The positive momentum started last November with the bipartisan infrastructure law. And as ASCE members gathered on Capitol Hill last week for a series of advocacy events, including the annual legislative fly-in, the good vibes and sense of accomplishment carried into the weekend’s Society board of direction meeting.
As noted by the Public Policy and Practice Committee Chair Marsia Geldert-Murphey at the meeting, the bipartisan infrastructure law’s $1.2 trillion investment addresses 43 recommendations from the 2021 ASCE Report Card on America’s Infrastructure in all 17 report card categories.
Meanwhile, ASCE launched its new Infrastructure Roundtable Series last week in Washington, D.C., with an impressive collection of public-sector decision-makers and industry leaders – including U.S. Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary Polly Trottenberg – discussing ways to implement the money dispersed by the bipartisan infrastructure law so that it delivers tangible infrastructure improvements. The series will deepen relationships between the Society and companies on the periphery of civil engineering, such as those in the manufacturing and technology spaces.
“It is increasingly obvious that ASCE has established itself in all sectors as the honest broker in the conversation about 21st-century infrastructure,” said ASCE President Dennis Truax. “With the implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, we’re developing increasingly strong alliances with agencies and industry to ensure the investment of federal dollars is made wisely and responsibly.”
The ASCE Legislative Fly-In drew more than 225 participants, most of them in person, last week to the Capitol for congressional visits. The event’s excitement clearly filtered into the board, which received updates on the various government-relations activities, while discussing ways to further build member value around the bipartisan infrastructure law.
“Each member of our Society should take pride and ownership in the success we’ve had in reshaping the conversation on infrastructure,” Truax said. “Our recent successes are the result of over two decades of focused, relentless, honest, professional effort by our volunteers and ASCE staff to impress upon legislators just how important modern infrastructure is for the social economics of our country.”
New cybersecurity policy
Also during the meeting, the board approved one new policy statement: PS 565 Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security, which makes recommendations for infrastructure owners on actions to avoid disruption and preserve public safety. Additionally, the board approved revised versions of PS 524 Advanced Credentialing Within the Civil Engineering Profession and PS 535 Defining the Civil Engineering Team. All policies are available here.
The Task Committee to Review Organizational Efficiency presented the board last summer with 26 recommendations for removing any overlap or duplication in the organization’s operations and funding and those recommendations were moved to staff for review. During the past 10 months, staff worked with volunteers to consider those recommendations, with three now marked as complete, two not recommended, and 21 in progress.
In a similar move geared toward optimizing efficiency and elevating philanthropy, the board voted to endorse a decision by the ASCE Foundation to combine its corporate operations with ASCE. It also authorized Executive Director Tom Smith to sign any documents necessary to affect that transfer. The ASCE Foundation will continue its work as the Society’s fundraising wing, under the same name, with its board of directors reporting to the ASCE Board of Direction.
“This change reduces operating costs, while elevating philanthropy throughout ASCE and continuing to provide the generous philanthropic support of ASCE members to further the education, science, and professional development missions of ASCE,” Truax said.
- The board, having received a report from the Task Committee to Resolve Certification, voted to direct Civil Engineering Certification Inc. – the entity that oversees the Society’s certification program – to present a strategic plan at the October board meeting with metrics and corresponding budget request outlining its intended actions to ensure continuous improvement and future growth of the program so that it becomes self-sufficient. CEC is also to consult with the Committee on Younger Members on aspects of certification that would meet the needs of early-career professionals.
- The Committee on Claims Reduction Management updated the board, including outlining its six focus areas. The committee is collaborating with the Design-Build Institute of America for a design-build workshop in May at ASCE headquarters.
- The board received an update on Future World Vision’s next phase, which began Feb. 22 with the launch of an immersive Mega City 2070 desktop app, a new website, and a kickoff webinar that drew more than 600 attendees from around the world.