Professional Engineers Of North Carolina

SPR 2014

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2 the Professional Engineer Spring 2014 Charting a new course As I was out and about over the holidays in Hickory, where I live now, I talked to people about what the community used to look like. Since I did not grow up here, I relied on those who did to help me envision what used to be where and when. Most of the conversations focused on grocery stores: "Where was the frst Harris Teeter?" and "Did that used to be Winn-Dixie before it was the GO Outlet?" Many stores are no longer in business here: Winn-Dixie, GO Outlet, Bi-Lo and Harris Teeter. So, why did some survive and others go out of business? Professional Engineers of North Carolina has been in business since 1949, but longevity does not ensure continued success. In order for PENC to remain viable, its members have to be willing to adapt to members' needs. What sustained the organization even just fve years ago may no longer be what the member or prospect wants or needs. Te Board of Governors started a conversation more than four years ago. It centers on why member- ship was declining despite strong, passionate leaders. Obviously, the economy took its toll on many organ- izations — PENC included. Tis decline spurred us to action and gave us the opportunity to ask: Why would not every PE in North Carolina want to join PENC? While the board delved into the motivation question, it also needed to keep the organization going by exploring revenue opportunities beyond dues. Webinars, logo use, special membership promo- tions, subscription services for out-of-state members, magazine, the North Carolina Engineering Directory and others were ways to boost revenue and add benefts to attract and retain members. Tis approach has served us well in the short term. However, we really needed to know what can (or should) we ofer to members that no one else can. Tat led us to a new focus on engineering leadership. Have you noticed any changes? Look closely and you will see that it's impacting our committee structure, seminar topics, meetings and membership focus. Before I share where we are, let me share how we got here. In fall 2011 PENC started its Leadership Institute, which targets PEs who are emerging leaders and still early in their career. Originally the institute was a succession plan for PENC boards and committees and an additional revenue stream. However, it rapidly became a strong and popular program that ofered opportunities to expand benefts to more members. Te tremendous success of the institute was used as the basis of how to broadly replicate the experience throughout the organization, and it became the topic of discussion at PENC leadership meetings. Te "leadership idea" became the foundation that PENC is rebuilding itself on. In 2012, a small investment was made in a consultant who guided a focus group and PENC leadership on messaging and strengthening our position in the marketplace. At the same time PENC started its rebranding efort, the National Society of Professional Engineers began investigating and pursuing the concepts outlined in Race for Relevance — a guidebook on how associations can become relevant in the "new" economy. Again, we asked ourselves difcult questions and sought answers from members and nonmembers on what they wanted from PENC. One overarching realization from Race for Relevance was that PENC needed to identify its target PENC must meet the needs of its membership to remain relevant F r o m t h e p r e s i d e n t B y B i l l R o B e R t s , P e FromPres_Winter14.indd 2 3/27/14 11:29 AM

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