In 1974, the first ASPE Chapter in Ohio was chartered in Cleveland; in October 1980, the Central Ohio Chapter was chartered in Columbus. At that time, a number of plumbing engineers, designers, contractors, sales representatives and building officials from Southwestern Ohio were members of the Central Ohio Chapter and actively participated in that Chapter’s functions. However, it was understood that the Cincinnati- and Dayton-area members would someday break away from the Central Ohio Chapter and form a Chapter of their own once membership reached sufficient levels.
In early 1981, while serving as a vice president of the Central Ohio Chapter, the late Robert J DeCurtins, CIPE, along with several interested individuals, compiled a list of potential ASPE members in the Southwestern Ohio/Northern Kentucky area. In an attempt to determine the interest of establishing a local ASPE Chapter, 56 letters were sent out in March 1981 to plumbing engineers, designers, contractors and sales representatives; favorable responses were received from 23 potential members. Organizational meetings were held in Middletown through the rest of 1981. When the Chapter was able to obtain the necessary 20 full or associate members, a petition for charter was prepared and submitted to the Society office in early February 1982. The Chapter was presented its charter on February 26, 1982, by the Society president, A Calvin Laws, PE, CIPE, of San Francisco, CA. Region II Chairman John Matthews, PE, CIPE, of Detroit, MI was also present at the charter presentation, held at the Manchester Hotel in Middletown.
Through 2000, the Chapter generally held its monthly meetings on the third Thursday of the month from September through June. For 2001, the meeting night was changed to the third Tuesday of the month; this was done to provide more members with an opportunity to attend. From 1982 to 1989 and again from 2000 through 2008, the chapter held the majority of its meetings in Middletown to facilitate attendance by members from both the Cincinnati and Dayton areas. In other years, the meetings have generally alternated on a monthly basis between the two cities. From 2009 through the present, NIBCO has graciously made the meeting room at its Lebanon, OH facility available to the Chapter for the majority of its monthly meetings.
Periodically, the Chapter has held technical seminars and workshops to allow its membership the opportunity to further their knowledge of plumbing engineering. One such session involved Mr. Ralph Reeb of the State of Ohio, Department of Commerce, Division of Industrial Compliance discussing the 2002 edition of the Ohio Plumbing Code (OPC). Through the efforts of Chapter President David D Dexter, CPD, EI, it was arranged through the Ohio Construction Industry Examining Board (OCIEB) for the Chapter to make available Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for attendees with licensing or recertification requirements. The Chapter has routinely arranged through the OCIEB to offer CEUs for the technical sessions offered at the ASPE National Conventions, Technical Symposiums and Chapter-sponsored seminars.
Of major significance in the history of the Chapter was its serving as host of the 1990 National ASPE Convention and Exposition at the Albert B Sabin Convention Center in Cincinnati. The effort to obtain this convention was spearheaded by a committee chaired by C David Hudson, CPD, CPI. Hudson and his committee made their presentation at the 1984 National ASPE Convention in Chicago. Prior to the convention, W Stephen Ashpaw led a major fundraising endeavor to obtain the capital for the Chapter to sponsor a number of events during the convention. Two of the Chapter’s major contributions to this very successful meeting were sponsorship of an Ohio River evening boat cruise and the closing banquet.
Also of note in the Chapter’s history was its serving as host of the 2001 and 2011 ASPE Region II Presidents’ Meetings. Representatives from the Buffalo-Niagara, Central Indiana, Central Ohio, Cleveland, Eastern Michigan, Johnstown, Pittsburgh, Rochester and Western Michigan Chapters joined Southwestern Ohio Chapter representatives in Covington, KY (2001) and Dayton, OH (2011). Efforts by several Chapter Officers and members made both events a well-received and successful gathering. It was at the 2001 meeting that Hudson was elected as the new ASPE Region II Chair.
The Chapter has also seen some of its membership distinguish themselves within the Society. For several years, past-Chapter President David D Dexter has served as Chair for the Society’s Standards Committee, helping to guide the efforts in developing nationally recognized and accredited design standards for the plumbing engineering community. In 2013-2014, past-Chapter President and Region II Chair C David Hudson served on the Society’s 50th Anniversary Committee and was instrumental in the development of the events that helped to make the Society’s observance of this event memorable. Both Dexter and Hudson have been honored for their accomplishments with induction into the Society’s Kenneth G. Wentink College of Fellows.
The Chapter has also seen some of its membership take a highly active and visible role in advancing our profession on a national level. David D Dexter, F.NSPE, F.ASPE, through his involvement with both ASPE and the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), helped to broker a Memorandum of Understanding of future cooperation between the two organizations. Also, Dexter, along with Ronald K Bartley, PE, CPD, CPI/CPE, are members of the Professional Engineer Working Group, a committee working to establish a plumbing track for Professional Engineer registration. And Matthew T Sciarretti, PE, CPD, LEED AP and Dan Lampke, PE (FPE) contributed to the development of the ASPE publication Fire Protection Systems III with a review and rewrite of portions of four chapters.
During its history, the Chapter has been honored on several occasions with the ASPE Chapter Award of Merit recognizing superior Chapter accomplishment. The criteria for the Award includes membership retention and growth, Chapter technical meetings, Chapter newsletters, Regional meeting attendance, membership on Society level committees, seminars, joint projects (with other plumbing industry-related organizations), additional Chapter publications and donations charitable and to the ASPE Education and Research Foundations. The Society Board of Directors annually presents the Award at either the Convention/Expo or Symposium.
In recent years, the Chapter has had a “traditional” opening and closing to its Chapter meeting season. In September, the Chapter joins the Cincinnati Master Plumbers Association (CMPA) for a Product Trade Show at the CMPA Training Center in Sharonville, complete with cook-out dinner. The event provides a more casual opportunity for engineers, designers, contractors and tradesmen alike to socialize and learn about the latest in products, services and technology. And in late May/early June, the Chapter holds the popular ASPE Night with the Dayton Dragons. The Dragons, (low) Class A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, provide the evening’s entertainment as the Chapter reserves a Party Deck at Fifth Third Field (in downtown Dayton) for minor league baseball fun and excitement.
While the Chapter struggled in its first few years of existence, its growth and development has been a steady one. Today, the Southwestern Ohio Chapter boasts of a membership of approximately 80 members, with the membership located primarily in the areas of Cincinnati and Dayton as well as Louisville and Lexington (KY).
For the full Chapter History, click here.
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