Striving Towards a Diverse Profession

May 9, 2016
ASCE Executive Director Tom Smith

“Diversity in the world is a basic characteristic of human society, and also the key condition for a lively and dynamic world as we see today.”
— Jintao Hu

The lack of diversity in our workforce hinders our nation’s ability to remain economically competitive, threatens our quality of life, and compromises our nation’s security.
According to the 50K Coalition the number of jobs requiring engineering has increased, yet the number of students earning those degrees remains level at 93,000 students per year. Women and minorities represent only 30,000 of those degrees.

The 50K Coalition Leadership Circle includes the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES). Together, they have formed a coalition, of which ASCE is a member, to focus on producing 50,000 diverse engineering graduates annually by 2025.










The 50K Coalition met at ASCE’s Bechtel Conference Center on April 20, 2016, to work towards a common agenda, develop coalition partner project plans, and provide understanding to the “Collective Impact” philosophy as related to achieving their goal. Funded by a generous grant from the United Engineering Foundation, the workshop convened engineering deans, engineering professional society leaders, researchers, advocacy groups, corporate and government agency leaders to combat challenges to inclusion within the nation’s universities and workplaces.

Though the civil engineering profession has work to do to reach this goal, we have taken several steps to diversify the civil engineering field. ASCE and NSBE entered into a memorandum of understanding outlining specific collaborative actions to address diversity and inclusion in the engineering workforce. ASCE’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion continues to implement programs to promote diversity as a way of doing business within ASCE and the civil engineering profession. An example of this is the Conversation with Civil Engineers program held during NSBE’s recent annual convention. The enthusiasm within the civil engineering community discussion from both from the mentors and prospective engineers shows that a bright future lies ahead for our profession.

ASCE is also working internally to improve diversity and inclusion among its staff. ASCE’s staff Diversity and Inclusion Council has an ongoing “Structures: Faces of ASCE” project to be more inclusive of those around us and to get to know our coworkers better. It is a great way to learn about the depth, breadth, and diversity of talents, experiences, and viewpoints of some of our staff colleagues, including those we may think we already know well.

I encourage you all to search for new ways to foster, improve, and maintain a diverse and thriving workforce within your firms and the civil engineering profession as well as to retain and recruit diverse civil engineers.





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

Raise your voice and vote! Election for 2017 President-Elect, other ASCE officers now open

Help us decide who will lead ASCE at the national level over the next few years. The 2016 ASCE election is now open for all members associate or above in good standing as of March 15. Two very capable candidates are vying for 2017 President-Elect: Robin Kemper, a senior risk engineering consultant for Zurich Services Corp. in New York, and Kristina L. Swallow, city of Las Vegas program manager. Additionally, several Regions have elections for Directors and Governors. It is important for us all to have a say in the election. Get to know our two candidates and go to our election page to learn how to vote today. The election polls will close June 1.

Make huge progress in renewing your license — in Las Vegas at ASCE Week

ASCE Week offers our members a great way to make a lot of progress in renewing your license. You have the opportunity to take 34 PDHs in great seminars toward license renewal at ASCE Week Las Vegas. The courses include some of the most popular face-to-face courses in one location, plus you can take a special tour of Hoover Dam, Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, and Lake Mead. Make sure to mark your calendar for Sept. 26-30.

COPRI Ports conference is a cannot miss in beautiful New Orleans

The Ports conference has become known as North America’s premier port engineering gathering and is back after a two year hiatus. This year the conference will be held in New Orleans, June 12-15. Ports ’16 marks the 14th in a series of international port and harbor development specialty conferences held every three years since 1977. Join ASCE’s Coasts, Oceans, Ports & Rivers Institute for a program including five technical tracks, seven short courses, a technical tour of the Lake Borgne Surge Barrier, a gala at Mardi Gras World and more.

OPALs and OCEA among major awards with June 1 deadlines

Several of ASCE’s most significant honors share a June 1 deadline for nominations. If you know someone who has done something special for the civil engineering profession, or have worked on an innovative and/or sustainable project, I encourage you to submit them for one of these prestigious awards. Act soon to submit candidates. Among the awards:

Outstanding Projects And Leaders (5 categories)

Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement

Charles Pankow Award for Innovation

Innovation in Sustainable Engineering Award

All June 1 awards

Get excited about this year’s ASCE 2016 Convention in beautiful Portland, Oregon

The flagship event for all Society members, the ASCE 2016 Convention is headed west this fall to Oregon’s largest city, Portland, which is a center for food, culture and atmosphere. You don’t have to take my word for it, ASCE News offers five great reasons to visit the city and five ways they connect to Convention activities.

Enjoy life knowing you’ve ensured your family’s financial security

One third of Americans believe it would take just one month to feel the financial impact of losing a primary wage earner. Make sure your loved ones are covered should something unexpectedly happen to you. Apply for ASCE 10-Year Level Term Life Insurance by calling 800-469-3582, or visiting As an ASCE member, you’ll save money with affordable rates and access to benefit amounts ranging from $100,000 to $2 million. Help protect your family’s financial security.

Get a quick video recap of what’s happening around the Society with Now@ASCE

View highlights of the Sustainability Summit, National Engineers Week, the Dream Big movie contest top prize winner, the candidates for ASCE president-elect, plus get career advice and more in under 5 minutes. The new, fast-paced Now@ASCE will get you get caught up on major Society events, actions and other activities of recent weeks. Watch Now@ASCE.

Use members-exclusive Avis and Budget rental discounts for your next vacation

Whether traveling close to home this summer or around the world, ASCE Member Advantages means exclusive discounts on car rentals for all Society members. Get the lowest rates, upgraded service, and special offers from our partners:
• Avis – Use your Avis Worldwide Discount (AWD) number A654800 and receive up to a 25% discount on all rentals. Exclusives for members also include a free upgrade and the ability to skip lines with Avis Preferred Select & Go.
• Budget – Enroll in Budget Fastbreak for complimentary VIP service and get on the road faster. Use Budget Customer Discount (BCD) number B449100 to shop the lowest rates around – up to 20 percent off for ASCE members.

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