Section News

Phila Area EWB Wins Award

First NCEES-sponsored EWB-USA grants awarded

Each chapter will use $5,000 grant to improve lives of others through engineering

THE WINNERS OF THE FIRST NCEES- sponsored Engineers Without Borders-USA project grants have been announced, with the University of Colorado Boulder student chapter and the Philadelphia professional chapter each receiving $5,000 to support current projects.

The University of Colorado Boulder student chapter will apply the $5,000 award toward the overall funding necessary to implement its spring source protection project at Jhor Dhara this summer. Once complete, the project will provide a catchment tank to allow a more dependable water source during the dry season and a spring protection system to reduce water contamination. It’s estimated that the improvements will enhance the lives of over 34,000 people.

The Philadelphia professional chapter program will apply its $5,000 award toward the overall funding necessary to implement a water distribution system in Las Delicias, El Salvador. The system will provide a more evenly distributed water supply and help temper the current hoarding culture and its resulting illnesses. Once complete, it’s estimated that the improvement will enhance the lives of almost 5,000 people. To be eligible to receive an NCEES- sponsored grant, the project team mentor must be a P.E. or P.S. and the result and project must protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public. Preference is given to 2 | Licensure Exchange teams that represent multiple disciplines. Combined, the first two winning teams include several P.E.s and a P.S. and represent eight engineering disciplines.

EWB-USA is a fast-growing organization and ideal partner in our efforts to increase academia, student, corporate, and government understanding of the value of employing licensed engineers and surveyors. Founded in 2002 with eight engineering students and one engineering professor, today it boasts a membership of almost 14,000 students, faculty, and professionals who represent over 300 active chapters throughout the country.

Its program model is based on delivering practical engineering solutions that provide members the opportunity to apply the technical knowledge learned in the classroom to real-world situations, under the guidance of professional mentors.

For a mentor to serve as a project’s responsible engineer in charge (REIC), he or she must meet certain qualifications depending on the project’s potential impact of failure. A licensed engineer must serve as the REIC if failure of the project could result in death, severe illness, injury, or significant damage of property. Based on average EWB-USA participation numbers and project types, over 2,000 engineering students working are currently under the guidance of a licensed engineer.

To describe the outcomes associated with engineering students and professional mentors working together to complete a project, EWB-USA uses phrases like “moving from coursework to context,” “narrowing the knowledge gap through additional experience,” “transformational education,” and “networking across disciplines and across generations.” In other words, this project-based program model is better preparing engineering students to be successful in their careers while demonstrating the value that licensure brings to engineers, employers, and most importantly, the public.

The partnership with NCEES and EWB- USA is just beginning. In addition to the project grants that are awarded twice a year, EWB-USA has many other opportunities that will allow NCEES to promote the value of licensure to students, faculty, unlicensed engineers, engineer interns who may need extra encouragement to complete the path to licensure, and the public.

Learn more about EWB-USA at

Sue Schultz 2014 Engineer of the Year

Delaware Valley Section’s own Sue Schultz is the new 2014 Delaware Valley Engineer of the Year! The elections took place November 12 at the PECO Building in Philadelphia, PA.  This award is a prestigious recognition sponsored by the Engineers’ Club of Philadelphia and is described on their website as follows.

Engineer of the Year: The Engineer of the Year recognizes an engineer of stature and visibility who manifests the value of an engineering degree; has demonstrated a career of achievement and leadership, exemplifies contributions of the highest professional order, and who will represent the profession well and proudly acclaim its virtues. Nominations for this award must come from one of the engineering societies in the Delaware Valley. The engineering societies also provide delegates to select the EOY in early November. The award recipients are recognized at the Awards Luncheon; the professional award recipients are also recognized at the Celebration of Engineering Reception the following week.

Congratulations to Sue for this well-deserved recognition!

Click here for the Engineers’ Club news release.

Tour of the Southwest Philadelphia Water Pollution Control Plant

November 20, 2013

1120swwpcpThe PWD-SWWPCP Plant Tour was an enjoyable experience for all who attended on November 20, 2013. We enjoyed a warm welcome from Mary Ellen Senss, the Plant Manager, followed by a tour of the Control Room and a presentation of the plant process flow systems by Mohammad Ibrahim, Process Manager. Afterwards, we all piled into vans and did a walking/driving tour of the facilities. Highlights were viewing the enormous influent screw pumps and the grit/flocculation/aeration systems. At the conclusion of the tour, we enjoyed a hot buffet catered by Devine Caterers. Many thanks to Mary Ellen Senss, Plant Manager, Paul Day, Maintenance Superintendent, Mohammad Ibrahim, Process Manager, Sonia Marin, Environmental Process Engineer, and Paige Robinson, Operations Supervisor, for staying late and allowing our group to do an evening tour!

Pictured from left to right are Sidney H. Biddle, Chair, AIChE Delaware Valley Section; Mary Ellen Senss, PWD-SWWPCP Plant Manager; and Paul Day, PWD-SWWPCP Maintenance Superintendent.