February 2024 Education Report: Conduit of Success, Volume 1

Education is at the core of what we do at ASPE. As I write my first article of 2024, I will reflect on a 20-year history of ASPE interactions, experiences, and life-altering events. In this article, I want to first make you familiar with a term that I coined many years ago: conduit of success. I use this term to describe how I see ASPE interacting in our members’ lives.

What Is the Conduit of Success?

I have been around piping systems my entire life. As far back as I can remember, living in a small area known as “Huttonville” in Oklahoma on a farm, with cattle, grain, dogs, chickens, rabbits, and an old milk cow with a bell around her neck, we had work that needed to be done. Hard work and fortitude were instilled in me from a young age. The constant pursuit of perfection has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. Some may look at this viewpoint as being a critical person or a person who critiques constantly. Maybe, but for me, I try to look at this as a way to continuously self-reflect and get better.

For some reason, as I look back at my childhood, I remember that we had an old water well that provided us water in our front yard area, and I have a fond memory of having to replace the piping that was bored into the ground. I think I remember it so vividly because being a young lad of small stature, I had to take a bath in a 5-gallon bucket because the well water was not accessible due to the piping failure. You might say that the installation of safe, reliable piping systems was embedded in my mind from a young age.

Fast-forwarding a few years, I have a memory of building a large pole barn in which we ran electricity through a conduit that we had to trench with shovels and bury deep enough to be below the frost line. We used piping to move materials from one place to another to achieve our objectives. In college, we learned about dispersion models and absorption rates, diffusion rates, and the like. If we think about maturation, we all evolve in our own time, moving from the ignorant or unknowing into the experienced and well-educated. The question is always how long does it take us to mature? How long do we stay in the incubator and come out as CPDs? How do we shorten the gestation period?

I have an answer for you: ASPE! You see, I use the term conduit of success to describe how we can bring together the designer, engineer, contractor, code official, code body, and owner into a single conduit where we mature together, coming out the other end with a highly desired outcome. We can improve the construction process, resulting in a superior finished product. Not only are the finished products superior, but we also advance our knowledge and capabilities in the process. Welcome to the Conduit of Success.

Conduit of Success: Networking

The conduit of success provides a great networking opportunity for us all. Many people have influenced me over the years and helped me to better understand how I can be of service. Make no mistake about it, volunteering to spend hours of your time working for a nonprofit organization is indeed a service. Thank you to all the people reading this article who have made that same choice to serve. I want everyone to understand that our Society will continue to stand the test of time as we continue contributing as a team. My journey as an ASPE member started some 20 years ago in Fort Worth, Texas. We will talk more about that in another article. The opportunities to build networks around our profession provide us an excellent opportunity to meet new friends, find mentors, become mentees, and connect with experts who can make our designs more efficient, saving our companies money while growing our knowledge base. I have a lot more to say on this, but for today I am going to move over to my next area of importance, education.

Conduit of Success: Education

As the VP of Education, I work with Staff and our Education Committee to help our Society move forward with innovative educational opportunities that provide growth for our members. An education is something that once obtained can never be taken from you. The American Society of Plumbing Engineers is the premier source of education in the plumbing design community.

Over the past year, we have been working to build our Education Committee with fresh voices, fresh ideas, and energy. If I told you that since July 1, 2023, our Chapters have conducted 210 educational monthly meetings or events, would you believe me? If I told you that more than 4,441 ASPE members participated in those meetings, would you believe me? If I told you that more than 1,400 nonmembers participated in those 210-plus meetings, would you believe me? The reality is that we have exceeded these numbers! Education is one of the major regions that many decide to join our Society. We must continue to bring forth great topics for our members.

So, we talked about networking as well as education today. This is Volume 1 of many that we expect to share with you over the coming months and years. I have found it most rewarding to help ASPE members continue to grow personally and professionally as they make their way through our Conduit of Success. I am open to mentoring, coaching, and being a sounding board for our ASPE community. I look forward to more interactions with each of you as we work together on our common cause, ASPE.

A big “thank you” to everyone who took the time to read this article.

As we created Volume 1 of my articles, I thought it fitting to introduce Volume 1 of the ASPE Education Crossword Puzzle. Luther Thevenin, CPD, MCPPO, is one of our many talented contributors on the ASPE Education Committee, and he has taken the time to put together some great puzzles for our ASPE community. So, please take some time and complete the crossword puzzle. The answers will be posted in our next article.

Until next time…

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