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How to Reduce the Threat to Public Safety
Created by Engineering Licensure-Exemption Laws
Certificate Course

Designed and priced for the Individual
(at home or in the office)

Engineering licensure laws in almost every state, and DC, exempt most manufacturers, industries, utilities, and government entities from having to place PEs in responsible charge of engineering projects that put the public at risk. Accordingly, the public is often not served by competent and accountable PEs whose paramount responsibility is public protection. Instead, the bottom-line rules, engineering errors and compromises occur, and the public faces unnecessary risk. The presentation describes disasters that illustrate how licensure-exemption laws "handcuffed" engineers and harmed the public. Then it suggests actions that individuals and organizations could take to eliminate or reduce the adverse effects of such laws and enhance public safety.

If a surgeon errs during an operation, the consequences--however dire--are limited to one or a few people. In contrast, engineering failures injure, kill, and in other ways harm many. Examples: Ford Pinto fires, space shuttle Challenger explosion, GM ignition switch disaster, BP oil rig tragedy, amusement ride accidents, Merrimack Valley gas distribution system fires, Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashes, VW emissions fraud, and Gold King Mine wastewater spill.

Are some businesses jeopardizing safety for profits?
You be the judge.

Register today and discover how
you can maintain safety for everyone.

These, and other similar engineering catastrophes, had one thing in common-manufacturers, industries, utilities, and government entities responsible for the failures were exempt, in state licensure laws, from placing licensed engineers (PEs) in responsible charge of engineering analysis and design.

These licensure-exemption laws tend to create cultures with two characteristics:

  • An absence of PEs who, if present, would contribute engineering competence and a paramount ethical-legal responsibility to protect the public.
  • A bottom-line first mentality driven by top executives and influencing every part of the organization.

Too often, the cumulative effect is engineering errors or compromises, which cause injuries, death, and destruction.

To reiterate, because of licensure-exemption laws, the public is often not served by competent and accountable PEs whose paramount responsibility is public protection. Instead, the bottom-line rules and the public faces unnecessary risk. This situation stands in stark contrast with numerous engineering ethics codes all of which claim that public protection is paramount.

How did this happen? How can the engineering community make society safer? This presentation provides answers by:

  • Describing disasters that illustrate how licensure-exemptions create cultures in which engineering errors and compromises are more likely to occur and compromise public safety.
  • Suggesting remedial actions that individuals and organizations could take to reduce the adverse effects of engineering licensure exemption laws.

Every day across America, water supply systems supply, airplanes fly, chemical plants process, dams dam, generators generate, wastewater treatment plants treat, manufacturing lines manufacture, electric and gas distribution systems distribute, carnival rides spin, wind turbines turn, refineries refine, pipelines pipe, nuclear reactors react, bridges cross, offshore oil wells pump, and satellites orbit. All of us, whether within or outside of engineering, have a stake in engineering. Working together, we can serve society better.

As a result of participating in this event, you will be able to:

  • Describe American engineering's licensure-exemption challenge.
  • Explain some suggested solutions and maybe act on one or more of them.

Fee: 89.00 USD

Instructor: Stuart G. Walesh, PhD, PE, Dist.M.ASCE, F.NSPE
Each Registration Includes: Engineering's Public-Protection Predicament: Reform Education and Licensure for a Safer Society
By Stuart G. Walesh, PhD, PE

Handouts: Webinar Slides (pdf)
Record of Attendance Form (pdf)
Participants: This webinar is designed for individual participants. Terms and Conditions Apply.
Continuing Education Certificates: $14.95 each. Official CEU certificates are available as an option and only available at the time of webinar participation from Northern Illinois University. Ordering steps are given at time of webinar order.

CEUs administered by NIU

( click to enlarge )

Event Duration: 1.5 hour plus Q&A
(no restrictions on time limit for extra Q&A!)
Earn 2.0 Professional Development Hours (2.0 PDH)

A Record of Attendance Form is included free with each webinar for your record keeping and individual PDH verification. We ask your on-site coordinator to return the completed and signed copy of the Form to us following the webinar for (1) maintaining a separate copy as a service to attendees and (2) forwarding to NIU confirming attendance for those who order certificates.

Attendees may also order an official a Course Completion Certificate from Northern Illinois University for a small administrative fee. The Certificate is optional and may be ordered separately following the webinar to confirm your attendance and showcase the certificate on your office wall. Instructions for ordering certificates are given during the webinar.

Attendees will be invited to actively participate during this live and interactive on-line web seminar. Discussion is planned following the webinar for those who want to continue the session. Bring your questions to the webinar and present them to the instructor and other participants for exploring the best solution.

Instructor Bio

Stuart G. Walesh, PhD, PE, Dist.M.ASCE, F.NSPE

Stuart G. Walesh, PhD, PE, Dist.M.ASCE, F.NSPE, an independent consultant-teacher-author, earned a BSCE from Valparaiso University, a MSE from Johns Hopkins University, and a PhD in engineering from the University of Wisconsin. Prior to beginning his consultancy, he practiced in government and for an engineering firm and held various positions at Valparaiso University and the University of Wisconsin.

As a consultant, Stu assisted educational institutions, professional societies, government entities, and engineering firms. Current research interests include broadening and deepening the education required for engineering licensure, reducing adverse effects of engineering licensure-exemption laws, and applying neuroscience basics to increase the creativity of engineers and other scientific-technical professionals.

Water resources engineering is his technical specialty. Stu led or participated in watershed planning, computer modeling, flood control, stormwater and floodplain management, groundwater, dam, and lake projects. His water-related experience includes teaching engineering college courses, making continuing education presentations, conducting research and development, engaging stakeholders, and serving as a consultant and expert in litigation.

Stu authored eight books; the most recent three are Engineering's Public-Protection Predicament, 2021; Introduction to Creativity and Innovation for Engineers, 2017; and Engineering Your Future: The Professional Practice of Engineering, 2012. He authored or co-authored several hundred presentations, papers, articles, and essays about engineering, education, and management and facilitated or led many workshops, seminars, and webinars.

As an ASCE member, Stu chaired the Hydraulics Committee and the Urban Water Resources Research Council, served as Associate Editor of the Journal of Management in Engineering, chaired the first Body of Knowledge (BOK) Committee, edited two BOK reports, and edited The Vision for Civil Engineering in 2025. He was co-coordinator for the NSPE engineering BOK report, served on the Indiana Board of Registration for Professional Engineers, and was a member of advisory boards for the Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the universities of Wisconsin and Texas.

Stu's professional work and society service have been formally recognized by the American Society for Engineering Education, Consulting Engineers of Indiana, American Society of Civil Engineers, Indiana Society of Professional Engineers, National Society of Professional Engineers, Valparaiso University, and the University of Wisconsin.

For additional information, contact him at or 219-242-1704, or visit his website:

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