Overview of the ISOW Event

The Puget Sound Engineering Council (PSEC) held the annual Inter Society Officers Workshop (ISOW) on May 17, 2014 (Saturday) from 10:30 am – 2:00 pm at the U.W. Facility at Sand Point in Magnuson Park (Seattle). This is a free event for PSEC member Societies, and is a great opportunity for different Society officers to exchange information.

There were 18 engineers in attendance from 11 different engineering societies. As each participant signed in they also filled out a cardboard name tent with their name, society, & officer position. The name tents were used during the table discussions and placed in front of each participant – to help identify them to the other table participants. We started with introductions, with each participant stating their name, engineering society, their current officer position in their Society, and if they were a PSEC rep. or PSEC officer.

Steve Snelling coordinated the event and introduced the three table discussion facilitators, and talked briefly about the format for the event. PSEC President, John Schaufelberger, gave a brief overview of PSEC and talked about some of the planned events for the coming program year.

Each discussion table had a tent sign in the middle of the table – identifying that table’s main discussion topic. Each table discussion was held three times – so everyone could participate in all three topics.

A nice assortment of cold & hot drinks and a variety of snack foods were provided by Neal Jacques, and paid for by PSEC.

The summary notes from each of the three table discussion topics: Young Professionals, Social Media, and local STEM activities – are shown below.

Young Professionals – Table Discussion Summary

Facilitator: Carmen Cejudo, ASHRAE & EWB
Societies participating in table discussions: AIChE, ASCE, ASHRAE, ASQ, EWB, IIE, ITE, SAMPE, SWE, WSPE.

Programs for Young Professional Members:

AIChE: The local Professional chapter is a smaller group. In fact, the chapter basically died out a few years ago. As student chapter members graduated, they looked around and said “Where’s our Society?” A group of Young Professionals helped rejuvenate the chapter, including putting on a Sustainability Conference and initiating the now fifth annual YEPPS (Young Engineering Professionals – Puget Sound) event held every January. The AIChE chapter uses their website to advertise YEPPS and register attendees. It’s noted that succession planning is needed. There are way more YP than other Professional members.

ASCE: A Younger Member Council (YMC) is active locally and nationally. There’s a different fee structure on national level, based on years in their career. They have their own officers, budget, and separate monthly events, including: community service, tours, happy hours, and career/professional development, and project management. They also hold an annual (and very popular) Popsicle Bridge Contest for K-12 students. The YMC members engage with the Student Chapters much more closely and they have a picnic every year where they have their officer elections. There’s a focus to help students transition from a Student Chapter member to a local Section after graduation. The Young Member Forum has 3 conferences each year and hosts tours.

ASHRAE: The Young Engineers of ASHRAE (YEA) is very active at the Society level. They have their own officers, budget and hold an annual Leadership Conference, which this year expanded to three conferences: one each in Atlanta, GA; Portland, OR; and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Seattle chapter YEA committee is unfortunately not very active at the moment. The chapter does, however, set aside a separate budget to send a YEA member to the leadership conference, which is funded by Table Top displays paid for by vendors at our chapter meetings. At a regional level, the Society has recently implemented the LEADERS Program to shadow the Regional Directors at the annual summer and winter conferences.

ASQ: There are many Boeing members of ASQ, of which a fair number are Young Professionals. At the national level, mentoring YPs is worth points. Society has made arrangements with the local union for ASQ certifications to count towards PUDs, which is big for retention.

ASM: Does not have a formal group. They do advertise the annual YEPPS event. The local chapter has 300 members.

IEEE: The national organization is very large and has many sub-sections, which can be like societies on their own. The Young Professionals role is pretty ad-hoc at the local level, currently.

IIE: The Young Professionals group is very well supported at the national level. The Young Professionals group reaches out to 500 members nationally, mainly through social media. The IIE annual conference draws about half student attendees. But, at the local level, haven’t really formed a YP group yet. There’s a Student IIE chapter at U.W., but they’ve found students tend to not roll over to full Professional membership when they start working. Annual Professional dues are $140 for society and $35 for the Students. The Seattle Chapter allows YP’s to come to chapter meetings for free. The chapter also engages with PSEC events, including Mentor Nights. They also work with local community colleges and discuss the transition into the Professional chapter. Local Chapter pays for pizza and soft drinks for Mock Interview Nights in collaboration with U.W. Student IIE chapter members.

ITE: Older members are retiring and the profession needs new people. The YP group is just getting started. The national organization instituted a leadership group this year. The local chapter provides a $4,500 Student stipend each year. All chapter events are free for students. There’s a grace period for membership dues after graduation from a student chapter. There’s no discount on membership dues, just a networking and social opportunity. Otherwise the fees are somewhat onerous for a Young Professional at $400 for the Section (WA State). The inaugural graduating class of Leadership ITE was inducted this year. A new feature is online mentoring, including a panel of professionals on various topics. Also new this year is an online blog. There’s still a need to change the structure at the International level as the society is still very white, very old, and has a minority of women.

SWE: Less than 50 Members for Southern Puget Sound chapter. Speed networking events are very successful; have had up to 5 or 6 different groups. The chapter features mentoring events to show career options. At a National level there are many webinars to show women how to network, and other topics that don’t come naturally. The SPS chapter does a graduation ceremony and helps subsidize tiered membership. All membership dues go to National, large portion of which comes back to the Section. The chapter can also make profits from regional conferences. Members generally feel SWE events are a good place to meet & mingle. The SPS chapter has an annual STEM event in Bremerton that engages with K-12 students. The chapter has found that non-technical topics work better to attract members, such as how to handle stress and work-life balance. The South Puget Sound Chapter has found it challenging to engage with the larger North Puget Sound chapter. Some member meetings are held through telecom, normally during the weekends on Saturday morning or evenings 7 PM or later. Tacoma Rainier games have been the most successful for the SPS chapter.

WSPE: The chapter has been fading with not great efforts to incorporate Young Professionals. It’s been difficult to get Young Professionals involved. They’ve noticed that creating activities that are attractive, such as networking and mixing of older & younger members at Happy Hours has helped to “Mix it up”. The chapter has also found tours and events that integrate families, are very successful. If the State Board votes to add CE requirements, PE’s can get free courses through WSPE. Greater outreach is needed, including letting folks know that one can join with an EIT or by showing progress towards a PE.

Common Lessons Learned:

Critical Mass: Getting numbers up helps motivate others to join the chapter, and perhaps the National Organization.
All organizations wonder how best to direct young energy. There is always lots going on at a national level, which can either divert from or add to the local chapter.

Many Societies have strong YP support which can be tapped into for marketing, scholarships & funding, leadership classes, and other resources.

Some YP members may not feel comfortable attending “regular” chapter meetings with older members. Informal Happy Hours and other Social events are a way to meet diverse membership, especially for those that are new to Seattle. Other successful outings are sports leagues, tours, and professional development events.

Be very careful about alcohol with recent graduates.

Membership dues can be a financial burden for new graduates, or YPs afraid to approach their companies for support. This is an opportunity for Societies to engage local companies in the importance and benefits of membership.

There seems to be a large drop off from Student members until they pick back up after age 35. Consider the post-graduate and pre-family demographic in planning meeting topics.

Social Media – Table Discussion Summary

Facilitator: Dave Butcher, IEEE
Societies participating in table discussions: EWB, IEEE, IIE, SWE, & others.

Most societies have not made much use of social media. E-mail is the communication channel of choice.

One of the issues noted about using e-mail was SPAM. Legitimate communication with members gets blocked by some filters, and some members misuse e-mail lists to blast resumes, etc.

SWE is using Facebook for connecting to their young professionals.

Facebook events are nice because they can be forwarded to non-members.

Blogs are being used by EWB and IIE to supplement e-mail communication.

IEEE uses two LinkedIn groups for communication. One group is used for topics of general interest, and the other for jobs and career postings.

A number of Societies are using Eventbrite to register members for events.

Dave mentioned that the Seattle University of Michigan Alumni group uses Dropbox to share documents between the officers.

Dave’s original outline to lead table discussion:

ISOW 2014 – Social Media

Goals for using social media
Communicating with members (events, offers, & minutes.)
Getting volunteers
Creating awareness outside of your society
Gaining new members
PR for society – media outreach
Sharing jobs/gigs
Discussion form for society topics

LinkedIn – Business Networking
Sub-groups – Topics, jobs etc.
Open versus closed

Facebook – Social Networks (Google+, myspace)
Create group
Use pinned posts for events
Encourage discussion
Appreciated by generational groups

Google Groups – discussion groups
Similar to usenet groups

Twitter – Social streams
Selecting hashtags for outside visibility
Different handles for different purposes?

Instagram- Pictures (Picasa, flickr, hipstamatic)
Sharing pictures of events

Slideshare – Content/Documents
Sharing presentations from events

Eventbrite – Events
Platform includes event ticketing
Events categorized – community can access
Business and professional
Classes and learning
Food & Drink

Pintrest – Social Curation

You Tube – Video
Recordings of events for archive
STEM outreach
Community outreach

STEM – Table Discussion Summary

[STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math]

Facilitator: Sam Gheesling, ASME
Societies participating in table discussions: AIChE, ASCE, ASM Intl., ASME, ASQ, IEEE, IIE, ITE, SAMPE, SWE, WSPE.

AIChE: Supports PSEC Mentor nights, PSEC STEM Initiatives, also a National Grant for a mentor program allowing children to job-shadow.

ASCE: Supports PSEC Mentor nights, PSEC STEM initiatives, and their Younger Member Forum (YMF) runs the Popsicle Stick Bridge Building contest at the Museum of Flight.

ASME: Supports PSEC Mentor Nights and all other PSEC STEM initiatives. Also involved in FIRST Robotics, Finally does an annual student paper competition to provide experience for ASME old guard competition.

ASM Intl.: Supports PSEC Mentor Nights and all other PSEC STEM initiatives.

ASQ: Supports PSEC Mentor Nights and all other PSEC STEM initiatives

IEEE: Supports PSEC Mentor Nights and all other PSEC STEM initiatives, their main local STEM activity is running the Washington Regional Future Cities competition.

IIE: Supports the PSEC Mentor Nights & Everett C.C. Mentor Night, PSEC Engineering Fair, provides some judges for Future Cities competition, and has several events at U.W. for Student IIE Chapter.

ITE: Runs a Summer Youth program.

PSEC: Sponsors several Mentor Nights at local Universities & Community Colleges, sponsors an Engineering Fair at the Museum Of Flight, has a Science Fair booth at the Pacific Science Center’s event, provides judges for several local Science Fairs, has a high school Speakers Program, and has engineering information for students & teachers on the PSEC website (What is Engineering section, Ask an Engineer section, & the Education section which features all K-12 programs run by PSEC’s member Societies).

SWE: Supports PSEC Mentor Nights & the other PSEC Stem Initiatives, plus runs a separate Mentor Night event at Everett C.C. (run by SWE Student Chapter there).

WSPE: Supports PSEC STEM initiatives, and runs local Mathcounts competitions.