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November 2017 Message from UESI President

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

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UESI began operation as a permanent Institute on October 1, 2017. This means we are now responsible for our own financial destiny. With a great financial base consisting of an annual successful Pipelines Conference, two Journals, Organizational Members, and a membership base approaching 3000, we are in good shape. At our UESI Board Meeting in Austin this October, I was quite pleased with the composition of our diverse Board, with a mix of traditional and new ideas on where we might be headed. One item we decided is that for consistency, we will refer to ourselves as UESI (the letters spelled out) rather than any pronunciations of the acronym.


To a large degree, that is up to each and every one of us to decide and make happen. We have 5 active Divisions with 16 Standing Committees, 16 Task Committees, and a few Board-Level Committees.  There's plenty of opportunity to get involved in any of these existing activities. But we have a lot more that we would like to do. At our October meeting, we spent a day with the Board and Division representatives to discuss where we would like to be in seven years from now. Here are some highlights.

  1. Development of a Utility Engineering Academy, with educational content, testing, and practice requirements that would lead to a Diplomat of Utility Engineering designation.
  2. Greater emphasis on the role of Surveying within the civil engineering profession, and the changing roles, hazards, and educational needs due to technology.
  3. Educational content designed specifically for Municipal Engineers as it relates to utilities and survey issues.
  4. A certification program for utility engineering and surveying technicians, such as utility locaters, party chiefs, and subsurface utility geophysical investigators.
  5. An awareness that utilities are an essential task discipline of most every horizontal civil project.
  6. Keep the identity of the Pipelines Conference, and develop other conferences for the other Divisions.
  7. Be an active participant in ASCE's Report Card, with solutions that will help raise the grades and improve sustainable and resilient systems with lowered life-cycle costs.
  8. Membership 10,000.
  9. Excellent educational content and new standards and Manuals of Practice.

We will be developing a strategic plan to get there, and we need everyone's help to do so.


Now that we have graduated to permanent status, it is with great pleasure that we will now have new Board Members voted on by the members of UESI. If you are interested in serving on the Board, please ask UESI staff about the process for application. Members will also vote for a President in fiscal year 2020, after President-Elect David Totman takes the reins in 2019.

Especially important to the future of UESI is our Marketing and Membership Committee. We need to reach the younger generation of potential engineers and get them engaged and excited about utilities and survey careers. Estimates are that in the US, we have over 50 million miles of utilities already in the ground, with some large portion of those in deteriorated states and a potential of failure at any time. I am certain that we all know that the trillions of dollars of utility assets give us the type of life we enjoy, with power, clean water, communications, and sanitation taken for granted. We believe that UESI and its partners will play a significant role in the future to keep this standard of living high.

I know (at least today) what I want from UESI, but I don't know what YOU want from UESI. Let us know.  Get involved. Get others involved. Make it what you want it to be.


There were a lot of people working for a long time to get this Institute up and running. I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of them. I don't want to name anyone, because I know I will leave someone out inadvertently. You know who you are. We owe a debt of gratitude to ASCE Staff, various Board Committees, and all the volunteer members who made this possible. Thank you.

Jim Anspach, UESI President 2018