Michael J. Wilhelm, P.E., M.ASCE
Region 8 Governor Nominee
Walt Disney once said, “Around here, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity leads us down new paths.”
I am interested in this position because I love being a Civil Engineer and I am curious. I discovered that Civil Engineering is about relationships early in my career. A few years ago, I wanted to do something new so I volunteered for an open position on the Truckee Meadows Branch (Reno, Nevada) Board of Directors. Giving something back to our profession keeps me moving forward.
Our profession has a technical side which we all learn in school and hopefully continue to advance and expand upon as professionals. It also has a personal side which is too often overlooked. In order to be successful as a Civil Engineer, it is necessary to build relationships with our coworkers and our clients/consultants. This aspect of Civil Engineering is not something that can be taught.
At the branch/section level, ASCE provides a forum for the development of professional relationships among individuals. As Branch President I worked to promote relationships at the next level, between the members and the community with the local ASCE organization. I envision my role as a Regional Governor taking this one step further, fostering the relationship between the branches/sections with the National Society.
Infrastructure advocacy and K-12 outreach are connected, and as a Regional Governor I will continue to promote both of these issues. Everyone in our profession understands the critical state of America’s infrastructure, and we know that failing to act will adversely affect America’s economy. In order to keep moving forward, as a nation, we need to move forward as a profession.
To improve the present, ASCE should start by educating the general public in our individual communities. They trust Civil Engineers and expect us to make informed decisions on their behalf. We have done well informing Congress, but we need to expand our audience and deliver our message at the grass-roots level.
To improve the future, it is critical for ASCE to communicate to the pre-college demographic that Civil Engineering is not strictly about fixing things. We need to promote the creative aspects of our profession early-on. We must tap into curiosity to move forward. Innovative solutions to America’s infrastructure crisis will come from the individuals we connect with at the pre-college level.