January 31, 2020
Engineering emeritus professor named to national post
Tom C. Roberts, assistant dean emeritus of Carl R. Ice College of Engineering, has been appointed by the National Society of Professional Engineers, or NSPE, to serve a three-year term as representative to the ABET board of delegates and area delegate to Applied Natural Sciences and Engineering Technology.
Voting members of the ABET board of delegates represent the interest of their Member Society, serve as a communication link between ABET and the society, and provide input to the strategic planning process. ABET — formerly the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. — is a nonprofit, non-governmental agency that accredits programs in applied and natural science, computing, engineering and engineering technology. ABET accreditation provides assurance that a college or university program meets the quality standards of the profession for which that program prepares graduates.
Roberts served as NSPE president in 2017-18. During his term on the board of directors, NSPE developed and implemented a new membership model and created an updated strategic plan. He also interacted with state and congressional delegations regarding a wide-range of engineering licensure issues including qualification-based selection, autonomous vehicles, and pipeline safety.
NSPE was established in 1934 to realize a simple but vital goal: create an inclusive, nontechnical organization dedicated to the interests of licensed professional engineers, regardless of practice area, that would protect engineers — and the public — from unqualified practitioners, build public recognition for the profession, and stand against unethical practices.
Roberts has more than 40 years' experience in planning, organizational development, and leadership training programs. He worked for Black & Veatch for 16 years — including 11 years in human resources. He formed Upward Consulting in 1989 and has served as a continuous quality improvement consultant for many manufacturing and service companies and educational institutions. He has presented information on systems thinking, professional development and our changing society to a wide variety of national audiences.
For 21 years at Kansas State University Roberts was responsible for engineering recruitment and leadership development. He is currently a facilitator in K-State's Global Campus Executive Coach program.
As a 40-year member of NSPE, Roberts has held, and continues to hold, numerous volunteer leadership positions including past president Kansas Society of Professional Engineers, vice president of the Engineers Foundation of Kansas and member of the Government Relations Committee. He is a past chair of NSPE's Professional Engineers in Higher Education and in 2010 was named an NSPE Fellow.
Roberts holds bachelor's and master's degrees in nuclear engineering from K-State and has been a licensed professional engineer since 1976.