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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