New Board meets to address challenges ahead

As a new year begins, cybersecurity has emerged as a vital concern in the civil engineering profession.

The ASCE Board of Direction took steps during its quarterly meeting, held virtually Jan. 16, to ensure that the Society is working quickly to give its members the tools to protect themselves from cyberthreats.

Or, as Region 7 Director Edward Stafford said during the meeting, “It’s not just about technology or having the right patch. It’s about people.”

ASCE’s Industry Leaders Council convened a working group in 2019 to research cybersecurity threats and recommend potential Society action.

And this month, the board received the working group’s report and voted to authorize further exploration of market needs and potential implementations of those recommendations.

“There is a need for all civil engineers to be trained to be vigilant and educated in what the threat is, what form it can take, how to recognize it, and how to take precautionary measures,” said ASCE President Jean-Louis Briaud. “I believe that ASCE has a responsibility to help our members be better prepared to defend against cybersecurity issues.”

President-elect official nominees

The Board of Direction Nominating Committee selected the official nominees for ASCE 2022 president-elect. They are Maria C. Lehman, P.E., ENV SP, F.ASCE, and Peter M. Moore, P.E., ENV SP, LEED AP, F.ASCE. The ASCE election runs May 1 through June 1, with the successful nominee set to serve as the ASCE president in 2023.

Read more about the nominees.

Visualizing 2070

The Future World Vision project reached another funding milestone, as the board voted to fully actualize the Mega City 2070 world. A prototype version of the Mega City debuted last fall at the ASCE 2020 Convention.

“Future World Vision is our star project,” Briaud said. “It impacts one issue where moving the needle is very difficult: the public image of civil engineers. It does that by being equally appealing to the 10-year-old youngster and the 70-year-old senior. It is equally appealing to non–civil engineers and experts in our field. It reaches across the masses.

“It is an inverted time capsule that predicts what the world will be like 50 years from now. The younger generation will be able to look back when they are my age and decide if ASCE’s Future World Vision was correct or not. In the meantime, Future World Vision helps us dream, be excited, plan, and create our future.”

Other highlights

  • The board authorized creating a new task committee to potentially expand ASCE’s offerings to serve people who are a part of the civil engineering team but are not necessarily civil engineers. The Task Committee on Building the Civil Engineering Team of the Future will report back to the board with recommendations in the next year.
  • Membership continues to be the central priority for ASCE. The board received an update on the 2020 Section Member Drive, which rallied Society groups in a friendly competition to recruit the most new ASCE members. The Hawaii Section won the 2020 drive and the $1,000 prize, followed by the Los Angeles Section ($750) and the Philippines Section ($500). The Philippines Section also generated the most member referrals among the sections.
  • The Student Presidential Group, a group of ASCE student leaders that meets regularly with Briaud, updated the board on the staff and volunteer feedback collected based on the recommendations it presented last fall at the October board meeting. The group’s ongoing work centers on developing Society programs and resources to help students, help student chapters, and improve student recruitment and retention.
  • The board approved on first reading several documents from the Governing Documents Committee, including amendments to the bylaws that would realign participation in the Society’s annual student conferences along the geographic region lines. Each item will come before the board again in the spring for second reading approval.
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  1. With recent news about large scale hacks, this is a timely subject. Cyber attacks on ASCE databases could adversely impact members on a large scale. I would be interested to know that the Society is also taking steps to protect member information as well.


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