I promise you that I will never ask what ASCE can do for me and I will always ask what I can do for ASCE. Those words crafted after Kennedy's famous quote represent one of the reasons why I am a candidate for ASCE President. I want first to thank all the previous Presidents, Board Members, Region Governors, Institute Governors, ASCE volunteers and ASCE members for making ASCE what it is today. It is because of all of you that ASCE is the premier civil engineering professional organization in the world. Is it perfect? No. Can it be improved? Yes. This is another reason why I am a candidate for President.
I have led two national professional organizations (USUCGER and Geo-Institute) and two international professional organizations (ISSMGE and FedIGS) and my style has been consistent. It follows these simple steps:
- listen to the members' ideas and comments;
- formulate the most impactful ideas including my own;
- build consensus as much as possible;
- act with decisiveness, energy, and fairness;
- establish a direct line of communication between the President and the members;
- create a collegial and fun atmosphere, evaluate as we go and correct if needed; and
- espouse the relentless pursuit of excellence as a way of leadership.
Over the last three years, I have been a member of the ASCE Board. This experience has allowed me to learn first-hand what works well and what can be improved. While I will definitely start by listening to the members, I also have a few ideas of my own. Here they are:
- Listen to the Region leaders and to the Institute leaders to identify their biggest problems and work efficiently to solve or at least improve the situation.
- Listen to the civil engineering "industry" and how they think that ASCE can better help to increase their market share.
- Listen to the civil engineering department heads and to the student chapter leaders to continue to improve education, recruit the best students, and make learning fun.
- Increase significantly the involvement of young members in the affairs of the society. I did that with the Geo-Institute and ISSMGE and it has been an enormous success (ask around).
- Study carefully the "50 M$" budget of ASCE. Where can we save money, where can we be more effective through creativity and mindfulness of what the members truly want? If we are successful, can we decrease the dues!
- Continue to develop an atmosphere of appreciation for the 5000 or so volunteers who contribute enormously to the big ASCE engine.
- Work with the ASCE staff to understand what their concerns, problems, and wishes are.
- Further develop our ability to communicate all the good things ASCE does to the members who are not aware of them.
- Concentrate on making decisions based on impact, on win-win solutions (not always possible!) and on a great sense of fairness, while always wondering if 150,000 ASCE members would approve.
- Develop an overarching sense of family among all of us so that no member asks what's in it for me but rather how can I help.
All this sounds wonderful but is it possible? I don't know but I can promise you that, while I am not exactly young, I still have lots of energy in the tank and I am ready to throw it on the table to make a difference. Indeed, ASCE is my big professional Family and I want to help.