It promises to be the best of all possible worlds.

The Society’s flagship event, the ASCE 2021 Convention, will once again deliver enlightening, even entertaining activities and events built around celebrating the greatness of civil engineering overall. This includes a closing speaker who will take attendees to Mars and back.

And this year, the virtual gathering is bringing more useful technical knowledge to the table with what ASCE is calling Tech Talks, a six-week series conducted by ASCE’s institutes and technical divisions that will kick off during the convention. Tech Talks is included with convention registration.

As was the case last year, the ASCE Convention is coming to participants instead of the other way around. The event happens Oct. 6-8, but the Tech Talks will be weekly. While it’s hard to replicate some in-person activities, the online format will include virtual networking events.

Built on the success of last year’s Virtual Technical Conference, Tech Talks will be geared to multidisciplinary topics, from smart building solutions to objective resilience and then some. Organized and led by top technical global leaders, Tech Talks will be conducted on an innovative, interactive platform. Participants will be able to advance their knowledge in their specialty, gain insights from advances in other disciplines, and earn as many as 15.5 PDHs toward license renewal.

Objective resilience is among the first topics of the Tech Talks and will be organized by the Engineering Mechanics Institute the week of the convention. Attendees will learn practical applications drawn from an upcoming, extensive four-volume manual of practice on the subject.

The manual of practice “is a major initiative led by the chair of the EMI Objective Resilience Committee, Mohammed Ettouney, Ph.D., P.E., F.AEI, Dist.M.ASCE, that started in 2015,” said EMI’s staff director Amar Chaker. The “massive document will be published as four separate, free-standing books, focusing on policies and strategies; objective processes; technology; and applications.”

The potential PDHs possible from Tech Talks will come on top of the 8.5 PDHs that can be earned in convention sessions. Before the convention, attendees can take part in what is being called an Innovation Bootcamp, which will teach you how to build collaborative teams that fuel innovation-oriented firms and capitalize on pioneering products and services.

After convention participants’ minds are filled with new approaches, the closing keynote speaker will take them for a ride aboard the Mars Perseverance Rover. Moogega “Moo” Cooper, Ph.D., is part of the crew at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory that helped the rover set down successfully on the Red Planet in February.