NCEES honored the contributions of the 2019 service award recipients at its annual meeting Awards and Installation Gala on Friday, August 16.
NCEES Distinguished Service Award with Special Commendation
Skip Harclerode, P.E.
Howard (Skip) Harclerode II, P.E., of Phoneix, Maryland, was awarded the NCEES Distinguished Service Award with Special Commendation at the 2019 annual meeting. Harclerode received the Distinguished Service Award in 2010 for his many contributions to NCEES, including chairing the Committee on Uniform Procedures and Legislative Guidelines. Since then, he has remained committed to advancing licensure for engineers and surveyors.
A member of the Maryland State Board for Professional Engineers since 2003, he is a past chair and vice chair of the board. Harclerode has continued his dedication to NCEES in many ways, including chairing the Committee on Finances and serving as 2011–13 Northeast Zone vice president. He has also participated on the committees on Member Board Administrators, Law Enforcement, and Examinations for Professional Engineers and on the Computer-Based Testing Implementation Task Force. A volunteer with the NCEES Principles and Practice of Engineering Chemical Exam Development Committee since 2005, Harclerode served as vice chair from 2015 to 2018 and has served as chair since 2018.
He is a fellow of the National Society of Professional Engineers; a fellow and life member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers; and a member of the American Society of Safety Engineers and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers. For the past 25 years, Harclerode has participated in the Maryland Society of Professional Engineers semiannual recognition meetings to honor new professional engineers. He also continues to make presentations at Maryland universities about the importance of licensure. Harclerode is president of KBD Engineering Company Inc. in Phoenix, Maryland.
Gary Thompson, P.L.S.
Gary Thompson, P.L.S., of Clayton, North Carolina, was awarded the NCEES Distinguished Service Award with Special Commendation at the 2019 annual meeting. Since receiving the Distinguished Service Award in 2013, Thompson has continued to serve his profession with distinction. He was named an emeritus member of the North Carolina Board of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors in 2014, after completing a 10-year tenure as a board member. As an emeritus member, he has assisted with statute updates and served on the board’s ad hoc task force related to FEMA flood insurance studies and flood maps. His continued contributions to NCEES include serving as treasurer from 2013 to 2017. He has served on a number of committees and task forces, including the Committee on Finances and the Financial Reserves, Technology, and Surveying Exam Module task forces. He most recently served as a member of the 2018–19 Committee on Examination Audit. He is also a subject-matter expert with the Fundamentals of Surveying Exam Development Committee, which he has volunteered with since 2006.
Thompson has been a program evaluator for ABET since 2013. He is currently serving his fourth term as NCEES representative to ABET’s Applied and Natural Science Accreditation Commission. Committed to advancing the surveying profession and protecting the public, Thompson is a member of the Hydrographic Services Review Panel; National Geospatial Advisory Committee; and National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Advisory Board. He is a member and past chair of the North Carolina Boundary Commission as well as a member and past president of the American Association of State Surveyors, National Society of Professional Surveyors, and North Carolina Society of Surveyors. He currently serves as president of the North Carolina Society of Surveyors Education Foundation.
NCEES Distinguished Service Award
Michael Conzett, P.E.
Michael Conzett, P.E., of Omaha, Nebraska, was awarded the NCEES Distinguished Service Award at the 2019 annual meeting.
Conzett was as a member of the Nebraska Board of Engineers and Architects from 2003 to 2018. During this time, he served as board chair, vice chair, and secretary. He was a member of the board’s Engineering Education, Enforcement, and Continuing Education committees. He is now an emeritus member of the board.
Conzett served on the NCEES board of directors from 2008 to 2017 while fulfilling terms as president and Central Zone vice president. During his presidency, he established task forces to consider the use of NCEES financial reserves for licensure promotion and to provide guidance on the use of technology such as electronic seals and remote sensing technology in professional practice. In addition to focusing on removing administrative barriers to professional mobility, he convened the Emerging Engineers and Surveyors Group to gain a fresh perspective on the professions from younger practitioners.
For the past 17 years, Conzett has contributed to the work of NCEES committees and task forces, including the committees on Uniform Procedures and Legislative Guidelines, Examination Policy and Procedures, and Examinations for Professional Engineers. He has served as chair of the Bachelors Plus 30 and Engineering Education task forces. He most recently served as a member of the 2018–19 Advisory Committee on Council Activities.
Conzett is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and is a former member of the organization’s Raise the Bar Committee and a current member of its Committee on Licensure. He has served as a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers’ Future of the Profession Task Force. He is currently a member of Iowa State University’s Civil Engineering External Advisory Council.
David Widmer, P.L.S.
David Widmer, P.L.S., of Rochester, Pennsylvania, was awarded the NCEES Distinguished Service Award at the 2019 annual meeting. Widmer began his service to NCEES in 1992 when he joined the Committee on Land Surveying. Since that time, he has served as a member or board of directors liaison to almost every NCEES standing committee as well as several task forces. He most recently served as a member of the 2018–19 Advisory Committee on Council Activities. Widmer was a member of the NCEES board of directors from 2009 to 2016, when he served terms as president, treasurer, and Northeast Zone vice president.
During his presidency in 2014–15, Widmer established a task force on the future of surveying to increase the number of professional surveyors and improve license mobility for the profession. He also focused on facilitating multistate licensure, including improving the uniformity of continuing education requirements among U.S. jurisdictions and the development of the NCEES Continuing Professional Competency Registry.
Widmer was a member of the Pennsylvania State Registration Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists from 1992 to 2011. During this time, he served as board president and vice president. He represented the board as an ABET observer at Pennsylvania universities. He assisted with writing several regulation changes for the commonwealth, including drafting language for continuing education requirements for the professions. He is now an emeritus member of the board.
From 2016 to 2019, Widmer served as a governor of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Utility Engineering and Surveying Institute. In this role, he spoke about licensure and the role of professional surveyors in civil works projects.
Meritorious Service Award
John Greenhalge, of Columbus, Ohio, was awarded the NCEES Meritorious Service Award at the 2019 annual meeting. Originally appointed as board investigations supervisor in 1998, Greenhalge has served as executive director of the Ohio State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Surveyors since 2006. His contributions to the board include developing and implementing a new-registrant program to advise new licensees of the requirements and responsibilities associated with licensure as a professional engineer or surveyor. He frequently gives presentations to Ohio engineering and surveying associations on licensing laws and rules, professional ethics, and the importance of licensure. He also speaks at Ohio colleges about the licensure process and the value of becoming licensed. He has developed a proactive enforcement program aimed at advising licensees and the public of Ohio’s laws and rules governing the practice of engineering and surveying.
Greenhalge began his service to NCEES in 2006, when he was appointed to the Committee on Law Enforcement. He has served nine terms on the committee, including four as chair. He has also served three terms on the Committee on Member Board Administrators and was a member of the Leadership Task Force. Greenhalge has taken part in numerous presentations on law enforcement and investigations training at NCEES annual meetings. He has been a devoted advocate of the NCEES Enforcement Exchange database, stressing its importance to protecting the public and improving license mobility.
Distinguished Examination Service Award
David Johnston, Ph.D., P.E.
David Johnston, Ph.D., P.E., of Raleigh, North Carolina, was awarded the NCEES Distinguished Examination Service Award at the 2019 annual meeting. Johnston began volunteering with the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) Civil Exam Development Committee in 2005. Since that time, he has participated in more than 50 exam development meetings to write and review questions and has taken part in numerous studies to update exam specifications, establish cut scores, and review exam item performance.
Johnston spearheaded the development of the PE Civil exam’s construction engineering module, which was introduced in 2008. Through his work with the Construction Engineering Education Committee of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Construction Institute, he was among the first to recognize the growth of construction engineering as a distinct body of practice within civil engineering and identify the need for a separate construction engineering module. Beginning in 1995, he led that committee in advocating to NCEES member boards for exam modification and providing input on wording for a model experience statement to improve the path to licensure for construction engineers.
Johnston was the first chair of the PE Civil exam’s construction engineering subcommittee, a role he served in until 2018. During this time, he led the development of the subject-matter framework for the construction engineering module and recruited the module’s volunteer framework. Since completing his term as chair, Johnston has continued as an active member of the construction engineering subcommittee, mentoring other volunteers and providing continuity. He also remains committed to helping the PE Civil exam transition to computer-based testing, with particular focus on increasing the item bank for construction engineering knowledge areas.
Johnston has been a licensed professional engineer since 1973. He is the Edward I. Weisiger Distinguished Professor Emeritus in Construction Engineering at North Carolina State University.
George Murgel, Ph.D., P.E.
George Murgel, Ph.D., P.E., of Kuna, Idaho, was awarded the NCEES Distinguished Examination Service Award at the 2019 annual meeting. Murgel has been supporting the NCEES Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam for 17 years. During this time, he has served as chair and vice chair of the FE Exam Development Committee and as chair of the environmental engineering subcommittee. Murgel was instrumental in the conversion of the FE exam to computer-based testing, a transition that was completed in 2014. These efforts include serving as coordinator for updating the supplied-reference handbook.
Murgel has been a member of the Idaho Board of Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors since 2012. During this time, he has also been actively involved in the work of NCEES standing committees, including those related to exams. He served as a member of the Advisory Committee on Council Activities and as vice chair and chair of the Committee on Examinations for Professional Engineers. As chair, he was also consultant to the Committee on Examination Policy and Procedures and the Committee on Examination Audit. He currently represents NCEES on the ABET board of delegates.
Committed to advancing licensure, Murgel regularly promotes engineering licensing exams to university students and faculty as well as practitioners across Idaho. He has assisted on ABET accreditation visits to new programs and encouraged the use of the FE exam as an outcomes assessment tool. He also promotes licensure through his professional affiliations with the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Environmental and Water Resources Institute.
Sonja Sparks, P.L.S.
Sonja Sparks, P.L.S., of Cheyenne, Wyoming, was awarded the NCEES Distinguished Examination Service Award at the 2019 annual meeting. As an NCEES exam development volunteer for the past 12 years, Sparks has displayed a continuing commitment to the advancement of surveying licensure. Her contributions to the Fundamentals of Surveying (FS) exam include developing new exam items, participating in studies to update the exam’s specifications, and serving as committee chair. She has striven to develop an exam that is uniform, thorough, and fair in determining if exam candidates meet the minimum standards to become a surveyor intern.
Sparks was chair of the FS Exam Development Committee from 2014 to 2017. She led the committee during a pivotal time in the exam’s history, as NCEES completed the transition of the FS exam to computer-based testing in 2014. The FS exam was one of the first two NCEES exams to move to the computer-based format, and Sparks’ leadership and dedication helped ensure that the exam transition was effective and efficient. In addition to supporting the surveying profession through her work with NCEES, Sparks is a member and past president of Professional Land Surveyors of Wyoming. She currently serves as a member of its Publications Committee and director of the Southeast Chapter.
Charles Prewitt, P.E. (posthumous)
Charles Prewitt, P.E., of New Orleans, Louisiana, was posthumously honored with the NCEES Distinguished Examination Service Award at the 2019 annual meeting. Prewitt was a leader and prolific contributor to engineering licensure exam development for almost two decades. He became a volunteer with the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) Mechanical Exam Development Committee in 2000. He joined the committee during the PE Mechanical exam’s transition from a half-essay format to a full multiple-choice, breadth-and-depth exam. He served as vice chair from 2004 to 2008. During this time, he also took a leadership role in the process to update the specifications for the exam. He served as chair from 2009 to 2011. As chair, he led the committee in the initial steps toward computer-based testing by beginning work on a supplied-reference handbook.
After completing his term as chair, Prewitt continued to lead efforts to develop the supplied-reference handbook for the three PE Mechanical exams, work which was completed in 2018. He assisted the PE Structural Engineering Exam Development Committee with its initial efforts to develop a supplied-reference handbook. Prewitt also developed and implemented a succession plan for committee leadership. The document established eligibility criteria for leadership positions, duration of terms, and other processes that are still used today. With a reputation for leadership and service, Prewitt, who passed away in July 2018, is remembered for his distinguished commitment to advancing engineering licensure.
Past award winners
View past award winners below.
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