Engineering Sector Still Strong Despite Election Uncertainty

An election year can create a great deal of uncertainty, and it’s having an adverse impact on how engineers expect their industry to develop moving forward. The recently released American Council of Engineering Companies Engineering Business Index rated the current state of the sector with a score of 60.2. The 60.2 score for the second quarter of 2016 represents one of the lowest ratings the engineering sector has received in the past couple of years. But any rating over 50 reflects a positive attitude about the industry, with respondents expecting growth moving forward.

Expectations high, but somewhat uncertain, among engineers

The ACEC comes up with its Business Index rating through a quarterly survey of engineering companies asking them their expectations for themselves and the sector moving forward. The results of the survey are compiled into a composite score that illustrates where the industry is going.

That said, the overarching theme of responses was that the sector has basically been in the same positive situation for a while now, so the lower rating shouldn’t be seen as an issue. However, there was one major issue holding back positive expectations for the industry – the election.

According to the study, the uncertainty that usually surrounds election years is in full swing for this presidential cycle, and many engineering organizations are tempering their enthusiasm about future growth accordingly. Beyond this issue, the study also found that engineering firms are finding that their backlog of waiting projects is still growing, but not as quickly as it has in recent months. Conversely, profitability is rising. All of these issues are being impacted by the continued decline in oil and gas prices, creating challenges as the energy market uncertainty is problematic for engineers.

Preparing to sustain profitability

Training and continuing education play a pivotal role in helping engineering firms deal with what they can control – namely being excellent at what they do so they stand out from competitors. Training and staff development build a foundation for this excellence, empowering firms to stay ahead of the skills that are in demand in the sector and position them to maximize profitability.

For more information on engineering training, view RedVector’s complete AEC Training Library.

RedVector’s complete AEC Training Library


Course Author Spotlight: Sheldon Primus

RedVector author Sheldon Primus has spent 20 years in Safety and Health in the utility, construction, and general industry sectors. He is a Certified Occupational Safety Specialist (COSS) with a Masters of Public Administration/Environmental Policy (MPA). Sheldon has been in the environmental field over 20 years as an “A” licensed Wastewater Operator, Plant Superintendent of Operations and Maintenance, Industrial Pretreatment Coordinator, and Compliance and Safety Officer for a special district of the State of Florida.

RedVector author Sheldon Primus
RedVector author, Sheldon Primus

Additionally, Sheldon is an authorized OSHA General Industry and Construction trainer for the 10 and 30 hour Outreach program. Companies and Utilities that have utilized Sheldon’s training include the following: 3E Consultants, Inc., Loxahatchee Environmental Control District, Town of Jupiter Water Plant, City of Stuart Wastewater and Water Plant, South Central Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant, Seacoast Utility Authority Water and Wastewater.

Sheldon is also part of the Water Environmental Federation (WEF) Water Sector Safety Committee and the US Department of Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) taskforce on All Hazards Communication training for the Water and Wastewater Sector. He is the owner of Utility Compliance Inc. and OSHA Compliance Help.

Attend Sheldon’s Webinar, Protecting Workers from Silica & Complying with OSHA’s Final Rule, on August 24.

Protecting Workers from Silica & Complying with OSHA’s Final Rule

OSHA Electronic Reporting Rule Enforcement to be Delayed

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently laid out new rules and regulations around injury and illness electronic reporting that would also aim to prevent retaliatory actions from employers. The guidelines were set to be enforced beginning on August 10, 2016, a date that has since been pushed back to November 1, 2016, at the request of industry stakeholders that have some concerns about the rules.

A recent report from The Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC) explained that a variety of organizations (including the ABC) were concerned about a few issues within the rules, including:

Electronic reporting
The new regulation would mandate that injury and illness reports given to OSHA would be created and filed electronically. At that point, OSHA would be able to publish those documents on the internet in a searchable database. The ABC report pointed out that the data will be used for enforcement purposes, but OSHA has only collected and used these types of electronic reports if a facility is inspected or is part of a special OSHA program.

There are concerns that making this sensitive information publicly available will lead to misinterpretation and misuse by a variety of industry stakeholders, the report said.

The new OSHA regulation would also limit drug testing and similar initiatives after an employee is injured or sick. The goal is to prevent employers from using these to retaliate against employees when they are ill or dealing with an injury. The problem, according to the news source, is that these measures often play a critical role in preserving health and safety, and the limitations set forth in the new rules could compromise those goals.

The ABC had set an injunction in place to prevent OSHA from putting these rules into action, leading to the delay to November 1, 2016, providing more time for industry stakeholders to adjust to the guidelines and provide OSHA with feedback.

Preparing for November 1
As new regulations come into play, organizations must train their staff to follow best practices and comply with the guidelines set forth by OSHA. Industrial training can help your staff identify precisely how they should document and track incidents in the workplace and work-related illnesses reported by employees. Getting ahead on skills development can ensure your staff is ready to make electronic reports and adequately protect sensitive data while still complying with new OSHA standards.

OSHA-Authorized Training

RedVector OSHA-Authorized Training
RedVector OSHA-Authorized Training


Celebrate Professional Engineers Day!

August 3, 2016 marks “Professional Engineers Day,” a virtual event aimed at celebrating the talents and work of professional engineers.

Professional engineers have made it their mission to protect public safety, health and wellness, and the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) is holding Professional Engineers Day to recognize and celebrate the contributions they make to our society each and every day. Professional engineers also put a great deal of time and effort into maintaining licenses and continuing their education.

Getting involved in Professional Engineers Day is an opportunity to celebrate the way your career has grown over the years and join with peers to talk about cutting-edge projects, discuss changes happening in the industry and encourage the next generation of engineers.

What will the event include?
The National Society of Professional Engineers is crowdsourcing this event, encouraging professional engineers and firms to celebrate the event in their own ways and post content under the hashtag #LicensedPEDay to connect with others on social media. The society provided some ideas for how engineers can get involved, including posting photos or videos of why you became an engineer, taking pictures or video of your engineering team or holding an educational event highlighting why engineers should care about licensure.

Professional Engineers Day
Professional Engineers Day

There are plenty of ways to celebrate the first Professional Engineers Day, and RedVector is proud to support individuals or firms who are working to continue their education and maintain their licenses.

Visit us while you celebrate
We’re passionate about training and professional development at RedVector. Events like Professional Engineers Day highlight the degree to which training and licensure help engineers do the work that pushes society forward. Becoming a licensed professional engineer can set you apart as you pursue career growth, and we can offer the courses you need to get ahead.

RedVector Professional Engineers Courses


Course Author Spotlight: Fulton Cochran

RedVector author Fulton Cochran has been involved in the fire service for over 35 years. He started as a volunteer firefighter in his hometown of Manitou Springs, Colorado. He worked as a career firefighter and then moved into fire prevention. He was Fire Marshal in Breckenridge, Colorado, and an active member of the Fire Marshals Association of Colorado prior to moving to Southern Nevada. For the past 20 years, Fulton was with the City of Henderson, Nevada, where he was the Deputy Fire Marshal – Engineering. During his tenure, the City of Henderson was the fastest growing city in the country for over 10 years.

2015 Fire Code Training Courses authored by Fulton Cochran.

Fulton Cochran, RedVector Author

Fulton has participated in code development starting with the legacy organization ICBO, and he attended his first code development hearing in 1985. Fulton has worked with the International Code Council (ICC) on numerous committees and councils. He was the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) representative on the Performance Code drafting committee. In 2007, he was appointed to the Fire Code Council, and in 2010 he was elected as Chairman of this Council. When ICC reformulated the Councils in 2011, creating the current Fire Service Membership Council (FSMC), Fulton was again selected by the governing committee to be the Chairman of the Council, a position he continues to hold after being reelected most recently in Atlantic City during the 2013 Annual Business Meeting.

Fulton is currently a member of the ICC Board for International Professional Standards (BIPS), which oversees the ICC certification and testing programs. He represents the fire service on the Codes and Standards Council, which advises the ICC Board regarding the technical code committees and code development. Fulton was a member of the cdpACCESS steering committee charged with developing the framework of this program and recommending these actions to the ICC Board of Directors.

In 2013, Fulton was honored by ICC as the recipient of the Fire Service Person of the Year award.

During his tenure at Henderson, Fulton has been involved in numerous code adoptions with extensive local amendments. He is an active member of the Southern Nevada Fire Code Committee and is a two-term past President of the Southern Nevada Chapter of ICC. Fulton is also the former chair of the EduCode Committee of the Southern Nevada Chapter for code training and professional development.

Preview 2015 Fire Code Training Courses authored by Fulton Cochran.

RedVector 2015 Fire Code Training Courses
RedVector 2015 Fire Code Training Courses

Heat Exchanger Training Vital as HVACR Industry Grows

The heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration sector is growing at a rapid pace, creating demand for professionals with skills managing and maintaining heat exchangers.

A recent study from Markets and Markets found that that the value of the global heat exchanger market will expand at a compound annual growth rate of approximately 8.2 percent for the period of 2016 through 2021. In 2016, the market is valued at approximately $12.9 billion, and will rise to $19.4 billion by 2021. The growth of the heat exchanger sector is largely driven by increased demand for HVACR systems. Furthermore, more advanced heat exchanger technologies emerging on the market are contributing to growth.

Key attributes of the heat exchanger sector
According to the news source, shell and tube exchangers are currently the most prominent solution type in the industry, and the market for such technologies is expected to increase moving forward. This momentum comes as shell and tube solutions are extremely versatile in nature. Their core attributes allow them to be deployed in a wide range of operational settings and offer a relatively high heat transfer ratio relative to their weight and volume. 

While the study found that shell and tube heat exchangers are popular in all verticals that were analyzed, their near-future rise is coming on the heels of investments across commercial settings. Commercial construction is rising around the world, and robust HVACR investments are going hand-in-hand with those projects. This is fueling shell and tube heat exchanger investments around the world.

Implications of heat exchanger market’s rise
All signs within the Markets and Markets study point to the HVACR industry contributing greatly to the upcoming expansion of the heat exchanger sector. On its own, this highlights the potential opportunity for HVACR organizations that have the expertise to maintain a wide range of systems. The demand for skilled professionals in the HVACR sector is clearly backed by data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The BLS estimates that the number of jobs for HVACR installation and maintenance professionals will expand at a CAGR of 14 percent for the period of 2014 through 2024. This job growth is considered must faster than average. 

Beyond mentioning growing demand for HVACR professionals, the BLS mentioned that more HVAC companies are expecting some post-secondary school education from job applicants. On top of this, on-the-job training is critical as well, especially as employers are finding it difficult to find candidates capable of handling the demands associated with more modern HVACR systems.

All told, changes across the HVACR sector are driving demand for professionals capable of maintaining and managing heat exchanger systems. Industrial training can prove vital as HVACR companies, commercial organizations and industrial companies with robust systems work to build crews capable of dealing with increasingly complex technologies. 

For more information about heat exchanger training, preview this RedVector course.

Heat Exchangers: Introduction

RedVector Heat Exchangers: Introduction Course
RedVector Heat Exchangers: Introduction Course


Air Quality Issues Must be Considered throughout the Construction Process – from Concept to Cleanup

Construction professionals must keep air quality in mind during projects to minimize the environmental impact of the work itself and ensure the final structure is as free of pollutants as possible. This multi-tiered approach to maintaining air quality requires construction professionals to carefully manage everyday operations to protect the environment and ensure that missteps in the project don’t lead to air quality issues later down the line. 

Limiting pollution around the construction site
A construction project can have a significant adverse impact on air quality in the community around it. Major issues like fumes from harmful chemicals are certainly present here, and there are plenty of chemicals commonly used in construction that must be handled with care. However, dust may actually be the invisible problem when it comes to air quality. A report from Sustainable Build explained that dust from construction sites – such as sand, cement, sawdust and disrupted soil – can get into the air as particulate matter that is inhaled into the lung. Exposure to this kind of dust can eventually lead to a variety of poor health conditions, including lung cancer.

The news source explained that construction teams can reduce their negative impact on air quality by moistening soil and other powdery materials so they release less dust when used on projects. Covering trucks carrying raw materials, leaving vegetation in place as much as possible and even screening the site are also viable options.

Preventing future problems
Poor construction processes can also lead to long-term air quality problems at a job site. A report from the Environmental Protection Agency explained that such construction issues as failing to clean up spilled adhesive materials or not allowing for proper ventilation when applying sealant in an occupied building can cause harmful fumes to enter a structure. In some cases, this will impact those immediately in the building during or after construction, but it is also possible for moisture left during construction to cause mold and mildew problems later down the line.

Taking air quality seriously
The two distinct sides of the air quality challenge create a situation in which construction professionals must be incredibly careful to ensure they understand all potential risks and follow best practices at every opportunity. Continuing education for construction teams can help builders stay ahead of potential risks and avoid air quality problems that eventually contribute to safety and environmental issues.

Sustainable Solutions: Air Pollution Training

RedVector Sustainable Solutions: Air Pollution Training
RedVector Sustainable Solutions: Air Pollution Training


Online Education and Training


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 187 other followers