Senior leaders of ASCE were on hand for the first leadership training conference for Region 10 to be held outside the United States. With the theme “Honoring the Past, Challenging the Present, and Inspiring the Future,” the event was held in the Philippine capital, Manila, May 15–16. Members of Region 10’s Board of Governors had an opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with the presidents of international sections and groups and with the leaders of ASCE’s International Activities Committee. The participants gained a better understanding of the organization, operations, and benefits of ASCE.
According to Potenciano “Junn” Leoncio, Jr., P.E., M.ASCE, the principal associate of P.A. Leoncio, Jr. and Associates, of Quezon City, the Philippines, and the director of Region 10, which comprises the Society’s international sections and groups, the conference gave the leaders an opportunity to meet one another in person and to discuss ways of fostering collaboration. “When international members meet, they spark some sort of fellowship among themselves,” Leoncio says.
In previous years, international members were invited to the United States to attend the Society’s annual leadership training conferences. However, many of those invited were unable to attend because of prohibitive travel costs or difficulties in obtaining visas. Therefore, it was decided to move the venue abroad. According to Meggan Maughan-Brown, ASCE’s director of international relations and strategic planning, this change not only made it easier for international members to attend but also enabled them to focus on issues that loom large in their parts of the world.
Those attending the Manila conference included representatives from Thailand, Greece, Singapore, Italy, South Korea, and Costa Rica. (Japan could not be represented because of traveling restrictions imposed during the initial outbreak of the H1N1 flu pandemic.) Although Leoncio acknowledges that bringing together individuals with a variety of cultures, backgrounds, and beliefs is difficult, he says that “we operate under the same engineering principles, and it is not very difficult to establish a common base.”
A strategic planning session designed to help participants set goals for their region was led by David G. Leverenz, P.E., F.ASCE, a senior technical director of Parsons Transportation Group, of Miami, and the chair of the International Activities Committee. Alfredo H.S. Ang, Ph.D., P.E., S.E., Hon.M.ASCE, a professor emeritus at the University of California at Irvine, spoke on the goals set forth in the Society’s publication The Vision for Civil Engineering in 2025.
The participants also discussed a program that enables ASCE’s international sections and groups to form partnerships with sections and branches in the United States. (The program was introduced last year in Pittsburgh during the Society’s annual conference.) For example, the international group in the Philippines hopes to form partnerships with the Hawaii and Sacramento sections. According to Leoncio, the partnerships will foster the exchange of knowledge and experience and may also involve visiting speakers and student exchange programs.
A meeting held by the Region 10 Board of Governors at the conclusion of the conference was also attended by Leoncio; Tai Sik Lee, A.M.ASCE, a professor of civil engineering at Hanyang University, in South Korea; Albert Tak-Chung Yeung, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE, an associate professor of civil engineering at the University of Hong Kong; and William Bersing, P.E., M.ASCE, a senior program manager at the Trieste, Italy, offices of Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc.
In fact, the meeting was open to all those who had attended the training conference.
The next leadership training conference for Region 10 will be held this fall in Costa Rica and will bring together members from Central America, South America, and Canada. For more information about Region 10 and its conferences and programs, contact Meggan Maughan-Brown, ASCE’s director of international relations and strategic planning, at email@example.com or at (703) 295-6024.