ASCE Executive Director Tom Smith
ASCE Executive Director Tom Smith

The world needs innovative ideas to accommodate new technologies, increasing urbanization, climate change, and many decades of neglected infrastructure maintenance. But to get innovation off the ground, engineer innovators need funding.

We were honored to have many of the winners of the second annual ASCE Innovation Contest at ASCE headquarters in Reston, VA, to discuss their exciting new projects that could change the face of infrastructure as we know it and drive us closer to realizing ASCE’s Grand Challenge vision. The contest participants received guidance from a panel of high-profile investors on what they look for when deciding what to fund.

Projects ranged from large-scale conceptual projects like Ocean Foresters’ “Global Food and Energy Security with Restorative Engineering” project, which uses seaweed to combat climate change, to smaller projects like the “Anti-Scour Sheath,” which fills a specific technology gap.

But how can you tell if an idea is market ready?

In a discussion with Greg Sauter, P.E., M.ASCE, for a recent ASCE Interchange, we determined the difference between smart ideas and market-ready ideas. He explained that many projects never make the evolution from idea to reality. He suggests that a key to getting an idea off the ground is to understand the problem you are trying to solve and evaluate its potential for commercialization. To be successful, you should “have real markets identified and customers identified; you’ve got something that is scalable, and you’ve got something that folks are willing to invest in,” said Greg.

Another crucial step in moving engineering innovations forward is for project managers and firms to seize the benefits that ideas and technology offer their projects. Investing in the right innovation can save on production costs, reduce the time it takes to complete projects, and increase the sustainable life cycle of projects.

Check out the full list of winners from our second Innovation Contest and then get ready to submit ideas for next year’s contest, so you can be part of ASCE’s effort to transform the way we plan, design, deliver, operate, and maintain our nation’s infrastructure.

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In case you missed them, here are some other exciting developments around the ASCE community:

Update your references to ASCE 7-16 and access Hazard Tool Beta today

The standard ASCE 7-16, Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures is now available in print and as an e-book for purchase in the ASCE Library. The edition is the most up-to-date and coordinated loading standard for structural design on the market.

ASCE 7 Hazard Tool testing is now complete and members can access the beta version free, now through Aug. 31. The tool’s wind-speed and tsunami maps will remain free indefinitely. See how quickly it delivers seven types of hazard data to help you determine structural design loads. Yearly subscriptions to the full tool will be available after the free beta period.

Benefit from new sustainability resources at ASCE’s website

The sustainability section of ASCE.org has been revised and expanded with tools that will inspire you, your firm, and clients to make projects more sustainable. You’ll find project profiles from across disciplines, civil engineering sustainability news and awards, and materials on ASCE’s sustainability strategic initiative. Projects that have achieved an Envision rating from the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure are also covered. Discover the growing world of engineering sustainability today.

Congrats to the 2017-18 ASCE scholarship recipients; next round

ASCE honored 15 students from schools around the country with ASCE scholarships for the coming academic year. If you or a student you know might be deserving of a scholarship to help pay for tuition next year, learn more about entering at the scholarship page on our website or by contacting awards@asce.org.

Dread speaking before others? Engineer’s book will put you at ease

More than 15 million people suffer a public-speaking phobia, Forbes recently estimated, and many more feel as if they don’t do an adequate job. Since many engineering employers value soft skills that include public speaking, ASCE now offers a book from an engineer’s perspective on how to improve your performance.

In Public Speaking for Engineers: Communicating Effectively with Clients, the Public, and Local Government, engineer Shoots Veis lays out a step-by-step process for preparing a presentation. Purchase the book in the easier-to-use ASCE Library.

Latest ASCE Interchange offers ethics advice for young and seasoned engineers

Ethics is essential to responsible engineering, yet many gray areas remain surrounding sustainability, billable hours, and how to raise ethical concerns with a superior. “You can always find another job, but you can’t build another career,” says Steve Starrett, Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, F.ASCE, F.EWRI, dean of engineering at LeTourneau University, in the latest ASCE Interchange, the video series on civil engineering hot topics.

In the video, he shares real-world examples of engineering dilemmas, the responses to them, and their outcomes. Starrett’s new book, Engineering Ethics: Real World Case Studies, is now available for purchase.

Navigate the P.E. Exam – ASCE can help

We encourage our young engineers who are looking ahead to the P.E. Civil, S.E., or Environmental Exam this fall to register for our P.E./S.E. study plan. The plan features expert instructors’ interactive courses and reference materials that will build your confidence so you’ll be ready to pass. The plan includes 24-7 access to the recorded webinars. Courses start Tuesday, Aug. 1.

Help us set public policy priorities for ’18 – take the Annual Issues Survey

Let us know which civil engineering issues matter most to you so we can best represent the profession’s interests before public officials. ASCE’s Annual Issues Survey gives us a sense of what you believe are the most pressing concerns to be addressed by the federal and state governments. Take the brief survey and help us develop our 2018 Priority Issues Agenda.

Share your summer vacation pics of civil engineering landmarks with us

If you’re like me, you’ve experienced how ASCE’s Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks make great vacation stops. Will you be seeing any this summer? Take a photo of yourself at a landmark, share it on our social media channels, and it may be featured in our gallery of landmark photos. Tag your public photo on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with #VisitASCELandmarks. You can find landmarks to visit in your neck of the woods with your iPhone or Android using the 2017 Infrastructure Report Card app.

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