The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has formally launched its Utility Engineering and Surveying Institute (UESI), the first national organization designed to provide a broad-based forum for the exchange of ideas and best practices among utility- and pipeline-infrastructure engineers and surveyors.

Formally introduced at ASCE’s annual Pipelines Conference in Baltimore on Aug. 24, UESI aims to become the worldwide leader in generating products and services that promote and reward excellence in the engineering, planning, design, construction, operations, and asset management for utility-infrastructure engineering and surveying.

“We want to be a one-stop shop for professionals involved with the design, construction and management of linear utilities and infrastructure systems, both above- and belowground,” says UESI President Randy Hill, a principal with RCH Engineering, San Diego. “That includes utility directors, engineers and surveyors, water agencies—anyone who owns or works with pipelines.”

UESI, which is ASCE’s ninth semiautonomous technical institute, will be led by a 10-member board of governors selected from a variety of utility-pipeline and surveying disciplines. Reporting to the board will be six divisions focused on areas such as pipelines, construction management, utility-risk management, geomatics and surveying, asset management, and standards. 

Hill considers asset management to be a particularly critical area, given the high cost of operating and maintaining these systems, some of which have been in use for decades. He notes that the latest ASCE Report Card for America’s Infrastructure gave pipelines and underground infrastructure a D+ grade.

“Consumers in particular need to be aware of the tremendous costs involved with keeping these systems operational, which is why communication to the public will be another of our priorities,” Hill adds.

Over the next several weeks, USEI will round out its division-level leadership and begin developing marketing and membership strategies. Hill says as many as 8,000 professionals could join the institute as it evolves.

“We’re eager to get the word out, and get to work,” he says.