Climate change, redefining the civil engineering team, and an investment in Society volunteer activities were among the many key issues the ASCE Board of Direction addressed at its quarterly meeting, July 22-23, held as a hybrid event, virtually and in Reston, Virginia.
Staying ahead of the curve
The board approved a set of recommendations from the Industry Leaders Council that will keep ASCE codes and standards at the forefront of mitigating the risks to infrastructure from a changing climate.
Among the key actions is a report the Codes and Standards Committee will assemble for the October board meeting, detailing a priority list of various ASCE manuals and standards to further incorporate climate data.
"It is broadly recognized that we all must find ways of mitigating our changing climate," said ASCE President Dennis Truax. "In doing this, ASCE remains the international resource for environmentally responsive technical resources in all areas of our field."
Additionally, ASCE took a step toward a more expansive definition of the civil engineering team. The board received the final report from the Task Committee on Building the Civil Engineering Team and directed the recommendations to staff, institutes, and committees for evaluation ahead of the January 2023 board meeting.
The recommendations, citing an increased labor crunch in the industry, would extend member services and engagement to those with technical and associate degrees who work alongside civil engineers on projects.
And in another move aimed at adapting to changing times, ASCE Publications will launch its first fully open access journal in 2023 (the call for submissions opens in January). With the open access model growing in popularity, the new journal better positions ASCE to support those authors whose funding mandates publication in a fully open-access forum. ASCE Publications has assembled an open access advisory council, including several ASCE journal editors, to help guide the launch. An open call for chief editor applications also is underway.
The board approved the fiscal year 2023 capital, operating, and institute budgets.
As part of the budget process, the board voted to approve a $10 member dues increase; the increase is $5 for those members who are 28 years or younger on Jan. 1 of the dues year. It marks the first Society dues increase in five years and remains well below the current inflation rate.
Recognizing the needs and economic impacts on volunteers, the 2023 budgets also feature significant investments in member activities – including additional money to help send younger members from Region 10 to Multi-Region Leadership Conferences and an increase in member travel per diem from $135 to $175.
The board approved a handful of key appointments for its upcoming year: Rossana G. D’Antonio, P.E., G.E., F.ASCE – at-large director (2022-25); Marsha D. Anderson Bomar, F.ASCE – treasurer (FY 2023); and Edward W. Stafford, P.E., PTOE, F.ASCE – assistant treasurer (FY 2023).
Future World Vision on the big screen
The board received an update on the Future World Vision project just a week after filming began in Amsterdam for the new ASCE giant-screen film drawing upon the Future World Vision research and platform. Cities of the Future, produced by the same MacGillivray Freeman Films team that made Dream Big, is scheduled to debut in the fall of 2023, with a planned set of museum forums connecting the public, community leaders, and elected officials with civil engineers to share their ideas about the cities of the future.
Supporting life members
The board received the final report from the Task Committee on Life Member Involvement, which included recommendations for adjusted criteria and benefits that would affect those members who become life members in 2028 and beyond. The board will consider any changes on first reading at its October meeting.
"There are generally two broad reasons a person joins ASCE: personal value gained and support of the profession," Truax said. "The current model for us life members continues to provide opportunities for us to secure personal value, but the opportunities to support others are largely limited to volunteer activities and contributions to the ASCE Foundation. These servant leader opportunities are important, and I invite my fellow life members to stay involved. You are an important part of our Society, and your wisdom is a valued resource."
ASCE has scheduled information webinars: “Task Committee Proposed Life Member Changes: Legacy Life” – 3:30 p.m. EDT, Monday, Aug. 29; and “Task Committee Proposed Life Member Changes: Soon-to-be-Life Members” – 1:30 p.m. EDT, Tuesday, Aug. 30.
- The board provided feedback on a framework for a new organizational strategic plan. The Board Strategic Advisory Committee will continue its work and present a final draft for board approval at the October meeting.
- The board adopted updates to 41 of the 172 existing ASCE public policy statements. Of note, the Board adopted PS 568 Fulfilling the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge for Responsible Charge of Civil Engineering to replace the old PS 465, which was retired. The policy expresses ASCE’s support for the attainment of the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge as a requirement for exercising responsible charge in the practice of civil engineering.
- The board took another step toward incorporating the ASCE Foundation into the Society proper, approving on first reading the necessary amendment to the bylaws. The board will consider second reading at the October meeting, along with the corresponding amendments to the rules of policy and procedure that would establish the ASCE Foundation Board as a standing board committee.
- The board discussed a proposal that would move the Committee on Technical Advancement into the Technical Region and will consider the change on first reading at the October meeting.
- The ASCE Innovation Contest will have new oversight after being developed and helmed by the Society’s Industry Leaders Council during the last five years. The board directed staff and the Technical Region Board of Governors to develop a transition plan for the TRBG to run the contest starting in 2023.
- Civil Engineering Certification Inc. delivered a progress report, having been charged by the board at its March meeting to develop a comprehensive strategic plan with metrics and budget requests. The final report is scheduled for consideration at the October meeting.