Society celebrates signs of progress at July Board meeting

Nearly 18 months since the COVID-19 pandemic upended the world, the ASCE Board of Direction noted several positive trends regarding the strength of the Society during its quarterly meeting, July 16-17.

Specifically, ASCE’s improvised operating solutions and spending adjustments helped compensate for COVID-caused revenue declines in fiscal year 2021, resulting in what turned out to be an overall successful financial year. The board-approved fiscal year 2022 budgets continue these new operating concepts with an improved balance of revenues and expenses.

“We are in better shape than expected,” said ASCE President Jean-Louis Briaud, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE, Dist.M.ASCE. “The outlook is significantly better than last year, and the future looks brighter.”

Meanwhile, ASCE total membership, as reported to the board, has rebounded to levels 1.2% higher than pre-pandemic numbers. It’s a welcome sign as the Society has worked to pivot toward virtual events and other new resources that meet the everchanging needs created by the pandemic.

“I am so proud of all those who worked to accomplish this major result,” Briaud said. “From the staff to the volunteers, from the students to the life members, from the board members to the institute presidents, all have contributed to make this possible.

“However, we must not relax. The pandemic is not over. We must stay very vigilant as a Society to continue serving our members.”

Opportunities for collaboration

ASCE Construction Institute President Daniel Cook, P.E., P.Eng, S.E., M.ASCE, updated the board on the work of the Region and Institute Presidential Group, a collection of geographic region directors and institute leaders. The group’s list of priorities included:

Interactive and collaborative opportunities

Membership growth and retention

Student transition

“Two years ago, I felt uneasy about perceived friction between those two groups. It did not make any sense as both the regions and the institutes, while very different, contribute equally to the broad success of ASCE,” Briaud said.

“So I created the RIPG to address this issue, and I am delighted to see how the two groups are so much more conscious of each other’s strengths and weaknesses and how willing they are to help each other grow. I really feel the progress and think that they will live happily ever after.”

In other streamlining efforts, the Task Committee to Review Organizational Efficiency presented a list of suggestions designed to improve the wide breadth of ASCE’s operations. Among the many ideas: centralizing and consolidating annual elections, creating a database for different Society groups’ calendars, and simplifying budget procedures.

Other meeting highlights

The board voted to change the name of the ASCE Blue Sky Innovation Contest to the ASCE Innovation Contest, while making it a Society-wide competition, starting at the 2022 student symposia.

The board approved revision of 57 public policy statements as brought by the Public Policy and Practice Committee.

ASCE’s list of historic landmarks grew by three. The board voted to designate the Brooklyn Waterworks and the Pathfinder Dam in Alcova, Wyoming, as National Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks; and the Sydney Opera House in New South Wales, Australia, as an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.

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