Future of Civil Engineering

I applaud Engineering News Record's interest in the future of the civil engineer and the civil engineering profession. Thank you for taking the time to comment on the recently held summit on the future of the civil engineering profession in 2025 sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

The summit involved 50 invited individuals. There were representatives from foreign countries and organizations, contractors, owners, industry, technologists, federal, state and local government, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, architects, non-engineers, non-governmental organizations and younger ASCE members. These individuals were selected because they were known for their visionary writings and lecturing. We had a very diverse group.

Operationally, it was difficult to directly engage students because of the summit timing. However, we will be working with them and younger ASCE members to have sessions at four regional leadership conferences throughout the country. Each will have about 100 to 200 students and 30 to 90 younger members, allowing us a far greater opportunity for students and younger member engagement than by inviting only half a dozen to participate in the summit.

The draft document developed at the summit will be circulated both within and outside of ASCE. In particular, other professional organizations, owner groups and others will be given an opportunity to comment. The summit is therefore not an event, but a process. It was simply a kick-off of an effort to better define a vision for the civil engineering profession.

We firmly believe that we are on the right track and are willing at any time to sit down and discuss our process and where we are headed.

Quality Takes a Backseat

Safety will usually prevail if a required quality process is followed in both design and construction. But on many projects, quality takes a backseat to costs and schedule, especially once a job is in trouble like Bostons Big Dig was in its last few years). It would be interesting to see how the quality of the installation compares with what the engineer had intended.