The First Word 7/31/23

Today, the State Supreme Court validated the bonds requested by the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA) to begin building new toll roads!
This July has just flown by and we are beginning to enter into a very active late summer-fall program with our Leadership for Engineers first session kicking off, the quarterly meeting in Tulsa with Senator Siegfried, the highly anticipated annual partnering conference and now that special session has ended we can focus on interim studies. The State Treasurer noted a decline in gross receipts to the state with gross productions taxes declining. OER_7-21-2023.pdf ( We will continue to monitor Oklahoma fiscal health.

One of the many important issues we are facing is workforce and recently, Gov. Stitt announced the appointment of Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell as Secretary of Workforce Development. As Secretary of Workforce Development, Pinnell will work closely with the Departments of Education and Commerce to emphasize the workforce pipeline and economic development for the state. If confirmed by the Senate, Lt. Governor Pinnell will step down as Secretary of Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage to accept the role of Secretary of Workforce Development.
RSVP for our August Membership Meeting

We are very excited to announce Senator Ally Seifried will be our special speaker for the General Membership Meeting! She is proven to be an outstanding leaders in a very short amount of time. Please Sign Up Now! Ally Seifried | Oklahoma Senate (

August 29th
General Membership Meeting
Terracon 9522 E 47th Place, Tulsa OK 74145
SIGN UP-Lunch $30
11:30 AM

Special Thank You to Terracon for letting us use their facilities!
Important Info from ODOT

The ODOT 23.2.x Workspace is the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s Workspace files for the Bentley OpenRoads Designer (ORD) and Open Bridge Modeler (OBM) Connect Edition software. This workspace contains the latest resources, standards, and tools necessary for designing projects in accordance with ODOT Standards.
23.2.x Connected Workspace
The zip file can be found by going to our Digital Delivery website at Once there, the zip can be downloaded by going to the resources tab on the top right of the website.
  • Associated to 10.12 version of Bentley Software
  • 23.2.0 is the pre-release of 23.2.1.
  • ODOT will accept bug reports and enhancement requests until July 27th.
  • Once major bugs are fixed ODOT will release the 23.2.1 version.
  • ODOT will consider enhancements moving forward and will possibly release multiple versions of 23.2.x throughout the quarter.
  • ProjectWise has been updated
23.1.2 Connected Workspace
  • associated to 10.10 version of Bentley Software.
  • Consultants can still use the ODOT version of the 23.1.2 workspace, but no additional fixes will be issued by ODOT.
In order to utilize the latest updates from ODOT, users should consider upgrading ORD/OBM projects as these new releases come out. Please use our workspace tracker to submit enhancements or bugs at
Feel free to reach out to the Digital Delivery Team at [email protected] with any questions.
PPP/FAR Credit Clause Update: Act Today!

ACEC has some progress to report on the PPP/FAR credits clause issue. As we have discussed in previously, while we continue seek a path forward on a waiver, we’ve also pursued a parallel effort to engage Congress to assist with implementation challenges with various State DOTs. Specifically, we’ve been working to secure language in the annual transportation appropriations bill that would direct FHWA to ensure a fair and consistent policy for implementing the credits requirement for forgiven PPP loans, along the lines of the guidance we developed with our CPAs and a working group of AASHTO members.

Late last week, we secured the following provision in the Senate Appropriation Committee report accompanying their transportation bill for FY 2024:

Transportation Project Contracts.—The Committee is aware of concerns that the FHWA has released guidance explaining that consultants providing architectural and engineering [A&E] services under Federal-aid or Federal lands highway program funded contracts that have received paycheck protection program [PPP] loans must provide a refund or a reduction in billing rates in the amount of forgiven PPP loans that are allocable to contract costs. While the Committee acknowledges that this guidance is consistent with current law, it is also aware that there is a lack of uniformity in how State DOTs are implementing this guidance and enforcing the Federal Acquisition Regulation credits clause with respect to forgiven PPP loans. The FHWA should help ensure that A&E consultants, including small and disadvantaged businesses, do not face unreasonable compliance burdens, as permissible under current law.

(It’s on page 51 of the committee report, accessible here.)

While the language was modified somewhat by the committee from what ACEC submitted, it does send an important message to FHWA that legislators want to ease compliance burdens and promote consistency. This should help us in our engagement with State DOTs whose policies are problematic and where firms continue to face significant challenges. We’re also working with the House Appropriations Committee, and we think we have good support for retaining this or similar text in any final bill.

Special thanks to Craig Carter in Mississippi and Kevin Artl in Illinois, who helped ACEC with some last-minute outreach to senior members of the committee last week. In particular, Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, the top Republican on the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, was a strong supporter and helped us get this language included.

We’ll keep you updated as things unfold, and we’ll continue to be in touch with those states where we know there are PPP credits recovery issues, to leverage this Senate provision to better align those policies with our guidance. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.

Celebrate Professional Engineer Day!

On August 8, 1907, the first professional engineering license was issued to Charles Bellamy in Wyoming. Since that time, licensure has expanded and professional engineers across the U.S. have made the commitment to protect the public health, safety, and welfare. NSPE is celebrating licensed professional engineers with the eighth annual Professional Engineers Day on Wednesday, August 2, 2023. Join us as we raise awareness about what it means to be a PE, recognize licensed PEs, and show appreciation for the work they do each and every day. 

You can celebrate by having a party in your office, attending an event with your local chapter, or sharing your PE pride online. Engineers are innovative, so we trust that you've got plenty ideas of your own, but here are just a few to get you started.

The Oklahoma Engineering Foundation is currently recruiting engineers to serve on the planning committee for the 43rd Annual Oklahoma Engineering Fair. Specifically, we are wanting to explore adding new engineering competitions to the event and would like the help of engineers in planning these types of activities. The fair is Wednesday, February 21, at Science Museum Oklahoma. Visit to learn more or contact Jennifer McCollum, APR, (405) 528-1435 or [email protected]
Upcoming Events

Aug 24-25
Leadership for Engineers Session One
Tulsa, OK Hardrock Hotel

August 29th
Board and General Membership Meeting
Terracon 9522 E 47th Place, Tulsa OK 74145
SIGN UP-Lunch $30

September 10-12 Orlando Florida
ACEC Forums: HR / IT / Finance

Annual Partnering Conference
Marriott Southern Hills-Tulsa
September 21st-Evening Reception
September 22nd Conference
Registration Coming Soon!!

Mike Thompson
President & CEO
220 N.E. 28th Street, Suite 135
Oklahoma City, OK 73105