Discussion Thread

How do you combine policy with your civil engineering work?

  • 1.  How do you combine policy with your civil engineering work?

    Posted 02-09-2020 05:48 PM

    Plot Points is a podcast by ASCE that tells the robust story of civil engineering one episode at a time. The podcast is in Season 3 and is looking for answers for their Member Memo questions. An upcoming question is the following: How do you combine policy with your civil engineering work? 

    If interested in a chance to be featured on a future episode of the podcast, record your answer as a voice memo on your phone (60 seconds or so) and email it to ascenews (at ) asce.org with "Member Memo" in the subject line! I submitted an answer to one of the featured questions during Season 1 so feel free to respond here or message me with any questions about the process.

    I personally have combined policy with my civil engineering work by serving as a contributing author for the 2018 PA Infrastructure Report Card. You can view the full report here: Report Card for Pennsylvania's Infrastructure - 2018. I hope to increase my efforts by attending the ASCE Legislative Fly-In Program in the next year or so. 

    If not interested in recording a voice memo for the podcast, I would love to hear about how you combine policy with your civil engineering work below! Also if you have attended the ASCE Legislative Fly-In Program, I would love to hear about your experience below as well! 

    Danielle Schroeder EIT, A.M.ASCE
    Associate Engineer
    Pennoni Associates
    Philadelphia PA

  • 2.  RE: How do you combine policy with your civil engineering work?

    Posted 02-12-2020 01:35 PM
    Last fall I had a discussion with another engineer about the effect of new policies as they relate to the cost of projects. As engineers, we are tasked with delivering our projects on time and within budget, but sometimes things that were previously "in budget" change to "out of budget" because of policy decisions.  In this particular case, it was due to tariffs placed on other countries that affected the cost of a particular component of the system being specified.

    The engineer I was talking with had been specifying a particular item for years, which was now cost-prohibitive because of newly-enacted tariffs related to one of the components of this product. The discussion highlighted for me the importance of being aware of how policy decisions will affect our work preferably before we are told by someone else (like the estimator or contractor on a project) that we've specified a more-costly-than-expected item.

    Stephanie Slocum P.E., M.ASCE
    Engineers Rising LLC

  • 3.  RE: How do you combine policy with your civil engineering work?

    Posted 02-13-2020 02:10 PM
    It's not quite a combination of policy and civil engineering, but I'm the chair of my city's planning commission. Policy at a local level might not have such widespread consequences, but there's also less inertia than with policy at larger scales, so it's possible for one engaged person to make real change.

    Tel Jensen
    Woodland WA