AEA Presence on CCNY Campus

On October 15, 2015 Sal Galletta, AEA Chairperson, along with George Tavoulareas, president of NSPE-Queens Chapter, gave a presentation to Engineering students at the City College of New York (CCNY). There was a large turnout of about 50 students. As usual, the students were very receptive and appreciative of the efforts to convey to them the experiences and insights of seasoned Design Professionals. After the presentation, there was a lively and engaged Q & A session. Clearly, the students appreciated and valued the very informative presentation.

Following the presentation, Sal Galletta, along with George Tavoulareas, met with Dr. Fred Brodzinski to discuss ways of interacting with the Engineering students of CCNY on an on-going basis. After a lengthy discussion of various approaches, it was agreed that the easiest and most doable approach, requiring the least effort, was a lecture series which would cover those non-technical concepts and topics (i.e. ethics, licensure, leadership, communications, etc.) that the students need to learn. The speakers for these lectures would come mostly from industry. Dr. Brodzinski promised he will get back with a specific proposal for a lecture series.

Engineers: Leave the City's Bridge Planning To Us

Featured in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle

By Evan Barton

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, published online 08-07-2007

BROOKLYN — In response to two recent disasters — the collapse of the 1-35W Mississippi River Bridge in Minneapolis and the Midtown steam pipe explosion here in New York — the American Engineering Alliance (AEA) and Professional Engineers (PE) held a press conference at the Manhattan foot of the Brooklyn Bridge.

In particular, they discussed the need for greater protection of city infrastructure.

The engineers criticized the Bloomberg administration for giving non-engineers and non-architects oversight over technical projects. They advocated more oversight by engineers and other technical professionals in government projects, and recommended a new position — deputy mayor of infrastructure management.

“We’re trying to get our elected officials to pay attention to the seriousness of this problem,” said Salvatore Galletta, chair of Professional Engineers. “Elected officials are making decisions that they aren’t necessarily qualified to make.”

State Sen. Eric Adams, D-Central Brooklyn/Park Slope, spoke in support of placing more engineers in government. “What informs your decisions, if you’re not technically informed to make decisions?” he said.

“You cannot put my cousin Vinny in charge” of maintaining and updating city and state bridges, pipes, and other infrastructure systems, he said.

Councilman Alan Gerson, whose district encompasses the Manhattan sides of the Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Williamsburg Bridges, mentioned that New York’s infrastructure is more than a century old in many places. He suggested that technical oversight would be important in maintaining the system’s sustainability.

“There’s no question that this city has one of the most complicated systems of any city in the world,” he said, adding, “What has barely worked — and sometimes not worked — so far, cannot go forward.”

‘Bad Economic Decisions’
They generally advocated for a proactive approach to addressing the city’s aging infrastructure, practicing preventive measures to prevent future loss of life. Galletta suggested that engineers have a moral and legal responsibility to ensure the safety of the public, and placing non-engineer managers over government projects and fund allocation is inefficient and potentially dangerous.

“At the very least, you get bad economic decisions,” he said, as well as investment in the wrong projects.

Both Galletta and Adams mentioned a “dumbing down” in many of the city’s appointed officials, which Adams suggested is dangerous in the long run. “We can’t come back later and make retrospective repairs,” he said, giving further support to the preventive approach.

According to a press liaison at the Department of Transportation (DOT), however, groups like AEA and PE primarily want more jobs for engineers.

In a prepared statement, “There is no basis to the logic that the immediate supervisor of a licensed professional engineer must also be a licensed professional engineer. Under that logic, the mayor would be required to be a licensed professional engineer, attorney, teacher, certified public accountant, actuary, etc.”

The Department of Transportation has a Bridge Repair and Preventative Maintenance unit that employs 34 people with engineering titles, as well as an additional 264 tradespeople and support staff. The executive director, Dorothy Roses, is responsible for the allocation of federal funds for preventative maintenance, taking these funds and transferring them into productive use.

Every engineer in this section reports to one of two professional engineers (George Klein or Mohammad Sharif), and if the immediate supervisor of an engineer in this section is not an engineer, then he or she cannot overrule an engineer on engineering matters.

‘Je Ne Sais Pas’
Several people crossing the bridge Monday afternoon said they would continue to do so. Two French visitors crossing the bridge said, “Je ne sais pas. Who knows what will happen?” They suggested that crossing the bridge and seeing the view of the city was worth the risk.

Another walker stated, “I’ve been walking across this bridge for 17 years, and I think it’s pretty safe.”

Nov 3, 2014 - AEA gave testimony to the Transportation Committee of the NYC Council on initiating a "Smooth Streets" program which also benefits both the Vision Zero and Fair Tolling initiatives.  This program when properly organized, staffed and led by a Licensed Professional Engineer would coordinate and control the resurfacing of City streets to ensure that suitable traffic diversions and timely restorations are made. 

AEA made a presentation at City College of New York on October 30, 2014 to introduce a "Leadership Certificate" program. This was presented in collaboration with NSPE to help enable Engineering students to enter the work force fully equipped to address the many non-technical challenges they will be facing during their careers. The program will help prepare our students to be effective leaders in both the Engineering Profession and Society.

Feb 27, 2014 - AEA attended the annual meeting of New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC) which is the regional Metropolitan Planning Organization and presented the smooth street initiative, how this is more efficient use of tax payer money and how this can be financed. 

The American Engineering Alliance hosted our Professional and Social Event in February 22, 2011 at Columbia University.  The event’s theme is “Preparing Our Students to Meet the Challenges of the 21st Century” by keynote speaker, Richard Weingardt, P.E. who brought many years of experience, knowledge and insight to students on this issue.   Following was a panel of distinguished Engineering Professionals from academia, government and private sector to discuss the real-world challenges facing the engineering profession, opportunities available in today's marketplace, and how students can prepare to enter the workforce

AEA held our Professional and Social event March 5, 2009 in the Great Hall at Cooper Union in Manhattan including members from academia (students and professors), government and the private sector. Frank Lombardi, P.E., Chief Engineer - Port Authority of New York and New Jersey gave inspiring presentation on the Future of the Profession: Challenges and Opportunities and the crucial role Engineers play in Society. This was followed with a panel discussion on challenges facing Our Profession. The successful night closed with an action plan - to ensure student Engineers are ready for challenges and opportunities of the future.

AEA attended the Transportation Policy and Management Forum at the NYU Wagner Rudin Center: Financing the Region's Transportation Needs on June 4, 2008. This forum explored funding alternative for maintaining, improving and expanding the regional transportation system.

On August 6, 2007 Sal Galletta participated in a press conference at City Hall in New York City concerning the issue of Infrastructure and the role Engineers play in the maintenance and delivery of infrastructure projects. Sal again reiterated the critical need for management of the nation's infrastructure assets by licensed technical professionals. A copy of his full statement at this event can be found by clicking here or by going to the Action Items, Press Release section of the website.

On July 11, 2007, Sal Galletta presented to members of the New York City Council recent developments in promoting New York City Deputy Mayor for Infrastructure (see NYC Infrastructure Proposal under Action Update). Discussed was the lack of constituency for maintaining bridges, water infrastructure and roads and that the infrastructure of the City is now run by the budget office instead of an Engineering office. Also discussed was that the Deputy Mayor for Infrastructure could be tied to the Mayor’s 2030 plan. The plan contains three major areas: 1) maintaining the City’s infrastructure 2) providing housing and 3) embracing principles of sustainability.



For those in the Profession who are either experiencing an Ethical dilemma at their place of employment concerning information that you reasonably believe reveals one of the following:

· A violation of a law, rule, or regulation

· A specific danger to employees and/or to public health or safety

· Fraud, gross mismanagement, gross waste of funds, or abuse of authority

If you are attempting to make something right that in your professional opinion is being ignored by improper organizational mismanagement, you may want to discuss the issue with one of the contacts in the following link and get an outside second opinion.

To learn more from local Engineers and others as to what really happened to the City of Idaho Fall Public Works Division in 1996 and their Engineering Department, read the new book (released May 2014);  WHISTLEBLOWER: Justice over Discrimination and Ethics Violations by Dennis Patterson.

Upcoming Meetings - The next Board meeting is 4-6pm Tues, Mar 31st at 111 Broadway, 5th floor LiRo conference room. All members are invited.