity to have the improperly stamped plans brought into compliance, and pay any and all costs associated therewith. Mr Ryan shall provide the State Board with a copy of each such written notification.

RALPH HENINGER, PE 005191
CASE NUMBER: 20190010
VIOLATION OF NRS 625.410(7)

Mr Heninger allowed his license to lapse on July 1, 2017 and continued to practice professional engineering with an expired license until self-reporting to the board on March 20, 2019.

NRS 625.410 states that the Board may take disciplinary action against a licensee for practicing after the license of the professional engineer has expired or has been suspended or revoked. Pursuant to NAC 625.640(3)(b)(2) this matter may be resolved without a formal hearing by Stipulated Agreement.

Mr Heninger and the State Board hereby stipulate to the following terms for the above-referenced violation:

    1. Mr Heninger shall pay an administrative fine in the amount of One Thousand Five Hundred and No/100 Dollars ($1,500.00) within ninety (90) days from the date of the State Board’s approval of this Stipulated Agreement.
    2. Mr Heninger shall reimburse the State Board for legal fees incurred in this matter in the amount of Seven Hundred Thirty-Eight and 25/100 Dollars ($738.25) within ninety (90) days from the date of the State Board’s approval of this Stipulated Agreement.
    3. Mr Heninger shall provide written notification to the developer of the project of the fact that Mr Heninger was unlicensed at the time he performed work, provide the developer with the opportunity to have the improperly stamped plans brought into compliance, and pay any and all costs associated therewith. Mr Heninger shall provide the State Board with a copy of each such written notification.
    4. Mr Heninger’s license shall be suspended for two (2) years immediately following entry of this Stipulated Agreement, but with the suspension stayed and probation imposed for the duration of that time period.
    5. Mr Heninger’s successful completion of probation is expressly conditioned upon his full compliance with the following conditions of probation:
      1. Mr Heninger 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. Each report shall include a copy of the contract executed for any work in Nevada, including the scope of work detail, as well as supporting project documentation.

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