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Programs & Activities

2009 Annual Report -- Programs & Activities

Opportunities for Growth and Community

To enhance service to our members and the civil engineering profession, the Society in 2009 debuted a new structure to its programs and activities, dividing them into four key areas: Knowledge & Learning, Leadership & Management, Issues & Advocacy, and Membership & Community.  The Society's programs and activities in 2009 are organized below along these lines.    

Knowledge & Learning

Leadership in Engineering Journal coverAs a civil engineer, it is imperative that you have access to the industry’s newest trends, technical innovations, research facilities, as well as the most widely accessed repository of civil engineering knowledge. ASCE makes sure you have these tools readily available. Information you need to work at the highest level is available online, in person, or in print.  

The Publications Department launched a number of new products to sharpen our focus on providing member value.  Offerings include a Journal of Legal Affairs and Dispute Resolution, and a free downloadable desktop widget, ASCE Library Now.  The widget acts as a search window into ASCE's 600,000-page online archive of journal articles and proceedings papers.

Speed of member access to information was also the impetus behind a decision to make all accepted journal papers available online within 72 hours of receipt and several months before the final, copyedited and typeset version is published.

A number of improvements were made to make the format of Civil Engineering magazine more reader friendly, based on the recommendations of a special task committee. Subsequently, a permanent committee was appointed.   

ASCE's Continuing Education unit aggressively expanded its distance learning offerings, with a significant increase in webinars and the launch of 10 online, on-demand courses. Members embraced these cost-effective learning alternatives that expanded their skills, kept them current, and helped them satisfy Professional Engineer licensing requirements. The on-demand courses offer an experience comparable to attending a live seminar, with the added benefit of being able to attend at any time. 

So, You Live Behind a Levee! guide coverFilling a critical need for the public, as well as provide guidance to engineers who live in flood zones protected by levees, ASCE and its Geo-Institute assembled and issued the guide So, You Live Behind a Levee! What you should know to protect your home and loved ones from floods. Made available for free, the guide covers issues such as flood size and risk, signs of trouble, ways to reduce risk, and how to prepare for and respond to emergencies.

The Society moved forward on development of a standard for load resistance factor design of fiber reinforced polymer structures. Made possible by a grant from the American Composites Manufacturers Association, this standard will serve as an important design tool to help structural engineers and architects use fiber reinforced polymer composites in the design of building and transportation structures.

ASCE’s Construction Institute developed a training program for crane safety at construction sites. The project, funded by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Susan Harwood Training Grant Program, will educate project managers, project engineers, owners, and others with responsibility for the safe use of mobile cranes and lifting devices.

ASCE and its Environmental and Water Resources Institute secured a grant from the International Joint Commission to provide U.S. representation on independent review panels to review various tasks under the International Upper Great Lakes Study.

EWRI concluded the EPA-funded Water Infrastructure Security Enhancements project in early 2009. In partnership with the American Water Works Association and Water Environment Federation, the project resulted in a number of guidelines documents on physical security of water and wastewater facilities, along with training material and workshops, overview and awareness DVDs, and training webcasts.

To assist engineering firms in rebuilding infrastructure in Afghanistan, ASCE launched and completed a capacity-building project in collaboration with the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, Society of Afghan Engineers, and Kabul University.

President Klotz traveled with U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on a tour of flood protection systems in the Netherlands. In addition to learning about the technology, the trip helped burnish ASCE's reputation with the EPA and the senator as a trusted adviser.    

Leadership & Management

Today’s engineers possess skills beyond technical mastery—they are inspiring communicators that drive people, projects, and our society forward. ASCE sets and upholds critical civil engineering standards and showcases excellence through industry awards and recognition. Look to ASCE for the tools and exposure you need to become a complete civil engineer, ready to advance the integrity and impact of our profession.  

The ASCE Industry Leaders Council (ILC) was established in 2009 to engage senior leaders in industry, academia, government, and non-governmental organizations to identify tactical actions for ASCE and the civil engineering profession. The ILC serves as a strategic advisor in identifying emerging trends and developing strategies that promote innovation and strengthen project productivity, quality, and performance in the built and natural environment. The first ILC forum, held in Washington, D.C., provided valuable input on our infrastructure initiatives and other matters. The Council also conducted an insightful Industry Leaders Forum at our Annual Conference, and launched a monthly series of popular free podcasts, Insights, sharing perspectives from successful leaders with ASCE members.

Licensing/ethical guidance brochureTo assist students and younger members with the standards for licensure and ethical practices, ASCE produced a handy collection of advice, Guidance on Licensing and Ethical Responsibilities for Civil Engineers. The brochure explains licensing requirements in the United States, what it means to be a licensed engineer, reasons to pursue licensure, the importance of recognizing and resolving ethical issues, and ethical scenarios drawn from real-life situations.

Addressing the global problem of corruption, ASCE and the other 11 members of the Anti-Corruption Education and Training Initiative produced an ethics video, Ethicana, and a website of materials in support of the video. The video, portraying a fictional scenario of corruption and bribery plaguing an infrastructure project in a Third World country, highlights problems and solutions. 

As a member of the Emerging Leaders Alliance formed in 2008, ASCE sponsored a leader skills development program in October for younger engineers. The Alliance includes the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, American Society of Mechanical Engineers and American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

Issues & Advocacy

As the principal champion for our profession, ASCE’s role as the safeguard for the nation’s infrastructure is one we take very seriously. We work constantly to inform and educate the public and lawmakers about key civil engineering issues and give you the opportunity to ensure that your opinion, and the voice of the profession is heard.  

ASCE helped make the case for government action in a number of areas. Among them, the Society supported passage of the Water Quality Investment Act, a bill that would begin the long-delayed effort to rebuild America’s aging wastewater infrastructure by capitalizing Clean Water State Revolving Funds. The bill required any state or local government agency receiving such funds for wastewater infrastructure projects to employ architects and engineers.  

Based on needs identified in the Report Card, the Society worked with Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) for more than two years to draft legislation to establish a federal trust fund for wastewater and drinking-water infrastructure projects funded under the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act. The Water Protection and Reinvestment Act was introduced in July.

After Hurricane Ike dealt a blow to a large swath of coastal Texas and Louisiana on September 13, the Coasts, Oceans, Ports and Rivers Institute assembled a team that went to the region to survey, examine, document and report the storm's effects on landforms, structures, infrastructure, marinas and ports. 

ASCEville webpageASCE’s middle and high school outreach efforts saw a vast expansion in 2009. Among the more vibrant and engaging resources launched was ASCEville, a multimedia website about civil engineering for children in grades 3–7.  Designed to be fun and interactive, ASCEville includes background on civil engineering specialties, and challenging games and activities, The site also includes resources for parents, teachers and engineers, with numerous links to exciting educational materials adults can use to inspire the next generation of civil engineers. 

Past ASCE president, Pat Galloway co-hosted a webinar, Effectively Communicating about Engineering Careers to High School Girls. Created in 2009, Career Fair-in-a-Box is a traveling kit providing posters, fliers, brochures and a colorful exhibit perfect for middle and high school career fairs.  Once again, the Steel Bridge Contest and our Concrete Canoe competition provided college and university teams with a challenging forum to apply the technical ability, ingenuity, teamwork and dedication students will need as professionals in their careers. 

For details on our three key strategic initiatives, turn to this report's sections on infrastructure, sustainability and competency.

Membership & Community 

ASCE logo with attributesConnect to your fellow ASCE members to stay in touch with the world's premiere network of civil engineers. Your bond with ASCE goes beyond professional relationships — it’s personal, too. You can excite the next generation of engineers or reach out to developing economies. Work with the ASCE community to illuminate the purpose of our work.  

After extensive research into the attributes ASCE members and the public saw in our Society, we reorganized our products and services into the four subbrands used in this section, under the umbrella of a new ASCE logo. These changes were implemented across our print publications and in a refreshing of our website in September.

The attributes that guided this process are:

Enduring -   -    Trusted     -   - Responsible    

 Expert    -   

- Professional -  

-     Leader      

ASCE began use of a new association management system at the start of the fiscal year. Under President Klotz's guidance, the Society overcame some difficulties in implementation of the complex software and began reaping the benefits of the system's enhanced services.  

Development of an all-new website for the Society advanced toward a launch in spring 2010. Based on the status of its progress, the Society found that it was able to save $1 million from what had been budgeted.    

Sensitive to our members' needs, we provided extra resources to help them through this difficult economic time.  A comprehensive new section of our website, Survive and Thrive in a Challenging Economy, showcases ASCE products and offerings to help engineers at every career stage succeed in this tough economy.  This page provides information on networking, awards and affordable educational opportunities.

To encourage members to share their knowledge and experience with the younger generation of engineers, a Mentoring website was launched, including an online tool, eCareerMentor. Upon launch, more than 80 members signed up to be mentors

To protect ASCE Presidential-level officers from ethics complaints when they are acting in good faith on behalf of the Society, a new level of protection was added to the ASCE bylaws. 

The Society continued to enhance the value of ASCE membership with expanded benefits. In January, we introduced exclusive FedEx shipping discounts, and members eagerly took advantage. Highly pleased with the new partnership, FedEx reported that ASCE outperformed all of their expectations. In October, this was expanded to include discounts for services at FedEx/Kinko's locations.  

Although the "A" in ASCE stands for American, we embrace our active international membership. Our international program at the Annual Conference in Pittsburgh drew attendees from more than 20 countries. ASCE took part in international conferences and other efforts to promote our civil engineering ideals. Our executive leadership traveled to Portugal, Korea, Japan, Mexico and Brazil. President Klotz offered presentations at the Pan-American Union of Engineers conference and the World Engineers' Conference, both in Brasilia.  

The year also marked the first meeting of ASCE members of Region 10, the region that encompasses civil engineers outside of the United States.