‘Incredible Journey’ Takes Gunalan Into ASCE Presidency

Kancheepuram Gunalan’s ASCE presidential year started with a beautiful speech … by his children.

“When I look at my father now, with everything in the past stripped away, I don’t see him for what he’s done but for who he is,” his daughter, Pallavi Gunalan, told the crowd, Oct. 12, at the ASCE 2019 Convention in Miami. “I see him for his empathy and his kindness.”

Gunalan, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE, F.ASCE, better known as “Guna,” was inducted as ASCE’s 2020 president during the Society’s annual business meeting at the Convention, taking the ceremonial gavel from Robin Kemper. Both Pavalli and Guna’s son, Kabilar, spoke with love and respect for their father before attendees gave him a standing ovation.

“It is, as they say, unreal,” Gunalan said. “When I look back to see where I started and where I am now, to lead the organization, to represent the profession and the members, it’s unbelievable. It’s been an incredible journey so far, and I’m looking forward to an amazing one ahead of us too.”

Gunalan is senior vice president of alternative delivery at AECOM, based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Born and raised in India, the son of a former member of Indian Parliament, Gunalan came to the United States in the early 1980s to pursue his civil engineering education and career.

photo of group of people
ASCE’s 2020 President KN “Guna” Gunalan was joined by his family during his induction ceremony. PHOTO: Jason Dixson Photography

He joined ASCE as a doctoral student, and his active membership has included leadership roles as Region 8 director (2009-2012), Region 8 governor (2005-2007), Utah Section president (2002-2003) and Texas Section High Plains Branch president (1992). Most recently, he served as a governor for the Geo-Institute and was a member of the steering committee for the 2017 ASCE India Conference.

Gunalan uses the word “coalesce” as a touchstone for what he hopes to help ASCE accomplish during his presidential year.

“We want to focus our attention on specific things that are going to have a high impact,” Gunalan said.

To that end, Gunalan will convene a planning session with the Board of Direction Monday evening of this week’s Board meeting in Miami to set a prioritized agenda for issues to address during the next year. Gunalan, during his year on the Board as president-elect, emphasized the need to consider potential committee realignments.

“We must continue to stay nimble,” Gunalan said.

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  1. Firstly I would like to congratulate you. I am Member ASCE from India since 2009. Lot of things can be done by ASCE through world wide reach of members. For example can we not replicate the Score Card given to Infrastructure of different cities/ States in India similar to US and lot more such things.

  2. Congratulations Dr Gunalan! I am sure that with your education and experience, you will take ASCE to greater heights! Good Luck!

  3. Dear ASCE President Dr. Kanchipuram Gunalan,

    Really feel proud as myself an Indian Consulting Structural and Civil Engineer, based in Mumbai,India, that A Proud person in you of Indian Origin, YOU, has taken over as President of American Society of Civil Engineers, 2020
    I had first joined ASCE sometime in the year around 1975, remained attached till few years, and again joined, and now a current Member of ASCE , (Member ID 390278) having re-joined in 2002, and continuing.

    My very personal Best Wishes to you, in the current term of yours, leading to furtherance of ASCE in coming years.

    Incidentally, current time is of Festival of Dipawali and Hindu New Year, in India, and I take this opportunity to convey my Best Wishes for Happy and Prosperous New Year, to you and your Family

    With my personal Regards

  4. Congratulations Sir ,Mr president .I wish a successful journey in the pursuit of this great assignment bestowed on your. Your remarkable success in office will be appreciate in high regard. Accept my Congratulations sir!!

  5. Congratulations Mr. President. As a Life Member of ASCE, I have so enjoyed the many practical ways that engineers can serve in their communities, and in exploring new ways of solving social, technical and environmental challenges. I am sure that we will meet in the near future because of your responsibilities at AECOM and now in ASCE. I and my associates are embarking on some major domestic, and eventually international, humanitarian projects that will involve innovative and alternate technologies. Thank you for your past service and we look forward to another great year in ASCE under your leadership.

  6. Dear Dr. Gunalan,

    The ASCE is not only American, it is truly international. For those living outside the USA it is beacon that guides both the academia and the practice.

    I wish you every success as the ASCE President for 2020, and look forward to the ASCE reaching greater heights.

    Gyan Shrivastava, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE


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