Garland P. Rose, Jr., P.E., D.WRE, F.ASCE
Q&A with Committee on Younger Members
Responses to Interview Questions:
1. What best qualifies you to serve as ASCE’s president?
My leadership roles of increasing responsibility in service to my employer and ASCE over 30 years have provided me invaluable experience in working with diverse people, understanding their wants and needs, and relating to them on a personal level. By working to understand issues, I have strived to communicate clearly and openly to build trust and respect at all levels.
2. What are the three greatest challenges facing civil engineers of the 21st century and how do you think ASCE can help them address those challenges?
Broadly, three challenges are: (1) years of deferred investment at National, State and Local levels for infrastructure improvements and maintenance; (2) civil engineering workforce development; and (3) improving energy and material efficiency, simply put, enough for everyone forever. ASCE is helping to address these challenges respectively through three strategic initiatives: Infrastructure--use of National and state report cards and contact with elected officials; Raise the Bar--promoting a commitment to engineering excellence and enhanced leadership skills; and Sustainability--defined as “a set of environmental, economic, and social conditions in which all of society has the capacity and opportunity to maintain and improve its quality of life indefinitely, without degrading the quantity, quality or the availability of natural, economic, and social issues”.
3. What are the three greatest challenges facing ASCE during the 21st century and how should ASCE address them?
I believe three challenges are: (1) Growth of dues paying membership; (2) more engagement of the membership; and (3) making best use of limited resources. With a growing segment of Life Members, who pay no dues, attraction and retention of new segments of members, starting with recent graduates, should be emphasized. Provide access to technical programs and information that will improve employment skills and career development. Broader engagement of members at the branches, younger member committees, and local institute chapters should be encouraged to satisfy growth of technical and leadership potential. The Board must continually review areas of the Society that are underperforming and direct that appropriate changes be made.
4. What do you see as ASCE’s greatest strength(s)?
I believe there are several strengths: our diverse membership of all ages and backgrounds; the dedicated, talented staff who work in support of the members and organization; a brand name that is trusted. ASCE is well respected, nationally and internationally, and positioned to provide leadership in initiatives to advance the profession.
5. How can this strength or strengths be optimized?
These strengths can be optimized through effective, open communication and buy-in of all parties to build confidence and trust. Collaboration between local leaders, committees, Institutes, and the Board of Direction must be continually facilitated.
6. What do you believe should be ASCE’s primary focus in the year ahead?
I believe ASCE should maintain its focus on the three-pronged initiatives of Infrastructure, Sustainability, and Raise the Bar in the year ahead. Resources of funds, materials, and membership training have been committed to make progress and improve communication between the membership and public. Economic development is a common thread that weaves the initiatives together for the betterment of our profession.
7. What do you see as ASCE’s primary challenges in the year ahead?
Again, growth of dues paying members, more engagement of members, and making best use of limited resources cannot be over-emphasized and must be continually addressed by leadership.
8. What do you hope to accomplish in the year ahead?
The unique role of the President-elect has traditionally focused on meeting with the membership across the country and making committee appointments. I hope to participate in as many local and regional meetings as possible to get more contact with members, provide two-way communication with the membership, and offer a channel of contact with the National leadership.
9. How can ASCE strengthen its ties to members?
Focus on clear and timely communications and interaction between the geographic units, Institutes, and National. We are often placed in the position of working with someone for the first time, without proven and tried relationships. This can lead to misunderstandings that require more time than is available to resolve if issues arise. While perfection is out of the question, relationships based on shared values and respect will lead to accomplishments and personal satisfaction.
10. What can ASCE do to draw more people into the profession, especially more women and more members of minority groups?
Outreach by the local geographic units and Institutes is needed, with the support and resources of materials from National ASCE. Again, the outreach can start with recent graduates, women and men, and former members who have dropped out. People will join and participate in organizations they deem to be a value and with other people whom they trust and have a relationship. We need to review recommendations of former task committees and determine if the recommendations were attempted and implemented. If the approach works for one segment of potential members, the approach can be expanded or modified as necessary for other segments, including women, minorities, and international groups. ASCE needs to be one family.
11. What do you think is the single most important objective the civil engineering profession must achieve within the next five years?
The profession is dependent upon the availability of funding for implementation of the built environment. Development of new and unconventional methods, such as public-private partnerships, can serve to stimulate funding for infrastructure development. ASCE’s Industry Leaders Council can be a resource for ideas and approaches.
12. What do you believe is the single most important objective ASCE must achieve within the next five years?
The Society’s focus on sustainable infrastructure achieves an outcome of economic development because of the return on investment by the owners and the learning experiences of new technologies applied by the Civil Engineering community. This helps the image of the Civil Engineer and promotes the concept of entrusting the Civil Engineer to create a sustainable world and improve the quality of life.
13. What should ASCE’s role be in influencing public policy?
I strongly believe ASCE members should strive to build relationships with elected and public officials at local, state, and national levels. These relationships often take time to develop and are based on honest, fact-based information and mutual respect. ASCE’s policies are formulated by knowledgeable member committees with the assistance of staff experienced in the public arena. Where possible, members should be encouraged to serve in elected or appointed public offices to demonstrate skill for problem solving.
14. In specific actions, how can ASCE build on our 3 strategic Initiatives: a) Raise the Bar, b) Infrastructure, and c) Sustainability?
For Raise the Bar, ASCE needs to build coalitions with supporting organizations, talk with Deans to gain their support, and better communicate with ASCE members to ensure their understanding and support. Our State Government Affairs program can work with state boards and legislatures to garner support. For Infrastructure, updating the National and various state report cards and emphasis on economic development are important. The “Failure to Act” reports for transportation and water need to be made known to officials and the public, along with other reports when they become available. For Sustainability, continued information and training, especially for the new rating system, need to be presented to the membership and owners.
15. What can ASCE do to strengthen participation from younger members and ensure that they remain engaged with ASCE throughout their careers?
Provide opportunities for younger members to participate in the planning of activities at local, regional, and national meetings. Younger members are typically interested in activities featuring leadership development, soft-skill training, networking opportunities, student interaction, and exposure to the leadership of ASCE. Providing and encouraging these activities greatly enhance the younger members’ loyalty to ASCE and their desire to seek leadership roles.
Q&A with Committee on Younger Members