New Jersey Utilities Authority’s RFQ to Require ACOPNE Specialty Certification

May 27, 2014

ACOPNE_darkbackgroundThe Jersey City Municipal Utilities Authority (JCMUA) Division of Engineering, in May, issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) for professional engineering services for Urban Coastal Defense and Storm Water Mitigation System that requires submitted proposals to have key personnel working on the project be Diplomates in port engineering (D.PE) and coastal engineering (D.CE) as certified by the ACOPNE (Academy of Coastal, Ocean, Port and Navigation Engineers) board.

“An [RFQ] respondent must have a Diplomate in both coastal and port engineering,” wrote the JCMUA in an e-mail to ASCE. “However, it does not have to be the same individual.”

This marks what is considered the first time an RFQ has been issued requiring a Diplomate – someone with specialty certification – to be a key member of a project team.

“We created specialty certification to identify civil engineers who have the expertise, knowledge, training, and experience to better serve the public,” says ASCE Executive Director Patrick J. Natale, P.E., CAE, F.ASCE. “By putting this requirement in their RFQ, the JCMUA will be getting a first-rate engineer with superior knowledge.”

Previously, there were 4 projects that requested, but did not require, a Diplomate in their RFQ:  the Port of Long Beach (California) Capital Dredging Program, the Stamford Water Authority in Connecticut, the Citizens Energy Group in Indiana, and the Kansas City Section of Army Corps of Engineers, Fairfax Drainage District Floodwall Project.

ACOPNE is an elite group comprising more than 200 Diplomates who have gone through many years of training and experience to become eligible for board certification. The academy is a way to recognize engineers who have a special knowledge and experience in the fields of civil engineering that make up ACOPNE. Presently there are 4 areas under ACOPNE’s recognition: coastal engineering, ocean engineering, port engineering, and navigation engineering.

ASCE specialty certification is a voluntary, postlicense credential that provides recognition of advanced expertise in a technical specialty, superior experience, strong ethics, and a commitment to lifelong learning and continuing professional development. ASCE’s specialty certification programs recognize those individuals who meet these advanced standards.

“If you are going to a cardiologist, you want to go to somebody who has that expertise. If you have a sports injury that requires an orthopedic specialist, you want to make sure that you are going to the best,” stressed Natale. “And as with what Jersey City is doing, if you’re planning a coastal defense system, then you want an ACOPNE-certified engineer.”

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