Kristina L. Swallow, P.E., M.ASCE
Region 8 Director Nominee
Many years ago a mentor told me that leaders should not necessarily step in with a whole new vision and direction, but instead listen to the members, embrace their vision and use our individual talents and insight to light the path. The Society Vision is ‘Civil engineers are global leaders in building a better quality of life.’ As Region 8 Director I will work with ASCE members in Region 8, nationally, and internationally to achieve the Society’s vision.
My work experience, as a consultant in one of the most rapidly developed cities in the western United States and as a legislative assistant shaping federal transportation policy in Washington, DC, provides me with a unique perspective on the challenges at the local, state and federal levels. In this economy, our profession has been among the worst hit in many regions of the country. Our primary product, infrastructure, is funded through user fees in one form or another and raising those fees, to maintain what exists while also meeting the growing needs, is ever more difficult. As engineers we need to recognize and embrace the important societal role we play in helping to shape local, state and federal legislation that extends beyond just casting our votes on election day.
In Washington, DC, I learned that ASCE, as a whole, does an excellent job of telling the story. Through the national, state and local report cards, elected leaders are aware that our infrastructure is aging and funding is short. During the nearly three years I’ve been on the Hill, I heard from a number of advocates who were either for or against various transportation policies. Unfortunately, the discussion conspicuously lacked the perspective from individual civil engineers and one of my goals as the Region 8 Director will be to elevate the voice of our members. To achieve the ASCE vision we need to increase the number of engineers providing informed feedback to our elected officials at all levels on infrastructure related policies. In order to be ‘leaders in building a better quality of life’ we need to influence others to work with us in providing funding and policies appropriate to improve our built environment.
In addition to this primary focus in support of the ASCE vision, I will also work to advance the initiatives of the Region 8 and the Society boards already in progress. These include working with the Society as we continue to identify opportunities and challenges in our efforts Raise the Bar and in addressing sustainability throughout our communities.
My ASCE volunteer experience at the local, regional and society levels has introduced me to a broad cross section of our membership. I will work with the members and committees across this network to identify barriers to achieving the Society vision and develop appropriate solutions to be implemented at the member, Student Chapter, Younger Member Forum, Branch, Section, Region, Institute or Society levels.
I look forward to working with the members of Region 8 and the Society and lending my background and perspective as we continue our work towards improving our global status as leaders in building a better quality of life.