Seth P. Olsen, P.E., M.ASCE
Region 8 Governor
At a Southern Idaho Section meeting in 2008, I recognized two things:
- We, as civil engineers, can have an impact on public policy.
- There are benefits of membership for every ASCE member, regardless of location, experience, area of expertise, or interest.
At that time, I was given the opportunity to attend the ASCE Legislative Fly-In the following year. I went into the meeting wondering how I might benefit from ASCE, and left realizing that I could be involved in something larger than my own little engineering world.
That meeting began what would eventually lead me to chair the committee to develop the 2012 Report Card for Idaho’s Infrastructure.
Whether we like it or not, our work will always be tied to local, state, and federal agencies. Whether we’re following standards or waiting for funding, the influence is there. The question then becomes, what can we do as civil engineers to make an impact? In putting together the Report Card, I had the privilege to see how we can play a role in increasing awareness, not only with legislators and congressmen, but to the general public. We have a responsibility to get involved and freely offer our expertise when it comes to infrastructure initiatives. We can influence the public policy that affects our professional careers.
I think too few engineers are taking advantage of the myriad opportunities to grow, learn, and lead within the society. The Members Resource Guide – 101 Ways to Benefit from ASCE lists many of these opportunities. From publications and specifications to conferences and workshops, there is something for everyone. ASCE is similar to many organizations where the more you put in, the more you’ll get out. I don’t like hearing engineers complain about what little they get out of an organization, but yet are not willing to invest time, energy, or effort into maximizing their membership. I have been very fortunate to have opportunities within ASCE to grow, learn, and lead. I want to help other members have the same opportunities.
If given the privilege to serve as a Region 8 Governor, in addition to supporting the initiatives outlined above, I would strive to receive input from as many of the ASCE members within Region 8 as possible regarding what’s important to you. Communication is key. I would do what I can to help that voice be heard on a broader stage.