ASCE Names Smith as New Executive Director to Succeed Natale

August 26, 2014

The ASCE Board of Direction has selected Thomas W. Smith III, ENV SP, CAE, M.ASCE, as the next executive director of the American Society of Civil Engineers, effective Jan. 1, 2015.

Smith, ASCE’s current deputy executive director and general counsel, will succeed Patrick J. Natale, P.E., F.ASCE, who has served in the position since 2002 and announced his end-of-year retirement last October.

With a master’s degree in structural engineering and a B.S. in civil engineering from the University of Virginia, Smith has been a dedicated ASCE member for more than 25 years, and the association’s deputy executive director since 2010 and general counsel since 1997. Smith also holds a law degree, and before joining ASCE practiced law with a focus on land use issues.

“Under the leadership of current Executive Director Pat Natale, ASCE has truly become a leader in the association community, with a voice that gets national attention and highly dedicated volunteers and staff,” said ASCE Past President Greg DiLoreto, P.E., P.L.S., F.ASCE, chair of the executive director search committee, following the ASCE Board’s Aug. 24 meeting in Denver. “In our search for a successor, we were looking for that rare combination of a highly accomplished executive and leader who intimately understands both the civil engineering profession and the association business. In Tom Smith, we have found that person.”

During his tenure at ASCE, Smith has provided leadership, direction and management oversight across a wide spectrum of ASCE’s programs, operations and strategic initiatives, working closely with ASCE geographic and technical organizations and affiliates worldwide.

In 2011, Smith received the William H. Wisely American Civil Engineer Award, which recognizes ASCE members for their continuing efforts to promote appreciation for the history, tradition, developments and technical and professional activities of the Society.

“Over the many years that I have worked with Tom, I know him to be a true blend of vision, leadership, intellect, and integrity,” said ASCE President Randall (Randy) S. Over, P.E., F.ASCE. “With his background, Tom is the perfect fit to take over the reins of ASCE and lead us to ever higher levels of success. He is a model professional with strong values and a longtime dedication to ASCE.”

Smith is also a Certified Association Executive (CAE) and an Envision Sustainability Professional (ENV SP), and has been active in his community. He serves on the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals, and previously chaired bar association committees providing legal services to local homeless shelters as well as coordinating national moot court competitions.

Smith has published articles on engineering ethics and legal issues and is a frequent speaker on these subjects. In 2012, he penned the book “Infantry Rifleman, WWII Reflections of Thomas W. Smith,” a tribute to his father.

“It has been my privilege to work side-by-side with such a talented visionary who truly has an innate understanding of the needs of our members along with the acumen to advance the civil engineering profession and goals of ASCE,” said Natale. “Tom is unquestionably the right leader at the right time to take over from me at the end of the year.”

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  • Avatar Richard S. Gabrielse, P.E. F.NSPE

    A fond farewell to Pat, I worked with Pat when we both served on the NSPE’s BOD. It was a pleasure to have worked closely with Pat and we wish Pat, a long, well deserved and pleasant retirement.

    Also welcome to his successor Thomas Smith III, P.E. ENV Sp CAE M.ASCE having served with Pat, as an example and having the depth of knowledge involved with the legal perspective, I am sure that Tom will give the ASCE a real boost.

    Thanks so much for the work that our professional managers and “governance people” put into our professional and specialty engineering organizations.

    Richard S. (Dick) Gabrielse, P.E. F.NSPE, BCCE

  • CONGRATULATIONS to you, Tom…such a well-deserved honor! It has been a pleasure to get to know and work with you in the past and I hope to continue for many years into the future! Such a bright, promising future for ASCE!
    Theresa E. Harrison, P.E., ENV SP, M.ASCE
    2014 ASCE/AAAS Congressional Science and Engineeirng Fellow in the U.S. Senate

  • Avatar Rich Hovey, P.E., PMP,

    Tom, I’m so very pleased with your selection. It’s been a pleasure to work with you in the past and am looking forward to working with you in the future.
    /s/ Rich

  • Thanks for so many kind words. Your support means a lot to me as I take on this new responsibility. I look forward to meeting or reconnecting with many of you in Panama or at other upcoming ASCE events.

  • Dear Tom,

    Well deserved. This is a bright time for ASCE to have your talents move to the lead role at ASCE. And what wonderful continuity to build on Pat’s strong leadership.

    I am really happy for you.


  • Avatar Sandip Kumar Deb, President ASCE-IS-ER

    Congratulations! Tom! We are waiting here at Kolkata, India to welcome our Executive Director Designate. Pat opened up the avenues and we are confident that you shall make those wider and smoother for our ASCE in the years to come.

  • Hi Tom, Congratulations on your appointment as the ASCE Executive Director.
    Best wishes…Munirud Dean (ASCE Founding Region 10 Governor, Australia)

  • Avatar Gajanan Sabnis, Distinguished M ASCE

    ASCE will benefit tremendously from your experience as Executive Director with long background of ASCE as Legal Counsel and as well your great in-depth knowledge of the Society, her vision, mission and goals especially in the areas of Globalization, Sustainability and issues of present and future concerns of International Membership.
    A well-deserved promotion and look forward to seeing you soon in Mumbai, my home-town.

  • An equally capable Executive Director replaced a very able and accomplished predecessor. Congratulation Tom!!!

  • Avatar Stafford Thrnton

    Congratulations to a fellow UVA Alumni. I know that ASCE will be in good hands and I look forward to following your tenure as Executive Director.

  • Avatar Aswald Brainard Chappidi

    Congratulations,Thank you very much for accepting the position as well and welcome to top management level

    Sr.AM #9529713

  • Avatar Daniel J. McGinley

    An excellent choice; your selection assures a very bright future for ASCE–congratulations, Tom!
    Dan McGinley
    Former Director of Education Activities

  • Tom,

    Congratulations! Great selection! Look forward to helping you in any possible way.

    Best Regards,

    Ahmad Habibian
    Black & Veatch Corporation

  • Hi Tom

    Many congratulations on your new post – Here is a message sent to Randy that may interest you –

    When are we Going to raise the bar with our ASCE web presence and why am I sending this request to my president over linkedin.

    Inquiring minds would love to know and so will our current and next generation of bright engineers.

    Engineers of today & future will need to understand usability and integrative engineering and ASCE need’s to walk the walk and talk the talk .

  • Congratulations Tom on your selection as the next ASCE Executive Director. I know you will continue to do a fine job for ASCE members and staff.
    David R. Dresia
    Former Senior Managing Director, Publications Division

  • Congratulations to Tom, a well deserved recognition of the value he has brought to ASCE in the past. All the Best to Pat.

  • Avatar Martha Juch, P.E., CFM, D.WRE

    Congratulations, Tom! I can’t believe we’ll have a lawyer at the helm, but we know you’re a CE at the core and we couldn’t have chosen a more deserving leader. Looking forward to seeing you soon in Texas!

  • Avatar Fred P. Wagner Jr., Jr.

    Congratulations on your selection. I know that ASCE will be in good hands. Look forward to seeing you sometime in this new position.

  • Avatar virginia Fairweather

    Congratulations, Tom,

    I’m sure you be a great President-

    Virginia Fairweather
    Forner Editor-in-Chief, Civil Engineering

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