ACEC Impact: Your Monthly Roundup of ACEC Washington happenings 
Fantastic ACEC Washington Member Success at National Engineering Excellence Awards Gala
ACEC Washington Members had a spectacular showing at the 50th annual national Engineering Excellence Awards Gala held in Washington D.C. on April 25th and in conjunction with the ACEC Spring Convention. It was a wonderful black tie event with over 800 people in attendance and over 160 national projects in the competition. Kevin Nealon, the renowned comedic television and movie actor, hosted the event. Nealon was a long-time Saturday Night Live cast member (1986-1995), and is known for many hilarious characters including; 'The Subliminal Man,' and 'Hans and Franz,' and for anchoring SNL's 'Weekend Update'.

ACEC of Washington was extremely well represented in the competition with 7 projects being advanced through from our state level competition in January to the national competition.  Those 7 projects were:

Brown and Caldwell- Chambers Creek Wastewater Plant Expansion
Buckland & Taylor International, Inc., an affiliate of COWI North America, Inc.-  World Trade Center Transportation Hub (Oculus) Erection Engineering
HDR- SR 520 Floating Bridge Replacement and HOV Program
Magnusson Klemencic Associates-  Elliott Bay Seawall Habitat and Public Space
McMillen Jacobs Associates (on behalf of Northlink Transit Partners JV)- University Link Extension
Shannon & Wilson-  Fir Island Farms Estuary Restoration
WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff-  Sound Transit Regional HCT System Plan

Grand Awards
Of the total 160 projects, there were 16 Grand Award winners and our ACEC of Washington firms won 4 of the 16 Grand Awards! A full one-quarter of the top prizes went to firms based here in Washington State. Does that not say something about our industry and the talent located here! ACEC of Washington would like to offer its sincerest congratulations to Buckland and Taylor International, an affiliate of COWI North America, Inc.; HDR; Magnusson Klemencic Associates; and McMillen Jacobs Associates for their outstanding efforts and success.

Grand Conceptor Award
The night did not end there for the Washington State engineering community.  From those 16 Grand Award winners, a single Grand Conceptor Award winner was awarded to the firm judged to have completed the top engineering project in the United States.  That prize went to HDR for the SR-520 Floating Bridge Replacement and HOV Program and whose efforts were led by Larry Kyle, 2016 ACEC of Washington Engineer of the Year.  Congratulations and job well done!
SR 520 Floating Bridge Replacement and HOV Program
Upcoming Events 
Gov. Inslee signing SB 5185, watched by Scott Woerman, Landau Associates, ACEC of Washington Legislative Cabinet Chairman and Chairman of the Architects and Engineers Legislative Council (AELC)
Latest from Olympia

End of Regular Legislative Session-This biennium’s regular “long session” (105 days) was recently completed.  While a transportation budget was passed, the Legislature was unable to finish its work on an operating budget.  The principle remaining conflict revolves around how to fund basic education.  The capital budget

Opposition to B&O Taxes and Capital Gains Tax- There have been numerous tax bills introduced this year.  They have included a new carbon tax, a new capital gains tax, and various increases to the B&O tax.  As a tax that directly and has such a devastating impact on the engineering consulting community, ACEC of Washington has been in Olympia and strongly expressing our opposition to any increase of the B&O tax on services.  To date, we have been successful in that effort and will continue in our efforts.  We will be needing your help as things unfold to make sure of our success.

Passage of Senate Bill 5185- ACEC of Washington, together with a coalition of other interested groups, was able to solicit passage of SB 5185 which provides legal immunity to engineers and associations for services provided in emergency situations such as clearing buildings for occupancy after earthquakes.  The bill was passed through both houses in the Legislature without a single no vote and was signed into law by Governor Inslee. In attendance was Scott Woerman, Landau Associates, in his capacity as ACEC of Washington Legislative Cabinent Chairman and Chairman of the Architects and Engineers Legislative Council (AELC). 

Salary Survey Coming Soon
The 2017 ACEC Washington and Oregon Salary and Benefits Survey will be headed to your email box in the next couple of weeks.  Survey responses are collected anonymously and securely so we strongly encourage your firm to participate and obtain the completed survey at a reduced rate.  This annual tradition has become an essential tool for benchmarking salary data as well as Employee Benefits.  Plan costs and cost-saving strategies are also highlighted.  Your participation is valuable and continues to create a successful salary survey.
QBS Watch:  Non-Negotiable Contracts a s a
Violation of Law

Since the last newsletter, ACEC has been very active in defending against violations of the QBS statute.  There have been numerous procurements where pricing has been asked for at the time of initial submission.  These are the “bread and butter” type of issues and are usually easy to resolve. 

However, we have also recently gone on the offensive and are also pushing back against practices that have, for too long, negatively impacted the proper operation of A/E procurements.  These improper practices are ones that require proposers, in advance at the time of initial submission, to agree to a non-negotiable contract (or to identify objectionable terms at the time of initial submission) or that require proposers to provide fully detailed “technical proposals” along with an accompanying, sealed and detailed “cost proposal.”  This being the old “two-envelope” requirement.

ACEC has had great success to date in obtaining removal of non-negotiable contract provisions.  We have succeeded in four of five cases to date and are waiting to hear back on the fifth.  We are also waiting to hear back in relation to our push back to the two-envelope requirement.  In short, our efforts are surrounding the concepts that the most qualified firm is to be selected purely on qualifications (so, detailed technical proposals go well beyond this) and that the most qualified firm has a statutory right to attempt to negotiate a full contract (so, public owners cannot cutoff their statutory right by limiting the negotiation process at the very beginning of the procurement).  More to come.

The moral to this story is that we must continue pressure and continue fighting for this industry.  If we do not, then nobody will.  This means that we need you to keep sending problematic procurements to us to challenge.  THAT IS WHY WE ARE HERE!

We ask you, however, to keep something in mind as you look through the various procurements which come your way.  We ask that you remember that most public owners do not truly understand the reason “why” QBS exists.  If you ask them, they invariably state (or they at least subjectively believe) that it exists to protect the A/E community.  Taken to an extreme (often when rampant cynicism is also prevalent), they believe that the QBS laws promote the creation of “win-lose” situations that benefit A/E firms.  When public owners hold this belief, it is also necessarily true that when A/E firms benefit, the public owner must lose.  Given this, it is not hard to see why public owners then focus on the “what” and how” of the QBS procedures, offer minimal compliance, and create constant attempts to creatively circumvent the law. 

What public owners do not so often understand, however, is that they are flat out wrong!  QBS exists to protect the public interest, not A/E firms.  As we know, the whole purpose of QBS is to help create a positive, collaborative, and innovative atmosphere between the consultant and owner.  Why?  Because good design saves money, is best for public projects, and it is in this positive, collaborative environment that creativity and innovation flourish.  What they fail to see is that QBS exists to help create win-win situations!

With this in mind, ACEC will continue to fight for QBS regardless of whether public owners realize it is in their own best interests or not!

ACEC National Convention in Washington, D.C.
 Our Lobbying Team at the Capitol-(l. to r.) Scott Roux, COWI North America; Barbara Moffat, COWI North America; Karen Doherty, HDR; Rob Berman, HDR; Kathy Cox-Czosnyka, Jacobs; Mike Clark, David Evans & Associates; David Winter, Hart Crowser; Cos Roberts, UrbanTech Systems (not pictured, Ron Paananen, WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff)  
Ron Paananen, David Winter, Mike Clark, Karen Doherty, Kathy Cox-Czosnyka, and Rob Berman, with Congresswoman Kathy McMorris Rodgers, Chair of the House Republican Conference - fourth highest-ranking Republican in the House and the highest-ranking woman in Congress.

  Washington Monument taken from the Vietnam War Memorial – photo by Cos Roberts, UrbanTech Systems
  In addition to the Engineering Excellence Awards Gala, the ACEC Spring Conference Washington D.C. included numerous other activities and events.  There were very interesting and informative general sessions which included presentation by Nicolle Wallace, Political Analyst and Former White House Director of Communications, on “The New Political Landscape” as well as a “Business Forecast” by Geoff Colvin, Senior Editor of Fortune Magazine.  The general sessions also included panel discussion on “Industry Perspectives” three ACEC member firm CEOs and “Transportation Outlook” by three public owner leaders.  If you are interested, the Full Schedule gives one an understanding of the depth and breadth of the convention.

There were also numerous educational breakout sessions.  For those that could not attend, you can at least see the written materials provided to attendees in the 2017 Convention Compendium.

Hill Visits.  One of the most enjoyable and interesting activities involves lobbying our state delegation.  This year our ACEC of Washington team was provided background information on two issues A National Infrastructure Plan and Tax Reform.

Lincoln Memorial- photo by Cos Roberts
  We want to hear from you!  Would you like to to see your firm highlighted? Do you have suggestions for seminar topics or ideas for events? Pressing legislative issues you'd like to see ACEC tackle? Let us know!