Latest News

Upcoming NSPE-HI Webinar: Engineering Ethics

Date: June 16, 2021

The Hawaii Society of Professional Engineers invites you to attend a virtual webinar addressing engineering ethics on Friday, June 25 (12 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time). Registration is free and open to all.

The webinar will provide the opportunity to learn more about the NSPE Code of Ethics, the Board of Ethical Review cases, and discuss the ethical implications found in engineering practice.

Ethics is an important topic for engineers at every level and in every field. When you become a professional engineer, you are held to a higher standard. That is why one of the requirements, in many states, for maintaining your professional engineers' license is professional development hours with at least one being in ethics.

As professional engineers, we are trusted with projects that impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. The Code of Ethics for Engineers was developed to be a guiding factor in making hard decisions during our careers. The code of ethics can be summed up with two key points that we will explore in more depth: honesty and integrity.


Governor Signs Military Spouse Licensure Bill

Date: June 16, 2021

Governor David Ige signed legislation (H.B. 961) that will permit a spouse of an active duty service member in the military who holds a current professional license in another jurisdiction to apply for expedited licensure in Hawaii. The licensee must have held the license for at least one year and must be in good standing with the jurisdiction licensing board.

The legislation also exempts dependents of military servicemembers from state residency requirement for employment with state or county government if the military servicemember is in Hawaii on military orders. The legislation becomes effective on January 1, 2022.


New Incentives Push Hawaiian Electric Toward More Clean Energy

Date: June 16, 2021

A portfolio of incentives that went into effect on June 1 will guide Hawaiian Electric as it operates under a new business model that emphasizes Hawaii's clean energy goals, according to a Honolulu Star Advertiser article.

The state's Public Utilities Commission issued a decision and order approving the new Performance Incentive Mechanisms, or PIMs, which are key components of the new Performance-Based Regulation Framework that the PUC approved of December.

The PIMs, if achieved by Hawaiian Electric, will offer the utility financial incentives while providing savings and other benefits for customers.

"This decision underscores our commitment to transforming Hawaii's energy future," said PUC Chairman James Griffin in a statement. "Though we faced challenges developing these first-of-their-kind performance mechanisms, we all understand the importance in completing this part of the PBR Framework and ensuring the regulatory structure is well-rounded and balanced."

Customers will benefit because the PIMs include goals such as "increased procurement of grid services from customer-based programs" and "improved collaboration with Hawaii Energy to reach low-to-moderate income customers and promote energy saving measures."

Read more.


State Seeks Public Input on Federal Transportation Spending

Date: June 16, 2021

The Hawaii Department of Transportation has organized a survey to prioritize which federally funded road projects should be tackled over the next four years as part of the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), according to a West Hawaii Today article.

The survey describes 23 specific highway, rockfall mitigation, guardrail and shoulder improvements and bridge programs, as well as improvement programs and mass transit projects. The deadline for participating in the survey is June 28.

"Community engagement is a big part of our required federal process to get federal highway and transit funds for the state," Harry Takiue, engineering program manager in the state department of transportation's Hawaii District Office, told participants in a remote public coordination meeting.

The creation of a "fiscally unconstrained" list of projects was the first step, followed by the first round of public coordination meetings. Following the public comment period, the state DOT evaluates and "fiscally constrains" the project list. It plans a second round of public meetings in July or August. The STIP will be submitted in early September to the federal government, which is expected to evaluate it and send it back to the state in October.

"Your comments and priorities for the project can affect the project development schedule, although not change the need for the project," Takiue said. "If public opinion is very high, it can possibly speed up the project."

Read more.


Share the Value of Society Membership

Date: June 16, 2021

Professional engineers have unique skills and knowledge and carry an obligation to protect the public health, safety, and welfare. NSPE and the Hawaii Society of Professional Engineers are dedicated to supporting these professionals throughout their careers.

NSPE and NSPE-HI help PEs to stay current on the latest in engineering through leadership training, networking, and ethical guidance, all to safeguard the wellbeing of the public and navigate the new challenges that engineers confront daily. NSPE-HI members are encouraged to share the value of membership at the national, state, and local levels when engaging with their peers.

Learn more about membership benefits.


NSPE Career Center

Date: June 16, 2021

NSPE's Job Board is your one-stop resource for professional engineering employment. Whether you are on the hunt for your next career move or looking for today's top engineering leaders and talent, you will find it here.

NSPE provides the tools PEs need to keep current in the profession and advance their careers.

Featured Job
Chief of Operations
Mauna Kea, HI

Find more job openings or reach the right employees on the NSPE Job Board.

Honolulu Team Takes the MATHCOUNTS Challenge

Date: May 19, 2021

On May 8-10, more than 200 students from around the nation gathered virtually for the 2021 Raytheon Technologies MATHCOUNTS National Competition. NSPE-HI congratulates the eighth-grade student team from Honolulu for being top mathletes in the state and participating in the national competition.

  • Keisuke Kwong (Washington Middle School)
  • Ashley Hong (Punahou School)
  • Ryan Eto (Iolani School)
  • Nicholas Biega (Iolani School)
  • Sung Park (Coach-Washington Middle School)
  • Yun Choe (Coach-Punahou School)
  • Joseph Guillou (Coach-Iolani School)

Maui Chapter Awards 2021 Scholarships

Date: May 19, 2021

The NSPE-HI Maui Chapter is pleased to announce that Jadynne Zane and Quinton Wong, both of Maui High School, are recipients of this year's Maui Scholarships.

The $1,000 academic scholarships are awarded to outstanding graduating high school seniors in Maui County or students currently enrolled at the University of Hawaii Maui College who will be attending an accredited college of engineering in the fall.

Jadynne Zane is the daughter of Jeremy and Darryl Zane of Kahului. She is interested in going into biomedical engineering.

Jadynne is active on the cheer team, Interact Club, HOSA (health occupations), VEX Robotics, and a variety of many other well-rounded activities, roles, and honors. She also founded and lead the Girls Can STEM club at her high school. In her essay, she described designing and using a 3D printer to create a custom finger cast for an injured football player because the necessary size was not available.

Quinton Wong is the son of Adrienne and Gary Wong of Kahului. He is interested in pursuing computer engineering.

Quinton is active in and holds leadership positions with the Interact, Math, and Science Clubs, as well as the National Honor Society and Boy Scouts. He volunteers regularly with Big Brothers Big Sisters and is already grooming future engineers by tutoring at Kahului School and helping coach the MATHCOUNTS team at Maui Waena.

Congratulations to our winners who have bright futures ahead of them and will continue their impressive contributions to their community and society.


Researchers Seek to Boost Native Hawaiians in Engineering

Date: May 19, 2021

Increasing Native Hawaiian representation in engineering is the goal of a multidisciplinary University of Hawaii at Mānoa project funded by the National Science Foundation. The $641,379 grant over three years will help the UH Mānoa team, led by Department of Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor Woochul Lee, to implement educational and mentoring initiatives to grow participation in engineering.

The researchers will use a cultural psychological approach to identify potential cultural barriers for entering graduate engineering programs, develop course materials originating from Native Hawaiian culture and establish multidisciplinary programs for professional development and mentoring.

Read more.


State Licensing Board Meeting

Date: May 19, 2021

The Hawaii Board of Professional Engineers, Architects, Surveyors & Landscape Architects will host its next meeting on Thursday, June 10 from 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m.

A Zoom link and agenda will be provided prior to the meeting. Access the licensing board website for more information.

Powering Past Coal on Oahu

Date: April 21, 2021

Governor David Ige has established a new task force to help move Oahu's renewable projects along in a timelier manner, according to a Star Advertiser report.

The "Powering Past Coal Task Force," which Ige established by executive order on March 30, is not meant to be a policy-making body or charged with making administrative rule changes. Nor does it replace the independent review of participating agencies for permitting or regulation.

The purpose of the task force, according to the order, is to bring stakeholders together to "timely facilitate, coordinate, and align project development and reviews" by Hawaiian Electric, state and county agencies of renewable projects replacing coal.

Read more.


First Fleet of State Electric Vehicles Arrive on the Scene

Date: April 21, 2021

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) makes a step forward in electrification of its light duty fleet with the arrival of the first electric vehicles (EVs) procured through the state’s EV as a service contract.

The EV as a service contract allows HDOT and other interested state and county agencies to procure EVs and charging infrastructure on a per mile cost basis. Use of this service contract is expected to save approximately 75% in vehicle maintenance over the lifespan of the vehicle and an average of $287 per vehicle per year in fuel costs.

On April 13, the first of nine EVs to serve as vehicle replacements was delivered to state highways. One EV was picked up by the Hawaii State Energy Office through the contract as well. By the end of May HDOT will replace an additional 34 internal combustion engine vehicles with EVs. 

"We were definitely excited to begin the service contract with Sustainability Partners as converting our aging vehicles to EVs is another way HDOT is saving money and working towards the State’s goal of reducing fuel consumption in ground transportation 70% by 2030," said Hawaii Department of Transportation Deputy Director for Highways Ed Sniffen. "Public and private ground transportation is a huge contributor to carbon dioxide emissions. This service contract, that is available to all state and county agencies, could expedite government fleet conversions and help lead the way for increased private adoption of EV."

Learn more.


UH Professors Propose Plans to Redesign Hawaii’s Infrastructure

Date: April 21, 2021

It's a race against time as University of Hawaii professors propose radical changes to prepare for rising ocean levels.

"We believe on Oahu and in Honolulu, there is an opportunity to plan for these things before a disaster hits," said Judith Stilgenbauer, principal investigator and professor at UH Manoa’s School of Architecture. "So, anticipating climate change rather than thinking of it as post disaster recovery, planning and design."

Stilgenbauer, her team and students conducted a two-year study that investigated the past, present and future of Honolulu’s South Shore, according to the Hawaii News Now article. The study includes maps from the past 100 years that show just how much Honolulu has pushed the shoreline seaward by filling the land.

"And now the ocean is coming back and sort of reclaiming this land, and we need to prepare for that. We can’t just give up," said Dr. Chip Fletcher, associate dean of Academic Affairs of the School of Ocean, Earth Science and Technology at UH Manoa.

Read more.


State Licensing Board Meeting

Date: April 21, 2021

The Hawaii Board of Professional Engineers, Architects, Surveyors & Landscape Architects will host its next meeting via Zoom on Thursday, April 29 from 9a.m.-11:30 a.m.

A Zoom link and agenda will be provided prior to the meeting. Access the licensing board website for more information.

Construction Industry Still a Bright Spot for Hawaii Economy

Date: March 17, 2021

Diverse projects are keeping Hawaii’s construction industry busy and offering much-needed support for the state’s fractured economy. Those projects include hotel renovations, new and remodeled homes, county and state infrastructure efforts and military construction. Some architecture firms and contractors are even adding staff to keep up with the steady–and sometimes increased–workload, according to a Hawaii Business magazine report.

Economist Paul Brewbaker says Hawaii’s construction industry has been “remarkably resilient” during the pandemic. The number of natural resources, mining and construction jobs in the islands between March and November 2020 has been relatively stable, fluctuating between roughly 36,000 and 38,000 positions, according to state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism monthly data. By comparison, the number of jobs in that sector dropped dramatically as a result of the last recession: from a peak of 40,000 at the end of 2007 to a low of 28,000 in early 2011.

Brewbaker says it helped that construction was allowed to continue during the pandemic, when other industries had to shut down, and that construction workers quickly implemented safety measures on job sites.

Read more.


State Licensing Board Meeting

Date: March 17, 2021

The Hawaii Board of Professional Engineers, Architects, Surveyors & Landscape Architects will host its next meeting via Zoom on Thursday, April 8 from 9a.m.-11:30 a.m.

A Zoom link and agenda will be provided prior to the meeting. Access the licensing board website for more information.


GAO Report: FEMA Needs to Address Long-Term Disaster Recovery for Pacific Islands

Date: March 17, 2021

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and Hawaii experienced an unprecedented number of natural disasters in 2018—including typhoons, earthquakes, mudslides, and volcanic eruptions.

Due to distance from the continental US, disaster response and recovery can be challenging. FEMA has worked to address these challenges, but the agency could improve disaster recovery in several areas, according to a recent Government Accountability Office report. This report examines how FEMA and its federal partners prepared for and responded to the 2018 disasters; and the extent to which FEMA assisted the CNMI, Guam, and Hawaii in recovering from the 2018 natural disasters.

As of October 2020, FEMA obligated $877 million—more than 70% of which was for individual and public assistance missions—following the 2018 disasters and made progress addressing some region-specific challenges. However, FEMA has not fully addressed housing assistance issues in the CNMI.

GAO also identified delays in FEMA’s obligation of public assistance program funds—used to repair or replace disaster-damaged public infrastructure such as utilities, roads, and schools. Specifically, on average, it took over a year for FEMA to approve funds for projects awarded after the 2018 disasters.

GAO is making four recommendations, including that FEMA (1) incorporate lessons learned into permanent housing construction guidance; and (2) use performance data to identify and address inefficiencies in the public assistance program. The Department of Homeland Security concurred, and FEMA is taking actions in response.

Access the report.


NSPE Career Center

Date: March 17, 2021

NSPE’s Job Board is your one-stop resource for professional engineering employment. Whether you are on the hunt for your next career move or looking for today’s top engineering leaders and talent, you will find it here.

NSPE provides the tools PEs need to keep current in the profession and advance their careers.

Featured Job
Civil Engineer V (SR-26)
Honolulu, HI

Find more job openings or reach the right employees on the NSPE Job Board.

And the Winner Is……

Date: February 17, 2021

The Hawaii Society of Professional Engineers is proud to announce that Steve Baldridge and Kapiolani M. Street, P.E., have been selected as the 2021 Engineer of the Year and Young Engineer of the Year.

2021 Engineer of the Year
Steve Baldridge is the founder and president of Baldridge & Associates Structural Engineering Inc. (BASE), and leads the firm’s pursuit of innovation and practical approaches to making buildings stronger, safer, and more cost-efficient.

2021 Engineer of the Year 
[Standing on the right: Steve Baldridge]

Baldridge is a champion of efficient and sustainable structural design through optimizing structural systems to reduce material requirements on a project. Projects designed by BASE have changed the Honolulu skyline, such as Koula, Aeo, Aalii, Pacifica, The Ritz-Carlton Waikiki, Keauhou Place, and 801 South Street. Under his leadership BASE has expanded to Guam, Chicago, Florida, and India with signature projects across all offices.

Baldridge has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas–Austin.

2021 Young Engineer of the Year
Kapiolani M. Street, P.E., has more than seven years of experience on civil and sanitary engineering projects. She currently works as a project engineer at the Limtiaco Consulting Group in Honolulu. Her projects include stormwater erosion control design, wastewater system design, site development and utility design.

2021 YEOY

In 2013, Street earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. In 2020, she obtained an MBA from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Shidler College of Business.

Street currently serves as the past president and website co-chair for the American Society of Civil Engineers Younger Member Forum. She is also active in the American Water Works Association and the annual Pacific Water Conference Committee.


Get Ready for Engineers Week!

Date: February 17, 2021

DiscoverE 

Engineers Week is a time to celebrate the important work of engineers and engage the next generation of innovators. Even with social distancing, you can make a difference. Here are a few activities that will be of interest to NSPE-HI members.

Hawaii Engineers Week Events
The Kick-Off Event
A virtual event will be held on Tuesday, February 23 (12 p.m.-1p.m.) The event is sponsored by the Society of Military Engineers and the Hawaii Council of Engineering Societies.

Featured speakers are Capt. Gordie Meyer, CEC, USN, Commanding Officer, NAVFAC Hawaii, and Brennan Morioka, Ph.D., Dean of the University of Hawaii at Manoa College of Engineering, who will discuss the Red Hill Fuel: Fueling our National Security, Levering Technology. Register here.

Virtual Engineering Career Day
University of Hawaii at Manoa College of Engineering Spring Career Day will be held on Wednesday, February 24 (9 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1 p.m.- 4 p.m.). Register here.

Awards Event
The annual engineers’ awards event will be held via Zoom on Friday, February 26 (12 p.m.-1p.m.). The event is sponsored by the Hawaii Council of Engineering Societies and will feature Bill Chapman, Dean of the University of Hawaii at Manoa School of Architecture as the event speaker. Register here.

NSPE Events
Future of Engineering
Join NSPE leaders Tricia Hatley, P.E., F.NSPE and Rick Guerra, P.E., F.NSPE, as they discuss the future of engineering and how our changing world will impact the profession during a free webinar on Monday, February 22 (1 p.m.-2p.m. ET). Webinar participants can earn one professional development hour. The webinar will be recorded for later viewing.

2021 NSPE Federal Engineer of the Year Award Webcast
NSPE celebrates the 2021 federal agency winners, the Top 10 Finalists, and announces the 2021 NSPE Federal Engineer of the Year via pre-recorded webcast on Wednesday, February 24 at 12 p.m. ET on the NSPE website and YouTube channel.


Hawaii DOT to Host Meetings on Transportation Plan

Date: February 17, 2021

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) will hold virtual public meetings on the update of the Hawaii Statewide Transportation Plan (HSTP) on February 17, 18, & 20. The meetings will be held using Microsoft Teams.

The HSTP looks at the future of transportation for the next 25 years and will update the state’s long-term transportation goals and policies for air, water, and land. During the meetings, the HDOT will share an overview of the plan and gather public feedback on goals, objectives, and emerging trends for the plan.

Learn more.


Kauai is Moving Forward on One of the Nation’s Most Advanced Energy Projects

Date: February 17, 2021

The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, the island’s community-owned electricity company, has signed final agreements with AES Corp., a developer of a wide variety of generating plants, to build Hawaii’s first power plant relying on “pumped storage” technology.

Together, KIUC and AES will redevelop two existing reservoirs—one a couple thousand feet higher than the other. It will be on the west side of Kauai, near the US Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility, according to a Honolulu Civil Beat article.

Read more.


Licensing Board Meeting

Date: February 17, 2021

The Hawaii Board of Professional Engineers, Architects, Surveyors & Landscape Architects will host its next meeting via Zoom on Thursday, March 11 (9a.m.-11:30 a.m.).

A Zoom link and agenda will be provided prior to the meeting. Access the licensing board website for more information.


NCEES April 2021 Test Registration

Date: February 17, 2021

The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying is accepting registrations for the pencil-and-paper April 2021 PE exams until March 4 (3 p.m. ET).

The exam administration will take place over two days—Thursday, April 22 and Friday, April 23. Registration for the computer-based FE and PE exams will remain open year-round.

According to NCEES, every effort will be made to accommodate all registered examinees in a manner that protects the health and safety of everyone involved. All sites for the April 2021 exam administration must operate in compliance with capacity and social distancing requirements. In most cases, this will reduce the number of examinees that can be accommodated at an exam site.


Puna Geothermal Venture Back Online After 2+ Year Hiatus

Date: January 27, 2021

When the Kilauea volcano erupted in 2018, it took down the Puna Geothermal Venture. Now more than two years later, this significant energy source on Hawaii Island has returned.

Hawaiian Electric announced in the fall that Puna Geothermal Venture—one of the largest and most reliable renewable energy sources in the state—was officially back online with gradual production.

The PGV is a geothermal energy conversion plant bringing steam and hot liquid up through underground wells. The hot liquid (brine) is not used for electricity at this time. The steam is directed to a turbine generator that produces electricity. With the PGV up and running, the company stated that it can further reduce the use of fossil fuels to generate electricity.

The return of PGV to operational status marks a key milestone in Hawaii County’s recovery from the Kilauea Volcano eruption of 2018 that devastated the Kapoho area of the island, according to HSPE member Curtis Beck, P.E., F.NSPE.

“The island’s electric utility grid had been significantly weakened by the loss of firm geothermal steam powered generation that normally backs up intermittent sources such as solar and wind,” says Beck, a retired Hawaii Electric Light Company (HELCO) senior manager. “It took over two years to restore roads, steam wells, substation equipment, and transmission facilities destroyed or damaged by the lava encroachment in and around the plant, but now the 30-year partnership between PGV and HELCO to develop this vital energy resource for the benefit of the community continues.”


Credit: Hawaiian Electric

Prior to the volcanic eruption in May 2018, PGV helped Hawaii Island achieve the state’s highest renewable energy percentage, close to 60%. Without PGV in service, the island’s renewable percentage in 2019 was 35%, Hawaiin Electric pointed out in a statement.

The plant produced 38 megawatts, representing about 15% of the island’s firm generation capacity, according to a Hawaiian Electric; the return of PGV increases the company’s generation reserve margins, ensuring there is electricity available for periods of high demand when other generators are out of service for maintenance.


Licensing Board Meeting

Date: January 27, 2021

The Hawaii Board of Professional Engineers, Architects, Surveyors & Landscape Architects will host its next meeting via Zoom on Thursday, February 11, 2021 from 9a.m.-11:30 a.m. A Zoom link and agenda will be provided prior to the meeting.

Access the licensing board website for more information.


Maui to Receive $300K Federal Grant for STEM Apprenticeship Program

Date: January 27, 2021

A federal grant is aiming to help develop a work-based apprenticeship program for Maui residents, according to a KHON2 news report. US Sen. Brian Schatz, who introduced the legislation, announced that the Maui Economic Development Board would be receiving $300,000 in federal funding to go toward a program looking to offer unique on-the-job training in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills.

The funding comes from the STEM Talent Challenge, a new grant program administered by the Economic Development Administration at the US Department of Commerce. “The program aims to create jobs, spur innovation and strengthen businesses in focus areas that are considered vital to the future of Hawaii’s economy,” says Schatz. Focus areas include renewable energy, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and agriculture.

Read more.


New Tool Projects High-tide Flooding in US Coastal Locations

Date: January 27, 2021

A new tool to help decision makers and others assess how sea-level rise and other factors will affect the frequency of high-tide flooding in US coastal locations in the next 50–100 years has been developed by University of Hawaii Sea Level Center Director Phil Thompson with funding from NASA’s Earth Science Division, according to a Municipal Sewer & Water article.

The Flooding Days Projection Tool is an online dashboard that projects the number of high-tide flooding days per year for 97 US cities, based on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration impact thresholds. These thresholds provide a safety gap between regular high-tide water levels and conditions that result in flooding. Coastal communities are built at a certain elevation above sea-level with these natural fluctuations in mind.

Read more.


Last Call for Engineer of the Year and Young Engineer of the Year Nominations

Date: December 18, 2020

Time is almost up to nominate worthy candidates for the Engineer of the Year and Young Engineer of the Year. Nomination forms are available on the Hawaii Council of Engineering Societies website at http://hceshawaii.org/. The award winners will be recognized during the Engineer’s Week Banquet in February 2021.

NSPE-HI members can also contact Kurt Kunimune at kkunimune@bowersandkubota.com with any questions or to request nomination forms.

Nominations are due by December 30, 2020. Mahalo!


Licensing Board Meeting

Date: December 18, 2020

The Hawaii Board of Professional Engineers, Architects, Surveyors & Landscape Architects will host its next meeting via Zoom on Thursday, January 14, 2021 from 9a.m.-11: 30 a.m.

A Zoom link and agenda will be provided prior to the meeting. Access the licensing board website for more information.


State Climate Change Commission Endorses Sea Level Rise Plans

Date: December 18, 2020

The Hawaii Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission endorsed two recently completed documents that operationalize the recommendations of the state's Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and Adaptation Report (2017). These guidance documents, produced in support of the commission’s Climate Ready Hawaii Initiative, help state and county planners and government officials plan for growing impacts of sea level rise to communities, natural and cultural resources, and critical infrastructure.

The first document, Guidance for Addressing Sea Level Rise in Community Planning in Hawaii, assists local government planners to integrate sea level rise adaptation plans and policies into state, county, and community plans.

The second document, Guidance for Using the Sea Level Rise Exposure Area in Local Planning and Permitting Decisions, was developed in response to requests from county planning departments and other stakeholders to provide further guidance on utilizing the Sea Level Rise Exposure Area (SLR-XA) in planning and permitting decisions while improving understanding of the methods, assumptions, and limitations of the data.

Read more.


Hawaii Releases Plan to Strengthen Broadband Infrastructure

Date: December 18, 2020

Hawaii has released a plan on how it will try to strengthen broadband infrastructure across the state.

The 45-page Hawaii Broadband Strategic Plan 2020 aims to make broadband services available to as much of the state as possible.

The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, in conjunction with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and the Office of Planning, published the plan, which updates the original Hawaii Broadband Strategic Plan that was released in 2012.

Read more.


Where Does Hawaii Rank on Highway Performance?

Date: December 18, 2020

Hawaii’s highway system ranks 42nd in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report by the Reason Foundation. This is a five-spot improvement from the previous report, where Hawaii ranked 47th overall.

In safety and performance categories, Hawaii ranks 23rd in overall fatality rate, 22nd in structurally deficient bridges, 4th in traffic congestion, and 49th in urban interstate pavement condition. Hawaii has no rural interstate mileage. On spending, Hawaii ranks 35th in total spending per mile and 36th in capital and bridge costs per mile.

"To improve in the rankings, Hawaii needs to improve its pavement condition and reduce its fatality rate. The state ranks in the bottom 15 for all three pavement categories and in the bottom five for both rural and urban fatality rate. Compared to neighboring states, the report finds Hawaii's overall highway performance is worse than Arizona (ranks 23rd) and Oregon (ranks 28th), but better than California (ranks 43rd)," said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and senior managing director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation. “Hawaii is doing better than some comparable states like Alaska (ranks 49th), but worse than others like New Hampshire (ranks 29th)."

The foundation's Annual Highway Report measures the condition and cost-effectiveness of state-controlled highways in 13 categories, including pavement condition, traffic congestion, structurally deficient bridges, traffic fatalities, and spending (capital, maintenance, administrative, overall) per mile.

Access the full report.


NSPE Career Center

Date: December 18, 2020

NSPE’s Job Board is your one-stop resource for professional engineering employment. Whether you are on the hunt for your next career move or looking for today's top engineering leaders and talent, you will find it here.

NSPE provides the tools PEs need to keep current in the profession and advance their careers.

Featured Jobs
Civil Engineer III (SR-22)
Honolulu, HI

Civil Engineer IV (SR-24)
Honolulu, HI

Water Pumping Plants Superintendent (SR-28)
Honolulu, HI

Find more job openings or reach the right employees on the NSPE Job Board.

Honolulu Named a Top STEM City

Date: November 18, 2020

Honolulu, Hawaii was recognized as a 2020 Top STEM City for being a community showcasing exceptional dedication to science, technology, engineering, and math education and careers.

The data science team at Insurify (an insurance quotes comparison site) analyzed both proprietary and publicly accessible data to determine the top STEM city in each state. The team identified cities with the highest proportion of residents in STEM-based careers and compiled data from Niche on the colleges and graduate schools with the best programs in STEM, as well as the best cities for women in tech.

Read more.


Nominations Open for Engineer of the Year and Young Engineer of the Year

Date: November 18, 2020

Nominations are now open for the Engineer of the Year and Young Engineer of the Year candidates. Nomination forms are available on the Hawaii Council of Engineering Societies website at http://hceshawaii.org/. The award winners will be recognized during the Engineer’s Week Banquet in February 2021.

NSPE-HI members can also contact Kurt Kunimune at kkunimune@bowersandkubota.com with any questions or to request nomination forms.

Nominations are due by December 30, 2020. Mahalo!


Hawaii Awarded $23.3 Million to Protect, Improve Water Infrastructure

Date: November 18, 2020

Hawaii was awarded more than $23.3 million in federal funding from the US Environmental Protection Agency to protect and support the state’s water infrastructure.

The aid comes from the EPA’s State Revolving Funds, which assists states, tribes, and territories with infrastructure projects that help protect surface water and provide safe drinking water to communities across the country, according to a Pacific Business News report. The Hawaii Department of Health—which assists wastewater and water systems to maintain or bring them into compliance with state and federal clean water and drinking water requirements —will receive and administer the funds.

The State Revolving Funds programs function like infrastructure banks by providing low-interest loans for drinking water and clean water infrastructure projects. As the loan principal and interest are repaid over time, it allows the state’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and Clean Water State Revolving Funds to be recycled. As money is returned to the state’s revolving loan fund, the state makes new loans to other eligible recipients.

Read more.


Connected Vehicle Sensors Installed in East Hawaii

Date: November 18, 2020

The Hawaii Department of Transportation announced the installation of Blyncsy Intersect Connected Vehicle units on the 16 state-owned traffic signals in East Hawaii in cooperation with Elemental Excelerator, according to a Roads & Bridges article.

These connected vehicle sensors calculate travel times between units by anonymously collecting data from Bluetooth-enabled devices in passing vehicles. HDOT and the County of Hawaii will use data from the units to optimize traffic signal timing. Data from the connected vehicle sensors is similar to traffic information currently available from navigation apps like Google and Apple Maps, but is more accurate as it captures data from units installed directly on traffic signals. The dashboard also allows users to view information such as speeds along the corridor and current delays.

Read more.


Coming Soon! Nominations for Engineer of the Year and Young Engineer of the Year

Date: October 28, 2020

Nominations for the Engineer of the Year and Young Engineer of the Year candidates will be accepted beginning in November.

Nomination forms will be available on the Hawaii Council of Engineering Societies website at http://hceshawaii.org/. The award winners will be recognized during the Engineer’s Week Banquet in February of 2021.

NSPE-HI members can also contact Kurt Kunimune at kkunimune@bowersandkubota.com with any questions or to request nomination forms.
Nominations will be due by December 30, 2020. Mahalo!


HI Oks Autonomous Vehicles for Public Roads

Date: October 28, 2020

Just weeks after committing to a four-year long pilot project to turn Hawaii’s highways into data-collecting laboratories, Governor David Ige approved autonomous vehicle testing on public roads throughout the state until at least 2023, according to the State Scoop.

The policy (H.B. 2590) makes Hawaii the 29th state to legislate autonomous vehicle testing, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but it’s been a long time coming for Ige, who first signed an executive order in 2017 to establish an administrative role in the governor's office to act as a liaison between AV manufacturers and the state.

Read more.


State DOT Announces Award for Phase 2 of the Harbors Modernization Project

Date: October 28, 2020

The Hawaii Department of Transportation recently announced that the Kapalama Container Terminal Phase 2 project has been awarded to Kiewit Infrastructure West which will complete the cornerstone project for the Harbors Modernization Plan. The awarded contract of $350 million features the waterside construction at Piers 40-43 in Honolulu Harbor that will add 18.5 acres of fast-land, including 1,860 linear feet of new berthing space for two container ships to dock simultaneously and up to six gantry cranes.

(Aerial view of the Kapalama Container Terminal project site. Credit: Hawaiit Department of Transportation)

The project is the largest capital improvement project in Hawaii harbors history. It will increase operational efficiency, provide better resiliency of critical maritime infrastructure, and significantly reduce traffic on surrounding roadways.

“This project is proceeding at a critical time when our state needs it most as we continue fighting COVID-19 and its impacts,” said Governor David Ige. “The work will be performed by local talent and infuse hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy, in addition to improving our harbor system that will benefit the state for decades to come.”

The project work includes dredging along the waterfront and up to the federal channel and widening of the water basin between Piers 40 and 41, which will create important barge berthing space along Pier 41. This phase 2 project will address sea level rise by increasing the pier height that will match the phase 1 elevated backlands in construction. The project construction is scheduled to start in spring 2021 and is estimated for completion in the winter of 2023.

Read more.


Are You the Next Federal Engineer of the Year?

Date: October 28, 2020

Honoring the commitment of federal engineers to innovation and service is the hallmark of the Federal Engineer of the Year Award. Nominations for the award, which attracts participation from more than a dozen federal agencies, are open until October 31.

The FEYA ceremony is scheduled for February 18, 2021, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Tickets will be available for sale in January and sponsorship opportunities are available.


Two Hawaii Society Members Named FEYA Finalists

Date: February 28, 2020

Each year, NSPE’s Federal Engineer of the Year Award honors engineers employed at US agencies. The top 10 finalists exemplify the best and brightest federal engineering talent. In 2020, two of those finalists were members of the Hawaii Society of Professional Engineers. Congratulations to Tony Lau, P.E., and LTC L. Reyn Mann, P.E.!

Tony Lau, P.E.

Tony Lau, P.E.
US Department of the Navy
Naval Facilities Engineering Command (Hawaii)

Nearly 30 years of civil engineering prowess has helped Lau establish his trademark for design and management of Navy and Marine Corps facilities worldwide. His projects have enabled warfighter lethality, thereby maximizing shore readiness and strengthening NAVFAC’s system command team in challenging locations, including Hawaii, Guam, Japan, Singapore, and Diego Garcia. At NAVFAC Hawaii, he manages capital improvements and coordinates civil technical design. Prepared for the unpredictable, Lau guided two critical projects: a 42-inch emergency water line repair and a deep-water well emergency repair. Both projects restored the primary water source, critical to base operations and military families, and prevented permanent damages to the Navy’s aquifers and waterline systems. Through his leadership, Lau also has implemented unique outside-the-box management techniques, keeping staff motivated to meet mission requirements. Lau was awarded the Engineer of the Year by Hawaii Society of Professional Engineers in 2017.

LTC L. Reyn Mann, P.E.

LTC L. Reyn Mann, P.E.
US Department of the Army
US Army Pacific/130th Engineer Brigade

With a career spanning two decades of tactical and strategic Army experience, Mann has commanded engineers at the platoon, company, and battalion levels to support Special Operations Forces in Iraq, the Philippines, Europe, and Africa. Her current role is commander of the 84th Engineer Battalion in Hawaii, which provides construction and combat engineering operations throughout the Indo-Pacific region. To her credit, she has facilitated more than 20 full or partial designs, 15 surveys, 10 horizontal construction projects, and 15 vertical construction projects. Mann also routinely trains, deploys, and supervises engineers supporting security cooperation exercises in more than 15 countries. As another benchmark achievement, she formerly participated in a Directorate for Nuclear, Homeland Defense, and Current Operations, targeting mission assurance and energy resilience—fusing engineering strategy and policy for the highest levels of government.

NSPE honored the top 10 finalists and all FEYA agency winners at its ceremony in Washington, DC, on February 14. Timothy Sullivan, Ph.D., P.E., of the US Department of the Air Force, Air Force Civil Engineer Center, was named NSPE’s 2020 Federal Engineer of the Year Award winner.


Members of HSPE Maui January 31 Tour Highlights

Date: Friday, January 31, 2020

On Friday, January 31, members of HSPE Maui took a tour of the Pacific Pipe warehouse and yard to learn about some of the pipe materials readily available on Maui.

HSPE Members

HSPE Members

HSPE Members

HSPE Members

HSPE Members


MATHCOUNTS Volunteers Needed

MATHCOUNTS is a national program founded by the National Society of Professional Engineers, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and the CNA Foundation. The program provides students in grades 6-8 the opportunity to compete in live contests against and alongside their peers.

HSPE, Maui Chapter, hosts an annual MATHCOUNTS Chapter Competition as part of E-Week. The first-place team and the top two competitors will advance to represent Maui at the State Competition on O‘ahu. The top four individual high scorers from the State Competition will advance to represent Hawaii at the Raytheon MATHCOUNTS National Championship.

We are requesting volunteers for MATHCOUNTS. We have 10 schools registered for the competition (download PDF). Approximately 100 students are anticipated to compete.

The MATHCOUNTS competition includes the following rounds:

Sprint Round: 30 questions in 40 minutes; students work individually; no calculators permitted

Target Round: 4 pairs of questions; 6 minutes per pair of questions; students work individually; calculators are permitted

Team Round: 10 questions in 20 minutes; 4 team members work together; calculators are permitted

Countdown Round (Unofficial): Fast-paced round where students battle head-to-head in a test of speed and accuracy; top 8 students participate; results do not determine competition winner nor advancement to the State Competition

Volunteer information below:

What: MATHCOUNTS Competition volunteers for the following:

  • Check-in and name tags
  • Seating competitors so they are not seated next to students from the same school
  • Handing out test material / scratch paper / pencils
  • Grading tests
  • Serving snacks / lunch
  • Clean up

When: Saturday, February 8, 2020 - setup starts at 7:30am, registration starts at 8:00am, competition ends around 1:00pm

Where: Maui Waena Intermediate School, located at 795 Onehee Avenue, Kahului

Questions? Please contact Mandy Saito, mandy@kaanapaliland.com


HSPE Maui Chapter, 2020 Engineering Project of the Year

Date: January 3, 2020

The Maui Chapter of the Hawaii Society of Professional Engineers (HSPE), in celebration of Engineers’ Week (February 16 – 22, 2022) invites you to submit an entry for the HSPE 2020 Project of the Year.

Entry Deadline: Friday, January 24, 2020 at 3:00 pm

> Learn more.


HSPE’s Maui Chapter took a tour of Walker Precast

Date: September 6, 2019

HSPE’s Maui Chapter took a tour of Walker Precast on September 6. Members gathered around to learn about some of the precast items produced onsite by Walker Industries.

Eric Takamine (HSPE, Maui Chapter, Vice President).Credit: Eric Takamine (HSPE, Maui Chapter, Vice President).

Irina Constantinescu (HSPE, Maui Chapter, Treasurer); Credit: Irina Constantinescu (HSPE, Maui Chapter, Treasurer)

Irina Constantinescu (HSPE, Maui Chapter, Treasurer)Credit: Irina Constantinescu (HSPE, Maui Chapter, Treasurer)


Hawaii PE Installed as NICET Chair

Date: July 20, 2019

Curtis Beck, P.E.

Curtis Beck, P.E., F.NSPE, outgoing Big Island Chapter Director, is taking on a new top leadership role in 2019–2020: chair of the Board of Governors for the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies. Beck was installed at the Professional Engineers Conference in Kansas City in July.

NICET is a division of NSPE that certifies engineering technicians and technologists and helps ensure a qualified engineering team.

Beck has been semi-retired since 2013; he previously was manager of the Hawaii Electric Light Company’s Energy Services Department. He now works part-time as a consultant and construction manager for Bowers and Kubota Consulting of Waipahu. He is also a partner with Mahilani Partners LLC, of Hilo, which owns and manages a farming community and visitor center, and raises a variety of tropical products such as cacao and coffee. Beck was born in Ohio but has been a resident of Hilo since 1979 and raised a family there.

The professional engineer has been a member of NSPE since 1981, and has served his chapter, state, and national society in several officer and board roles, including as chapter president, state president, Professional Engineers in Industry chair, Board of Ethical Review chair, and NSPE Board of Directors member. He has also been active in MATHCOUNTS.

Read about Beck’s recent leadership on a PE requirement with the Hawaii Society of Professional Engineers’ Big Island Chapter.


Officer Installation Ceremony

Date: July 8, 2019

Officer Installation Ceremony

(Left to Right) (HiSPE officers unless noted as Maui Chapter officers.) Mike Silva, HoD Rep, Mike Lum, Past Pres, Tom Roberts, Sara Doi, Pres, Majella Stevenson, F.NSPE, Pres-elect, Travis Ching, Maui Chapter Pres, Irina Constantinescu, Treas, Mikki Klee, Maui Chapter Sec, Curt Beck, NICET Pres, & Eric Takamine, Maui Chapter VP.

Attendees at luncheon tables.

Attendees at luncheon tables.

Attendees at luncheon tables.ATTENDEES AT LUNCHEON TABLES DURING THE INSTALLATION CEREMONY.

Tom Roberts, PE, FNSPENSPE 2017–18 PRESIDENT TOM ROBERTS, P.E., F.NSPE ADDRESSING THE GROUP BEFORE THE INSTALLATION OF OFFICERS.


PE Action Ensures License Requirement for Hawaii Public Works Position

Date: June 25, 2019

An effort to remove the PE requirement for the director of public works for Hawaii County was recently thwarted by the Hawaii Society of Professional Engineers’ Big Island Chapter. 

In June, the Hawaii County Charter Commission held hearings about 28 proposed charter amendments for the 2020 ballot, including a proposal to remove the PE requirement. The proposal (CA-26) placed only one significant requirement on the position: five years of administrative experience. The current department director David Yamamoto and deputy director Allen Simeon are both PEs. 

Commission Chairman Doug Adams, sponsor of the proposal, believes that a lack of a professional license in a technical field doesn’t necessarily mean the director can’t manage those who have one, according a Hawaii Tribune Herald article. “I think that it helps with identifying, increasing, expanding the potential for directors, good people, solid people that will have had experience in [a] public works department whether it is here or in other locations, and not necessarily create this small niche of those with a PE degree,” he was quoted as saying in a June 9 article.

Under the leadership of Big Island Chapter Director Curtis Beck, P.E., F.NSPE, chapter members spoke against the commissions’ proposed amendment. Ten chapter members, which included former directors of public works, provided testimony to the commission. The commission was also presented a letter addressing the critical need to have a licensed engineer in responsible charge of decisions that directly affect the health, safety, and welfare of county citizens. Nearly 60 PEs and architects who opposed the amendment signed onto the letter. 

The commission responded to this outreach and testimonies by voting down the amendment, 7-2. “It felt good to make a difference,” Beck stated on an NSPE Communities post.


May Meeting Highlights Award-Winning Project

Date: May 15, 2019

HSPE Maui Chapter held a lunch meeting on Friday, May 10th at Tante’s Restaurant in Kahului, Maui. Audrey Cabrera from Brown and Caldwell presented on the company’s Lanai Wastewater Reclamation Facility Liner Replacement Project, which won the 2019 HSPE Project of the Year award.

The project ensured uninterrupted wastewater operations at the sole municipal wastewater treatment facility on the island of Lanai, while protecting endangered Hawaiian stilt and coot bird species.

In 2014, a liner failure was discovered in one of the lagoons used for treatment. To preserve the endangered species and maintain a reliable wastewater system, the County of Maui collaborated with US Fish & Wildlife service and hired Brown and Caldwell and Kiewit Infrastructure West Co.

The project involved the design and installation of 20,000 square yards of ultraviolet-resistant, high-density polyethylene geomembrane laid over a geotextile cushion to replace the chlorosulphonated polyethylene liner. Lagoon 2 served as the primary treatment lagoon while Lagoon 1 was out of service.

The installation was completed in February 2018, eight months ahead of schedule, using an expedited five-month plan in order to not disturb the stilt nesting season.

View of pondVIEW OF THE POND DURING LINER INSTALLATION

Pond back in sevicePOND BACK IN SERVICE WITH NEW LINER AND SAFETY LADDER IN LINER

Hawaiian StiltHAWAIIAN STILT


Stormwater Conference: July 22-26, 2019

The Hawaii Water Environment Association (HWEA) Stormwater Committee is co-hosting a Stormwater Conference with the City and County of Honolulu from July 22 to 26, 2019, at the Hawaii Convention Center. For more information on the conference and to register visit the official event web site.

2019 Engineers Week Event Banquet

Date: Tuesday, February 23, 2019

HSPE Board and DirectorsHSPE BOARD AND DIRECTORS

HSPE Scholarship Winner Julianna Andrade

HSPE SCHOLARSHIP WINNER JULIANNA ANDRADE

Keynote Speaker Tara OwensKEYNOTE SPEAKER TARA OWENS

Managing Director Sandy BazMANAGING DIRECTOR SANDY BAZ

See attached flyer for event details.


Senator Brian Schatz Champions STEM Education

Date: Friday, December 21, 2018

This fall, Hawai’i’s US Senator Brian Schatz (D) authored legislation to authorize funding for STEM education facilities that serve rural and Native American communities, including American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian. Called the INSPIRES Act, it calls on Congress to allocate $200 million so that rural and Native-serving institutions can either build new STEM education facilities, or make improvements to existing ones. Senator Schatz has long supported and advocated for improved educational opportunities, going back to his time as a state representative, during which he served on the Higher Education Committee.

HSPE applauds Senator Schatz’s commitment to making STEM education accessible and beneficial to all students.


2019 Hawaii Engineer of the Year Award

Date: Thursday, December 13, 2018

In conjunction with the activities of Engineers’ Week 2019, the Hawaii Society of Professional Engineers (HSPE) is soliciting nominations for the Hawaii Engineer of the Year Award. The selected engineer will receive their award at the 2019 Engineers’ Week Banquet in February, 2019. Completed nomination forms and letters of support must be received no later than Friday, December 28, 2018.

For more information please download the announcement and nomination form.


Hawaii Society at the 2018 Professional Engineers Conference

Date: July 31, 2018

From July 18–22 in Las Vegas, at Caesars Palace, NSPE members enjoyed an exciting week full of exceptional education programs, speakers, and great networking.

HSPE Members

HSPE Members

IMAGES COURTESY OF NSPE AND CHRISTIE'S PHOTOGRAPHIC STUDIOS