Oct 26 2011
Thank you so very much, civil engineering colleagues and fellow ASCE members, for the honor of serving as ASCE President this past year. It has been a truly remarkable experience. Maybe you recall that I set a mission for my year as ASCE President, one whose objectives fit an acronym – MOVE.
“M” is Members – the heart, head, life blood and soul of ASCE. When I first began my presidency, I further noted “M” is for the Momentum resulting from the direction and energetic work of my predecessors. As I traveled talking about our three strategic initiatives, Infrastructure, Sustainability and Raise the Bar, I emphasized the long term dedication and resources (plus see “E” below – engagement) needed to achieve our goals. I believe we have made progress on all three initiatives. Our momentum toward bringing our country’s infrastructure “Back from the Brink” accelerated in 2011 with events such as President Obama’s reference to our Report Card for America’s Infrastructure grade in his State of the Union address. The added prominence for our Report Card spread recognition and understanding of infrastructure from town hall meetings to verbatim quotes by legislators in Congressional hearings. By mid-summer, we furthered the discussion with the release of an economic study that showed the costly economic impact on households and businesses, and the nation’s gross domestic product, over the next 30 years.
The letter “O” has been all about “Opportunity,” specifically, the opportunity for civil engineers to emerge from tough political and economic times as leaders in the establishment of public policy, and as creators of innovative and sustainable infrastructure solutions. We took a big step forward on the progress of our sustainability initiative this year when ASCE joined APWA and ACEC as founding members of the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure. We are excited about ISI’s Envision™ sustainable infrastructure rating system that is nearing launch. This tool will allow civil engineers to demonstrate through certification how their infrastructure projects are meeting the standards of sustainability. ASCE also began offering the first in a series of courses that will result in certification for professionals, Fundamentals of Sustainable Engineering, now available online through the ASCE store. We’ve also enhanced the sustainability section of our website to include profiles of sustainable infrastructure projects, and we invite you to submit a project that exemplifies sustainability practices.
On the Presidential International Outreach trip, I witnessed “O” for Opportunity first hand. ASCE’s delegation traveled to Singapore, Bangladesh, and India. We marveled at civil engineering projects that combined technical excellence, aesthetically pleasing design and sustainable elements, and felt humbled at member meetings where they demonstrated their pride and devotion to ASCE. We witnessed the tremendous impact that civil engineers can have on individual quality of life. The almost overwhelming opportunity to serve humanity in the broadest terms was evident through participation in the World Justice Forum in Barcelona.
“V” is for Vision as in The Vision for Civil Engineering in 2025 and the companion piece, Achieving the Vision in 2025, both of which serve as beacons for civil engineering as it seeks to satisfying the shifting demands of the future. Because it is today’s K-12 audience who will be the civil engineers of 2025, I am very proud of the Outreach efforts our Society has made, from our expanded age-appropriate resources like ASCEville on our Web site, to all of you who go to schools and community events helping children and their families understand why civil engineers are important to society. I believe the seeds you plant are bearing fruit. As a judge at the Future Cities competition during Engineers Week, I saw great potential in the imaginative and innovative ways contestants built sustainability into their designs.
Finally, it is the “E” for Engagement that I mentioned most often in this past year. I am so grateful to each one of you for the time and effort you spend on behalf of ASCE emulating the best of civil engineering and spreading the message of the valuable work we do to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public. From coast to coast and literally around the world, I both challenged our members to engage and was privileged to engage with you in activities that MOVEd us closer to our Vision. The level of enthusiasm for our profession demonstrated by our younger members is thrilling and their use of technology like social media to spread the word about ASCE efforts grew greatly this year. Our student programs have grown in number and activity and engaging with our student members and leaders has only further fueled my passion for them. It has been satisfying to collaborate with the Institutes on several common initiatives. We must continually support the activities of our grassroots organization entities, as it is through local engagement that you prove that civil engineers do indeed make the world a better place.
During my year as president, I have met so many incredible civil engineers doing incredible things to enhance our world. What do you think about what has been accomplished and where we need to go? How do we help new President Andy Herrmann build on the momentum of the past year?
One last note – thanks for reading my blog, especially to everyone who felt strongly enough to comment. Please be sure to continue the conversation with Andy over at his blog, blogs.asce.org/president2012.