March, 2021
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Would your firm benefit from a Louisiana-based salary survey? ACEC of Louisiana is interested in conducting a survey of Louisiana-based member firms to develop salary and benefits information specific to Louisiana and our metropolitan areas. The effectiveness of the confidential survey is dependent upon robust participation so we need to gauge your willingness to provide the information requested. While it may initially be a significant time commitment, future surveys should be much easier to update. At the end of the day, having timely access to localized salary benchmarking will enable your firm to be more competitive. Please have one person representing your firm take the anonymous poll below. If we have enough interest we'll move forward.
Would you be willing to provide your firm's data through an anonymous salary study?
The ACECL Board met March 26, 2021
City of New Orleans -
  • Submitted questions and requested additional time for submission relative to Citywide A/E Roster. Three time extensions issued. Current deadline is April 19.
  • Offer accepted by Mayor Cantrell for ACECL to provide input in search for new DPW Director.

City of Baton Rouge - ACECL expressed concerns to city attorneys about recent contract amendment language developed by the City for parish engineering contracts. ACECL also coordinated a meeting between City of Baton Rouge attorneys and Board of Ethics specific to the requirement that engineers take the 1 hour State Ethics training for public employees. The language in the amendment is under review by the City.

QBS Advocacy: Calcasieu Parish School Board RFQ for Materials Testing and Inspection amended to remove price.

Incidental Practice of Engineering - The Incidental Practice workgroup of ACECL, AIA, LaPELS and LSBAE has reconvened to consider agreeable language that will define the incidental practice of engineering by architects.

Legislation - Rep. Foy Gadberry filed two bills for ACECL.
  • HB 113 to amend the state ethics law to codify a longstanding exception. Click here to access bill.
  • HB 323 changing 'design professional services' to 'architectural and engineering professional services' in the Hammett Act. Click here to view bill.

FAR Credits Clause/PPP Loan Forgiveness - Last week, ACEC Chair-Elect Robin Greenleaf and ACEC member Carlos Penin testified before the House Small Business Committee’s Subcommittee on Contracting and Infrastructure on the severe impact that the FAR Credits Clause will have on firms that have forgiven PPP loans. Winning a waiver from the FAR Credits Clause has been a primary advocacy goal since it was determined that firms must provide a refund or credit in their billing rates on government contracts for forgiven PPP loans. At the hearing, the firm executives briefed Congress on the negative impact this policy will have on engineering businesses and urged them to find a legislative fix. Information on the hearing can be accessed here, the press statement released by Subcommittee Chairman Kweisi Mfume (D-MD) can be accessed here, and a recording of the hearing can be accessed here. Click here for Linda Darr's full message. As a note - and its a very concerning note - word from ACEC is that some state DOTs are making it clear that they will impose their own requirements on firms for state-funded engineering contracts – forcing firms to provide the agencies with discounts in their rates in return for the federal assistance they received under the PPP program. ACEC understands there may be some states – Maryland was mentioned during a meeting held Monday with FHWA – that will demand a return of the entire PPP loan, regardless of whether it was allocated to a DOT project or not. What became clear from the meeting Monday is that there doesn’t appear to be an agency that will manage this process to ensure that firms credit back only the amount of the PPP loan that overlapped contract payments on federal-aid projects. Good news is that work continues on a Congressional fix. More next week.

NEPA Modernization Coalition Letter - ACEC signed on to a coalition letter earlier this month that seeks to preserve/protect streamlining reforms relative to NEPA and permitting decisions. I expect that ACEC will be working with energy client organizations going forward to push back against some initiatives from the new Administration impacting energy markets, and hopefully working with lawmakers on the some bipartisan ideas that could attach themselves to a larger infrastructure package. Thankfully the tight margins in Congress will make it difficult to push through problematic legislation, but Executive actions from the White House present a thornier challenge, but as always we’ll advocate for our members and for our clients. Click here for letter.
American Rescue Plan. Click here for a summary of the American Rescue Plan, the Biden Administration's $1.9 trillion dollar coronavirus relief package.

State Tax Reform - If you were not able to join the ACECL State PAC Committee and the Legislative Committee for a Lunch and Learn with Jason Decuir on Wednesday, you missed a great chance to better understand the state's current complicated tax structure and legislative plans to create a more rational and simplified structure. The Legislature's plan is being sold as "net neutral" but given the Stimulus Bill's strings (highlighted above), what the Legislature does with its tax reform will need to be not conflict with the conditions associated with the state and local government allocations. And, of course, there are always winners and losers when altering a tax structure so stay tuned! You can access Jason's presentation here and/or view the meeting here.
(aka ACEC)

The ACEC Research Institute released its final study in their Industry Impact Series-the 2021-2025 Engineering Industry Forecast. Like many parts of the economy, the engineering sector has been negatively affected by the COVID-induced downturn. Based on the federal government's own numbers, the engineering and design sector's revenue declined by 7% in 2020, and the ACEC Research Institute's newly released forecast projects another 4% decline in 2021 before recovery begins to kick in during the second half of the year. The industry will grow modestly (3% annually) from 2022-2024, primarily due to pandemic-related stimulus spending, but then will tail off slightly in 2025.
While these economic projections are not particularly encouraging, they are also not definitive. There are several things that could positively affect the forecast, most notably a new, robust infrastructure agenda. The principal driver for that agenda will be legislation to reauthorize and significantly expand federal programs that support surface transportation projects authorized by the FAST Act, set to expire this year.
Learn more about what is in store for the engineering and design services industry. Download and dive into this new research today-2021-2025 Engineering Industry Forecast

More than 400 members participated in Wave 9 of the ACEC Research Institute Business Impact Survey, which was conducted February 25-March 5. The report includes an executive summary that highlights not only important significant results but also calls out differences in these results by firm size. There is a lot of good news in this survey. We are starting to see the emergence of more optimism in many areas, but it appears that the recovery is not lifting up all firms evenly. A few summary bullets are below-
  • In a reversal from September 2020, optimism is beginning to grow that business will return to normal sooner rather than later.
  • 67% of firms still feel the condition of the US Economy is worse compared to March 1, 2020, but sentiment continues to improve.
  • More firms continue to report their finances and cash flow are better than pre-Pandemic and better than in Wave 8 (September 2020).
  • 39% of firms with 25 or fewer FTEs are more likely than other firms to say their cash flow is worse today.
  • More than half of firms receiving a PPP Loan say the FAR Credits Clause will impact their overhead rate. A large 18% are not sure.
  • Firms with more than 50 FTEs are much more likely to be impacted by the FAR Credits Clause.
  • Nearly half of firms have already implemented more stringent cyber security rules for off-site workers and another 20% plan to so do.
  • Nearly two-thirds of firms have found/plan to find new ways of interacting remotely due to “Zoom Fatigue.”
  • 44% of firms plan to curtail their remote work policies once social distancing restrictions are lifted while 30% will maintain their current policy.
  • 51% of firms will follow guidelines provided by the CDC and/or state/local authorities when it comes to vaccinations. 26% will not require vaccinations.
  • 58% of firms are at least somewhat concerned about being held liable for office workers getting sick, a large percentage (42%) are not.
  • Roughly nine out of ten firms plan to allow travel to client meetings in the next six months.
  • Nearly half of firms are not likely to allow workers to attend large events with more than 100 attendees during the next six months.
Click here for full summary.
Sneak peak at the 2020 EEA Gala held March 25 at the
Baton Rouge Marriott hotel
It was another night to remember as fourteen projects received Engineering Excellence Awards at the 2020 ACEC of Louisiana EEA Gala! Led by emcee Jay Dardenne, the evening brought together over 150 attendees to celebrate engineering achievement. Stay tuned for more photos next month! Plus, look for an announcement next week for an opportunity to purchase an ad in the EEA magazine that will be distributed to over 700 individuals including mayors and parish presidents, LAGC members, and ACECL firms and affiliates across the state. This will be a great opportunity to get your firm or company noticed! Click here for the 2019 Magazine.
State Infrastructure - In spite of news this week that state Rep. Jack McFarland decided to forgo filing a gas tax increase bill presumably in favor of a different approach, there still remain other options for infrastructure funding. In addition to Rep. McFarland's plan to shift to alternative sources of revenue, there are legislators exploring other viable options, including the gas tax. After the deadline to file legislation Friday, there will be more information to share. Be assured, the effort continues and your support is as important as ever.
Federal Infrastructure - The American Jobs Plan

Speaker Pelosi has told House Democrats that she wants to move the Biden infrastructure package by July 4th, acknowledging that deadline might slip. It appears that Democratic leaders intend to try to move the package using the “reconciliation” budget procedure, which allows the Senate to move the bill without the normal 60 vote majority needed to move a bill to the floor for a vote. There may be procedural hurdles to this approach, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is working through those issues with the Senate Parliamentarian. 
The plan is paid for through increases in both the corporate and individual tax rates, among other changes to the tax code, which has generated pushback from the US Chamber of Commerce – their statement is here – as well as congressional Republicans. Chairman DeFazio’s statement on the plan can be found here.
A summary from the White House can be found below. Here are the high points:
  • $621 billion for transportation, including $115 billion for bridges, highways and roads, $85 billion for transit and $80 billion for Amtrak and rail programs
  • $25 billion for airport improvements and $17 billion for ports and inland waterways
  • Over $100 billion for water and wastewater grants and loans
  • $100 billion for broadband deployment, including infrastructure in underserved communities as well as short-term subsidies for service costs for low income households 
  • $100 billion to build a more resilient electric grid, along with a 10-year extension and phase-down of an expanded, refundable investment tax credit and production tax credit for renewable energy generation and storage
  • $100 billion to improve public school buildings and $213 billion for affordable housing construction and renovation
  • The plan proposes $2 trillion in tax increases on corporations.
  • These include raising the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, and additional tax increases on multinational corporations.
  • We expect similar tax increases on passthrough businesses in the ‘social infrastructure’ bill that will follow, through provisions such as raising the top individual tax rate from 37% to 39.6% and eliminating the Section 199A passthrough tax deduction for any taxpayers who earn more than $400,000.
The scope of the package is very bold and touches many of the markets our members operate in, but obviously the way in which the Administration proposes to pay for it is raising concerns among the business community and congressional Republicans. It’s important to emphasize that this is just the beginning of the conversation, and as the discussion moves to Congress the challenge of moving an infrastructure package through a closely divided House and Senate will shape both the substance of the package as well as how we pay for it.

Click here for more information on the plan.
SAVE THE DATE - Coastal Day at the Capital. May 19. This event will include an industry day at CPRA and may include some levee districts. I've spoken to CPRA about including design projects as well as those going to construction. There will also be a crawfish boil following at the Pentagon Barracks. More information to come as available.
Secretary Shawn Wilson presented plans for I-49 South to the Lafayette Chapter. Click here for his presentation.
The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana, the Water Institute of the Gulf and Louisiana Sea Grant are partnering to present the event, June 2 to 4, 2021. Registration for SOC2021 will open April 1, 2021. For more information click here.
The ACECL Federal PAC goal is $25,000 for 2021. If each of the 130 firms of ACECL sends in contributions totaling just $200 each, we can quickly and easily meet our goal!
This is a great opportunity to support ACECL and enter a chance to win a fun South Louisiana fishing trip in the process! We’ve reduced the ticket price so more of your employees can financially participate in our fundraising effort. Our success protecting the business of engineering results in your success and that impacts each and every one of your employees. This raffle will close on April 14 so do not delay!  
Dear ACECL Member:

The American Council of Engineering Companies works each day in Washington to lobby lawmakers on industry priorities that touch your firm. Right now ACEC is working hard to convince Congress to:

  • Fund our DOT, transit, water and airport clients to address revenue shortfalls resulting from the pandemic;
  • Pass legislation to expand energy markets; and
  • Act on priority tax issues to protect firm cash flow.

An even bigger agenda is taking shape for 2021, with both opportunities and challenges for our industry. With your help, ACEC/PAC has become an essential tool in ACEC’s advocacy arsenal. It helps to connect our members and your ACEC lobbying team with lawmakers on issues of critical importance to your firm and this industry.
In fact, many of ACEC’s major policy accomplishments over the years were made possible because of the relationships and profile built through ACEC/PAC, including:

  • Expansion of Qualifications-Based Selection (QBS);
  • Rules protecting engineering firm overhead in State DOT projects; and
  • The 2017 tax law securing a new 20% tax deduction for S corps and other engineering passthrough firms.

ACEC/PAC is the industry’s tool for shaping the playing field for decisions that affect your firm and your markets. We need your help in reaching our 2021 PAC Goal and ask you to support the ACEC/PAC by purchasing a sweepstakes ticket!

Doreen Brasseaux
President & CEO
Send your completed sweepstakes form to [email protected] or mail to: ACEC/L, 9643 Brookline Avenue, Suite 112, Baton Rouge, LA 70809 by April 14, 2021. Please note that federal law prohibits corporate check and corporate credit card contributions to the ACEC PAC. All sweepstake contributions must be made with personal checks or personal credit cards only!
The Emerging Leaders Institute is targeted to rising industry professionals who are committed to developing their leadership and management skills and abilities and have been identified by their firm as a “future leader” of the profession.
Beginning in May, and continuing through the fall, the Emerging Leaders Institute will be comprised of three (3) in-person sessions to be held in the Baton Rouge area, along with two (2) additional one-hour virtual educational sessions to be held in the summer. In order for the program to provide maximum benefits, participants are highly encouraged to commit and attend ALL sessions. Participants are eligible to earn no fewer than 30 AIA HSW/PDHs/LUs with full participation. Certificates to be awarded.
To participate in the Emerging Leaders Institute, an individual must complete the application and submit it along with the registration fee ($895.00 - Early Bird deadline of April 1, 2021 or $995.00 - Registration deadline of May 1, 2021). The number of participants is limited to 20 and applications will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. The registration fee covers all meeting materials, team building event, lunches, and complimentary registration to ACECL’s Fall Conference or AIA Louisiana’s Conference on Architecture to be held in the Fall 2021.

  • April 8, 2021 - New Orleans Chapter Meeting
  • April 12, 2021 - Legislative Session Commences
  • April 12, 2021 - Baton Rouge Chapter Meeting
  • April 15, 2021 - Water Resources Committee
  • April 25-28, 2021 - ACEC Annual Convention & Legislative Summit (VIRTUAL)
Contact: Russel W. Wray
(225) 635-3920
For over 50 years, we have provided legal representation for clients in the construction industry, including owners, general contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers, in both the public and private sectors, as well as sureties, designers, construction equipment dealers, and trade associations.
As infrastructure assessment and maintenance experts, we bring the highest degree of safety and quality to every project — no matter the size or scope.
With nearly seven decades of experience in the civil construction market, Barriere provides a diverse mix of products and services, creating a balanced business structure to take on even the most complicated projects.
But our commitment to the industry and our customers extends far beyond our internal products and services. We partner with select design engineering firms to deliver turnkey solutions that exceed the expectations of our customers. Combining the high-quality work of our experienced crews with leading-edge equipment, innovative processes, and precise planning, we ensure superior results while maintaining a safe work environment.
Barriere offers our customers single point of responsibility contracts under which the design and construction phases overlap, thus reducing the delivery schedule, costs, and risks. We have extensive experience in fast-track construction management that maintains high quality and high safety standards.
Contact: Matthew Wilson
(504) 581-7283
ACEC Affiliate Members

ACEC Business Insurance Trust
ACEC Life/Health Insurance Trust
Advanced Drainage Systems, Inc.
Alexander & Sanders, a division of BXS Insurance
Barriere Construction Group, LLC
Benefits One, LLC
BFM Corporation, LLC
Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson, LLP
Brown & Brown of Louisiana
BRAYN Consulting, LLC
CxA Services, LLC
Durable Piling Restoration, LLC
Environmental Technical Sales, Inc.
Ergon Asphalt & Emulsions, Inc.
Foley & Judell, LLP
Forterra Pipe & Precast
Galloway Johnson Tompkins Burr & Smith, LLP
Hannis T. Bourgeois, LLP
HUB International
Industrial Fabrics
O. R. Colan Associates, LLC
Quality Sitework Materials, Inc.
Simon, Peragine, Smith & Redfearn
Wray & Associates, L.L.P.
Doreen Brasseaux
President & CEO
ACEC of Louisiana
ACEC of Louisiana | 225.927.7704 | [email protected] |