Board Takes Bold Steps Toward Future Readiness of the Profession

BY 
February 14, 2019

If Board meetings had themes, this one would be “the future.”

Early on the agenda for the recent ASCE Board of Direction meeting, held Jan. 24 in Orlando, FL, was the reveal of a new, future-focused name and logo for ASCE’s key educational initiative. Formerly known as “Raise the Bar,” the initiative is now entitled “Engineer Tomorrow: Knowledge for a Changing World.” The rebranding reflects significant changes in the approach to preparing civil engineers to practice in a world in which the pace of technology development and change continues to increase. Recognizing the urgency in providing the necessary tools and resources to help its members compete in this demanding environment, ASCE has shifted its focus to promoting the means for civil engineers to attain and demonstrate mastery of the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge.

ASCE aims to deliver the tools and resources its members will need now and into the century ahead. To help anticipate the coming changes and their effects on civil engineers and the communities they serve, in January 2018, ASCE approved an initial exploration into a future world vision. The first phase of the project used future scenario analysis to predict community models that might develop over a time horizon stretching 50 years. Armed with these scenarios, ASCE and its members will be better able to position the profession to meet society’s future needs.

Following a presentation by the project’s chair, Industry Leaders Council member Jerry Buckwalter, the board unanimously voted to authorize further development of the next phase of the project. “Understanding the engineering challenges ahead is the first step,” Buckwalter said. “Now we need to communicate, visualize and inspire the industry to be the enablers of the future built environment.”

“This is an exciting initiative with the potential to help civil engineers truly shape the future,” added ASCE President Robin Kemper.

A basic function of the board is to establish goals and provide resources to ensure that ASCE remains a thriving, sustainable organization serving the needs of its members. At the January meeting, the board formally adopted a purpose statement for the organization, stating ASCE’s commitment to its members: “Help you matter more and enable you to make a bigger difference.”

The Board also received a report on a suite of new benefits developed to enhance member value, the number one goal established in the newly adopted ASCE strategic plan. Highlights of these new benefits include: 10 free professional-development hours with double the number of on-demand webinars to choose from, a new portal featuring resources for early-career professionals, and a new online mentoring program. These benefits became available to members in January.

Considerable time on the Board’s agenda was devoted to examining the alignment of the current ASCE budget to the goals outlined in the newly adopted strategic plan. The outcome of the Board’s work will serve as guidance to staff, committees, and the Program and Finance Committee as they prepare budget proposals for fiscal year 2020 and beyond.

Finally, the Member Communities Committee shared a report on ways to better support engagement by government engineers. MCC will work jointly with a task committee on the issue to bring formal recommendations to the board for consideration at a future meeting.

The next Board meeting is scheduled March 15 in Arlington, VA, in conjunction with the Legislative Fly-in and 20th annual Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) awards gala.

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