President's Letter 2024

Submitted by leshner on Tue, 01/16/2024 - 17:26

January 12, 2024

To: NAFE Board of Directors
From: Joseph Leane, PE, DFE, President
Re: President Report

In 2023, the National Academy of Forensic Engineers (NAFE) accomplished an active and productive year, advancing the priorities established in our mission statement. We also moved forward on initiatives to ensure excellent future leadership of the Academy, including embarking on a strategic planning process and hiring a permanent executive director.
Mission Work

NAFE’s Mission Statement affirms our commitment to serving the public, the jurisprudential system and academy members. We advanced our mission with the following accomplishments.
• Advancing the ethical and professional practice of forensic engineering.
o NAFE members conducted hundreds of forensic investigations and testified as expert forensic engineers in depositions and trials in 2023.
• Certifying individuals have achieved expertise in forensic engineering.
o NAFE certified fifteen new Diplomate Forensic Engineers (DFEs).
• Furthering the development of forensic engineers through education and the publication of peer-reviewed technical literature.
o Two educational conferences were held in 2023, in January in San Antonio, Texas, and in July in Kansas City, Missouri.
o Two volumes of the Journal of the National Academy of Forensic Engineers were published that included 14 peer reviewed technical papers authored by NAFE members.
o NAFE assured our members complied with our mandatory Continuing Professional Development program.

NAFE 2023 Winter Conference

The NAFE 2023 winter conference was held in January at the Contessa Hotel in San Antonio, Texas. Saturday was filled with technical presentations by our members on methodologies, tools and case studies related to a variety of forensic engineering practice subjects. Sunday presentations included practical aspects of Daubert challenges and ethics.
2023 Summer Conference
The NAFE 2023 summer conference was held July 14 through 16 at the Sheraton Kansas City at Crown Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Our Saturday Technical Seminar had Structural, Electrical, Fire and Vehicle Collision topics. Our Sunday Education Day theme was to teach the academy members the strategies of successful forensic engineering.

Strategic planning

NAFE embarked on a strategic planning process to define our vision for the future and develop a roadmap to get there, to assure we are best serving our membership. The Board of Directors and several members attended a day-long workshop in July 2023. The attendees reaffirmed NAFE’s mission statement, and they drafted strategic planning pillars. Those pillars were then refined and a draft framework will be approved at the January 19th board meeting. Then the next step in the process is to then obtain membership input as we finalize the plan. More information to follow this spring.

Executive Director

NAFE is proud to announce our new Executive Director Amanda Hendley of Association Catalyst, LLC. NAFE embarked on and concluded an executive director search via a committee chaired by Past President Liberty Janson and President Elect Steve Pietropaolo. I thank the committee for their critical work. The Board approved a three-year agreement on January 9, 2024. We look forward to working with Amanda and benefiting from her expert guidance. NSPE has been providing administrative services with Monika Schulz as the Executive Director and Carla Grahm as the Executive Secretary. I thank Monika and Carla for their outstanding leadership and work.

2024 Winter Conference

The NAFE 2024 winter conference will be held January 19-21, 2024, at the Shores Resort & Spa in Daytona Beach, Florida. The conference will include a Board of Directors meeting on the morning of Friday January 19, a tour of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University that afternoon, and a happy hour and awards dinner that evening. A full-day of technical presentations will occur Saturday and a full-day of educational topic will occur Sunday. Saturday’s Technical Session feature presentations on a variety of topics including sidewalk microtexture measurement, fires caused by open neutrals, cannabis industry forensics, applying reverse projection photogrammetry, and artificial intelligence (AI) applications. Our Education Sunday theme is: Expand the horizons of your forensic engineering practice based on examples from peer experience. Over one hundred members have registered for the conference, which is the highest attendance in years. See you there!

The success of this conference is due to the hard work of many people, especially the Technical Review Committee led by Bart Kemper and Ellen Parson, the Education Committee led by Zohaib Alvi, Conference Coordinator Dan Couture, President Elect Steve Pietropaolo, Monika Schulz and Carla Grahm - thank you.
NAFE President’s Distinguished Service Award:
This award recognizes a NAFE member for their exceptional, sustained, and on-going volunteer contributions to the Academy. The President will present a plaque to the awardee at the dinner of the Winter meeting. This year’s awardee is Mr. Bruce Wiers, PE, CFI, DFE. Bruce has served the Academy for more than a decade in various roles including CPD Chair, Treasurer and Board member.

Committee Work

NAFE is a volunteer organization and, accordingly, our service commitment is achieved by volunteer dedication through the critical work our committees perform. On behalf of the Board, I sincerely thank the members generously giving their time working on committees as chairs and members. I also thank the Board of Directors for your service to the Academy.
Finally, and most importantly, the Academy would not exist without the support and engagement of the members. Thank you all for your commitment to NAFE.

Joseph Leane, P.E., D.F.E.
2023-2024 NAFE President