More than 100 ASPE Philadelphia members and guests commemorated the chapter’s 40th anniversary last month with a dinner and party at the SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia.

“A good time was had by all,” Chapter President David Smith said. Several former chapter presidents, as well as ASPE CEO Billy Smith and Region 1 Director R. Paul Silvestre, joined Smith at the event.

David Smith, a senior plumbing and fire protection engineer for Gannett Fleming at the Valley Forge office in Audubon, Pennsylvania, joined the chapter 33 years ago.

“I joined because of the knowledge that I could acquire through the chapter,” he said. “ASPE was very helpful because I found I could go to anyone as a member and ask for assistance for bouncing ideas off of, and we continue that tradition today.”

A portion of every dinner meeting is set aside for a question-and-answer segment referred to as “What would you do?” Any member can pose a recent engineering problem, and fellow members offer solutions.

“It’s a give-and-take because our Society chapter has a wealth of knowledge among its members,” Clark said. “So if somebody encounters something, they can spread the news with other members, or ask questions.”

Many longtime members attended the event, including some who have been members since the chapter’s founding. But it has its eyes on growing future membership as well. The chapter runs a plumbing school that also presents an excellent opportunity for recruitment.

“Everyone in this industry is discovering just how hard it is to get younger members to become active or just join,” he said. “We give an incentive by saying if you complete the first year of the school, we’ll give you membership for a year; the second year, we’ll give it to you for a second year. We encourage them to come to the dinner meetings during the school years, and we cover the cost to get them involved to see what the dinner meetings have available.

“We have good topics at these dinner meetings, and we move these dinner meetings around to encourage more local people to attend. Some of us still travel to all of them. We find that with good topics and various locations we’re getting a lot of people attending and continuing to attend.”
– Ed McMenamin reporting