September 2009 Volume 34, Number 9
When a critical infrastructure system fails, as was the case during Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and in the collapse of the bridge carrying Interstate 35W over the Mississippi in Minneapolis, it can severely undermine the health, safety, and welfare of the public as well as the economy of a region or nation. We often discover that underlying the failure of these systems are fundamental problems having to do with planning, funding, design, construction, or operation. ASCE’s newly developed report Guiding Principles for the Nation’s Critical Infrastructure establishes a framework for assessing the effectiveness, adaptability, and resilience of critical infrastructure systems. For true change to be achieved, we must all embrace and adopt the principles set forth in the report. As the stewards of infrastructure, civil engineers can play a vital leadership role by promoting the principles to all stakeholders and working to implement the necessary changes. To begin, I ask you to read the report and its accompanying brochure, both of which may be downloaded at no cost from ASCE’s Web site - www.asce.org - and to begin thinking about how the recommendations affect your work. Next, invite a speaker to the next meeting of your section, branch, younger member forum, or student chapter so that you can discuss these principles and gain a better understanding of why they are important. To request a speaker, contact Laurie Hanson, ASCE’s executive assistant to the deputy executive director, via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. To encourage other stakeholders to adopt the principles, I also ask you to personally deliver copies of the report or brochure to the mayor, the city engineer, and the leaders of public works agencies in your area. Both the report and the brochure are designed to expound the principles and their importance to a nonengineering audience, an essential step in initiating the significant changes needed for long-term success. If we truly seek fundamental change in our efforts to safeguard the health, safety, and welfare of the public, we must all work together to raise public awareness.
The response to the 2009 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure demonstrates that the public is paying attention to this problem. As the stewards of those critical systems, it is our responsibility to ensure that the public understands the shortcomings besetting the nation’s infrastructure and what must be done to improve conditions. I am asking every section and branch to become involved in this effort by using the Report Card Outreach Toolkit, which will be distributed in October. This free resource provides all of the tools needed to start an infrastructure discussion in your community, including customizable PowerPoint presentations, an engineer’s guide to public presentations, and brief videos illustrating conditions in several infrastructure categories and showcasing solutions that have been adopted by certain communities around the country. Keep an eye on your mailbox and start thinking about the groups in your community with which you could discuss ASCE’s infrastructure assessment and the nation’s infrastructure crisis. If you have questions about how to get started or would like to receive an extra copy of the Report Card Outreach Toolkit, send an e-mail to email@example.com.
As a key supporter of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, ASCE helped garner $100 billion in stimulus funds for infrastructure. As projects came up for approval this spring, ASCE has kept members informed of major developments. Many recovery projects are now under way, and ASCE will continue to post updates on the act on the Society’s recovery Web page: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Jobs for Main Street Act .
Please note that several new podcast episodes in our series Insights are now posted at www.asce.org/insights . They feature Major General Don Riley, the deputy commanding general and deputy chief of engineers of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and James A. Rispoli, P.E., F.ASCE, an executive adviser at Booz Allen Hamilton, of McLean, Virginia, and the chair of ASCE’s Industry Leaders Council. General Riley discusses current challenges and opportunities facing the civil engineering profession and stresses the importance of visionary strategic leadership in promoting innovation in the industry. Ris-poli discusses the threats facing the civil engineering profession and the current opportunities in the area of infrastructure investment.
Nominations are being solicited for the 2010 O.H. Ammann Research Fellowship in Structural Engineering, which is bestowed annually on an ASCE member to encourage developments in structural design and construction. For more information or to download an application, visit O.H. Ammann Research Fellowship. Applications are due by November 1. This year’s fellowship was awarded to Taraka Ravi Shankar Mullapudi, S.M.ASCE, a doctoral candidate in the civil and environmental engineering department at the University of Houston.
The information technology department at the Society’s headquarters, in Reston, Virginia, has donated more than 90 pieces of software and licenses to the All Saints Catholic School, in Manassas, Virginia, on behalf of the civil engineering profession and the members of ASCE. The software and licenses were no longer needed by ASCE, and it was determined that they should be donated to such nonprofit entities as schools and churches. The school’s administrators were elated to receive the donation.
The sixth installment in ASCE’s Leader Education and Development (LEAD) program, an eight-month course designed to make engineering managers more effective as leaders, will begin on November 12 at ASCE’s headquarters, in Reston, Virginia. The program is designed to help participants communicate better, bring out the best in others, handle situations involving conflicts, and build trust with colleagues and clients. Past participants have given the program an average rating of 4.8 on a scale of 5. Those taking the course have found that they benefit greatly from the discussions, the faculty’s experience, and the time spent on improving their leadership skills and cultivating the skills of others. Participants earn up to 45 professional development hours or 4.5 continuing education units and come away with skills and insights that can pay dividends not only professionally but also personally. For more information about the course and to obtain details on benefits, dates, registration, and more, visit Leader Education and Development or e-mail Melissa Prelewicz, ASCE’s senior manager of professional practice, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you know a civil engineer who is 30 or younger and is already distinguishing himself or herself in the profession? I invite you to nominate that person to be among the National Engineers Week Foundation’s New Faces of Engineering program for 2010. ASCE will accept nominations through Monday, October 5. The program celebrates the accomplishments of our younger professionals. Representatives from 14 different disciplines within engineering will be selected for national recognition and will have their pictures and accompanying profiles included in a full-page advertisement that will run in USA Today during Engineers Week, which will be in February. Nominations collected by ASCE will be reviewed and considered for our own New Faces of Civil Engineering celebration for 2010. Ten nominees will be selected for recognition for their civil engineering contributions, and 1 of those 10 will be submitted for national recognition. ASCE and other engineering groups promote engineering by showcasing talented young professionals whose accomplishments are benefiting society in a tangible way. These engineers serve as compelling role models for engineering students as well as for high school students considering various career paths. For a nomination form or more information about the program, visit ASCE on Diversity.
In response to strong member demand, ASCE will significantly increase its webinar offerings this fall and winter. More than 125 webinars will be offered, and more than 40 of them will address new topics. The course titles include the following: Project Partnering; Curve Number and Vegetative Techniques to Manage Storm-Water Runoff Sustainably; Passive Solar Buildings; Engineered Rainwater Collection and Case Studies for Sustainable Water Management; Storm-Water BMPs; Wind Tunnel Modeling of Pressures for Cladding Design; Corrective Work in Steel Structures; LRFD for Geotechnical Engineering Features: Driven Piles and Drilled Shafts; An Introduction to the Facilities Planning Process; Geosynthetics and Their Applications; Engineered Rainwater Collection; and An Introduction to Fire Protection Engineering for Buildings. In addition to its many regular webinars, ASCE will continue its live P.E. exam review courses on the Web. Three review courses are available: for the P.E. Civil Exam, the P.E. Structural I Exam, and the P.E. Environmental Exam. ASCE’s P.E. Civil Exam review course now includes three sessions to assist those preparing for the afternoon depth portion exam. To access the calendar of fall and winter webinars or to obtain information about the exam review courses, visit ASCE Continuing Education or call (800) 548-2723.
ASCE members should have received something extra in their issue of Civil Engineering last month: the 2009–2010 Member Resource Guide. The guide will help you maximize your ASCE membership by serving as your map to career-enhancing opportunities. Inside you will find industry information, technical and practice area resources, networking and career resources, and more. If you did not receive your issue or if your copy did not contain a guide, please contact the customer service department by phone at (800) 548-ASCE (2723) or (703) 295-6300 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
As one year’s awards selection cycle ends, another begins. Please help ASCE continue to recognize those among us who represent the best in our profession. In particular, I invite you to nominate young researchers for the 2010 Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prizes. A Huber prize, which is conferred for research related to civil engineering, is often considered a career-making accolade. Preference is given to younger members, generally below the age of 40, whose early accomplishment promise fruitful careers in research. Nominations for the Huber prizes and for distinguished member status within ASCE are due by October 1. For more information or to access downloadable forms, visit www.asce.org/awards.
What is new for ASCE members in 2010? Keep an eye out for your 2010 ASCE membership renewal form, which was mailed to you on September 8. The debut of such programs as free electronic learning workshops, expanded mentoring opportunities, and the ASCE Enterprise Research Library Card are just some of the benefits you can look forward to in the coming year. And if you renew your membership before December 1, you can help your section reach the finish line first in ASCE’s “renewal race.” This year the small, medium, and large sections with the highest percentages of renewing members will each be awarded $1,250. For more information, visit www.asce.org/finishline. You must renew your membership for 2010 to participate in these new programs and contests. Renew today by mailing in your renewal form, by visiting www.asce.org/renewal, or by calling (800) 548-ASCE (2723) between 8 AM and 5 PM (eastern time) Monday through Friday.
As our annual conference—ASCE’s 139th Annual Civil Engineering Conference—draws near and you make your plans to attend, we would like to encourage you to participate in ASCE’s international program. This year the program will have as its theme “Investing in Sustainable Infrastructure for Economic Growth” and will comprise two sessions: a luncheon and roundtable discussion on October 30 and a dinner on October 31. We hope that you will attend and take this opportunity to network with civil engineers from around the world. Many of ASCE’s international partners will be there to exchange ideas and share their civil engineering experiences. Those who attend from outside the country look forward to networking with ASCE’s members and leaders. Another feature to keep in mind is a webinar on Sunday, November 1, entitled The Seven Qualities of Effective Leaders, which will be presented by Stuart Walesh, Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, Dist.M.ASCE.
—PATRICK J. NATALE, P.E., F.ASCE,