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  • 1.  Civil Engineering Leadership

    Posted 05-24-2018 01:12 PM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 05-24-2018 01:11 PM

    Civil Engineering Leadership


    Would you like to become a ‘leader’ in the civil* engineering profession?


    • Hopefully, the answer is ‘Yes!’, - but ‘Why?’ 
    • Are you motivated to earn respect, admiration, a better position and higher salary - or have you independently formulated alternate approaches to civil engineering practice that you believe should be implemented? Or both?
    • Are you familiar with what our present leadership in the civil engineering profession envisions and advocates?
    • What is your candid opinion of the ASCE ‘Report Card’ on America’s Infrastructure (12D, 3C, 1B, 0A; overall, D+)**? How would you personally evaluate our nation’s civic facilities? What informs your appraisal of the state of our nation’s infrastructure?
    • Would your leadership emphasize the need for increased resource and economic development - or for adaptive social and environmental changes?


    Please take some time to clinically consider some of these questions. I trust they may help each of us define our own current - and future role - in the civil engineering profession.

    *[attributive] relating to ordinary citizens and their concerns.

    **Of the 28 states that have rated their infrastructure separately, 24 have graded their overall facilities as 'C' while 4 have awarded them a 'D'.

    John O'Connor D.Eng., P.E., F.ASCE
    H2O'C Engineering
    Columbia MO
    (573) 234-1012

  • 2.  RE: Civil Engineering Leadership

    Posted 05-25-2018 10:10 AM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 05-25-2018 10:28 AM
    Some time ago we contacted ASCE leadership to get feedback on the report card for the re-insurance industry. The questions we asked were.

    1. Does poor industry efficiency (AEC) currently 35% in the US , play a role in the problem?

    2. Does poor maintenance? 

    3. Do you think infrastructure owners operators designers maintainers understand risk?

    4. Do you think undervaluing infrastructure is a problem?

    Simply throwing money at a quality vs cost problem does not work as Deming pointed out many years ago.

    The response so far has been silence. 

    Peter Baston Aff.M.ASCE
    Boulder CO

  • 3.  RE: Civil Engineering Leadership

    Posted 05-25-2018 12:26 PM

    ASCE public policies and advocacy efforts are cognizant to the need for a strategic approach to addressing our nation's infrastructure challenges. This is most evident in the solutions laid out in the Report Card (https://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/solutions/), which emphasize Leadership & Planning, including the use of life cycle cost analysis, and preparation for the future, including resilience, along with increased investment. ASCE Committee on America's Infrastructure and staff work hard to share the Report Card with a wide range of groups, including those in the business community, to educate them on infrastructure needs and hear their feedback on why infrastructure matters to them.

    Brian Pallasch Aff.M.ASCE
    Managing Director, Gov Relations & Inf Initiatives
    ASCE Government Relations
    Washington DC

  • 4.  RE: Civil Engineering Leadership

    Posted 05-28-2018 09:00 AM


    Thank you for your response.

    I have read the details of the procedures and the criteria used in conducting the assessments of our national infrastructure and am satisfied that they are comprehensive.

    From that point on, the assessment of financial needs - as well as the assignment of grades depicting the condition of our nation's facilities - are linked to the accounting stances of those making these judgments.

    It was therefore instructive to compare the facilities grades offered by, presumably, like-minded civil engineers involved in serving various individual states. Their assessments appear to be somewhat more sanguine that those of the 28 distinguished members of the ASCE Committee on America's Infrastructure.

    To gain a still closer, more localized view of the condition of America's infrastructure, I would propose that ASCE obtain the insights of some engineers who are actively managing many of our municipal and national facilities - those engineers whose work involves meeting the immediate needs for operation, maintenance, personnel, …, and who are in the process of planning for future system upgrades in the context of the availability of resources to meet those needs.

    John O'Connor D.Eng., P.E., F. ASCE
    H2O'C Engineering
    Columbia MO
    (573) 234-1012