By Margaret M. Mitchell
In the last year, Civil Engineering magazine as a brand has undergone some changes, changes that have resulted in a restructuring of the brand’s two arms — print and online — each with its own editor in chief. I helm the print arm of the brand, while Catherine A. Cardno, Ph.D., heads up Civil Engineering Online.
For the print side, however, the changes didn’t stop there. Typically, our feature articles cover a wide range of subjects from bridges to buildings to sustainability and resilience. This year we’re trying something different: themed issues in which all the feature articles (and perhaps a department or two) will relate to a central theme — a first, we believe, in the print magazine’s history.
In the January/February issue, the theme was “The Shape of Civil Engineering.” We showcased structures that were pushing design boundaries abroad and in the U.S. In March/April, the focus was on transportation, examining the future of public transit as well as the shift to digital delivery for transportation infrastructure projects in the U.S., among other topics.
And that brings us to the present issue of the print magazine, the theme of which is “The State of Civil Engineering.” For this issue, we’re going to take a break from highlighting innovative engineering design to instead focus on the current state of the profession. That means no projects — another first (or first in a long time) for us.
Kicking things off is “Why US civil engineering firms face a labor shortage” by Robert L. Reid, Civil Engineering’s senior editor and features manager, which discusses the labor shortage and what civil engineering companies are doing to address the lack of skilled talent for the plethora of work available.
In “An uneven slowdown projected for the AEC industry,” freelancer Jenny Jones weighs in on the somewhat-positive economic forecast for the architecture, engineering, and construction industry. Following that, we provide an update on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in “Across the US, the IIJA is boosting projects large and small” by contributing editor Jay Landers. A lot has been said and written about the IIJA since its passage in 2021, and within these pages Landers discusses some of the many projects that have been funded by this historic legislation.
Next in the lineup is “Advocacy pays off for ASCE” by Caroline Sevier, ASCE’s director of government relations, who discusses some of the Society’s legislative wins and advocacy efforts in the last year as well as key legislation impacting the field, including the passage of the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 that provides funding for a variety of projects that will improve dam and levee safety. And finally is our coverage of the Best Places for Civil Engineers 2023 in the article “Where are the best places for civil engineers to work?” Also written by Reid, the article looks at the top three cities for civil engineers; there may be some surprises.
And what would an analysis of the state of civil engineering be without examining what’s happening in civil engineering education? Higher Learning returns with a Q&A with five educators who thoughtfully consider what’s going well and what’s not, trends, and what they do to inspire their students.
We’re covering quite a bit, and our hope is that there is something inside this issue that will pique your interest, make you think, and possibly spur you to action.
And if these articles aren’t enough, check out the state of civil engineering coverage on the Source, including a more in-depth look at the Best Places for Civil Engineers 2023, a podcast on remote work (how it’s going and where it’s headed), and an article on how college students are preparing for careers in the civil engineering field.
We’ll be back to our “regularly scheduled programming” in the July/August issue. The topic? Historic preservation. In the meantime, if you have any questions or comments, email us at [email protected].
Margaret M. Mitchell is the editor in chief of Civil Engineering print magazine.
This article first appeared in the May/June 2023 print issue of Civil Engineering as “A Change of Pace.”