ASCE Partner EWB-USA Introduces New Executive Director

After 18 years of guiding the growth of Engineers Without Borders USA, Executive Director Cathy Leslie has retired. The organization’s new top executive is Jackie O’Brien, an EWB-USA board member.

ASCE and Engineers Without Borders USA have a long-standing partnership to promote collaboration on projects, programs and initiatives that support the organizations’ common missions to make the world a better place and improve the practice of engineering. Among these partnerships is the Community Engineering Corps, a collaboration between ASCE, EWB-USA and the American Water Works Association to help underserved communities in the United States.

“ASCE has enjoyed a long, productive partnership with EWB, whose mission is well matched with ASCE’s commitment to developing ‘civil engineers as global leaders building a better quality of life,'” said ASCE Executive Director Tom Smith.

“We will miss Cathy Leslie, a true leader in our profession, aptly recognized with two of our highest honors: the Wisely Award in 2008 and the President’s Award in 2014. We wish Cathy the best for a happy, well-earned retirement, which I’m sure will continue to include positive change. We are delighted also to congratulate Jackie O’Brien and to continue our valued partnership and shared commitment to innovation and helping communities meet their basic human needs.”

headshot of O'Brien
headshot of Leslie

Leslie’s retirement comes after leading EWB-USA from a startup nonprofit in 2002 to an organization that has worked in over 56 countries on more than 2 million projects.

“It has been an honor and privilege leading EWB-USA through a transformative journey,” Leslie said. “I am enormously proud of all the past and current EWBers around the world and what we have accomplished together.”

O’Brien previously held leadership positions at Vigor, Arconic and Alcoa and has served on EWB-USA’s board since 2018.

“There’s a lot to do and there is a role for everyone in building a more just and peaceful world,” O’Brien said.

ASCE members interested in getting involved with EWB-USA can do so easily through a joint-membership opportunity.


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