During the Past and Active Officers dinner at the ASCE annual conference in Charlotte, ASCE 2013 President Greg DiLoreto (center), pictured with his wife, Diane, and Executive Director Pat Natale, was presented with a collage commemorating highlights from his year in office.
As president of ASCE, Gregory E. DiLoreto, P.E., P.L.S., D.WRE, F.ASCE, had an opportunity earlier this year to hear President Obama speak to a small gathering in Jacksonville, Florida, where he talked about investing in America’s infrastructure. Using many of the same words, themes, and examples that DiLoreto used in his speeches around the country over the last 2 years, President Obama said that infrastructure investment is a key piece of his agenda with his Fix It First program.
“You cannot imagine how proud I felt to know that the President of the United States gets it and that ASCE played a major role in his understanding,” DiLoreto said in his farewell address as president of ASCE. DiLoreto delivered his remarks during the Opening Plenary of the Society’s 143rd Annual Civil Engineering Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina, on October 10.
“Thank you to the members of ASCE who have allowed me to serve as your president this past year. It has been one of my most memorable experiences and one that I will always cherish.”
In summing up the many accomplishments ASCE and the civil engineering community have achieved over the past year, DiLoreto told those in attendance, “I asked you to work with me to achieve ASCE’s strategic initiatives. Work with me to Raise the Bar. Work with me to innovate in designing and building more sustainably. Work with me to help rebuild our nation’s infrastructure. So how did we do? We made progress in all areas, some more than others.”
Starting with the release of the final Failure to Act report on January 15 and the 2013 Report Card on March 19, DiLoreto explained how ASCE has been able to raise the level of awareness of the need to invest in America’s infrastructure.
“We showed that by failing to invest – not spend, but invest – in America’s infrastructure, by 2020 this country could see a drop in our gross domestic product of $3.1 trillion,” he said. “We showed that by investing $200 billion per year over the next 8 years we could avoid that loss – a pretty good return on investment. We showed that by making this investment we could avoid a loss to each American family of $3,100 per year in household income.”
The 2013 Report Card, DiLoreto noted, gave America’s infrastructure a grade of D+, up slightly from the 2009 grade of D.
“Some have said, ‘Why do we still do the report card?’” DiLoreto informed the audience. “There are several reasons. [First], while the overall grade is low, the fact is that in six categories the grades improved. And the simple fact is those grades improved because investments were made.
“Second, the Report Card has clearly established ASCE as the authoritative ‘go to’ voice for our nation’s infrastructure.”
On the issue of sustainability, DiLoreto said that ASCE made great strides, as evidenced by the very first project verified using Envision, the sustainable infrastructure rating system created by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure. ASCE was one of 3 co-founders of ISI. The William Jack Hernandez Sports Fish Hatchery, in Alaska, received the Envision Gold project award.
“We showed our leadership in sustainability as the ASCE Foundation made changes to our headquarters building in Reston [Virginia] so it could earn a LEED Gold rating from the U.S. Green Building Council,” stressed DiLoreto.
Speaking to many groups of young engineering students throughout the year, DiLoreto recalled “the gleam and enthusiasm in [the] student’s eyes when I talk about sustainability and the role they will play in the future as they design civil engineering products incorporating the principles of sustainability. For many, it is the reason they want to become civil engineers.”
Raise the Bar and Other Accomplishments
DiLoreto also said progress has been made in ASCE’s Raise the Bar initiative.
“When I spoke with you a year ago [in Montreal, Canada] I had hoped we would have one state that would have adopted the model law and that has not been the case,” he says. [However], we have trained 40 Raise the Bar Champions and advocates who are the foundation of a new speaker’s bureau on the subject. Audiences in more than 43 locations around the country have heard about the importance of raising the bar from these newly trained champions.”
Other notable accomplishments DiLoreto listed over the past year included the international global strategy mission to Asia this past August.
“[The] ASCE brand is strong and widely recognized around the world,” he said of the mission. “This past year, I had the opportunity and was invited to visit a few countries where we met with leaders in industry, government, and education. The response was overwhelming; the desire to cooperate and collaborate is there. We have an opportunity to work with others as civil engineers to build a better quality of life for people around the world. I have seen how we are truly one world.”
DiLoreto concluded his farewell address by offering well wishes to his successor, Randy Over. “I know that he will take ASCE to the next level as we continue our progress towards the ASCE vision. And so, like the ending of our 160th anniversary year, it is not goodbye, I am merely moving on to other ASCE activities, thank you.”