Moving Forward in a Changed World
The year 2009 was particularly noteworthy for ASCE’s successful efforts to affect the broader national agenda on infrastructure improvement, one of our three strategic priorities. Great strides were also made in the other areas of our strategic focus: sustainability and competency. ASCE remained strong despite the impact of the economic downturn rippling throughout the globe. President Klotz's "ABC" mission – Advocacy, Benefits and Change – helped us concentrate our resources on the issues of greatest benefit to our profession and the public. In turn, these achievements allowed us to showcase civil engineers as leaders in society – both here and abroad. As we look ahead to 2010, we will broaden as well as deepen our commitments to our three strategic areas of competency, infrastructure and sustainability.
Our advocacy efforts were strengthened by the accelerated release of ASCE’s 2009 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure. Four years after publishing the previous Report Card, not much had changed except the political landscape. Recognizing the impact of the economic stimulus package put forth by President Obama and being debated on Capitol Hill, the 2009 Report Card was released two months ahead of schedule. Our members were interviewed on CNN and other national media, raising awareness throughout the country of the deplorable state of the nation’s infrastructure, and establishing ASCE as the expert on infrastructure. We also leveraged the combined voice of our membership by creating an infrastructure outreach toolkit for members who wanted to be more involved in advocacy at all levels of government and were interested in starting infrastructure discussions in their communities.
A renewed focus on the topic of sustainability led to the establishment of a Board-level committee to expand the Society’s emphasis on that issue. Our leadership in sustainable infrastructure dates back to its 1996 inclusion in our canon of ethics. Charged with gathering information on all the sustainability efforts within the Society, a working group sought to lay out the framework for a future in which ASCE would extend its leadership role in sustainability for engineering projects. Exploration of a sustainability rating system emerged as a key part of that future.
Heeding the effects of change in our profession is essential to maintaining the integrity of our Society and its value to our members. With the effect of rapidly changing technology and a world that has become more globally interdependent, we refocused and strengthened our efforts to raise the bar on educational requirements for future civil engineers. A clearer definition of what those additional educational requirements would entail was developed to share with other stakeholders.
Change in our membership profile was also the impetus behind the creation of a “No Wristwatch Committee.” Established to bring in younger members to discuss the role of ASCE in their careers, it helped us understand how to improve our offerings and the platforms we use to deliver information to our younger members. Refreshing and updating our flagship publication, Civil Engineering, and our website were identified as major organizational initiatives. We invested considerable resources in building a more nimble and robust platform to support member communications, engagement and networking far into our future.
Our Society is positioned strategically to make our profession a global leader in today's challenging world, and to take full advantage of tomorrow's opportunities. In partnership with our entire membership, ASCE will continue to be the “gold standard” of civil engineering.
D. Wayne Klotz, P.E., D.WRE, F.ASCE
2009 ASCE President
Patrick J. Natale, P.E., F.ASCE
Executive Director, ASCE