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Dennis D. Truax, Ph.D, P.E., DEE, D.WRE, F.NSPE, F.ASCE

2021 President-Elect

Vision Statement


Having served ASCE for over five decades - first as a student chapter officer, then as a chapter faculty advisor, and ultimately throughout many committee and leadership roles at the section, region, and national level - I am now seeking the opportunity to take on the ultimate service opportunity for our profession and our Society -- Presidential leadership of ASCE.  

I wish to do this for two reasons:  I am passionate about civil engineering and I see ASCE as an integral part of the future of this profession.  We are on the horizon of a very exciting time - increasing awareness of the importance of a robust, resilient infrastructure system suitable for the 21st century; new methodologies and processes and materials for planning, designing, constructing, and maintaining our civil works projects; an opportunity for creativity and innovation in the workplace and in the projects for which we are responsible.  Who wouldn't want to be engaged in leading the Society that will help create all of this?

So, there is a lot to be done.  If you will help elect me to this position, here are just a few of the initiatives I wish to undertake through my service leadership at ASCE:

  • Workplace Environment - Our new generation of engineers are entering a workplace based on a 100-year old model focused on product and profit. This environment is often found personally less rewarding to many in our profession, young and old, who place greater value on a work-life balance, who hold service as a core value, who have a passion to create and innovate, and who hunger to have an impact - to leave THEIR mark. They understand that they are playing "an infinite game" called life and if opportunities to succeed are not part of the modern workplace, the outcome is that many creative individuals will leave this profession at a time when we need them most.

    ASCE has a role to play with all employers in all markets.  We can help create a new workplace environment that fosters innovation to meet the planning, design, construction, and maintenance challenges facing us in the century ahead by embracing a new model of productivity. We do this through partnerships with agencies, firms, and companies to help design a sustainable workplace environment that enriches engineers.

  • Membership and Professional Development - Our membership has remained flat over four decades with growth coming by increasing the territory (e.g., student chapters, international sections) rather than holding onto the 15,000 ASCE student members or 21,000 BSCE graduates per year.   Our colleges have seen enrollments in civil engineering undergraduate programs lagging behind other fields.  We continue to struggle to attract a representative level of diversity in the student population.  Even today, the career stability that the civil engineering profession can provide is overlooked.  Our profession's role in advancing society and the multiplicity of career opportunities appears lost on many prospective students.   It is time for ASCE to crack the nut on membership growth. To do this, opportunities include:

    • Developing a student chapter model which makes students full members of our Society.
    • Working with younger members to connect with student members to support the transition from school to work.
    • Ensuring that more faculty are members of our Society and the profession.
    • Promoting employer support of ASCE membership of employees by marketing the value proposition of continued professional development and networking through membership in ASCE is integral to protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the public.

  • Finances - We also need to rethink our financial model. Membership, publications, conferences, and other revenue streams need to be more robust. Here are a few of the issues to tackle:

    • A new funding model for geographic units and institutes is needed. The financial relationship of both member groups, and the importance of each in the life of members and the life of our Society needs strengthening. We can all succeed together, but not apart.
    • Opportunities for new revenue streams need to be examined. At a time when publications, conferences, and webinars are finding stiffer competition from low or no cost options, ways of increasing market penetration, defining new markets, and rethinking technology and professional development options will be part of the solution approach.
    • The strengthening of the bridge between Institutes and the Society needs to be a focus of activities with the goal of strengthening both.
    • The role of the ASCE Foundation in developing endowments, special project revenues, and more should be evaluated, as should the role of the Foundation in branding and promoting our mission.

These and other initiatives will require the collaborative engagement of Regions, Sections, Branches, and Institutes.  ASCE's programs need to be formative to meet member needs; maintain professional integrity; and facilitate workplace transparency, equality, diversity, and inclusiveness.   In short, we need to define a value proposition suited for all civil engineers and their employers, clients, and society.

Our work is cut out for us, and I need your help to be part of the solution.


Education

  • Harvard Academic Management Development Program, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University, 2007
  • Ph.D. Civil Engineering, Mississippi State University (MSU), 1986
  • MS Civil Engineering, MSU, 1978
  • BS Civil Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1976
  • Diplomate of Water Resources Engineering (D.WRE), American Academy of Water Resources Engineers, 2018
  • Diplomate of Environmental Engineering (DEE), Water and Wastewater Engineering, American Academy of Environmental Engineers, 1989
  • Professional Engineer, MS, 1980

Work Experience

  • James T. White Endowed Chair, Department Head and Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, MSU, 2006-present
  • Director, Mississippi Transportation Research Center, MSU, 2014-present
  • Faculty Member, Department of Civil Engineering, MSU, 1980-present
  • Consulting Engineer, various agencies, companies, and firms, 1983-2017
  • Principal and Vice President for Engineering, ATi Aeration Corporation, 1999-2016
  • Principal, Aeration Systems Design (ASD), LLC, 1997-2000

ASCE Involvement

Society-Level

  • Committee on Technical Advancement
    • Chair, 2019-2020
    • Vice Chair, 2018-2019
    • Richard Torrens and Associate Editor Award Committee, 2017-2019
    • ExCom Liaison to Energy and Wind Engineering Divisions, 2016-2018
  • Committee on Licensure, 2018-2020
  • Student Competitions Task Force, 2018-2019
  • Task Committee, Raise the Bar Review, 2016-2017
  • Treasurer, 2014-2016; Assistant Treasurer, 2012-2014
  • Executive Committee, 2014-2016
  • Program and Finance Committee, 2012-2016, 2002-2004
    • Chair, 2014-2016
  • ASCE Foundation Anniversary Video interviewee, 2015
  • Task Committee, Committee Restructuring, 2010-2012
  • Task Committee, Engineers Without Borders, 2008-2010
  • ASCE Foundation Strategic Planning Committee, 2008-2009
  • Task Committee, Body of Knowledge Educational Fulfillment Committee, 2007-2009
  • Task Committee, Civil Engineering Program Criteria, 2013
  • Audit Committee, 2003-2009
    • Chair, 2007-2009
    • Vice-Chair, 2005-2006
  • District 14 Director, 2001-2004
  • Committee on Diversity and Women in Civil Engineering, 2001-2004
    • Co-Chair, White Men as Full Diversity Partners Workshop, 2003
    • A. P. Sloan Foundation Project Team, 2001-2002
  • North American Alliance for Civil Engineering - Electronic Knowledge Working Group, 2002-2004
  • Education and Practice Publications Committee, 1998-2008
    • Associate Editor, Journal Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice, 1999-2006
  • Committee on Scholarships, 1997-2013
    • Chairman, 1999-2000, 2003-2004, 2007-2008, 2011-2012
    • Secretary, 1998-1999, 2002-2003, 2006-2007, 2010-2011
  • Committee on Student Services, 1993-1996
    • Chairman, 1995-1996
    • AISC National Steel Bridge Competition Committee, 1994-1996
    • Daniel W. Mead Review Sub-Committee, 1993-1995
  • Committee on Career Guidance, 1990-1993
    • Chairman, 1991-1992
    • Secretary, 1990-1991
  • Manuscript Reviewer
    • Congress on Technical Advancement, 2017-2018
    • Transportation Division Journal, 2012
    • Environmental Division Journal, 1995-2009
    • Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice, 1995-2006

Local-Level

  • Mississippi State University Student Chapter Faculty Advisor, 1981-2006, during which the Chapter received:
    • 2005 Outstanding Service Award
    • 1995 and 1996 Robert Ridgway Student Chapter Award
    • Four Zone II Vice President's Awards
    • Twelve Certificates of Commendation
    • Five Letters of Honorable Mention
    • Two Letters of Significant Improvement
  • Mississippi Section
    • Region 5 Governor, 2005-2008
    • District Council Meeting Coordinator, 2005
    • Board of Directors,1993-2006
    • District Council Director, 2004-2005
    • Immediate-Past President, 1992-1993
    • President, 1991-1992
    • President-Elect, 1990-1991
    • Chairman, State of Mississippi TEAMS, 1989-1995
    • Co-Chairman, Fall Section Meeting, 1985, 1989 and 1993
    • Co-Chairman, Spring Section Meeting, 1995, 2000 and 2003
    • Northeast Coordinator of TEAMS, 1985-1989
  • Region 5
    • Region Governor, Mississippi, 2004-2008
    • Chair, Region 5 Nominations Committee, 2006-2007
    • Chair, Region 5 Formation and Bylaw Committee, 2004-2006

Other Volunteer Activities

  • ABET
    • NSPE EAC Commissioner, 2014-2019
    • Curriculum Committee, 2014-2019
    • Team Chair (seven times), 2014-2018
    • Civil Engineering Program Evaluator (five times), 2009-2014
    • Environmental Engineering Program Evaluator (eight times), 2010-2019
  • American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC)
    • Engineering Excellence Awards Jurist, 2013-2015
  • American Water Works Association (AWWA) Alabama-Mississippi Section
    • Secretary-Treasurer, Memorial Scholarship Board of Directors, 1998-2013
  • Mississippi Engineering Society
    • Immediate-Past President, 1989-1990
    • President, 1988-1989
    • President-Elect, 1988
    • Region III Vice-President, 1986-1988
    • Board of Directors, 1984-1985, 1986-1990
  • National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES)
    • Southern Zone Nominations Committee, 2015-2020; Chair, 2017-2020
    • Education Committee, 2015-2019
    • Tellers Committee Chair, 2017
    • Advisory Committee on Council Activities (ACCA), 2011-2015 ; Chair, 2014-2015
  • National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE)
    • UN Sustainable Development Goals Workshop Liaison, 2018-2019
    • ABET EAC Commissioner, 2014-2019
    • Professional Engineers in Higher Education (PEHE) Executive Board
      • Past Chair, 2016-2017
      • Chair, 2015-2016
      • Southeast Regional Vice Chair, 2014-2015
  • Order of the Engineer, Mississippi State University Link Liaison
    • Link Governor, 2007-present
  • State of Mississippi
    • Board of Licensure of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, 2005-2006, 2010-present
      • President, 2014-2015, 2018-2019
      • Vice President, 2013-2014, 2017-2018
      • Board Secretary, 2012-2013
      • Joint Board of Engineers and Surveyors and Board of Architects Committee on Building Design and Construction, 2013-present
    • Department of Environmental Quality
      • Mississippi Nutrient Task Force, 2001-2009
      • Reviewer for State Revolving Funds (SRF) Program POTW Plans and Specifications Checklist, 1992
    • Department of Health
      • On-Site Wastewater Advisory Council, 2001-2004, 2011-present
        • Chairman, 2014-2017
        • Chairman, Sub-Committee on System Evaluation, 2012
      • Department of Transportation
        • State Transportation Innovation Council (STIC) Executive Council, 2012-present
        • Mississippi Transportation Institute Board of Directors, 2009-2011
      • Hazardous Waste Facility Technical Siting Committee
        • Chairman, Subcommittee on Floodplains, Flooding, and Watersheds, 1992-1994

    Awards

    • Distinguished Service Award, NCEES, 2018
    • Fellow, National Society of Professional Engineers, 2016
    • Mississippi State University Chapter Honor Member, Chi Epsilon (National), 2016
    • Phi Kappa Phi, national academic honorary, 2008
    • Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award, American Society of Civil Engineers, six times between 1996 and 2006
    • Bagley College of Engineering Academy of Fellows, Mississippi State University, 2005
    • Fellow, American Society of Civil Engineers, 1999
    • Scholtes Civil Engineering Teaching Award, Mississippi State University, 1997
    • Hearin-Hess Professor of Engineering, Mississippi State University, 1993-1996
    • Civil Engineer of the Year, Mississippi Section of ASCE, 1995
    • Golden Key National Honor Society, 1995
    • Engineering Education Excellence Award, PEE Division, Mississippi Engineering Society, 1995
    • City of New Orleans, Louisiana, Honorary Citizen, 1991
    • Certificate of Commendation, National Association of Water Institute Directors and the National Association of State Universities and Land‑Grant Colleges, 1989
    • Sigma Xi, 1987
    • Jaycees' Outstanding Young Men of America, 1983
    • Chi Epsilon, 1983
    • Tau Beta Pi, 1979