Orange County Branch Newsletter
March / April 2017
"Ask the President'
By Josue Vaglienty, P.E.
I recently chimed in with about 25 other Section and Branch leaders on a nationwide “Ask The President” web-conference call with Dr. Norma Jean Mattei, our Society President. For about an hour, we had the opportunity to submit written questions or ask a question verbally. The session was very lively and interactive with some of the following themes being discussed:
Response to ASCE’s 2017 Infrastructure Report Card in Washington
ASCE was pleased to see positive press for the March 9th release of the report card on numerous media outlets. In case you missed it on the weekly ASCE Society News column, the report card was featured in Engineering News Record (ENR), Forbes, Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio (NPR), Politico, and The Washington Post, just to name a few media sources. It is mind-boggling to imagine trillions of dollars that would be required to get some of the infrastructure report card categories to achieve an “A” grade. Regardless of the dollar amount, at least there is a conversation about infrastructure taking place on a national platform. When asked about whether the Infrastructure Report Card sounded too self-promoting, Dr. Mattei answered that there were one or two media sources that alluded to this, but that the clear majority of the news articles provided a more positive view on the report card.
Raising the Bar
A few participants on the web-conference call also asked about the latest updates on this initiative that has evolved over the past two decades. The initiative advocates the need for additional graduate level education to establish a baseline for future professional civil engineers, whether it’s a Master’s Degree or 30 hours of continuing education. Dr. Mattei mentioned that other major engineering societies are also starting to elevate this topic with their members and that the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) board has and continues to support this initiative. If you haven’t had the opportunity to attend an ASCE Regional Conference to the Annual ASCE Convention in the past couple of years, then you probably haven’t seen the graph shown below. However, it is very telling when it comes to comparing the stature of engineering compared to other professions.
The figure is part of a very interesting July/August 2015 CE Magazine article published by senior editor Robert L. Reid. The question now becomes – where do we go from here?
ASCE’s Presence Around the World
ASCE Region 10 represents all the other countries around the world where ASCE members are present. Dr. Mattei mentioned that there were over 170 countries that have some involvement with ASCE. So apart for promoting the profession within the U.S., there has been a lot of progress in establishing relationships with other nations that have a common goal of improving their infrastructure. There are discussions taking shape regarding sustainable infrastructure, water treatment technologies, and reviews of existing building codes. I can’t speak for the other participants on the web conference call, but I think it’s a great way to enhance direct relationships between people instead of depending on our governments to talk to one another.
Dr. Mattei ended the call by encouraging everyone to continue to have dialogue with family, friends, co-workers about the items discussed. By talking about these points on a personal level, it adds sincere value to the message. I think the 25 voices on the call will commit to doing this. Now imagine what could happen if 150,000-plus voices committed to this!