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Ask Me Anything: ASCE President-Elect Official Nominees

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  • 1.  Ask Me Anything: ASCE President-Elect Official Nominees

    Posted 22 days ago
    No replies, thread closed.

    The official nominees for 2021 ASCE president-elect are Maria Lehman, P.E., ENV SP, F.ASCE, and Dennis D. Truax, Ph.D., P.E., DEE, D.WRE, F.NSPE, F.ASCE. The successful nominee will serve as president-elect in 2021 and as Society president in 2022.

    Both nominees have agreed to answer your questions on this thread. Their answers will not be published until both nominees have responded. This thread will be open from 7am Eastern time, March 16 until 7am Eastern time, March 17. The nominees will reply to all questions by Thursday, March 19. 

    • Please skim the thread before posting to avoid duplicate questions.
    • Please keep questions concise.
    • Moderators reserve the right to remove or consolidate duplicate questions.
    • Questions may be edited for clarity and length. 
    • Just a reminder - questions must comply with the ASCE Collaborate Code of Conduct.

    The Society's election will be conducted May 1 through June 1 via online balloting.  You must be eligible to vote by April 1. 

    I look forward to seeing your questions and the nominees' responses!



    ------------------------------
    Tirza Austin
    Manager, Online Community
    American Society of Civil Engineers
    1801 Alexander Bell Drive
    Reston, VA 20191
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Ask Me Anything: ASCE President-Elect Official Nominees

    Posted 21 days ago
    No replies, thread closed.

    Hi, my name is Dani Schroeder from the Philadelphia YMF Section. My question for you both is what has been your most impactful previous ASCE leadership role and why?

    Thank you for this opportunity and @Tirza Austin for your coordination of this thread! 



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



  • 3.  RE: Ask Me Anything: ASCE President-Elect Official Nominees

    Posted 21 days ago
    No replies, thread closed.
    Danielle,

    For some reason I thought you might one of the first to ask as question, and a great one as always.  Thank you!!

    I'm going to answer this two ways:
    1.  The one which allowed me to be the most impactful on the Society and the profession - Student Chapter Advisor: I spent 26 years as a chapter advisor and [I feel] that the impact I had on the chapter and all of the students who came through that time changed more lives than I can imagine.  Not just the lives I touched directly, but the lives those lives touched.  Not just in making young men and women great engineers, but helping them find a passion for making a change, being servant leaders in their communities and their companies. 
      1. In short, the people in the "trenches" have the greatest impact on others, everyday.  
    2. The one which was most impactful on meNational Board Director:  During my term on the Board, I learned so much about our Society and it instilled a desire to find new ways of giving back to ASCE.  It is the reason I submitted my name to the nominations committee to have the honor to be President-Elect, and more, if elected.  I was part of a team which reorganized the Board and operations for the 21st Century.  This led to me working on the Task Committee which started the process of reorganizing our committee structure for the 21st Century.  Now I really want finish the job we started. 
      1. In short, aspire to servant leadership as a way of making things better while making yourself better.  
    Again, thanks for the question!

    ------------------------------
    Dennis Truax Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, F.ASCE
    2021 ASCE Pres.-Elect Candidate MState White End. Chair, Dept. Head, & Profess
    Mississippi State University
    Starkville MS
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Ask Me Anything: ASCE President-Elect Official Nominees

    Posted 21 days ago
    No replies, thread closed.

    I think my role as Vice President of the Board in 2001-2003.  I was installed on the Board a little over a month after 9/11 and my area of responsibility for ASCE was then Zone I or the northeast.  I was Public Works Commissioner and Chief Engineer of Erie County, New York.  It was a very stressful time for all, and all 3 sites were in my zone.  ASCE mobilized quickly to have structural engineers on the lower Manhattan Site and to help with the Pentagon site.  We had many issues, but ASCE volunteers played a key role in rescue and recovery, and then with the testing and analysis of what happened and how we could harden facilities and rethink designs to be more resilient.  Then we rallied to get things rebuilt.  Everyone had financial challenges including ASCE as well.  And there were organizational challenges.  But together as a professional community we rallied and did what we do best, solve complex problems.  Civil Engineers rose to the occasion and it was an honor to serve at that time.

     



    ------------------------------
    Maria Lehman P.E., F.ASCE
    Vice President NY Infrastructure
    Parsons
    Orchard Park NY
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Ask Me Anything: ASCE President-Elect Official Nominees

    Posted 21 days ago
    No replies, thread closed.
      1. What has been ASCE's greatest contribution to civil engineering education?
      2. What do you see as key opportunities and challenges for civil engineering education and research?
      3. How do you propose engaging faculty, department heads, deans, researchers, and undergraduate and graduate students in ASCE?
      4. How best can ASCE interact with, and support, university level education and research?
      5. What is your vision, as related to Civil, Architectural, and Construction Engineering education and Civil, Architectural, and Construction Engineering Technology education?


    ------------------------------
    Scott Hamilton Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE
    York College of Pennsylvania
    York PA
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Ask Me Anything: ASCE President-Elect Official Nominees

    Posted 21 days ago
    No replies, thread closed.
    Hi, Scott.  Academicians are never satisfied with one simple question, are we??  LOL  I hope you are well.  Good open-ended landmines.

    1. ASCE's greatest contribution to CE education? 
      1. The Body of Knowledge. 
      2. Why? Having worked with NCEES and ABET for over a decade, the BoK when we first created it was revolutionary.  It forced us as a profession to have an honest conversation as to what we should expect of academe, and what was the responsibility of the employer in the development of the professional engineering workforce.  It forced us, and others engineering societies, to recognize just how much our profession has changed over a century of practice.  This, in turn, impacted the NAE to talk about where professional engineering was going in the 21st Century.  
    2. Key opportunities and challenges for CE education and research?
      1. Education Opportunities -
        1. New systems for design of engineering systems are coming online.  We need to embrace these when appropriate.  Look at Future World Vision for a taste of this.
        2. New systems for delivery of engineering content to students.  COVID-19 may force us into a new delivery model, but can we embrace and sustain it?
        3. New partnerships for delivery of engineering content to undergrads and grads.  I think ASCE could play a role in this. 
      2. Education Challenges -
        1. Increasing demand for CE professionals as the country takes action to repair, replace, and expand infrastructure will increase enrollments.  This has to be managed or institutional resources will be taxed to the point of unsustainability. 
        2. Competition for students with the "Sexy Fields."  You might say this contradicts the point above, but my concern is attracting the best and brightest who we need to help develop new methods, processes, and designs to address the new problems.  It isn't about the numbers as much as attracting the people we need to do the work ahead.
        3. $$$.  'Nuff said?!
      3. Research Opportunities - 
        1. We need new materials, new design approaches, new construction systems, new maintenance processes.  We need to research sustainable solutions for all of these needs.
        2. We need to get clear and accurate depiction of life cycle cost analysis.  It is time for this to be embraced, but the data used in these models needs valid estimates of the costs, AND these costs have to be based on the triple bottom line, not just capital costs.
      4. Research Challenges - 
        1. $$$, again.  The federal government needs to step up research program at universities to regain our competitive advantages.
        2. Faculty.  The number of US students pursing graduate degrees, let alone terminal degrees, is not meeting demand.  Attracting research faculty from outside the US brings with it restriction under ITAR and other similar intellectual property control concerns.
    3. How do you propose engaging faculty, department heads, deans, researchers, and undergraduate and graduate students in ASCE?
      1. Faculty Membership.  As Department Head of CEE at Mississippi State, we signed up for the Associate Partners program and now ALL of my faculty are members of ASCE (I hope the vote...for me) and our Section.  WE ARE THE ONLY ACADEMIC PARTNER, and that is just wrong.  The value returned from this partnership is very good, but it good be better and I want us to work on that.  To engage the faculty, the first step is to make them members.  Note, not all faculty have a PE, and this is also something we need to talk about. 
      2. Student Membership.  In the five decades I have been involved with ASCE as a student, or with students, we have always seemed to treat them as something other than "us."  They should be us.  We should give them the opportunity to be part of us.  I would like to see the student member, and student chapter, model reworked so that we stop looking at the geographic units and blaming them for lack of retention.  Our model is the reason for lack of retention.
      3. Member Value.  For Exec. Director, Pat Natale, from day one on the job, talked value of membership.  We need to deliver this to all segments of the membership, the list you have is part of that, including the Deans even if not CEs, as a better student body and a better faculty helps them, too.
    4. How best can ASCE interact with, and support, university level education and research?
      1. The previous answer covers part of this.  Engaging faculty and students opens channels of interaction what will help make our Society responsive to the needs of these constituencies.
      2. By ASCE's support educational accreditation, through ABET or even an alternative.  Holding programs to a standard based on the needs of graduates to succeed in THIS century is important.
      3. With ASCE advancing a clear vision of what we see as the future problems we will need to address as civil engineers helps shine a light on the gap between our current knowledge and what we will need to know.  This chasm between is filled through research.  Also, using new tools (e.g., VR, robots) in the planning, design, construction, and maintenance of civil infrastructure need to be advanced.  
      4. Advocacy by ASCE for university funding, not just to create new knowledge but to provide advanced education for the next generation which is augmented by the research experience.  Also, funding options are not limited to the government.  Industry and private practice can be served by the academic environment, and some institutions are in this business, but there is room for more.  A paradigm shift is needed and ASCE can help here. 
    5. What is your vision, as related to Civil, Architectural, and Construction Engineering education and Civil, Architectural, and Construction Engineering Technology education?
      1. The practice of civil engineering requires many players with many skills.  Engineering and Technology education need to be harmonized to ensure that graduates from these program are working to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public in the projects upon which they apply their expertise.
      2. The current standards for technology education come from a time when these individuals were seen as being "less than..."  If we wish to hold them accountable, if we wish to give them the reins on engineering projects, then the educational standard for these graduates must be uniformly strong to ensure that all graduates are adequately prepared.
    Well, they wanted us to keep these to 200 words.  If you divide by 5, I might be close.  I hope this gives you a glimpse as to what I think, Scott.  Thanks for caring to ask.

    ------------------------------
    Dennis Truax Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, F.ASCE
    2021 ASCE Pres.-Elect Candidate MState White End. Chair, Dept. Head, & Profess
    Mississippi State University
    Starkville MS
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: Ask Me Anything: ASCE President-Elect Official Nominees

    Posted 21 days ago
    No replies, thread closed.

    ASCE brings together practitioners, government and academe to solve the issues at hand.  The best contribution was the development and update of the body of knowledge, identifying the tools students need to succeed as professionals.

     Being relevant in an ever changing world is a big challenge as business, universities and governments are slow to change in a world that is being drastically disrupted.  ASCE rises to that challenge by our codes and standards, Grand Challenge and Future World Vision.

     By asking, please join us.  If every current active member asks just 1 person to get involved, we would be in a great place.

     ASCE should continue their great work with the Journals that gives University level education and research the avenue to share their success.  I am also a big fan of EXCEED.

     In today's world I think universities need to have partnership with local community colleges to allow technologists a pathway to continue if the are interested.  It also makes for a more "hands on" engineering education coupled with a research focus when students do a 2/4 program.  Most importantly it allows a path for women and minorities to succeed, and is a more cost effective option.



    ------------------------------
    Maria Lehman P.E., F.ASCE
    Vice President NY Infrastructure
    Parsons
    Orchard Park NY
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Ask Me Anything: ASCE President-Elect Official Nominees

    Posted 21 days ago
    No replies, thread closed.
    I'd like to know the thoughts of the nominees on how ASCE can provide leadership for the civil engineering community to assist the nation and the world in dealing with the current coronavirus pandemic and being better prepared for future pandemics.

    ------------------------------
    Irfan A. Alvi, P.E., M.ASCE
    President & Chief Engineer
    Alvi Associates, Inc.
    Towson, Maryland
    www.alviassociates.com
    ialvi@...
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: Ask Me Anything: ASCE President-Elect Official Nominees

    Posted 21 days ago
    No replies, thread closed.

    As we are at the beginning of this Pandemic, there are many unknowns.  ASCE continues to be a leader in public policy.  The release of the Report Card in 2021 will be a great time to highlight the need for resiliency, which includes our healthcare infrastructure.  I am currently on CAI and have served in the past.  I see many parallels with where we are today with the post 9/11 period.  We were not sure how long that was going to last and what was next, but as a Civil Engineering community we rallied, volunteered, provided guidance and designed solutions, changed codes and public policy.  As Civil Engineers, we have made our voices heard and now FEMA cites our standards in their rebuild guidance as of January this year.  A Pandemic was the health community's focus, but if you ask a health professional what the biggest contribution in the last 100 years to public health was, the answer is water and wastewater treatment.  So we will do our best to get the world thru this terrible time and then learn how to do this better and then take those lessons learned to our governments so public policy can be changed appropriately.



    ------------------------------
    Maria Lehman P.E., F.ASCE
    Vice President NY Infrastructure
    Parsons
    Orchard Park NY
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: Ask Me Anything: ASCE President-Elect Official Nominees

    Posted 21 days ago
    No replies, thread closed.
    Irfan,

    Thanks for the question.

    There are a few ways that ASCE can provide leadership to assist and the civil engineering community in dealing with the current coronavirus pandemic.  These include:
    • being a role model by -
      • curtailing meetings, workshops, conferences, etc. which provide an environment for the spread
      • allowing staff in Reston and DC to work at home 
      • by sharing information on appropriate public responses through the media outlets she controls
      • by diligently assessing the situation and the need for changes in response
    • providing alternatives to gathers as a format for activities such as - 
      • provide webinars for online education, but expanding this to meetings
      • facilitating online committee meetings and working groups with communications platforms
      • providing support for virtual student conferences (an activity which would be underway in many student regions in the coming weeks)
    • communicating to the public how civil infrastructure plays a vital role in protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens in media outlets -
    • working with our industrial partners in defining and advocating for an appropriate civil engineering work environments, from design to construction, using virtual support, alternative work strategies
    Regarding becoming better prepared for future pandemics, advocacy for a robust, sustainable infrastructure system which is the cornerstone to protecting people.  Promoting a smart city design which helps protect and improve human health is part of what we can be doing, too.  The report card, the fly-in, Key Contact, and media outlets provide the Society opportunities to communicate the important role of civil engineers play in addressing this and other societal concerns.

    ------------------------------
    Dennis Truax Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, F.ASCE
    2021 ASCE Pres.-Elect Candidate MState White End. Chair, Dept. Head, & Profess
    Mississippi State University
    Starkville MS
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: Ask Me Anything: ASCE President-Elect Official Nominees

    Posted 21 days ago
    No replies, thread closed.
    What are your plans for change to ensure ASCE is operating efficiently while still serving the needs of members and the industry? There appears to be room to simplify some convoluted structures and processes that currently compete for volunteer time and other resources such as funding.

    ------------------------------
    Sarah Klarich P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer
    Denver CO
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: Ask Me Anything: ASCE President-Elect Official Nominees

    Posted 21 days ago
    No replies, thread closed.

    I am a Deming Total Quality Management professional, so I want to get down to basics.  Edward Deming said you need to find the root cause and rebuild a process, structure or organization.  If you just tweak it bit by bit you end up in a totally unrelated place.  I think that applies to ASCE.  We need to decided what the organization needs to look like in 5 years both from a staff and member perspective and then draw a map on how to get there.  We need to be effective and efficient and nimble.  These are all adjectives that would not be in a top 10 descriptor list of ASCE, yet they should be.   Our ability to resonate with younger members depends on it.  I think we have our purpose, vision and mission right, but execution needs a revamp.  I have driven organizational change in both the public and private sectors, so I am excited to be on this journey for ASCE.



    ------------------------------
    Maria Lehman P.E., F.ASCE
    Vice President NY Infrastructure
    Parsons
    Orchard Park NY
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: Ask Me Anything: ASCE President-Elect Official Nominees

    Posted 21 days ago
    No replies, thread closed.
    Sarah,

    Thanks for taking the time to pose a question.  I agree.

    If you will allow me, I prefer to use the word efficacy.  I consider things done with efficiency merely manage the current process.  I think we need change based on maximizing efficacy - investing in activities that return value that exceeds the investment.  This requires introspection, honest assessment, and prioritization in lines with our mission.  It is assessment of benefit in terms of the Society, the profession, and the profession; a benefit triple bottom line.

    To do this, we need to have an honest discussion of what the real value of activities are, divorced of emotion or tradition.  This is the same concept when you apply a more traditional triple bottom line evaluation in life cycle cost analysis process, but now we are looking at the longer term benefit-cost ratio.  A complex process, yes.  This will not be quick, but it is necessary.  But we just don't need multiple facets of ASCE trying to do the same thing.

    I believe the Society's fiscal situation facilitates this.  With input from stakeholders, we need to challenge subjective valuations with objective metrics.  The Task Committee for Committee Restructuring (a TC on which I served) started this process, but it was flawed.  High levels of reserves and increasing revenues diminished the will for change.  It is time to finish this job while acknowledging the value volunteer's gain from service as well as the value the Society gains.  We need to assess the true value derived by the Society from the activities of geographic units and institutes.  We need to focus on the professional, as well as the profession.  I feel that our current environment will provide the impetus to finally succeed.


    ------------------------------
    Dennis Truax Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, F.ASCE
    2021 ASCE Pres.-Elect Candidate MState White End. Chair, Dept. Head, & Profess
    Mississippi State University
    Starkville MS
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: Ask Me Anything: ASCE President-Elect Official Nominees

    Posted 20 days ago
    No replies, thread closed.
    Thank you for sharing these thought provoking questions. This thread is now closed. Any submitted questions will not be published. Thank you for participating in the first ever ASCE President-Elect Nominee: Ask Me Anything.

    ------------------------------
    Tirza Austin
    Manager, Online Community
    American Society of Civil Engineers
    1801 Alexander Bell Drive
    Reston, VA 20191
    ------------------------------