HISTORY OF THE CAPITAL DISTRICT CHAPTER

 

In 1928, a group of Albany engineers were called together by Mr. F. X. Bode, and a preliminary meeting was held in the Journal building on November 16th for the purpose of formally requesting a charter for the Albany County Chapter. (The Journal building is the southern part of the old D & H building now housing the SUNY Administration.) Mr. F. P. Williams was made acting chairman and Mr. F. X. Bode the acting secretary. Others present included Thomas A. Devane, Raymond J. Keays and H. R. Hayes.

Following the meeting a petition was circulated, and on November 28th a formal application with five signatures was sent to President Sheridan of the New York State Society of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors for a charter for the Albany County Chapter.

On February 28th 1929, a meeting was held in the Auditorium of the New York Power and Light corporation, Albany, New York and a permanent organization of the Albany County Chapter was effected as follows: President, A.G. Chapman; Vice-President, W.M. Acheson; Secretary-Treasurer, H.R. Hayes; Director, C.R. Vanneman; Director, Seth Wheeler, Jr.; Director, O.F. Rowland; Director, Charles S. Sterling. (The New York Power and Light Corporation is the predecessor of the Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation whose location was 126 State Street, Albany, NY).

The Constitution and By-laws were presented and unanimously adopted. A copy was forwarded to President Sheridan on March 6, 1929, and a charter for the Albany County Chapter was formally presented to its officers at the annual convention of the State Society held in New York City on April 3, 1929.

The Constitution and By-laws were presented and unanimously adopted. A copy was forwarded to President Sheridan on March 6, 1929, and a charter for the Albany County Chapter was formally presented to its officers at the annual convention of the State Society held in New York City on April 3, 1929. Through the efforts of F. X. Bode, Chairman of the membership committee of the Albany County Chapter, a number of the licensed engineers and land surveyors residing in Rensselaer County were called together in City Engineer C.W. Morris' office at the City Hall, Troy, New York, on the evening of Saturday, February 21st, 1932. (The City Hall building was located at the corner of State and 3rd. When the city Hall offices were relocated to its present location, the old building was demolished and Barker Park was built at this site.) At this time, it was unanimously decided to organize the Rensselaer County Chapter of the NYSSPE and to apply to the State Society for a charter. Officers chosen to conduct the affairs of the Chapter were: President, F.J. Keis, Consulting Engineer, Troy; Vice-President, J.E. Quinn, City Engineer, Rensselaer; and Secretary-Treasurer, Grant K. Palsgrove, Professional of Hydraulic Engineer, RPI. There were twenty-four enrolled as charter members.

Further organizational meetings were held on March 9th and 21st, 1932, at which times the Constitution and By-laws were prepared in final form and together with the State charter, accepted by the Chapter.

The Schenectady County Chapter, the seventeenth chapter to be organized in New York State, was formed on February 25, 1932 with the assistance of Edward E. Sheldon, Albany Chapter President and several other representatives of that Chapter. Twenty-three engineers attended the organizational meeting. During the past nine years, the Chapter had drafted as its officers, men from various fields of engineering.

The history of the Schenectady County Chapter is peculiar to a highly industrialized community wherein large numbers of engineers are employed in specialized scientific work. The Chapter has drawn its small but consistent Bridgemembership essentially from engineers in pubic employ, education, and private practice, with a scattering from the two major industries of the city. Approximately eight hundred engineers were engaged in mechanical and electrical work in the General Electric Company and American Locomotive Company. The major function of the Chapter was to preach the gospel of licensing to these industrial engineers. Consistent with its endeavors to promote a better understanding of the aims and purposes of the Society, the Chapter participated in the engineering activities sponsored by representatives of the ASME, AIEE, and AWS.

Schenectady felt the impact of the depression and experienced the industrial upswing of World War II defense activities. This Chapter, small as it was, consistently maintained its existence in the hope that it would serve as an important link when its licensing educational program begins to bear fruit and larger numbers of industrial engineers desire affiliation with the organization mainly responsible for the advancement of the professional status of the engineer.

The Extension Committee of the New York State Society was established in 1949 to organize those counties in the state that did not have any affiliation with the State Society. In the next few years, Columbia County joined the Rensselaer County Chapter, Greene County joined the Albany County Chapter and Fulton and Montgomery Counties joined the Schenectady County Chapter.

As transportation improvements developed in the region, engineers working in Albany moved further out into the suburbs. Joint meetings of Albany, Rensselaer and Schenectady County Chapters were held, developing closer relations both socially and professionally among the engineers of the Capital District. Membership in the Rensselaer county Chapter remained small and in the early 70's, the Chapter deemed it expedient to combine with the Capital District Chapter, a recent name change from the Albany County Chapter. In 1974 the two Chapters combined.

In the early '80's, the Otsego Chapter, located west of the Capital District Chapter, was having organizational problems and recommended to the State Society that they be disbanded or absorbed. Of the three counties comprising the Otsego Chapter, the Capital District Chapter agreed to absorb the Schoharie County members into its Chapter. This occurred in 1985 when the Otsego Chapter was officially disbanded.

Water WitchThe licensing educational program of the Schenectady Chapter never developed a membership improvement among the industrial engineers of GE and the Chapter remained quite small. In the early 90's, Chapter activity ceased. In an effort to provide Society services to those engineers who were still members, the Capital District Chapter offered to absorb the Schenectady Chapter members. On June 11, 1994, the NYSSPE approved the merger of the two chapters, the name remaining as Capital District Chapter.