Making a Difference for Members
• Promoting Advocacy Via Activism
• Supporting the STEM Coalition
• Expanded Digital Communications
• ASCE Social Media Grows, Engages Members
• Disaster-Site Teams Help Enhance Preparedness
• Anniversaries Allow Reflection on Lessons Learned
• Nurturing Our Profession’s Future with Outreach
• Awards, Landmarks Celebrate Engineering
• Sharing Knowledge Globally
• Enhancing Civil Engineering Educators
• Publications, Continuing Education Provide Valuable Resources
The Society was extremely active this year on many fronts with programs and activities that not only provided members with opportunities for career growth and professional enrichment, but also served to enhance the civil engineering profession, both today and into the future.
This year, ASCE’s annual Legislative Fly-In brought 220 participants from 46 states to Washington, DC. With challenging economic times making their visit one of the most challenging ever, ASCE members spread out to convince the 112th Congress to make investments in infrastructure while weighing other policy priorities. Participants visited with nearly 300 Congressional offices to discuss transportation authorization, dam safety and rehabilitation legislation and the creation of a National Infrastructure Bank.
Advocacy efforts continued throughout the year through visits with legislators back home in local districts, and through writing messages and attending town hall meetings. ASCE members sent more than 3,000 messages to their elected officials. About 8,900 members stayed abreast of the issues through their involvement in the Key Contact program, receiving weekly news of national and state government activities as well as Key Alerts when action is needed on legislation critical to civil engineering.
Supporting the STEM Coalition
ASCE is a founding member of the expanded STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Education Coalition. The newly formalized Coalition took a larger role in advocating for the STEM components of K-12 education. As a member of the Coalition Leadership Council, ASCE and other coalition partners spent much of 2011 organizing the Coalition and crafting a legislative strategy.
Among the Coalition legislative activities: support for continued federal investment in the Department of Education’s Math and Science Partnerships Program, which received $150 million in the final FY2012 spending bill; working with the Senate on efforts to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and helping to craft key components of the bipartisan Harkin-Enzi HELP Committee draft bill related to STEM education; and helping kick start a debate among members of the House Education and Workforce Committee on the proper role of student performance in science in the ESEA’s accountability system.
Other activities included ASCE’s participation in the Coalition’s first ever STEM Conference and legislative fly-in. Additionally, ASCE joined with the Coalition in sponsoring a Capitol Hill briefing highlighting the National Academy of Sciences report Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads.
Expanded Digital Communications
ASCE’s Civil Engineering magazine unveiled both a new website and a new digital edition. The website, which launched in October, provides a compelling mix of fresh content in the form of a new feature and six new articles. The digital edition replicates the content published in the monthly print edition, but also provides such enhanced content as slideshows and videos.
ASCE continues to broaden its e-book initiatives to allow more mobile-friendly access. Google Editions launched with about 350 ASCE titles available for purchase and reading online. Other vendors actively selling digital ASCE content include ANSI, SAI Global, Compu.tecture, TechStreet and IHS, all of whom focus primarily on standards.
We continue to offer our members the latest news from the civil engineering profession through our alliance with SmartBrief. The subscriber base climbed 11,000 this year to reach a new total of 57,000 recipients.
Engaging Members in Social Media
We also saw steady growth in our engagement with our members and other interested stakeholders through social media this year. We grew to about 5,000 followers each on our ASCE Facebook page and on our Twitter channel, ASCETweets. Our most successful social media platform, LinkedIn, grew to about 33,000 ASCE group members. In conjunction with Engineers Week in February, we launched our new ASCE YouTube channel with video submissions of the New Faces of Civil Engineering candidates. By year end, we had more than 4,500 views on YouTube. We were also able to successfully utilize our social media and other digital channels to advertise a bookmark photo contest. We had about 50 photo submissions with the top 10 appearing in an album on our Facebook page. Fans were asked to vote on the top three, and more than 600 votes were cast.
Improving Disaster Preparedness
Civil engineers are at the forefront of efforts to minimize loss to life and property through preparedness and mitigation as part of our duty to protect the public. Civil engineers are also rebuilding and repairing the infrastructure of devastated communities. Visits to natural disaster sites enabled civil and structural engineers to assess damage to infrastructure. Members’ assessments and reports serve to inform standards development and increase awareness of natural as well as manmade hazards mitigation efforts.
After a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck Christchurch, New Zealand, in February, ASCE sent a team from the Structural Engineering Institute to assess the critical infrastructure damage. Two of the members who were there, a Distinguished Member who was coincidentally lecturing there about seismic forensics, and the president of SEI, recorded diaries that were posted on the ASCE website.
Following Japan’s devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami, ASCE sent five assessment teams and they too, recorded online diaries. A Structural Engineering Institute team focused on how its findings could be incorporated into the tsunami loading and effects provisions currently under development for incorporation into the next revision of the ASCE 7 Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures.
An ASCE Structural Engineering Institute reconnaissance team went to Joplin, MO, shortly after one of the most powerful tornadoes ever recorded in the United States ripped through the community on May 22. Members surveyed the damage and recorded their observations with photos and notes. Detailed summaries of their visit were also posted online.
Reflecting on Lessons Learned
“Structures are now designed to be more robust. Fireproofing of steel is more resilient. Cores of high rise buildings are stronger.”
- Francis J. Lombardi, P.E., Dist. M.ASCE
In 2011, ASCE marked the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and the 30th anniversary of the collapse of the Hyatt hotel skywalk in Kansas City with memorial Web pages featuring podcasts with civil engineering experts who were directly involved in each tragedy’s damage assessments. These experts shared their personal insights into the lessons learned personally and professionally.
Nurturing Our Profession’s Future
A new concept, Civil Engineering Clubs for high school students, was pilot tested by ASCE members at two high schools in New York. With special activities, promotional materials, ASCE resources and a new Go Civil! Web presence, the high school club initiative is intended to give students a glimpse of what it’s like to be a civil engineer and a part of the ASCE family.
During the Engineers Week Future City Competition held in Washington DC., ASCE President Kathy Caldwell awarded middle school students from St. John Lutheran School in Rochester, Michigan, with ASCE’s special Future City award – Most Innovative Design of Infrastructure Systems. Caldwell also volunteered at the Discover Engineering Family Day at the National Building Museum, an event that attracted 14,000 people, where she helped kids test their high rise building designs.
To enhance middle school outreach, two eLearning webinars were offered to introduce ASCE members to the Society’s educational partnership with the Salvadori Center. Programs developed by the Salvadori Center use principles of engineering and architecture to enhance math, science and humanities curricula, and match engineer mentors with participating schools.
Twenty-three ASCE student member teams competed at the 24th annual Concrete Canoe Competition, with Cal Poly San Luis Obispo taking the trophy for the second year in a row. 2011 also marked the 20th annual collegiate Steel Bridge Competition, won by a team from Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario. More than 550 participants cheered 48 teams in the finals.
Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award
ASCE annually recognizes an exemplary civil engineering project as the Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement. Established in 1960, this prestigious award honors a project from anywhere in the world that best illustrates superior civil engineering skills, as well as represents a significant contribution to civil engineering progress and society. Honoring an overall project rather than an individual, the award recognizes the contributions of many engineers.
In 2011, the Riverbank Filtration Tunnel and Pump Station (Louisville, KY) was the winner of the OCEA award. Other finalists included: Cowboys Stadium (Dallas TX), Incheon Bridge Project (Incheon City, Republic of Korea), Taum Sauk Upper Reservoir Rebuild Project (Annapolis, MO), and Dulles International Airport’s automated people mover, AeroLink (Dulles, VA).
2011 Outstanding Projects And Leaders Winners
Each year ASCE honors a select group of outstanding civil engineers with Outstanding Projects And Leaders lifetime achievement awards. In each of the five categories, the 2011 OPAL winners were: Construction – Kris R. Nielsen, Ph.D., J.D., M.ASCE; Design – William F. Baker, P.E., S.E., F.ASCE; Education – Col. Stephen J. Ressler, Ph.D., P.E., Dist.M.ASCE; Government – Joseph A. (Bud) Ahearn, P.E., Dist.M.ASCE, NAE, NAC, Maj. Gen.(Ret.); Management – Gregs Thomopulos, P.E., F.ASCE.
New Civil Engineering Landmarks Chosen
The Historic Civil Engineering Landmark Program recognizes historically significant local, national, and international civil engineering projects, structures, and sites. Honored in 2011 were the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway and Tunnel, Utah; Flight of Five Locks, New York State Barge Canal, New York; Petra, Jordan (International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark); Utica Memorial Auditorium, New York; Tacoma Narrows Bridges, Washington.
Sharing Knowledge Globally
In FY 2011, both the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering and the South African Civil Engineering Society endorsed The Vision for Civil Engineering in 2025. A first draft of an Arabic translation of The Vision for Civil Engineering in 2025 report was also completed through volunteer work done by ASCE group presidents from Jordan and Iraq.
The Environmental and Water Resources Institute, in partnership with the National University of Singapore, hosted its 4th International Perspective on Water Resources and the Environment conference in Singapore in January 2011. The conference, held at the university, attracted more than 240 participants.
Enhancing Civil Engineering Educators
Now in its 14th year, the Excellence in Civil Engineering Education Teaching Workshop has graduated more than 622 faculty from 218 institutions. ExCEEd is a six-day practicum that provides engineering educators with an opportunity to improve their teaching abilities.
Providing Valuable Resources
Among the myriad new publications offered in 2011 were the Journal of Nanomechanics, Guidelines for the Physical Security of Water Utilities (ASCE/EWRI 56-10), Guidelines for the Physical Security of Wastewater/Stormwater Utilities (ASCE/EWRI 57-10), Structural Applications of Steel Cables for Buildings (ASCE/SEI19-10), and a draft of the tsunami load provision of Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures (ASCE/SEI-7). New books include Green Streets and Highways 2010, Guidelines for Seismic Evaluation and Design of Petrochemical Facilities, and Indo-U.S. Forensic Practices.
ASCE members continued to take advantage of the Society’s continuing education offerings, with more than 270 live webinars conducted, of which 80 were new this year. In addition, many members benefitted from the Society launching online access to archived (recorded) webinars on more than 150 topics. Mindful of the economy, ASCE also offered a number of free eLearning webinars designed to help members develop critical career skills. The sessions covered topics such as Long Term Care, Professional Licensure, Effectively Engaging the Generations in the Workplace and How to Plan a Media Event.
Two of ASCE’s Institutes conducted first-ever conferences. Sustainability was the focus of the Transportation and Development Institute’s first Green Streets and Highways Conference. Members of the Coasts, Oceans, Ports and Rivers Institute traveled to Memphis for COPRI’s inaugural Congress.