David B. Peterson, P.E., F.ASCE
Region 4 Director Nominee
Where will you be in 2025? By 2025 I hope we can look back over the first quarter of the 21st century with pride at all we accomplished as Civil Engineers. For the past thirty years, it has been my privilege to serve and protect the public as a Civil Engineer. My career has been significantly and positively enhanced by my membership in ASCE, from my student days until today. Our society’s Vision 2025 states, “Civil engineers will be entrusted by society to create a sustainable world and raise the global quality of life.” I wholeheartedly endorse this vision and have begun to work on its implementation. I would appreciate the honor of serving all the members in Region 4 over the next three years as your Region 4 Director.
I will focus my efforts to achieve Vision 2025 in three main areas: Raise the Bar, Infrastructure Investment and Para-Professional roles in the engineering office. For the past couple of years, as a member of the TCICS-2 (renamed the Raise the Bar committee) we have worked diligently at developing and implementing a detailed plan to pass legislation in a couple of states that would raise the bar for entry into the engineering profession. In order to realize the vision, the engineer of the future must be better prepared than engineers in the past. This initiative will really just maintain the bar for academic training; since the number of hours required to graduate with a bachelor’s degree has fallen from 150 to 120 hours at many universities over the past half a century. The model law will require a bachelor’s degree plus a master’s degree or 30 hours additional academic training prior to sitting for the PE exam. For our future as Master Builders, I pledge all of my energy to assist the Raise the Bar initiative across Region 4, the country and in my home state of North Carolina.
Infrastructure investment is a second key area of focus. Working in the transportation field designing bridges, I realize the need for investment in our nation’s infrastructure. That’s why I have participated in the ASCE Fly-In for many years, visited my congressman back home and serve as a key contact when important legislation comes up before Congress. Also, in North Carolina we have now published two North Carolina Infrastructure Report Cards and used them at our state’s Legislative Reception each year to lobby our state senators and representatives on the importance of infrastructure investment in North Carolina. Infrastructure investment creates jobs, improves our quality of life and maintains America’s edge in the global economy.
The role of the para-professional in the engineering office will need to be clearly defined in order to achieve the vision. We need to answer this important question: What responsibilities really require a professional engineer’s seal and what tasks could be performed without a PE in responsible charge? In the past fifty years many roles and responsibilities have changed within our profession. In addition, technological advances have brought more efficiency and challenges to our offices. We need the whole engineering team to be able to work effectively and efficiently together to protect the health, welfare and safety of the public on each and every project.
I look forward to achieving the 2025 Vision, by working diligently over the next three years on the tactics outlined in the Roadmap to achieve that vision. By working together Civil Engineers will be “entrusted by society to create a sustainable world and enhance the global quality of life.”