ASCE Executive Director Tom Smith

ASCE Executive Director Tom Smith

“Things do not happen. Things are made to happen”
–John F. Kennedy

A top priority for ASCE is to protect the public’s health, safety, and welfare by supporting public policy actions that will strengthen and renew our failing infrastructure. If we are to fulfill that mission, we must take part and lead the legislative process, so we can help shape our communities.

Every spring, ASCE holds a Legislative Fly-In program in Washington, DC, giving ASCE members a chance to see the political process first hand. In 2015, ASCE members visited nearly 250 members of congress to share our perspective on transportation funding and reauthorization as well as funding for water resource programs. For the March 15-17, 2016, Fly-In, I am confident we will have similar success in catalyzing a call to action to address our nation’s infrastructure and sustainability needs.

The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act was recently signed into law following a year-plus advocacy effort from across ASCE. This Act provides five years of increased funding for federal highway, transit, and passenger rail programs. ASCE members went above and beyond initiating personal visits with lawmakers during last year’s Fly-In, making dozens of phone calls to the congressional staff, writing countless emails, and championing the #FixTheTrustFund message.

Currently, ASCE is engaging with multiple congressional offices and working to reintroduce dam rehabilitation legislation and funding for water infrastructure projects while advocating for the next Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). Testifying recently before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, President-Elect Norma Jean Mattei highlighted issues outlined in the Report Card for America’s Infrastructure. Her compelling testimony convinced Senator Barbra Boxer (D-CA) to ask that the Report Card be entered into the Congressional Record. WRDA will continue to be a primary focus at this year’s Fly-In.

Norma Jean Mattei Testifying









Finally, remember each of us can be an ambassador for infrastructure locally – whether you help your Section complete a State Infrastructure Report Card, go talk with kids using ASCE’s STEM materials, or attend a state Drive-In to your capital city – take the opportunity to be a leader in public policy, starting with the familiar territory of your own home town.





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

Congratulations to our Dream Big movie contest’s top winner, Nathaniel Shellhammer! Nathaniel won a trip for two to an international location shoot for the filming of Dream Big: Engineering Wonders of the World, our giant-screen IMAX movie now in production. Depending on the shooting schedule, Nathaniel will join the filming crew in Dubai, Rome, or Venice. The other two prizes were won by members Marta Alvarez of Ventura, CA, who won a Dream Big premiere event in her town, and Rocio Rodriguez of Orlando, FL, who won a trip to the Laguna Beach, CA, studios of MacGillivray Freeman Films for a rough cut screening of the movie. Each share their reaction to winning a dream prize in ASCE News.

Ten young aspiring engineers had twice the reason to celebrate National Engineers Week –ASCE named them the New Faces of 2016 – College Edition. The honorees were recognized for their hard work and commitment to a career in engineering, and for championing interests such as sustainability, community building and concern for infrastructure. All shared with ASCE News the unique backgrounds that made them deserving New Faces. One of the ten will represent civil engineering among the DiscoverE foundation’s overall 2016 New Faces of Engineering – College Edition, announced in April.

We’re debuting a new way to expand skills – Guided Online Courses. The Society has launched an all-new, state-of-the-art learning experience using highly interactive, instructor-led programs. ASCE’s Guided Online Courses will use a wide variety of multimedia, from video lectures, interactive exercises, and case studies, to weekly discussion board topics among peers taking the course. Each weekly module can be worked on at the learner’s convenience. Two debut courses, starting in early April, cover earthquake resilience based on ASCE 7, and drinking water technologies. Discover the advantages of Guided Online Courses.

Join me as we celebrate living legends of civil engineering and state-of-the-art projects at our annual OPAL Gala, coming March 17. We’ll pay tribute to each of our five Outstanding Projects And Leaders honorees and a number of other notable ASCE award winners, then witness the opening of the envelope to announce the 2016 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement winner from among six nominated projects. The Gala will be held in Arlington, VA. Reserve tickets now. Hope to see you there!

Community Engineering Corps is seeking your talents for a California water project. The Salinas Valley produces a lot of fruits and vegetables for the rest of the nation, but ironically struggles to provide many of the people who work that land with safe, clean drinking water and adequate sanitation. The Community Engineering Corps, an alliance of the American Water Works Association, Engineers Without Borders USA, and ASCE, seeks help to find and implement healthy water solutions for eight of the valley’s underserved towns. Learn about the CECorps project, including how you can help.

Get to know ASCE’s new Utility Engineering & Surveying Institute in a free eLearning Webinar. Formed to promote excellence in engineering, planning, design, construction, operations, and asset management for utility infrastructure and engineering surveying, ASCE’s newest technical Institute debuted last fall. In a free eLearning Webinar for ASCE members, learn about UESI and if you work in those specialties, why you should make it your professional home. The webinar will be held Tuesday, March 29, at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT.

Rack up PDHs for your license at ASCE Week Orlando, March 14-18. Don’t miss the opportunity to earn more than 30 PDHs in one place toward license renewal as you enjoy an escape to balmy Orlando, FL. It’s your last chance to sign up for ASCE Week, the Society’s popular package of seminars and technical tours – so popular that a second Disney tour that was added has sold out. Plenty of rewarding seminars still remain, so get in now and save up to $500.

Share expertise, support ASCE and join your peers on a committee. Many civil engineers volunteer technical and professional knowledge by serving on ASCE committees that support the Society’s vision and mission to advance civil engineering practice. ASCE has five standing Society committees – Advancing the Profession, Education, Technical Advancement, Member Communities and Public Policy – each with subcommittees. If your membership is in good standing and have an appropriate background, express your interest via an easy online form.

ASCE’s Bridges Photo Contest is back, seeking the most impressive images and their photographers to honor with cash prizes and possible inclusion in the Society’s Bridges 2017 calendar. This year, photos of historic bridges will be judged under a new category. Two winners will be selected in each of seven total categories. Visit the contest page on Facebook at for complete rules and to submit entries. Deadline is March 31.

Discover an integrated approach to excellence at the Architectural Engineering Institute’s upcoming Forum. Integration is the key word for planners of the 2016 AEI Forum, coming March 31 and April 1. Under the theme The IMPACT of the Integrated Building, the forum will feature a student design competition and the annual Professional Project Awards, as well as a full technical program featuring nine industry expert keynote lecturers. AEI invites you to join them in Worcester, MA.

Explore today’s water resources challenges at 2016 EWRI Congress. Under the theme Critical Infrastructure Needs: Water and the Environment, get ready to take in the latest trends and techniques at World Environmental & Water Resources Congress 2016, coming in May to West Palm Beach, FL. Take part in and shape the dialogue on water resources and environmental issues affecting the profession as you meet and greet peers.

Member discounts can offset dues – be sure you’ve renewed for 2016. Is your Society membership current? Are you up to date for 2016? Don’t let your benefits lapse – including ASCE Member Advantages discounts on a wide range of services that can offset your dues, such as professional liability insurance, rental car discounts, technology savings, and great credit offers. Visit (and bookmark) Member Advantages, then affirm your membership status for 2016.

Were you aware you could save as much as 80 percent on prescription drugs with ASCE? How much you pay for medications varies for the same prescription based on insurance, coupons, and discounts. ASCE membership includes a great benefit that can save as much as 80 percent on most prescriptions – the GoodRx discount savings card. Save yourself the headache of outrageous prices or comparing local vs. mail-order costs. Discounts apply to everyone in your family – even pets! – with no quantity limits or hidden fees. Download your savings card and try a price comparison tool at


Leave a Reply

— required *

— required *