Professional Organizations



NSPE is an organization, serving as the recognized voice and advocate of licensed Professional Engineers in the US. NSPE, in partnership with the State Societies, is the organization of licensed Professional Engineers (PEs) and Engineer Interns (EIs). NSPE, in partnership with the State Societies, serves as the recognized and authoritative expert in licensure, ethics, and professional practice. It promotes licensure and assists individuals in becoming licensed and protects and enhances the value of licensure and the opportunities for the licensed engineer.

(Jack’s Comment) I was a member of this organization for many years and can recommend your participation.


I was a “nobody”; I came from a blue-collar family and had never even seen the inside of a Country Club. But I was savvy enough to realize that I needed to start building an “outstanding” reputation and more credentials.

As soon as you graduate, start attending meetings of local engineering/industry organizations. Even if you don’t have a job yet, it will give you an opportunity to meet fellow engineers, contractors, manufacturers’ representatives, architects, inspectors, distributors, and other contacts that might help you get a job or help you in other ways.

One of the most important organizations is the local/state chapter of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE). Here you will meet the “players” in the consulting engineering profession and people who will be your colleges, future competitors, or future employees. In most cases, you don’t even need to join to attend meetings. Discounted memberships are offered to recent graduates, typically an 80% discount in your year of graduation. Try to get on the local mailing list so that you will be notified of meetings. They are usually evening dinner meetings with a guest speaker. Some states have many different chapters, others, like RI, only have one state chapter.

I joined several organizations and attended meetings of the following:

The Rhode Island Society of Professional Engineers (RISPE)

Providence Engineering Society (PES)

Electrical League of Rhode Island

Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES)

Rhode Islanders initially had to drive 50 miles to attend meetings of the Boston IES Chapter. But we had local meetings after a group of us formed the RI Chapter of the IES, of which, I’m proud to say, I was the founding president.

At meetings, collect business cards from those that you want to get to know. Start making a “Contact List”, including both business and personal information. You will form a quicker and closer friendship if you can remember that he/she has an interest in baseball and has a 3-year-old daughter named Michelle.

Initially, my “resume” included membership in the above listed organizations. My next goal was to become a board member of RISPE. I asked the local president if there were any committee openings; there are always openings. I chose to become Publications Committee Chairman, which qualified me to attend monthly board meetings, meet the leaders, and be seen and known. Soon, I met the Nominating Committee Chairmen. After our friendship was cemented, I expressed interest in being on the board, and I became Treasurer the following year (most nominees run unopposed). That put me on the “ladder,” and I became RISPE President in four years. After my presidency, I nominated one of the recent Past Presidents for the “Engineer of the Year Award”; not surprisingly, in a few years, he nominated me.

I don’t mean to imply that all this was easy; it took a lot of hard work. But, with determination and effort, you can establish credentials that will eventually distinguish you from your competitors. The important lesson here is: “It doesn’t just happen—you make it happen.”


John D. Gaskell, Retired P.E. (Jack)


The National Academy of Forensic Engineers (NAFE) was formed to identify and bring together professional engineers having qualifications and expertise as practicing forensic engineers to further their continuing education and promote high standards of professional ethics and excellence of practice. It seeks to improve the practice, elevate the standards, and advance the cause of forensic engineering. Full membership in the Academy is limited to Registered Professional Engineers who are also members of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE). They must also be members in an acceptable grade of a recognized major technical engineering society.

(Jack’s Comment) I was a member of this organization for many years and can recommend your participation.


The National Academy of Forensic Engineers is affiliated with the National Society of Professional Engineers and are a charter member of the Council of Engineering Specialty Boards. Through their accreditation process and requirements for continuing professional development, each member of the Academy is a Board Certified Diplomat in Forensic Engineering. There are three levels of membership: member, senior member, and fellow. Membership requirements are stringent, including, at the member level, testimony under oath in at least two cases. Check out the full qualifications online, and join as soon as you qualify. The NAFE Directory is published on CD and distributed to all members. Many referrals are made from this data. Become affiliated as a correspondent until you are eligible for membership.


John D. Gaskell, Retired P.E. (Jack)


The International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC) has domicile in the Canton of Geneva, Switzerland. The objectives of the Federation are:

Represent the consulting engineering industry globally; enhance the image of consulting engineers; be the authority on issues related to business practice; promote the development of a global and viable consulting engineering industry; promote quality; actively promote conformance to a code of ethics and to business integrity; and promote commitment to sustainable development.