Engineers on the Hill Work Over Their Congressmen

With election-year rhetoric heating up, several members of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) recently invaded Capitol Hill to do some lobbying for the design and construction community. According to John Hennessy, P.E., the group's treasurer and CEO of the Syska Hennessy Group, New York, several ACEC members, including himself, as part of Consulting Congress Day (CCD), me...

04/01/2004


With election-year rhetoric heating up, several members of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) recently invaded Capitol Hill to do some lobbying for the design and construction community.

According to John Hennessy, P.E., the group's treasurer and CEO of the Syska Hennessy Group, New York, several ACEC members, including himself, as part of Consulting Congress Day (CCD), met with several key members of the legislature, including Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.). The three-day event began with the Federal Markets Conference , which featured briefings from the various federal agencies, including the Army Corps of Engineers and the General Services Administration.

"Updates on design-build initiatives, GSA's schedule status and performance-based contracting from federal agency representatives was invaluable," said Joan Freitag of Hanson Professional Services, Springfield, Ill.

The following morning, ACEC presented its agenda:

  1. Work to kill repeated attempts to shut down government outsourcing.

  2. Secure funding increases to support needed investments in the nation's infrastructure (TEA-21 reauthorization).

  3. Fight for the passage of HR 3678 to reform the Fair Labor Standards Act to protect engineering firms from unfair enforcement actions.

  4. Aggressively promote the use of qualifications-based selection (QBS) criteria at all levels of public and private sector procurement.

That afternoon, according to Hennessy, each state's engineering delegates met individually with their respective representatives and support staff. "All in all, it was very well prepared, and I think it was effective for our firms," said Hennessy.

Phil Yerby of Chiang, Patel & Yerby, Dallas, certainly concurs. "You can sit back and hope for new business, or hope for policies to improve the business environment or you can get engaged and make it happen," he said. "That's what CCD is all about, and that's why I went to Washington."





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