American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Fall Conference

Leaders of engineering companies met starting on October 18 in Las Vegas at the ACEC conference to discuss business issues and prospects.  General Session speakers included former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, an advocate for a bond-funded national infrastructure program.  Other prominent speakers included: Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval; John Hofmeister, former president of Shell Oil Company; and Craig Martin, CEO of Jacobs Engineering.

Re-thinking Energy

Well received was John Hofmeister, who as an energy insider wrote the book—Why We Hate the Oil Companies.   Currently Hofmeister is CEO of Citizens for Affordable Energy and feels that an independent regulatory commission is needed to oversee energy regulation replacing the myriad of federal agencies presently regulating and stymieing the energy sector.  Hofmeister sees the need for trillion dollar per year expenditures by the private sector rebuilding the U.S.’s energy infrastructure–creating a safer and more efficient sector as well as 4 million jobs.  However, the current regulatory regime prohibits these private sector investments from going forward.  Unfortunately neither the national infrastructure program nor the rebuilding of the energy sector is nearing reality—bad news for engineering companies.  Hofmeister feels that the past achievements of engineers are substantial and with the right policy, we, engineers, could solve many of the problems that the country is facing today.

Engineering Practice

A General Session speaker who discussed a need for saving lives in the engineering and construction industries by a renewed emphasis on safety was Craig Martin, CEO of Jacobs Engineering.  He also noted that Jacobs is very conscious of ethics laws and requirements both in the U.S and internationally in conducting its business.  When discussing changes in the engineering business that we could expect, he foresaw the ending of the federal Brooks Act and the use of Qualifications Based Selection (QBS) leading to the use of price in the selection of providers for engineering services.  Needless to say this brought about quite a reaction from the members of ACEC given that a pillar of ACEC’s program is the expanded use of QBS.

Importance of Infrastructure Projects

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, Republican, made a favorable expression on the crowd talking about the importance of projects like the Hoover Dam and the O’Callaghan-Tillman Memorial Bridge at Hoover Dam as well other projects of the same size and scale to Nevada and the nation.  To me he looks like Vice Presidential candidate material in the 2012 Presidential election.

Technical Sessions

Technical sessions were held on public private partnership projects in California and Florida that generally involve revenue generation for the private operator, a proposed infrastructure program financed by a 1% sales tax in Georgia, structuring design-build contracts, successfully navigating media relations as well as sessions on services marketing, information technology, human resources and other matters of interest to the business of engineering companies.

Contributed by:

Anthony Mumphrey, President, ACEC Louisiana

Disclaimer
The views, interpretations, or strategies expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of TMG Consulting. This site is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. TMG Consulting makes no representation as to accuracy, completeness, or suitability of any information on this site and will not be liable for damages arising from its display or use.

Practice Highlight: Engineering Economics

Given  the current economic climate and a focus on project impacts, engineers are challenged to go beyond solid, functional design work and enter the realm of economics to prove that a given project will bring real and tangible benefits. Engineering economics is the application of economic methods and models to project evaluation. This evaluation could include:

  1. Overall worthiness of a project in terms of return-on-investment
  2. Benefits and costs of design, construction, implementation and operation of the project
  3. Alternatives analysis for project financing
  4. Impacts of projects in terms of jobs, income & taxes on a geographical area or governmental unit
  5. Life cycle cost analysis

Measurements of some costs are relatively easy; e.g. design and construction cost. Establishing the value of driving time saved for a highway widening project or the value of a human life for a safety enhancement project  requires more expertise. Implementation costs are usually one-time, while operating costs and benefits are computed on an annual basis and translated to present value. Finally, incorporating uncertainty in project impacts can complicate the project evaluation.

Benefit-cost analyses have been completed by TMG Consulting for Richmond International, Mobile, Houma, and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International airports. TMG Consulting has completed impact studies for numerous private and  public clients in locales such as Missouri, Louisiana, Delaware, Massachusetts, and Florida, helping them to reach their development project goals.

Nowadays, many engineering projects require the use of engineering economics in project evaluation, a discipline in which TMG Consulting has long standing experience and expertise.

Disclaimer
The views, interpretations, or strategies expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of TMG Consulting. This site is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. TMG Consulting makes no representation as to accuracy, completeness, or suitability of any information on this site and will not be liable for damages arising from its display or use.

TMG Principal Mumphrey Elected President of ACEC/L

In July, Dr. Anthony Mumphrey became President of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Louisiana (ACEC/L). The Council’s mission is to contribute to America’s prosperity and welfare by advancing the business interests of member firms. ACEC/L exists to assist principals and managers of member firms in developing successful practices. Approximately 140 Louisiana engineering firms are members of ACEC/L with over 5,000 firms belonging to the national federation. Mumphrey has served ACEC/L as a member of its Board of Directors for many years and helped the organization survive and stabilize after Hurricane Katrina. Upon his election, Dr. Mumphrey commented, “becoming president is a nice honor, but much work is needed in helping firms navigate the complex political and business environments that exist currently.”

Dr. Anthony Mumphrey is the founder and President of TMG Consulting, and will serve as President of ACEC/L through July 2012.

Disclaimer
The views, interpretations, or strategies expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of TMG Consulting. This site is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. TMG Consulting makes no representation as to accuracy, completeness, or suitability of any information on this site and will not be liable for damages arising from its display or use.