Latest News

Submarine Manufacturer To Add Jobs in RI and CT with New Contract

Date: February 11, 2021

Submarine manufacturer General Dynamics Electric Boat said it has a positive outlook for 2021, and it plans to add 2,000 jobs in Connecticut and Rhode Island this year. The work will come from contracts totaling $39 billion that include the manufacture of two of the 12 planned Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines and 19 Virginia class submarines, according to WSHU Public Radio.

In November, Electric Boat announced the US Navy had awarded the company a $9.474-billion contract modification option for construction and test of the lead and second ships of the Columbia class, as well as associated design and engineering support.

Planned Construction of Wind Farm Open for Public Comment

Date: February 11, 2021

This month, public hearings on the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the South Fork Wind Farm are being held. The public has an opportunity to comment on BOEM’s work.

The 15-turbine South Fork Wind Farm, under development by Ørsted (owner of the Block Island Wind Farm), will be built on Cox Ledge 20 to 25 miles southeast of Point Judith, Rhode Island. More information, including the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, instructions for providing comments, and more information on the public meetings is available here. Comments must be submitted by 11:59 PM on February 22, 2021.

OSHA Report Says PE Should Have Been Consulted to Prevent Accident

Date: January 27, 2021

Acrobats injured in Rhode Island in 2014 when a hanging apparatus failed have been given $52.5 million in a settlement with an arena. An OSHA investigation into the incident found a PE should have been consulted to check the rigging for “structural adequacy and performance,” according to the Herald-Tribune.

Rhode Island Joins Transportation Climate Initiative as Founding Member

Date: January 27, 2021

Rhode Island has joined Connecticut, D.C., and Massachusetts in an effort to combat climate change by cutting car pollution. The state will be a founding member of the Transportation Climate Initiative, which would place limits on carbon emissions from gasoline and diesel and require suppliers of the fuels to buy credits to sell them. The plan will raise an estimated $20 million for Rhode Island, which will be used to fund mass transit, electric vehicle charging and clean transportation efforts.

Deck Work on Newport Pell Bridge Completed for Season

Date: December 16, 2020

The third phase of the Newport Pell Bridge deck rehabilitation project has been completed for the season. The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority said the work, which began in March, consisted of a partial depth hydro-demolition and reconstruction of the concrete bridge deck for approximately 4,700 feet of the westbound and eastbound lanes. This phase of the project will continue for one month in April 2021, but the work will be done at night.

Erosion Mitigation Project Receives Funding

Date: December 16, 2020

The National Coastal Resilience Fund awarded a $129,191 grant to the University of Rhode Island and the nonprofit Friends of Green Hill Pond to restore threatened dunes and the associated wildlife habitat at Green Hill Pond in South Kingstown, reports the Independent. The grant will fund the design and permit for a nature-based dune restoration to alleviate flood risk for nearby homes and improve water quality.

Offshore Wind Energy Plans Moving Forward

Date: November 18, 2020

Rhode Island will pursue a competitive request for proposals (RFP) to procure up to 600 MW of new offshore wind energy, according to Wind Power Engineering and Development. The state is home to North America’s first operational offshore wind farm (Block Island) and, in 2019, received state approval for the 400-MW Revolution Wind offshore project. The endeavor represents progress toward Governor Raimondo’s goal of Advancing a 100% Renewable Energy Future for Rhode Island by 2030, which he put into effect with Executive Order 20-01. The RFP will be developed by National Grid, with oversight by the state Office of Energy Resources, and is subject to approval by the Public Utilities Commission.

Planned Providence Bus System Moves Ahead with Community Input

Date: November 18, 2020

Plans for a multihub bus system in Providence will move forward with public input. After a worldwide search, the city hired Arup to work with stakeholders to create a cohesive vision that connects downtown Providence’s public space network while maintaining an easily accessible, transit-rich environment, and develop engineering plans for specified infrastructure projects funded through the city’s capital improvement plan.

The plan, six years in the works, has support from Governor Raimondo, Mayor Jorge Elorza, and RIDOT. “This plan…provides a number of very important benefits for both riders and citizens,” RIDOT Director Peter Alviti Jr. said. “It spreads out the heavy concentration of buses and pedestrians from a congested Kennedy Plaza to strategic satellite locations at the Innovation District, the Providence Train Station, and along the edges of Kennedy Plaza. This configuration gives riders access to their jobs, educational institutions, entertainment, and key intermodal transfers to major northeast metropolitan areas.”

As Sea Level Rises, Engineers Say They Lack Guidance, Survey Says

Date: October 28, 2020

A survey of maritime infrastructure engineers by University of Rhode Island researchers found that the rising sea level is often not factored into designs of ports, breakwaters, fishing piers and other coastal infrastructure. The survey of 85 engineers at consulting firms, port authorities and government agencies with experience working on port infrastructure projects in the US was conducted in 2019. The researchers found that 64% do not have a policy or planning document to guide how to incorporate sea level change into their designs. “The challenge they face is that they aren’t receiving concrete, consistent guidance for what they should be doing to integrate sea level rise projections into their work,” said Austin Becker, URI associate professor of marine affairs. “They need guidance, they want guidance, they don’t want to have to go on the whims of their clients, who may not have expertise in this area. They also don’t want to have to weigh potentially conflicting guidance from local, state or federal agencies.” He added that without guidance, port engineers are more likely to disregard sea level change projections entirely. Read more about the study.

Manufacturing Talent Needed for Submarine Construction

Date: October 28, 2020

As the US Navy contracts for the construction of new submarines and Electric Boat expands its workforce, an industry group has received a Defense Department grant to survey manufacturers in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island to “open up job exploration and employment opportunities to more than 5,000 potential workers,” reports the Hartford Courant. Electric Boat has shipyards at Groton and Quonset Point. The article describes the survey as “the latest effort to develop a workforce with basic industrial and manufacturing skills and exposure to robotics, automation and artificial intelligence.”

2019 Engineer of the Year Award: Ronald Daignault, P.E.

OTY, Mr. Ron Daignault, PE, and a photograph of him with Mr. David Arpin, PE Immediate Past President of the RI Society


Since 1958, RISPE has annually recognized a local engineer who has made outstanding contributions to both the engineering profession and their community by honoring them as the RISPE Engineer of the Year. The award recognizes an individual’s dedication to the highest ethical standards of the engineering profession, the technical excellence of their work, their deep concern for the public welfare, and their enthusiastic leadership amongst their peers.

This year, RISPE is excited to present this prestigious award to Mr. Ronald Daignault, PE. Ron is well-known in the engineering community, and has earned the respect of his peers with good reason: his commitment to his profession, country, and community set a strong example for others to follow. His career and volunteerism embody the ideals of professionalism and citizenship.

Shortly after graduating high school, Ron enlisted in the Marine Corps and retired in 1988, having served in the Aviation and Recruiting fields at the time. Following his military service, he earned a bachelors degree in Civil Engineering, and a Masters in Civil and Environmental Engineering with a Geotechnical emphasis, both from the University of Rhode Island.

Over the course of his 26+ year career, Ron has work for several local engineering firms and institutions, including Paul B. Aldinger & Associates, Bryant University, Alpha Grainger Manufacturing, Jacques Whitford Company, and the VA Medical Center in Providence, RI.

While at the VA, Ron was promoted to Chief of the Facilities Management Service, responsible for the management and oversight of the Design/Engineering and Construction Departments, the Environmental/Safety/Industrial Health/Emergency Management Department, and the Facilities Maintenance, Transportation, and Grounds Departments for the 40-acre hospital campus.

The campus consisted of 35+ buildings and three remote Community Based Outpatient Clinics, including a staff of 80+ professionals and trades personnel. In recognition of his service to the VA, Ron was awarded the VA Federal Engineer of the Year Award in 2015. In 2010, in addition to his duties at the VA, Ron founded RAD Engineering, LLC, and serves as its Principal and owner. RAD Engineering has become a successful multi-disciplined civil engineering company that takes on a wide variety of projects including geotechnical and structural engineering, environmental design, and pre & post construction condition surveys. He has also served for many years on the Town of Burrillville School Building Committee.

Ron has also made a continuous and dedicated contribution to both the Rhode Island and National Societies of Professional Engineers. At the State Level, he has served in all Executive Board positions, including Secretary, Treasurer, Vice President and President from 2004 – 2010, in addition to holding a position in several State Committees.

At the National level, Ron is an NSPE Fellow, was RISPE’s Representative to the House of Delegates for 4 years, has attended several National and Regional NSPE annual meetings, and served on the 2012 Northeast Regional Meeting Planning Committee for the NER meeting held in October 2012 in Newport, RI.

It is clear that Ron’s professional and personal achievements make him an ideal recipient for the RISPE Engineer of the Year Award, and wish to extend our sincerest congratulations to him!

RISPE 2019 Annual Banquet

A message from David Arpin, P.E., RISPE President

RISPE Annual Banquet

Dear Rhode Island Engineers,

This past month, RISPE hosted our Annual Banquet, officially marking the end of our 2018-2019 Fiscal Year. The event was held at Naval Station Newport and over 50 RISPE Members, Colleagues, and Friends joined us for the event.

Our first guest speaker was NSPE Executive Director and CEO, Mark Golden, who gave an update on NSPE and their accomplishments this past year. Our second guest speaker was the Executive Director of the American Council of Engineering Companies, Rhode Island (ACEC-RI), Marcel Valois who provided an overview of their organization and their recent activities and State legislative wins.

Our main speaker for the evening was Mr. Neil McLaughlin, Director of Projects & Finance for Pangaea Logistics Solutions, who provided an overview of the types of marine/waterfront projects their firm takes on. In addition, Neil discussed his firm’s involvement in the long-term development of Brayton Point and some of the challenges they face in developing the site as a deep-water dry bulk terminal and wind farm logistics hub.

The event also included recognition of the 2019 RISPE Young Engineer of the Year, Mr. Frank Marinaccio, PE and the 2019 RISPE Scholarship Recipient, Mr. Timothy Vitkin of Cumberland High School. Some of Rhode Island’s newly registered Professional Engineers were also in attendance and received their new Professional Engineer Certificates from the Rhode Island Board of Registration.

On behalf of the RISPE Executive Board, I would like to thank all who attended and participated in the event as well as the sponsorship from our RISPE membership. Thank you for your continued support!

Save the Date: RISPE’s 2019 Annual Banquet

RISPE is pleased to announce that it will be hosting this year’s Annual Banquet on Thursday, May 23. While details of the main presentation are still in progress, the event will also include the presentation of the 2019 RISPE Young Engineer of the Year Award, the presentation of the 2019 RISPE Scholarship, and recognition of the over 25 Newly Registered RI Professional Engineers!

More details of the event are to follow shortly.

Rhode Island Society at the 2018 Professional Engineers Conference

From July 18–22 in Las Vegas, at Caesars Palace, NSPE members enjoyed an exciting week full of exceptional education programs, speakers, and great networking.






Save the Date to Join us in Kansas City for the 2019 Professional Engineers Conference
July 17-21, 2019