The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has served the profession and its members well, for over 165 years. Being a beacon of technical excellence with a vision of "building a better quality of life", ASCE grabbed my attention while pursuing my Master's degree in India 36 years ago. Upon arriving in the United States to pursue my Doctoral degree approximately 35 years ago, I signed up to be part of this preeminent organization with the help of my advisor. Ever since I have been actively engaged with the organization and its activities at the local, national and international levels. In addition to serving on the Board of Direction, one of the highlights of my ASCE tenure was being Chair of the 2014 Global Engineering Conference in Panama City, Panama that was held in conjunction with the 100th anniversary celebration of the Panama Canal. I am very humbled by the contributions made by our members on a daily basis to their fellow professionals, the organization, the profession and society at large. I have been very fortunate that my journey has provided me a better understanding and appreciation for the challenges our members and the industry faces around the world.
As the population grows, demand for more resources and services will grow to maintain the quality of life we all seek. Civil engineers have a moral obligation to preserve the limited resources and sustain this planet we call home. Hence the ASCE Board of Direction (BOD) reviews the state of our profession on a regular basis to develop strategies to keep the organization and its members relevant through ever-changing times. The BOD has been working this past year on developing a six-goal strategic plan to keep the focus on moving us toward the aspirational global vision; and to assure that the progress is being managed and measured along the way. The working list of goals focus broadly on the following:
- Best practices and state-of-the-art technologies
- Safe, efficient, and sustainable infrastructure
- Education and professionalism
- Valuing the role of civil engineers
- Membership growth
- Organizational excellence
Based on my discussions with a number of our members who are very passionate about our profession and its future, and with a commitment to carrying out the will of the BOD, my vision is that ASCE:
- Continues to be an organization of the future -- transparent, diverse, inclusive and accessible;
- Sustains itself financially and stays relevant for the foreseeable future;
- Attracts the best and brightest to the profession;
- Supports faculty advisors/liaisons in keeping students engaged; keeps Younger Members actively engaged by providing opportunities and platforms that help shape the future of our profession;
- Continues to encourage pursuit of knowledge and technical excellence;
- Recognizes and rewards innovation;
- Fights marginalization of the profession by helping members enhance their value to their employers, clients, and communities;
- Continues to promote "zero tolerance" of bribery, corruption and fraud;
- Builds on its strong "brand" globally;
- Serves as a global leader in solving quality of life issues.
ASCE continues to embrace transparency, gender equality, diversity, inclusiveness as evident by the recent adoption of Canon 8 and provides access to all -- including younger members and students from all walks of life around the world.
ASCE takes advantage of emerging technologies and tools to remain relevant, enabling members to continue to enhance their value to the global community. Value to membership and in turn enhanced member value is achieved by providing easy access to the most current and relevant technical information -- including state-of-the-art practices that bring value to programs, projects and clients.
ASCE continues to provide members the tools and know-how to enhance their value while fighting marginalization of our profession. Enhanced value of our profession will not only continue to attract the best and brightest, but will also help retain the best and encourage their active participation in the organization.
ASCE continues to encourage and provide an effective vehicle for mentorship so we do not leave any one in our profession behind. I had the good fortune of having great mentors who encouraged, supported and guided me both in my professional career and at ASCE. I believe everyone needs someone to help climb the ladder of success.
ASCE continues to encourage pursuit of knowledge and technical excellence through higher and continuing education, research and innovation. This advanced knowledge will in turn help members envision, plan and develop the next generation of sustainable infrastructure projects. ASCE's nine institutions, the cornerstone of the organization, are a great resource in helping achieve this Challenge.
ASCE continues to provide a platform to develop our members' professional and leadership skills that will enhance their value and enable them to influence public policies pertaining to emerging topics such as autonomous vehicles, sustainability, resiliency, big data, smart cities, etc. ASCE continues to show leadership in gathering information and lessons learned; developing policies and procedures that help address both natural and man-made challenges such as those caused most recently by "Hurricanes Harvey and Irma".
ASCE always strives to help members and partners preserve the integrity and dignity of our profession. ASCE promotes "zero tolerance" toward ethical digressions, and continues to help everyone in the profession achieve their personal goals without compromising their integrity.
ASCE continues to build on its brand globally and sustains itself for the future by serving as a Beacon of Excellence for generations of Civil Engineers to come - just as it did for me, and many others.
I will work very diligently with your support to shape and structure an ASCE that is relevant to both its members and the profession; financially stable; nimble and influential globally. I am passionate about our profession and I am proud to be a Civil Engineer. I chose to be a Civil Engineer to make a difference and hope to have the opportunity to serve as your President to move us one step closer to the aspirational global vision.