Wednesday, June 10, 2020 at 10:00 AM CDT
Thursday, July 30, 2020 at 1:00 PM CDT

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This is an online event. 



WSPE Treasurer 
Wisconsin Society of Professional Engineers 









2020 NSPE-WI (WSPE) Virtual Discovery Conference 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated travel and gathering restrictions and recommendations, NSPE-WI will provide a virtual Discovery Conference in place of our annual in-person conference. 

We have scheduled 16 conference sessions based on the scheduling survey results.  We have 4 sessions on Tuesdays at noon, 4 sessions on Wednesdays at 10:00 a.m., 4 sessions on Thursdays at noon 2 sessions on Friday at 10:00 a.m., and 2 sessions on Saturdays at 10:00 a.m.  You can pick individual sessions at $15 each or you can sign up for all 16 sessions as a package for $150.  Payment is by credit card using PayPal--note a PayPal account is not required.  After registration and payment, you will be sent the Zoom meeting information via email the day prior to your session.  The sessions will be moderated and there will be an opportunity to ask questions via the chat feature in Zoom.

Session schedule in PDF is available here.


Session Schedule

06/10/20  Wednesday  10:00 a.m.
Temporary Earth Retention for the Anchor Bank (now Old National Bank) Expansion Project in Downtown Madison, WI (Civil)

Chad Underwood, PE
Engineering Partners International LLC

In 2016/2017, Anchor Bank (now Old National Bank) underwent a major expansion of its corporate office facility in downtown Madison, Wisconsin.  Excavations of up to 60 feet below grade were required for the new below grade parking structure, and soil nail walls were selected as the temporary earth retention system for this project.  The proximity of adjacent buildings supported by spread footings with relatively high footing surcharge loads, as well as high construction surcharge loading close to the soil nail walls, required special considerations for the soil nail wall design.

06/13/20  Saturday  10:00 a.m.
AI Safety and Ethics (Artificial Intelligence and Ethics)

Bill Hibbard, Scientist Emeritus
University of Wisconsin-Madison Space Science and Engineering Center

An overview of a mathematical theory of artificial intelligence and its application to analyze possible pathological behaviors of AI systems and ways to avoid those pathologies. Also, a discussion of the use of AI and the Internet for social surveillance and control.

06/16/20  Tuesday  12:00 p.m.
NSPE-Ethics - Boston Molasses Floodgate (Ethics)

Susan Sprague, PE, F.NSPE
Treasurer of NSPE and Project Manager for JMT (York, PA & Hunt Valley, Maryland)

The 15th of January in 1916 was a lovely, sunny, day in Boston as the “January thaw” arrived.  Just about noon a full  50 million-gallon tank of molasses failed catastrophically unleashing a wave of molasses down Commercial Street; taking out buildings, part of the elevated railroad, horses, and people.  This case study in ethics examines the construction of the tank and the motivations of those in responsible charge in an effort to explain why this disaster occurred.  The relationship between the actions of those in charge and the standard of care will also be examined.

06/18/20  Thursday  12:00 p.m.
Laser Scanning for the AEC World (Multidisciplinary)

Brady O'Brien
Faro Technologies

A brief history of FARO technologies and then dive into a live product demonstration of the FARO Focus S350 laser scanner and Scene software.  See how the laser scanning is saving time, creating value, and becoming more and more popular for GCs, subcontractors, stake holders, or anyone that needs to capture as built or as is conditions.  Hear about not only our laser scanners, point clouds, and the whole reality capture market but also learn about how other equipment and software is helping the AEC industry out there right now.    

06/24/20  Wednesday  10:00 a.m.
The Future of Safe Mining in Wisconsin (Civil Safety)

Steve Donohue and Andrea Martin, PE

The Wisconsin law which had imposed a moratorium on metallic mining has been repealed.  This has opened opportunities for entities to put Wisconsin’s resources to use for mankind.  But public safety and environmental protection must come first.  These goals required professionals to engage in the planning and design of mining processes and infrastructure.  Many engineering and science consultants can explore their possible roles by understanding the basic challenges.

06/26/20  Friday  10:00 a.m.
How Solar Energy Became Cheap:   A Model for Low-Carbon Innovation (Solar)

Prof. Gregory Nemet
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Solar photovoltaics (PV) has become a substantial global industry—a truly disruptive technology that has generated trade disputes among superpowers, threatened the solvency of large energy companies, and prompted serious reconsideration of electric utility regulation rooted in the 1930s. But, how did solar become inexpensive? And why did it take so long? As a 2017 Andrew Carnegie Fellow I had the opportunity to dive deeply into these questions, drawing on new data sets, analyses, and interviewing 75 individuals in 18 countries.

06/30/20  Tuesday  12:00 p.m.
Scaling Up: Developing the Exact Sciences Discovery Campus (Civil)
Jeremy Hulsey and Jeff Bartel with Exact Sciences
Bob Hougard, Findorff & Son, Inc.
Noah Smith, Isthmus Engineering & Manufacturing

Located on the near west side of Madison, Wisconsin, the Exact Sciences Discovery Campus development transformed a long-vacant site into a world-class employee center, complete with office, laboratory, and warehouse spaces. Come hear the story of how the project teams went from groundbreaking to lab opening in less than 20 months, renovated office space while the building was occupied, and successfully scaled the company’s cancer screening capabilities.

07/02/20  Thursday  12:00 p.m.
UAS/Drones-Engineering Projects from A Better Perspective (Civil)
Daniel Kucza, PLS
Collins Engineers

Planning, design, construction, and maintenance phases of infrastructure projects can benefit significantly from the use of Unmanned Aerial Systems, commonly known as drones. We’ll examine how each phase of a project can benefit from this emerging technology and go over some real-world case studies.

07/08/20  Wednesday  10:00 a.m.
3D Experience: Structural Professional Engineer (Mechanical)
Chris Olson and Madhav Puppala

Join simulation experts Chris Olson and Madhav Puppala for an informative presentation about Structural Professional Engineer (SPE) to speed up innovation, enhance quality, and reduce time to market. This presentation will help users realize:

  Realistic simulation for multi-physics
• Complete solutions for all industries
• Complex materials, contact, fracture, and failure
• Rapid turnaround with high-performance computing

Attendees will learn about SPE, which is a new structural analysis software solution within the SOLIDWORKS product line using the market leader Abaqus FEA technology on the cloud platform. Structural Professional Engineer delivers a unique, easy, and integrated workflow for all engineers, to expand and reuse their SOLIDWORKS Simulation for a more advanced simulation solution.

07/10/20  Friday  10:00 a.m.
Protecting Wisconsin from the Cyber Threat (General)
Byron Franz
FBI, Milwaukee Division

Cyber threats and mitigations for public and private organizations. Specifically:

1. Safe use of Wi-Fi in public settings
2. Phishing/Spearphishing
3. Malvertising/Watering hole attacks/Drive-By Downloads
4. Protecting Mobile devices/endpoints
5. Protection of intellectual property
6. Passwords/credential compromise
7. Ransomware8. Need for log retention
8. Use of VPNs and VMs to safeguard end users
9. Cooperation with outside mitigators and law enforcement

07/14/20  Tuesday  12:00 p.m.
Making the Transition from Engineer to Manager (General)
Dr. Jay Goldberg, PhD, PE
Marquette University

For many engineers, career advancement involves the eventual promotion into a management position.  Most lack the required management skills and have not been adequately prepared for the transition to management. To prepare for the transition, they need to acquire new skills and knowledge, change attitudes and behaviors, and become aware of the differences in responsibilities and day-to-day activities between technical and management positions. This includes 1) developing administrative, communication, and interpersonal skills; 2) learning to delegate, and 3) learning management principles and concepts.  These activities will help prevent managerial failure and increase the probability of a successful transition into management. This presentation will discuss how engineers can prepare themselves for making this transition.

07/16/20  Thursday  12:00 p.m.
Update on Federal and State Legislative and Regulatory Activities (General)

Glen  R. Schwalbach, PE, F. NSPE
NSPE-WI V.P.-Government Affairs 

There have been concentrated efforts to eliminate or downgrade licensure of Professional Engineers in various states with some Wisconsin legislators getting on that bandwagon.  The Department of Safety and Professional Services has also made the recommendation to eliminate the Designer Permit.  On the other hand, there has been efforts to eliminate licensure exemptions and enhance the roles of P.E.’s.  Also, DSPS has revised sections of the P.E. registration code.  NSPE-WI has been active in supporting Wisconsin P.E.’s on these issues as well as those affecting the WisDOT engineers.  NSPE-WI also gets involved on issues affecting the public where engineering expertise can help public safety and welfare or advance engineering education.


07/22/20  Wednesday  10:00 a.m.
NSPE-Ethics – A Case Study in Citi Corp Center Abstract

Susan Sprague, PE, F.NSPE
Treasurer of NSPE and Project Manager for JMT (York, PA & Hunt Valley, Maryland)

In 1977 a dramatic 59 story building in the heart of midtown Manhattan was completed. It had a very creative and unusual structural design due to a site issue. About a year later, the chief structural designer learned of some changes made during construction that may have compromised the ability of the structure under quartering winds. Camping out at his summer home in Maine, the engineer checked and rechecked all the calculations and concluded that it had to be fixed. After a long and at times heroic battle to address and correct the issue; additional reinforcement was added to fix the problem. At this point the engineer was a hero in the true sense of the word and ethics texts to this day relate the story. But as is characteristic of all non-trivial ethics cases, there are some issues that still raise questions and often are not addressed in the textbooks. This seminar will examine both the good and the questionable sides of the story.


07/25/20  Saturday  10:00 a.m.
RPA: A Revolution in Business Process Automation (Manufacturing)

Phil Toso
WhiteLight Group

We will uncover what RPA is and discuss some RPA business use cases. In supply chain, manufacturing, and accounting processes (to name a few) streamlining processes and digitization plays a huge role. In order to maintain hassle-free and smooth operations across an organization, the key is automating mundane tasks to take the burden off of employees so they can focus on more important tasks. And, RPA is a great way to get there! 

3 Key Takeaways:

  • To compete in today's economy, businesses need to learn how to do more with less and a good way to move this forward is through automating boring tasks like invoice processing or customer verification.
  • Automating mundane, repetitive tasks today can save money and resources so workers can focus on more valuable tasks.
  • Creating innovative technology initiatives that offer a high ROI will save your company time and resources to compete today.

07/28/20  Tuesday  12:00 p.m.
Raise the Roof, Summerfest American Family Insurance 2020 Renovation (Civil)

Robert Schumacher, P.E. and Levi Warner P.E., S.E.
Larson Engineering

Many top acts in the entertainment industry put on travelling shows that have very elaborate stage set-ups that require up to 60’ clearance over the stage, this made the Milwaukee Summerfest Amphitheater less desirable and unbookable for many of the best national acts with a short 39’ clearance over the stage of the 1987 vintage steel framed roof.  This presentation will discuss the planning, design and construction aspects involved in raising the 25,000 sf, 300-ton center portion of the amphitheater roof 26 feet as part of the $53 million renovation of the Amphitheater.

07/30/20  Thursday  12:00 p.m.
Behind the Historic MSO Wall Move (Civil)

Cory Henschel
C.D. Smith Construction, Inc.

When selected by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra to lead the renovation of the Historic Warner Grand Theatre, the first question MSO and their designers asked the C.D. Smith team was, “Can you move this wall?” Key leadership and construction personnel quickly agreed they could, and they did. Join us at the 2020 NSPE-WI Virtual Discovery Conference to learn about the extensive preconstruction planning and diligent coordination that took place for years leading up to the successful Wall Move in August of 2019.