ASCE set several significant projects in motion during 2023, aligned with the Society’s new strategic plan.

And with 2024 well underway, the ASCE Board of Direction received progress reports on those projects during its March meeting, pointing toward a more effective and efficient organization.

“We can never be satisfied that the way we have always done anything is still the most successful method,” said ASCE President Marsia Geldert-Murphey. “We are a science-based profession; we question everything to improve our solutions.”

Cities of the Future

ASCE’s new film for giant screens, Cities of the Future, launched in select cities Feb. 16 during Engineers Week. Produced with MacGillivray Freeman Films – the same team behind 2017’s Dream Big: Engineering Our World – the movie is a potential gamechanger in ASCE’s efforts to attract more precollege students to the profession.

“When I was 3 years old, my dad took a picture of me in our front yard holding the Los Angeles Times newspaper with the headline, “Men Land on Moon,’” Geldert-Murphey said. “My dad basically lit a candle of hope for me from that point forward. He focused my attention on what is possible, and that is what Cities of the Future is – a beacon of hope for the amazing things upcoming generations can realize.”

Cities of the Future will receive the full Hollywood red-carpet treatment with a gala premiere April 3 at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. ASCE members around the country have already hosted their own launch parties, connecting the film with students in their communities.

“This movie is intended to unlock curiosity and inquisitiveness about what is possible in the future,” Geldert-Murphey said. “It encourages everyone who has the potential to change the world to know that they can do so as civil engineers.”

Civil Engineering Certification

ASCE began its Civil Engineering Certification board-certified specialty credential last year, and CEC President Jim Marino reported to the board on the program’s continued progress.

Working with the Utility Engineering and Surveying Institute, CEC is developing the first written exam-based certification in pipeline engineering–water. ASCE has also partnered with Certiverse for exam development and delivery support of a web-based exam for the Board-Certified Pipeline Engineer–Water (or BC.PLW) credential. CEC hopes to launch this program later in 2024 with plans to add more specialty disciplines soon.

Grants and standards

ASCE took major steps toward advancing the Society’s mission while also enhancingrevenue growth last summer when the board approved new offices for developing new technical codes and standards as well as for pursuing grants. Both offices have taken shape quickly.

In another move toward elevating the emphasis on codes and standards, the board  voted at its March meeting to move the Codes and Standards Committee in the organizational structure so that it reports directly to the board.

Meanwhile, the board also received updates on the grants and contracts office, which is filling its staff roles, including a new director of grants and contracts Claudia Galdamez, who was on hand to be introduced to the board.

The office is off to a good start with current agreements in place with the Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command for the resilience of Navy waterfront facilities and with the National Institute of Standards and Technology for tornado hazard research. 

ASCE continues to build relationships with federal agencies, including those who spoke at the ASCE Legislative Fly-In: the Federal Emergency Management Agency, NIST, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In addition to relationship building, The grants and contracts is working with various staff and departments to identify programs and projects that would benefit from external support as ASCE develops a sustainable grants pipeline for funding opportunities. 

“I am very excited about the grants office and the concept of synchronizing our incredibly diverse technical expertise to work toward our mission to ‘lead the civil engineering profession to sustainably advance and protect the health, safety, and welfare of all,’” Geldert-Murphey said. 

“This office makes so much sense. We can fund what we are best at in the world.”

ASCE 2027

As the Society looks ahead to its 175th anniversary, plans are in the works for a large conference and expo to debut in 2027. The event would consolidate many of the organization’s various institute annual conferences into a single-tent offering for all who work in the architecture, engineering, and construction industry.

The ASCE 2027 Task Committee has drafted a charter that solidifies stakeholders’ commitment to the new framework. Supporting consultants 360 Live Media presented to the board the potential advantages of this new event model and how best to implement it.

“Many professional organizations are suffering stagnation caused by internal inertia, doing things the way they have always done them. We can’t assume the methods that have been successful in the past will continue to be successful as our profession and world continue to evolve so rapidly,” Geldert-Murphey said. “So, we need to be proactive in these changing winds and adjust our sails while we still can successfully.

“The new conference model is in direct alignment with our strategic plan and satisfies our objectives to magnify our membership by attracting more members and delivering a more efficient system that adds value.

“ASCE is the nation’s oldest professional engineering society because we are not afraid to evolve.”