Of the many roles I have enjoyed while serving ASCE at the local and national level, the most important is being an "active member." ASCE would not exist, nor hold such a paramount role in the civil engineering profession today, without its active members. Key to my vision for ASCE's future is to continually listen to our members in order to provide the services and programs that they value. This includes all ASCE members, no matter where they live, whether they are student members, institute members, active at the local and/or national level, or not active. This past year I attended the ASCE Board of Direction Meetings, a Technical Region Board of Governors Meeting, the Multi-Regional Leadership Conferences, and various Region Assembly Meetings; listening to and talking with ASCE members, finding out how ASCE is doing as an organization, what is working, and what should be changed. This formed the basis of my vision for ASCE - being the champion of our members, and the Civil Engineering profession's global leader.
ASCE provides our members with valuable leadership in setting the direction of the civil engineering profession as well as providing a single voice to co-professionals, policy makers, and the public. This unified leadership is essential for the growth and future success of our profession. ASCE's The Vision for Civil Engineering in 2025 is a great statement of our aspirations for our profession, and ASCE's Achieving the Vision for Civil Engineering in 2025: A Roadmap for the Profession provides a path for us to follow.
The valuable role played by ASCE is important not only to civil engineers in the United States but also to our global members and communities. In his book The World is Flat, Thomas Friedman points out how we are a global community. The civil engineering challenges we face today are global engineering issues. Recognizing this, ASCE has adjusted its focus to acknowledge that all of our members belong to a global network. I foresee that this will position ASCE as the preeminent leader of the civil engineering profession worldwide. To serve all our members, ASCE already has in place an excellent organizational structure to "Think Globally" through its Society and Institute Board activities, and to "Act Locally" through its Student Chapters, Institute Chapters, Sections, and Branches.
In recent times, civil engineers are sometimes considered as commodities rather than as professionals. A commodity implies there is no differentiation across the market for a service or product. We are professionals! It is our obligation to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the public. To differentiate ourselves from others who claim to be qualified to perform our work, we need to continually increase our education, knowledge, and expertise which is the foundation of our organization. ASCE has continually promoted continuing education to our members, and most jurisdictions in the United States now require continuing education to maintain licensure. ASCE's "Raise the Bar" initiative promotes the need for a Master's Degree or equivalent to be a licensed professional engineer. I prefer ASCE Past President Bob Stevens' name for the initiative, "Restore the Bar," because it more clearly reflects why more education is needed for our future civil engineers. At its meeting in August 2015, NCEES, an "organization dedicated to advancing professional licensure for engineers and surveyors," reaffirmed its support of ASCE's initiative by voting in favor of a position statement that requires additional education beyond the Bachelors for engineering licensure.
Sustainability is a key to upholding our quality of life. I had the privilege of serving on ASCE's Committee on Sustainability and witnessed the inception and development of the Envision rating system. Civil engineers are THE professionals who can maintain a healthy world to live in today, with ample resources for future generations. We need to think more holistically in our approach to sustainability, and not only think about the "built project." I foresee that sustainability will become so integrated into our education and thought processes that it will no longer be a separate topic for discussion.
Infrastructure renewal has been an ASCE priority for many years; yet more work needs to be done. We have made inroads with our policy makers through ASCE's editions of the Report Card for America's Infrastructure and our Failure to Act reports. A new Report Card is due out in 2017. ASCE must provide continued leadership to show the public and policy makers the need for infrastructure investment for our overall well-being, as well as how to achieve it. This involves tough conversations, such as the discussion of taxes. I believe that the talent and commitment of our membership will make a better world by serving as influential leaders in public policy. Convince the public, and you will convince the policy makers. We need to step-up our training opportunities and resources for our members to learn how, what, and where to speak to the public.
ASCE's long-term viability is another issue that requires ongoing attention. With the worldwide economic roller coaster over the past several years, ASCE has taken some financial hits. Electronic publishing is also presenting new financial challenges. Difficult decisions will need to be made over the next several years to remain financially sustainable, balancing income against members' professional needs and global concerns. ASCE's second largest net revenue is from membership dues. This brings us full circle to ASCE not being able to exist without its members. We need to focus on what our members want throughout their lives, and help them transition between the various stages of their life in ASCE and its Institutes.
ASCE has been an important part of my life since I was a student. ASCE is my second family; my husband and daughters can attest to that! As my family, I care deeply and passionately about the organization. As ASCE's President, I will do all I can to ensure ASCE's continued success, growth, and well-being, and increase our visibility and influence throughout the world.